Yesterday was the long awaited demo for the BCH. We tried to do it in the spring and had the equine herpes out break. Wanted to do it then so it would be cool... I think it was 100 degrees yesterday.. but we got it done and had a good turn out... I counted 28 folks. This group of folks loves their horses and they are very in tune with their horsemanship. Like all horseman they were eager to learn.. We started in the round pen. I used one of my horses to show how it should look when you have them understanding what you want. Then we had a big boy come into the round pen, Marty's boy .. I always watch as folks bring their horses up to see what is going on with the owner and the horse. This horse was really pushing on his owner... once he was in the round pen I talked about how important it is to study the horse and see if we can tell what he is thinking or in this horse's case not thinking... In other words when you first get in the round pen with your horse, do NOTHING.... Once we got started it was obvious that this horse could care less that I was there. And that's ok... The reason I use a round pen is, first to gain the respect of the horse by showing myself to be the leader, and I hope a good leader and the second is to teach my horse how to be caught or how to catch me.... this horse was a hard case... it took longer then I think the folks in the audience wanted it to... One fella was pretty vocal about it. That he would do this or he would do that... and I'm sure that his ideas would have worked but it would have required me to put more pressure on the horse and the horse already wanted to jump out of the round pen as it was, and I did not want to create a wreck... I told them all that if we just give him a little time, the magic pill, he would begin to see what I was asking... Well I had sent Kathy to the truck to get a lead rope and halter thinking that this was going to take to long for these folks... while she was gone I kept working with him and then just as Kathy got back with the halter the horse figured it out... he moved his hip when I asked and came to me... when I asked.... It was very cool to see that all happen and I think the folks there were impressed... At least the fella that was telling me how I should do it saw what was happening and did not have anymore suggestions after that... and it is my hope that he at least saw what I was talking about... that you have to give the horse TIME to figure out what you want... and some times that takes more time... than most people are willing to go... but if you do... it will make all the difference to the horse and in the future to it's owner.....
Silke's little girl.
The next couple of horses came around much faster then the first. Silke let me work with her little horse and she was a little defiant but it was not long before she was moving her hip and coming to me when I asked...
Our host Sue's boy.
Even Sue, our host for the clinic, let me work with one of her horses... she is very protective of her boys but was willing to let me show the folks what I could do with him....
The trailer loading demo was very interesting. I had my stock trailer and showed them how my horse loaded so they would see what it should look like and will look like once they put their horses in a trailer loading program... The couple that brought a horse and a mule for me to load were great. Doug and Dixie.. They wanted me to load their horse and mule in their trailer... I agreed. When he pulled the trailer in to the arena I could not believe it... it was a two horse straight load trailer from the 60's it was so small that I was not sure anything, other then a mini horse could get in it... I demonstrated using my horse first... and when we went up to the trailer, Car, my horse, looked at me like, "you have got to be kidding". It only took a couple of tries and Car got in but you could tell he did not feel safe... Next I loaded the demo horse. I loaded him in my stock trailer first and he had no problem with it at all... The method I teach, if done right, will always have the same result, a horse that will load every time and do so safely. Next it was time to see if he would go in the little trailer... It took several times before the horse would even look at the little trailer... once I got him close to my trailer and as he went by he jumped into my trailer... You could tell he did not want to go in that little trailer at all... After a couple more tries he got in the little trailer... and stood quietly. I suggested to Doug that he sell that little trailer and get a bigger trailer... I even offered to sell him my stock trailer... was just teasing him... but not really... sometimes we make our life harder because of the equipment that we have or use... it was obvious that the horse had no problem in my trailer but it was a real issue in Doug's...
Next came the mule... I have never worked with mules before so it was a treat for me to get to do that... Again the mule would load in my trailer, using the method I use, but you could not convince her to get in that little trailer... she would step in with her front feet but when she touched her side on the entry of the trailer she would back out... I worked at it for awhile and decided that it would not be worth making her work so hard when all we had to do was give her more room... I kidded Doug and Dixie about their trailer.. They are great sports, but more importantly I could see that Doug was getting it... he was beginning to understand the reasons why I load the way I do.... we had to help the mule in the trailer when it was time for them to leave but he loaded his horse without any help... I was very proud of him.....and I think he will at least think about getting a trailer that will make his life and the life of his horses much easier..
This group asked some great questions.. which showed me that they really wanted to learn and help their horses... I had some of my friends and clients there too... They were very supportive.. Ted and Heidi, Mark, Butch, Norma, louise. These are folks that I have been working with over the past months and years and some of them shared their experience working with me.
It is very gratifying when you meet someone that appreciates what you do. And they see the value of what you are trying to do to help people and horses...
Thanks Sue, for everything...
Will try and keep you updated with info on what the heck I'm doing with horses and music.