Friday, May 16, 2008

Assistant Horse Trainer

Our "not so new" assistant horse trainer, Joan, hard at work. She works for peanuts (errr, fed 2X a day and DON'T FORGET THE GRAIN!) and seems to love her job. What IS her job exactly? Depends on the horse we team her up with, with the babies she teaches them how to lead, they pull back and she stands firm until the learn how to move with the pressure (think about teaching a puppy how walk on a leash). For the older horses, like Alex (pictured here) she is a reminder, Alex likes to LEAD his owner across a field when HE wants to, not when his OWNER wants to... picture a dog pulling on a multiply the poundage to about 900 lbs.....that's a LOT of dog dragging you! So what Joan does is walk the horse around where SHE wants to go, the horse doesn't want to follow or go another way, she will quickly change direction and if it STILL doesn't follow her she will back up and give it a quick little kick in the ribs until it DOES follow her! It usually only takes one or two days of the "Joan Treatment" before the horse falls in line. If we have a horse that runs off, Joan can stop them in their tracks, she'll stop, turn and direct them somewhere else...she will also walk a small circle for the really nervous ones, basically lunging them, until they regain their senses.
For those wondering what Joan and the horse are attached with, we use a neoprene girth around Joan's neck (soft and somewhat giving)...the girth is the thing that holds the saddle in place, around the belly on a horse. Attached to that is a non-giving rope that is attached to the girth at one end and to the halter of the horse at the other end.
Joan pecularities; She is the dinner it's a minute past 5 p.m., she's out there braying for her can be late for anything, just not HER dinner! and don't forget the grain! If you don't feed her grain she WILL follow you, hay is NOT good enough!
She was named Joan after another trainers client that K rented stalls from earlier in his career. Joan was a very LOUD client...and Joan the donkey can be loud with that bray, I can always hear her in the house...especially if I overslept and I'm late with breakfast...who needs roosters? I've got Joan.
Joan is ridable IF you want to go where SHE wants to go. It's funny that we use her to teach other horses how to lead, but she herself can be difficult to...especially if it's somewhere she doesn't want to to go.
She LOVES bath's and grooming time and will stand stock still for either, wish she could teach THAT to the horses.
So if you're at the farm towards evening and you hear braying in the background, just know, I'M late with Joan's dinner!

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