As I sit in the grain barn, soaked to my toes and covered in hay, I find my mind wandering to Summers of my childhood. Before the rescue was part of my life, days like this could be so boring. No playing outside, just quiet indoor activities like reading a book or playing card games(which I guess I'm all for now a days!). Once I began volunteering at the rescue, rainy days meant hours of grooming the ponies and sitting and watching TV with Nina on her itty bitty TV.
I found joy in rainy Summer days.
I still find joy in the warm rain, but I guess it's now a different joy. I'm happy I was able to get most of the work zipped through before the skies opened up. I'm happy to see some of the ponies venturing out into the rain for a quick cool off before tucking back into their stalls to munch on their hay. I'm very happy to have nice warm coffee to sip while I write this.
I do find myself missing the sounds of some old western playing in black and white on the TV and miss listening to Nina talk about the horses that appeared in the movies and shows. It was simple and easy. I found myself noodling through some of Nina's writings and found this one blog post that still holds so much truth to it after all the years. I've of the things I am trying so hard to do is to help bring back the simple and easy joy of people and horses, less of the prescribed programs and flowery words being used to mask the fact that they're teaching you how to bully your animal.
I hope others can resonate with the feelings of this, and give themselves moving back to the simple joys of grooming your pony for hours on rainy days.
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 2009 Instead, let's try to understand "It greatly saddens me that the days of little girls and their horse partners are gone. The woods and trails we rode are now housing projects and strip malls. It all has been replaced by high powered horses and structured "training" of both horse and human. I thought for awhile that the training methods had improved to the benefit of the horse, but sadly, I was wrong, I can't even watch these well known "trainers." The appalling cruelty just blows my mind. I can't believe these trainers even have a following. The fact that the horses learn anything at all is a tribute to their intelligence and adaptability. Much of it is no better than the old "tie 'em down and buck them to a standstill" method from years ago.
They are not all bad, these trainers, but let your heart decide whether you want your horse to be exposed to these methods. Horses are extremely smart. They don't need painful repetition, they don't need to be terrorized into a "safe place." Once a horse understands a point, he never forgets. Make all your interactions with your horse as positive as you can, give him the benefit of the doubt. Horses are never wrong. Try to become his partner. If something negative happens, try again. Horses are very forgiving. Reinforce positive - and avoid negative - situations, if you can. If a horse doesn't stand without ripping out cross ties, groom and tack up in his stall Find the easiest, safest ways for the both of you in all dealings. Don't set the horse up for failure. Treat him/her like a beloved child. Show him what you want. Sometimes they need time to figure things out. You see that "aha" moment when they get it. I was watching one well known western trainer as he forced a young horse to do a "departure into a lope, from a standstill, onto the correct lead, at the correct speed, with its head flexed behind the vertical, while giving to the bit to the left." Huh? I couldn't figure out what was going on, let alone this good horse, who was never rewarded by a release of pressure! This beautiful horse had no spirit left, he just gave in because there was no escape. He took the punishment and abuse because he was given no choices at all, until he accidentally landed on the right combination the trainer wanted. He was dull and broken. I had to change the channel. I could not watch anymore."