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Every morning I have to go down to my barn and feed my 2 horses. Well one is actually a pony,
but he is tall, so you could consider him a small horse. Except he has a pony's mentality, The
other is a mini horse. he is smaller than a shetland pony, but he is actually a miniture horse.
With the personality of a horse.

The mini horse, his name is Leopold, and he is a real trip. I bought him 1 day after he
was born. It has always been my dream to raise a horse from baby to adult, and since he is
a mini I can push him around and not worry about how big and frisky he is feeling.

The other, my pony, his name is Lip (Little Indian Pony) because he is a paint, and has
one blue eye. The personality of a painted horse, as well as the crazy smart of a pony
combined, what a fun package.

Here is the thing I have noticed about horse owners. There are 3 kinds of people.

1
Those that don't know anything, and buy a horse, thinking they are big dogs.

2.
Thiose, that think they know everything, but treat the horses like property, and show no
sensitivity to the animals emotional well being.

3.
They treat the horses like big babies, basicly letting the horse have it's way
and not understanding why the animal doesn' t behave in a predictable way.

My love affair started with horses, when I was 11. My sister and I would sit at
the dining room table and draw horse pictures, coloring them in with crayons.
We went to a local stable and took riding lessons. English  and then progressed to
jumping. There is nothing that compares to you and the horse clearing a tall
jump together  Everytime I did it, I loved the feel of all that power under me, and
how together man and horse jump, land and gallop to next jump, wholly awesome.

Now, I have switched to western, and Lip and I can do poles or barrel racing together.
Which is fun, but not as thrilling as jumping. The most interesting thing is , I like
to practice slower than competiion,  and Lip knows that, so he never blows all his
energy until he sees the crowd. Then when we run out, he gives it his all, I have
to murmer to him, not to fast, we will blow the turn, or miss the pole.

I never have to kick him to go, just click with my voice, and a gentle squeeze of the
legs, and he is off. It is a real misnomer to think you have to beat or hit a horse to
get it to go.  Once you build a relationship with your horse, they want to please you,
and horses like to run.  Although on occasion you can get a lazy horse, or maybe
he is just old, or has bad feet, or bad lungs. Some people call these plugs, the
kind that just stand there, while your kid kicks and kicks.

That is because most people under estimate the intelligence of a horse. And the
other problem, if the horse doesn't perfom the way they want, then chances are
the owner will sell the horse and buy another one, until he/she finds the perfect horse.

There is no perfect horse, just like there are no perfect people. Owning a horse involves
a relationship, just like the ones you have with your friends,  and family.
Everyone has their quirks, and weirdness. Well, horses are no different.

Horses are the most superstitous animal besides humans. If you take a trail in the woods
and they see a rabbit, they will be startled and might spook on you. The next time you
take the same trail, the horse will be looking around for that same rabbit. So they
get thrown off by the stupidist things. LIke a drink can, they wil sidestep and
look at it like it is gonna get im.  But I have ridden horses on a trail that didn't see a turtle
right in the trail, and would just step over it

Lip is terrified of mud puddles. Theory is, horses can't judge depth in muddy water, so they
are hesitatnt to just walk through it, but he is so afraid, that we have to walk around the edges of
the puddle, or if there is a horse in front of me that walks right through it, then he will too. He
hates creeks, so if thery are small enough he will jump them.

Lessons on the what not to do.:
Don't ever hit a horse in the head. If you are trying to get their attention a firm slap on neck will
do. If you smack them on their rump, well usually they will jump, or if you are on their back, they
may run or even buck.

Build a relationship. It kills me how when a horse is for sale, it is expected to perform for
a total stranger, be dependable and make the rider feel comfortable. A horse is not a car.
It is a living sensitive animal. probably the most emotional one of the common pets. A horse can
pick up your feelings even if you are 10 feet away. They can tell if you are nervous,
or angry, or tense. In that respect I think they are similar to dogs. Just as when you
get a new puppy, or dog, you give the dog time to get to know you and your family.
You let the relationship grow, until one day the dog is like one of the family.

Well, the horse can't live in your house, and cuddle on the bed, but they respond to
human emotion. Horses are used in therapy for troubled kids, and handicapped,
or sick. They always produce this feeling of well being, and strength. They have a program
where a prison (the inmates) break mustangs, so they can be adopted, the inmates do it
with love and respect for the animals.

If you think about how long horses have been domesticated, them and dogs and
cats, are about the only animals that can love us as much as we love them. Respect the
animal and it will respect you. To be continued..........................

Oh, as per request, this isn't my mini, but one I would play with at the stable where I
used to keep my horses. Bunny too, has moved to a new home, where he has the freedom to
run around alot.

bunny the miniture horse having a good time

Originally posted to sharistuff on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 06:55 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  There is no perfect horse (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ms badger, old wobbly, sharistuff

    The reason people don't learn from the past, is because the past was a repetitious lie to begin with. Mike Hastie U.S. Army Medic Vietnam 1970-71

    by BOHICA on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 06:59:16 AM PST

    •  Conformationally,,,, (0+ / 0-)

      there is no perfect horse.  The quote was incomplete.

      As far as fulfilling an individual owner's idea of perfection, there are many.

      "But your flag decal won't get you into heaven anymore"--Prine 4220+ dead Americans. Bring them home.

      by Miss Blue on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 07:17:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  excellent diary (3+ / 0-)

      I always had a fear of arabians, all the one's i met were
      very high strung....sounds like you had a perfect horse. cherish
      the memories...i am sure you do..

