Sunday, December 16, 2012


Ever had one of those moments when you’re all like “I have no idea why this is happening – but ohkay!  Let’s go with it.”?

Joey decided to walk himself over to his spooky spot right next to the horse-eating-fire-breathing-monsters-of-doom-ed barrels today.  I don’t really know why, but he had his head down on a loose rein and proceeded to amble on the outside track RIGHT NEXT to the VERY same barrels he’s been freaking out over since, oh, last December…  

Which only makes it a year for him to make up his mind that they are ok, and as for why?  I’m not really sure.  He was determined last time I rode him not to go near those things, but this time he was willing to work with me. 

I do think that part of it is toughening up on our ground work.  I have determined to get full control of his feet – he will put them where I say to, and not move until I say “Jump!”.  

As he’s moved up in the herd hierarchy, I have noticed his confidence increasing, but also his bossiness.   Drawing firm boundaries appears to be helping him to deal with his trust issues – because even though his confidence is increasing, he still needs his person to be in charge or he’s going to resort to bossy and rude behaviors to make himself feel safe.

The first thing I started with was picking up his feet.  Joey would do it, but he’d take his sweet time deciding when he was actually going to pick them up.  That’s not going to be the case anymore – I want a prompt response when I ask for his foot.  A “Yes ma’am, no ma’am, three bags full ma’am” and nothing less.

That, and really letting him know about it when he crosses the line into my space, seem to have helped.   It’s totally true when they say (Mugwump is a big advocate for this) that if you can direct the feet, you can direct the horse.

It’s a psychological “battle” as it were – horses are all about body language and space relation to their herd.  The alpha mare or stallion can put any horse they want, in any spot they want, and they don’t even think about it.  If you can’t control the horse’s feet – i.e., their body, their direction – then they are not really listening to you.  If they’re not listening….  Well, true communication hasn’t been established, and there’s still work to do.

And I’m working on that with Joey!  We will get there one day I hope.  If I don’t have to sell him yet.  Only time will tell either way.  : /

See ya,


Post share buttons