The other day we had yet another BIG winter storm drive through the valley. The roaring wind and the cold ( at least for the Fraser Valley) was a good day for an experiment. We don't get much wind at our place, but if it's an easterly, as it was this day, we get hit.
I decided this storm would be a great experience for the horse's to be out in the arena with me, to see how they handled the rattling tin when the wind hits the edge pieces of the barn, and gusts of wind that ram the sand hard, sending up clouds of dust into the air, only to be swept out of the arena.
Once all five horses were out in the arena, wandering around, I put Valentino's ( two year old Andalusian) halter on, and thought I'd brush him, to stay connected, just in case he lost the plot. He was handling the few gusts that came whistling through quite fine. The others too were pretty chilled in general. After about ten minutes, I'm pretty happy with how the horses are all doing, and especially happy with my youngster.
Just as things were going smooth, an uncontrolled gust of wind came screaming through the arena. Kloee ( my Andalusian/ thoroughbred who can be reactive), reacted and blasted around the arena getting all the other horse's feathers in a flap. Valentino reacted with a jump and desire to join his herd.
The reason I'm telling you this story is, because, it's these experiences that let you know whether the education you are offering your horse is working or you have holes in your program that need to be fixed. When Valentino reacted with a jump and desire to leave, he hit the end of the lead line. The GREAT thing is, when he felt the end of the rope, he immediately rebounded, turned and faced me, stopped and asked the question, " I felt the rope, I'm with you----- are we okay ? " What an awesome feeling it is to have a horse that is soooooo light on the end of the line when he is scared. When he felt the rope, he instinctively rebounded, back to me, instead of instinctively running through the pressure and then back to his herd.
I answered Valentino's question of - "are we okay?" with a "yes", and brought him towards me. All was calm once more, until the next big gust.
My goal with every horse I touch, is for them to understand; when they feel the end of the line they DON'T run through it, they feel it and like pressing the right button, they come back and connect with me .
Yahoo ! I love days like this !
It's been eight weeks and counting since the freeze came upon us. Here in the Fraser Valley we pride ourselves in being able to ski, golf, hike, and ride horses, during winter. For most of Canada, everything is shut down until the thaw.
There may be some people that are set up with proficiency in the Valley with frost free taps, heated buckets, and have strategies for helping their horses get around on icey days, but most are carrying many warm buckets of water, have horses that haven't left their stalls since early December, and are realizing how important turn out is for the equine mind.
I've had a few students refer to their horses, as , "my horse has gone insane, being pent up in his stall for the last month". Insane in the dictionry reads, "
'in a state of mind that prevents normal perception, behavior, or social interaction'.
My five horses are very fortunate, living with a mountain at our back, most of the wind goes over us.
I do happen to have a frost free tap, and a couple of heated water buckets. My horses also have free access to go from the barn stalls to the covered arena whenever it suits their fancy. I am truly
I have one piece of adice I received from my sister that I am thrilled to have found out about, and I am excited to share with you. To pick up frozen poop in the paddocks, using a shovel is hard on the back, and a fork impossible; instead use a hoe. It easily lifts the piles up, saving your back and time.