This blog is dedicated to my friend, my mentor, and the best teacher I have ever had. Without him, I would not have embarked on this amazing journey. Split, this blog is for you!
Ponderosa Misty Icon, aka "Split," is a handsome gray Welsh pony who came to me via a phone call "out of the blue" (actually Peterborough, Ontario). Our first few months together were rocky to say the least, which made me question my ability as a horse owner, as a horsewoman, and as a rider. Forty years of horse ownership had not prepared me for this little gray pony!
But we muddled through and because of Split, I have begun a journey that is both spiritual and enlightening. I hope something here resonates with you and that you'll check back now and then.
We leave you with one of our favorite quotes: "The best whisper is a click!"

Monday, June 21, 2010


I need to plunk my butt down in this chair and write more often. Time has a way of getting away from me. My oldest daughter just moved to South Carolina, my kitchen is being gutted and redesigned so I'm currently living out of boxes and milk crates and bags which are scattered throughout the first floor of my house, my middle daughter is planning her wedding, and my youngest just announced that she got a teaching job for next year - IN SPAIN! Boy, it never rains...it POURS around here!! LOL
Thank goodness for my constant link to sanity - my animals! I have a lovely little beagle named Jellybean whom we adopted from the Humane Society 24 hours before she was to be euthanized. I never liked beagles; never wanted a beagle. Well, so much for that............because now I can't imagine life without this shorty, pudgy ray of sunshine! She's an absolute delight!
I have a feral cat who showed up on our doorstep several years ago. He was scruffy and angry and extremely aggressive toward any animal who approached him, including humans! I've never been attacked by an animal before but he came very close - I can still see those flattened ears, huge eyes, fangs, and claws coming at me!!! So we decided to "live and let live" and GrayKitty was fed alongside our old cat, Rosie, who was the only animal GrayKitty would allow into his personal space. Eventually we won him over or he decided we weren't all that bad and he began to look forward to his interactions with us. Now I can pick him up and sling him over my shoulder and he purrs so loudly that you can probably hear him a block away. He's a character, tho, and if things don't go his way, you're apt to get a swat with the paw or a little bite that says, "Back off, idiot." He's also a clown who loves to do the unexpected and then he sits back with those squinty eyes and a smirk on his face, obviously delighting in the humans' startled expressions.
Last week the vet came to give Split and Jingle their booster shots and when I was writing out the check, GrayKitty jumped up into the back of Kristin's truck. From there he jumped up into the open drawer of her wooden cabinet, stretched out on top of the syringes and packages of needles, crossed his front paws and looked at us as tho saying, "Well, what do you think of this?" We burst out laughing and Kristin asked if she could take some photos because she'd never had a cat do THAT before! After she took his "portrait," she jokingly picked up an syringe, pointed it at him and said, "Do you want a shot, too?" Quick as a wink, GrayKitty turned and bit the hand with the syringe!! She dropped it like a hot potato and said, "Gee, you'd think he knew what I was saying!" OF COURSE he knew what she was saying! What a cat!
Split and Jingle and I have been having great fun! The other day when the temps were hovering around 95 degrees, I decided to give Split a bath. Split doesn't particularly like his bath but I suspect it's due to the cold water. His former owner has sent me pics of Split quite obviously enjoying his ablutions up in Canada but she has a nice wash area with hot and cold water. Me? I just have cold water so "deal with it" has been my motto. I decided to take a different approach recently. I walked Split up to the hose and, as expected, he snorted and backed away. No biggie. I waited and he targeted. C/T. All S.O.P. for us. Pretty soon, he was fine with the hose so I turned it on. Not so "ok." ha ha He's not freaked out - he just steps back and snorts a little. I had the nozzle on "mist" and pretty soon he was literally playing in it - flapping his lips up and down and running his muzzle thru it. Each positive interaction earned him a C/T. THEN I switched to "shower." Hmmmm..............He wasn't so sure about that and definitely didn't want it touching him. I allowed him to walk away (the length of the rope - about 12') but, being Split, he always came back to investigate. I decided to try something different. When he finally put his muzzle into the spray to check it out, I turned off the water. He was surprised! This was a new development! He nudged the nozzle and I turned the water back on. He was startled but just moved his muzzle out of the way and stared at the water. He put his nose back in the spray and the water stopped. Nudged the nozzle and the water came back on! He was thrilled with this game and I was getting a really good laugh at the expression on his face!! Next time he "started" the water, I showered his legs. He wasn't happy about that and walked backward a few steps. I went with him, gently showering his front legs. He reached out and touched the nozzle and.........the water stopped! "Well!" I imagined him thinking. "I can turn this thing on and off by myself!" This was a great game for Split because he has a very smart brain and loves a challenge! We kept playing as I moved the hose from his legs to his body, neck, and, using the mister, even to his face (which he loves!!). I allowed him to "tell" me when he'd had enough by letting him nuzzle the nozzle. Inevitably, he would always ask me to turn it back on, too! It was wonderful to see the progress once Split realized that he could tell me when enough was enough! I didn't click during any of this because I wanted Split to understand that he could TELL ME when he was uncomfortable. I didn't want him to just tolerate the spray because he wanted his treat. This approach seemed to work well in this particular situation and I enjoyed experimenting with it.
But the click? Well, ya just can't beat it! I use it all the time and I've had some wonderful walks with Split recently. We go out into the neighbor's meadow and play games there. I can lunge him out there, too, and I know that the people driving by are thinking, "Wow! Look at that beautiful pony!"
I've been taking little Jingle the mini donk for walks, too, and she's completely different than Split. But I think I'll save that story for another day.

Here's a great quote from Ray Hunt:
"Believe in your horse so your horse can believe in you"

Have a great day, friends!

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