Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Turns out my yahoo account is all messed up. So I have no email until I get it straightened out. I'm on it, I promise.

You might have noticed I'm not writing much.

Just my usual 3,000 to 7,000 words a week I gaaaaack up at work every week.

My brain fried just a tad.

But I gave my clinic on Saturday. It went pretty well.

My favorite part was when we broke for lunch.

I had just given one of my favorite lectures.

"Your horse cares about four things. Eating, pooping, standing in the sun and running around with their friends...,"you guys know the one.

I was urging the over achievers to volunteer to work, groom, handle more than one horse. I explained that horses, especially the young ones, have the attention spans of a gnat.

Although they may like your company, they get to the point when they want to hang out in the pasture.

So, I suggested, they could work more than one horse, help the rescue and give their horses a chance to digest the lessons they were giving them.

I also recall at some point saying,"You know, once in a while a swift kick in the butt is all they need."

I think I was talking to them about Leland, the colt I've handled about 15 times....

Sooo....there was a guest speaker at lunch. An animal communicator. Who talks to the animals. Who said the only way to talk to your horse is to spend hours listening to them. You will never get to know your horse if you are not with them every day...

The horse will gladly leave his herd mates or allow you to join his herd if you commit to just one horse.


It's all good. I'm going to interview her for the paper.

My guess is if we sit and really visit we'll find out we have more in common than we think.


  1. The common thread you will both probably agree on is that a horse owner needs to have a basic understanding of Horse-ese. You can't get that from reading books anymore than you can get fit by reading running magazines.

    You guys are both preaching the same principal but recommending different methods.--- You're recommending a total immersion program with a variety of different tutors to help the students learn the language. The speaker seems like they are going with the one-on-one tutoring method with the horse that will eventually be grading their "exam".

    Just a thought--- I might be waaaay off. ;)

  2. My thought is that there is a big difference between working a horse (making his brain think) and spending time with a horse. I'm the spend-hours-with-my-horse type, and he loves it, but it's not like we're working the whole time!

  3. That is priceless! I hope you're right. Either that or she will be a nut job.

  4. I'm interested in finding out if this communicator is the real deal. There are so many that prey on horse lovers...

    But I imagine she wouldn't be a guest if she didn't have some sort of track record (no pun intended).

  5. I agree with Becky on the "understanding of Horse-ese" comment. I'd also add, in response to the guest speaker, that it'd be pretty hard to understand what you're "hearing" from your horse in the hours you spend with it if you haven't been around horses - plural!

    Then again, I've never had the "I want to be your best friend!" vibe from any of my horses except when they're new to a herd and I'm the only familiar face. The pasture looks a heck of a lot more inviting...even than their herdmates that they DO spend hours with.

  6. I am a big believer in letting a horse be a horse. Horses, like people, like choices. Some horses don't mind having you hang out with them while they go about their daily routine, some want lots of attention, and some have little use for you... so I think that lady has a point, but those hours are best done on the horse's interest in spending time, not yours.

    I have spent 6 or more hours in Bif's 12'x24' stall when he was up at the doctor's, and he would come over every ten minutes or so to see what I was up to, then go back to one of his hay piles. He would come to rest for a while with his head hanging over me while I sat in my chair and read a book.

    Some of the time I was touching, massaging, brushing on him, but most of the time I was in my chair or napping on a hay pile, which he would eat around me (d'uh, not super safe I know, but this horse is very careful of me and other humans... THAT'll end up on my tombstone!). So mostly all the interactions were on his terms, without any dominance on his part, if that makes sense.

    My guy went to a big expo last spring, with hundreds (thousands?) of people going by his stall every day, and most stopping to pet him as he hung his head out over the stall chain. He had a constant supply of his very best, favorite hay available, but almost always had his head out for visitors.

    He got out at least four or six times a day by me to walk around, lunge, and handgraze. You know, "be a horse" time, as much as was possible under those circumstances.

    This horse likes me, he trusts me. He was friendly to hundreds of people, sweet eyed, ears forward, gregarious. I had given him some closed door time, off and on. Near the mid-afternoon of the second day, while I was in the stall with him and straightening his mane or some other minor, fussy thing, he nipped me. He got smacked, of course, but that was one of those I totally understood: I am fed up with this and YOU and you are the only person I can take it out on.

