Friday, August 11

Morning Light, Not So Light Horses


pre-sunrise over Geek Acres
Originally uploaded by duanekeys.
The days are getting shorter and it's later and later it seems before the sun rises. I took this photo a few days ago in the pre-sunrise light at Geek Acres. Don't be fooled by the cloud cover, we've seen very little rain. Our place seems to be a true geographical oddity when it comes to precipitation, we always just seem to get missed.

My honey-do list continues to grow and the amount of daylight hours to accomplish the necessary tasks grows smaller. Jennifer is happily working away training horses at a near by draft horse farm. I suspect we'll be the owners of a very friendly draft horse filly in the near future. Jennifer and I have been married for over 3 years and this week I finally witnessed her training horses, her first love (before she met me of course!).

Wednesday evening I went along with her when she planned to work with the most stubborn mare. Gala, is 2200 lbs of Percheron attitude. I watched as Jennifer wrestled her into the roundpen (at the draft horse farm, I still have yet to complete ours). The roundpen is made of temporary panels stitched together with chain. The equipment is barely sufficient for a horse of normal size and stature and quite weak and small for the draft horses, and Gala knows it.

Jennifer began her running around in the circle but Gala insisted on testing every panel for weakness. Each time she would stop and test a panel Jennifer would holler, yell and put the horse back into the pattern. OK, not quite the horse whisperer (horse hollerer, maybe?), but the concept is the same (more on the horse whisperer in a moment). At one point the giant horse decided she had enough and was getting out of the pen. I had to run to the outside of the pen and motion for her to get back in the pen. A whip waved in her direction (but never actually touched her) assisted with our convincing. I repaired that section of the pen as quickly as I could as Jennifer continued Gala going round and round.

Eventually the horse showed the tell-tale signs of submission. Well, tell-tale to Jennifer that is, I didn't notice anything but the massive amount of dust that a ton of horse running in a circle can generate. Jennifer told me she was looking for Gala to start chewing and drop her head and that she knew Gala was ready to admit who was now boss. Soon after Jennifer was leading her around the farm like a well trained dog.

I was impressed.

On the horse whisperer technique: I told Jennifer, after watching her work, that for a horse person watching the horse whisperer must be like me watching a movie that features a "computer hacker." To the layman, it's amazing, but for the indoctrinated, that's just how things work. The horse whisperer has simply added a dramatic aspect and marketed himself well.

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