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, January 31, 2011

Stand Around and Think

Learning is a constant journey and I never know what twists and turns it's going to present from day to day. However, as I travel along this path, I've met some wonderful teachers, one of whom is Mary Hunter (stalecheerios.com), a clicker trainer from Texas. The other day she commented on her blog about training a young horse, one of her rescues, "This is where people often get into trouble. Rather than giving the horse time to stand around and think, they try and make the horse move forward."
That statement made me sit back and go, "Hmmm............How interesting." And I began to realize that her observation had implications that go beyond the realm of horse training. As human beings, I think we often push EVERYONE to go forward at our pace instead of allowing them time to stand and think. This is a hectic world we live in. We're connected to each other instantly at the click of a button on our computer keyboard. Technology has progressed to where the push of a button will cook our food, wash our dishes, turn on our lights, wash our clothes, dial our phones, pull up our favorite music.............and we're always in a hurry. I admit it - if something takes longer than 10 seconds to load on my computer, I get in a huff! Is this "hurry up and wait" attitude something that our animals are trying to warn us about? Could their "behavior problems" reflect a general dysfunction in our own society? Do I have too much time on my hands to contemplate such things? "Stand around and think." I'm going to have to take advantage of those times - when I'm standing in line at the store, when I'm stuck in traffic, when I'm waiting at the bank, when I'm waiting for my computer to load...............And I'm going to have to remember to give my animal friends time to stand around and think, too. Now that I reflect on it, I believe that my mini donkey has this down to a science. Nothing rattles her, she moves at her own pace, and when shown a new trick I'd like her to do, she literally stands there and thinks about it. The treat doesn't motivate her to do it........she decides for herself after taking everything into account, "Hmmm.......She wants me to do what, now? Pick up that cone and put it in that bucket. Well, I suppose I could. It doesn't appear to be a dangerous job. I already know how to pick up the cone so putting it in the bucket ain't such a stretch. And she does have that vest full of treats.........Alright! I'll do it!"
I like Mary's statement as it applies to our horses. Sometimes we get on and expect them to do what we want because WE know what we want. But that doesn't mean that the horse "gets it." Maybe we should give them the chance to stand around and think about it more often. Horses love the click.......but not for the same reason we humans have come to depend on the clicks in our lives!
Happy clicking, everyone! But remember..................the click doesn't meant instant gratification! Take some time to stand around and think!

“Don't underestimate the value of Doing Nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can't hear, and not bothering.” Winnie the Pooh


  1. I just discovered you through Mary's blog. Very important thoughts and a good reminder to us all.

  2. Also, I just left you an award over on my blog - pass it on or not as you wish.