    He got some more closed door time, a handgraze and walk to the farthest lunging area, and he was back to greeting every guest.

  7. I would love to read that interview.


  8. I had a well-known animal communicator offer to "talk" to my dog, using only a photo. He were just out in the truck, but she insisted that she could contact him just fine by looking at a recent picture.

    She told me that my agoraphobic, neurotic, ultra-timid Sheltie "just wanted to run free in the big meadow with the pond with all his other doggie friends. And he wanted his pink blanket back."

    Um. WTH?

    Not only was there never a pink blanket in this dog's life, I asked a vet, who confirmed for me: Dogs don't perceive the color pink--or red. They can see light, dark, blue, and yellow, and combinations of those. Not pink.

    So my faith in animal communicators is...dimmed. Call me crazy.

    As for YOUR advice, I think you were giving good advice to the humans on what to do with *their* attention span and energy. Training animals isn't that hard--training people is really hard work.

  9. Best to let newbies know right away that there are lots of roads to choose from, right?

    I have every confidence you'll find some common ground with the communicator. It'd be great to read your article after the interview, too.

    I'm still chuckling when I picture your clinic organizer's face, tho....

  10. I don't understand how animal communication is supposed to work- I mean what could the physics of that even be? - and I always dismissed it as fluffy nonsense, but when my wife got a reading in a charity auction ( done from a photo of the horse ) it was so accurate I literally got that cold, dropping sensation in my stomach. It wasn't cold reading or Forer Effect stuff, it clearly described quite a few things about the horse's situation that I don't believe would have been guessable from a photograph.

    That's not to say they actually had any communication with the horse - if there is something not understood going on then it's very hard to judge what process is occurring and goodness knows the typical new age nonsense about quantum vibrations and harmonic resonance is not for anyone with the vaguest understanding of physics - but it left me with more of a question mark over that practice where previously I had been entirely sceptical.

  11. My horse doesn't necessarily want to be working constantly, but if people are around and are willing to give him attention, he wants to be RIGHT THERE pestering them. Doesn't matter what they're doing. And heaven help me if he thinks he has an audience. He'll start herding my dog, doing his best stallion impression - prancing, snorting, flagging his tail.

  12. She made an interesting comment. I was demonstrating moving shoulders with one of the rescues...a POA.
    I really liked the little guy and said so. He was lively, reactive and quick to tune in.
    The young woman who was handling him fo the clinic said he wouldn't stand still.
    He would bump her with his head, paw, try to go visiting, that kind of thing.
    I showed her how to keep him quiet by working him some and then letting him think, but he was so smart she was running out of things to show him.
    My thought was he needed to be worked then tied up and ignored or turned out.
    At lunch the communicater said he was very proud.
    I thought it was an interesting assessment.
    I'm not even saying it's bad...

  13. I understand the wanting to be with people thing. My yellow mare likes to show.
    She likes people to look at her.
    Loki does not.
    Sonita didn't care, she just wanted to eat a little cow, it didn't matter who was watching.

  14. I see you have an AWARD!!! CONGRATS!!!

  15. I don't know. Can horses be proud? They can be happy, cranky, peaceful, eager, willing, playful and all sorts of things that are emotional, but proud? Pride connotes a sense of self that I'm not convinced horses have. But then again, when you drive up and the old gelding flags his tail and lumbers into a stiff old show-offy lope around the pen, what else could it be but pride?
    And Mugs, I hear you on the weekly word count at work. I'm right (write) there with you at our little paper!

  16. Food for thought.... http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/35911274/ns/technology_and_science-science/

  17. I think horses can absolutely be proud. I believe they are capable of more emotion and thought than we give them credit for. I can tell when my horse is proud of himself for accomplishing something. I can also tell when he is showing off-proud. And I definitely think they have a sense of self -- not sure it's as advanced as ours, but it's certainly there.

  18. well it is good to know I am not losing my mind. If you don't mind when you get your mail up and going please drop me a line. I have something important (to me :-)) that I would like your advice on and it is sort of time sensitive.