Thursday, May 17, 2012

Hobby Horse Blog Hop - Week 13

It's time for the blog hop, hosted by Dreaming at Living a Dream.  The rules are simple:  answer any or all of the questions, add a question of your own and link up!  The linky-thingy is at the bottom of the post.

Dreaming recently was able to attend a Buck Brannaman clinic, so this week's questions are based on what she learned at the clinic.  Incidentally, Buck is at CSU this weekend, Friday - Monday.  I offered to take Mom to that instead of Julie's clinic, but she chose Julie.

1. As Buck was working with a horse and throwing a rope so it touched the horse all over its body, and tickled its legs, Buck commented that we must prepare our horses for the unthinkable. What 'unthinkable(s)' have you tried to prepare your horse to deal with, and how did you proceed?

Estes was 18 when I bought her, she'd pretty much already "been there, done that".  Her other mommy did an amazing job with her. I've yet to run into anything that has spooked her - I think a lot of it is due to the way she was raised/trained and the fact that I *expect* her to be bomb-proof.  It rarely occurs to me that she should be afraid of anything, so if I'm not afraid that she's afraid, it works in our favor.  Does that make any sense at all? I guess that's yet another way I'm spoiled with my baby girl.

Bill, however, is a firm believer in bugging the shit out of the horses preparing our horses for the unthinkable with pretty much anything and everything.  And then if Ranger so much as flinches, Bill invokes the dreaded "touch" command. 

2. Buck suggested that his assistant "rub bald spots" on the horse. He asked us to think about how a mare would comfort her foal by nuzzling and licking him, and how that might feel. In addition to rubbing your horse, have you found ways to comfort him/her when he or she is tense or needs reassurance?

Again, the beauty of an older, confident mare raised by someone who did an amazing job.  Not much causes her to need reassurance.  If she's testy, rubbing her forehead, under her forelock usually calms her right down.

3. When asked how to make a horse stand still, Buck replied that you really can't. He suggested that the rider "use the energy for a worthy cause" and make the horse move his feet; make the horse 'do' something. Then, after doing that for a time, the horse might be more inclined to stand still. Does your horse stand willingly? What types of exercises might you ask your horse to perform instead of standing still?

All of our horses have a "stand" command. I don't remember if it was Mom or Bill who came up with the idea of giving our horses the stand command, however, it was a life-saver when we were running the livery.  It's invaluable to be able to "park" the lead horse in the string if there's a guest who needs help. 

However, if I keep Estes tied at the rail and she gets bored, sometimes she'll paw at the ground, but a smart spank on the offending leg with a harsh "stand!" usually fixes it.

My question - thanks to the wildfire raging out of control nearby - is:  Do you have evacuation plans in place for your animals in the event of an emergency?

I've written in the past about our plans, but I'll throw them out there again: we turn the horses loose on the mountain.  Last year, Nebalee made us a stencil with the Lodge's phone number on it.  Since no strangers will be able to get close to the horses once they're out free, the plan is to spray paint the phone number on the horses prior to turning them out.


~Allison said...

That sounds like a good plan! Wildfire is not an issue here in Michigan, but we should have a tornado evacuation plan! Definitely something to discuss with the BO.

Ugh. . .stand. . .This is the command that I need Shy to get the most, especially if I want to hook her to a cart. She can do it when she wants, but I need her to do it when I want. Just another thing to work on :)

~Allison said...

After reading Bill's story, I use touch with Shy all the time. It seems to help her overcome the "scary" things and I think she really likes it, like she feels accomplished that she was able to touch. It has been a great tool!

Dreaming said...

Estes sounds like a dream - no wonder you are so in love with her (wait a minute... we are all in love with our horses... no matter what they do and don't do!)
You are so right about expectations, though. I've seen it with friends and witnessed it with my own horses.
I like the idea of a stand command and I can see where it would be invaluable. I am pretty insistent on "Whoa" with my guys. Like Allison, I insist that the boys stand when I am harnessing and when I stop for whatever reason... I want them stopped, too. I was a bit surprised by what Buck said, but I did take it a bit out of context. He was responding to a person who was saying her horse wouldn't stand still and how to make him do it. So, what Buck was saying was that we physically can't 'make' them not move... so we have to make them want to not move. It sounds like the horses on the string had learned that lesson!
Bills "touch" post is great. I cracked up about the fish! I do wish I had a built-in clicker, too!

Great question! My trailer is always ready to go. I have a variety of horse supplies in the tack room, including some hay. If we needed to evacuate, it would take a matter of minutes to hook up, load up and go. That's one reason why I am insistent that my horses load readily.
I hope they get the fire contained quickly. This will be a scary summer, I fear.

Rachel said...

I think the phone number stencil is pure genius. I think y'all should have probably sprayed it on ME when I was ready to run for the hills at any sign of a bear on our midnight flat tire walk ;)

You and I... both have amazing mares that were sweetened by their previous owners. So blessed we are!

Carrot Top said...

Another one who thinks the stencil idea is really smart here....
We don't have an evacuation plan. We should, be because our horses are in suburbia (pretty much) it seems like less of an issue. I'd probably take them to the local indoor in case of fire though, and use there emergency plan.

Carrot Top said...

my bad....