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!"

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Animals Do The Darndest Things

Anyone remember the old Art Linkletter show, "Kids Say The Darndest Things?" (Yes, I'm old. We've already established that fact. LOL) Well, I've discovered that animals DO the darndest things! (They also SAY the darndest things but that's a subject for another day.)
Tuesday Split and I went for a walk around the property (on line) and he was very interested in everything as always. He discovered some things on the lawn that shouldn't be there like my brother-in-law's bright green cooler that had suddenly "sprouted up" on the lawn or my husband's pitching net.......He walked right up, sniffed them, licked them and then turned to me, asking, "That's not supposed to be there, right?" So were moseyin' along, la la la, when suddenly Split snorted, jumped 3' sideways (away from me - he's a good boy), and stood there, neck arched and nostrils flared because there it was.....the big, the rusty, the faded green, hole ridden, black-tired monster.......THE WHEELBARROW!!!!! Dear lord, that horse has seen that same wheelbarrow every single day for 5 1/2 years and suddenly it's out to kill him. For a nanosecond, I too, was startled because I couldn't figure out what the heck had caused such an intense reaction and then..........I saw the wheelbarrow. I had to burst out laughing! I marched over to it (still holding the lead rope), touched the side of the barrow and said, "TOUCH IT!" (Targeting - don't leave home without it!) He trusts me so he tippy-toed forward, snorting slightly, and grazed the edge of the wheelbarrow with his nose. He drew back in surprise, snuffled, and stuck his nose right back on it again. I clicked and treated and then Split - clever boy that he is - figured, "Aha! The wheelbarrow! I got clicked and treated for THAT? This is gonna be good!" And he proceeded to touch that wheelbarrow with his nose over and over in rapid succession, each time looking to me - the vending machine! - for a treat. ha ha ha I c/t him a few times and then said, "Alright. Enough of that." The rest of our walk was great fun. We played, "Can You Match This?" I would walk slowly and see if he would match me; I'd speed up, stop, back up, etc. Great fun and it puts us both in the mindset of "I'd better pay attention here" so we really tune in to each other's body language.
Animals........they do the darndest things!
I googled quotes from Art Linkletter and found the following. For those of us who are clicker trainers, it's PERFECT:

I've learned it's always better to have a small percentage of a big success, than a hundred percent of nothing.
Art Linkletter

1 comment:

  1. Sometimes I would love to be able to ask the horses what is going through their mind!!!

    I have had similar experiences, where normal, every day objects have suddenly become super scary.

    And even when I know the animal's history, it still can be super weird what becomes scary. I had a yearling I was leading once and a couple fo the dogs came running up barking, which scared him. For the next couple of weeks he was terrified of the concrete driveway we had been standing on, yet still completely okay about the dogs!