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
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.