      •  Wonderful (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AmericanRiverCanyon

        My first horse is a (now) 6 year old bay Arabian.
        I cannot imagine a better horse. He's so smart I swear he has a sense of irony. And so beautiful in form and motion I could watch him all day long.
        I'll have to sell him one day 'cause I'm getting on on in years and he will outlive me if he's lucky.
        Could not agree more that a prospective buyer should spend time with a horse and develop a relationship before taking the plunge.
        Thanks for the videos.
        Wish I could send a few of my colt, Sensational Night, but have always failed to post pics.
        Cannot wait until the weather improves and we can ride outside.  I do not like the ice.

        Make that change.

        by barnowl on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 08:40:10 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Can't help but add one more thing (0+ / 0-)

        Many people have the misconception that horses don't necessarily like to do the things we, as riders and handlers, ask of them - such as race, jump, run barrels, work cattle and so on.

        I have found that horses, just like people, often like their job.  Many enjoy exploring trails and going places and doing things that only their human companions can involve them in.  

        For example, I retired a horse at the age of 23 that I had raised from the time he was 6 mos old, and had ridden daily from the time he was 3.  I had also used him as a schooling horse for about 10 years prior to his retirement.  

        When he was diagnosed with navicular disease at the age of 23 I thought I was doing him a favor by not having him ridden anymore.  I kept him in a paddock (about 5 acres) with other horses but, he stood by the arena fence daily while I was giving lessons, all day.  He lost interest in his food and dropped weight considerably.  Had the vet out several times, took blood tests, checked his teeth, etc but couldn't find anything physically wrong.  

        I decided the kindest thing might be to have him put down rather than see him starve himself to death.  I took him for a final ride and when we got back, he marched into his stall and gobbled his food.  I figured out he wanted his "job" back.  So, I started using him a few times a week again in my lesson program (with only my littlest students) and he blossomed back to his usual plump, happy self.

        I retired him for the second time at the age of 28 but still made a point of hopping on him bareback and riding for 10 or 15 minutes a few times a week.  He lived to reach almost 34 years of age and although still fat, happy and healthy, we finally had to put him down because of a severe colic.

        And, most of the horses I've worked with as jumpers, LOVE to jump.  Those that don't LOVE it, don't do well - so they go on to other careers more suitable to their personalities.  Anyone who rides successful jumpers will relate to the fact that one of the hardest aspects of riding a successful course over fences is keeping the horses level of excitement (about jumping) under control enough that you can navigate the course and clear the hurdles in the proper order without faults.  Horses that love jumping want to jump the next obstacle in their line of sight.  Getting them to turn away from the obstacle they see to focus on another jump they can't see at that moment can be a challenge.

        My ex-track TBs are the same way about going for a good run.  Often, when I ask for a canter, they want to show me how fast they are (and I occasionally let them because we both enjoy it).

        But, the bottom line is that in order for a horse to enjoy their job (trail riding, jumping, racing, barrels, pulling a cart, etc), they need to be in a truly "partnership" relationship with their rider.  Inexperienced riders who pull horses around, grab the reins for balance, kick or hit them when in fact the problem is the rider's fault, bounce on their backs, etc - can easily discourage and ruin a good horse.  

  •  This diary (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    karesse, 4 Borders Pundit

    needs pictures, would love to see them.

    Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper. Truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle. Thomas Jefferson 6/11/1807

    by Patriot4peace on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 07:05:34 AM PST

  •  A good rider,,,, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Piaffe

    and by that I mean a truly good rider, can get optimum performance the first time they ride a horse.  Any horse.  Training is a black/white issue, there are no shades of gray.  

    Go to any large show.  You will see top trainers get pick-up rides in every class.  I've been asked to ride a horse I've never seen before 10 minutes before a class starts and gone in an won the thing.

    "But your flag decal won't get you into heaven anymore"--Prine 4220+ dead Americans. Bring them home.

    by Miss Blue on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 07:20:43 AM PST

    •  There are some types of trainers (0+ / 0-)

      ... who just don't get that there is more to riding a horse than turning it into a performance robot to act a certain way in front of a crowd of people.

      Good grief, with all the blatant abuse that goes on in the show world, that was a really poor example to use.

      "Toads of Glory, slugs of joy... as he trotted down the path before a dragon ate him"-Alex Hall/ Stop McClintock

      by AmericanRiverCanyon on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 07:54:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Horses are individuals with unique personalities. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sharistuff

        I agree that:

        "Some types of trainers don't get that there is more to riding a horse than turning it into a performance robot . . ."

        In my experience as a lifelong rider (and trainer of dressage and jumpers for the last 28 years), that type of trainer doesn't last long in a competitive environment.  Because they try to adapt the horse to their (the rider or trainers) particular style, they are not able to get the horse to WANT to do what they ask.  They haven't tried to understand the horse.

        A good trainer/rider is one who understands that each horse is a unique individual with unique life experiences and characteristics that have shaped its personality - then adapts their methods of handling the horse to accommodate each horse they ride.  

        It takes many years of experience handling, riding and observing a number of horses, coupled with a genuine love for horses in general, and a willingness to learn from them - that enables a rider or trainer to quickly develop a "feel" for what works best with each individual horse.

        I call it "developing a toolbox" - just as one tool isn't always appropriate for every job (such as using a sledge hammer instead of a tap to get someone's attention) - the best method of communicating with one horse and gaining their willing cooperation, doesn't necessarily work with another.  So, a good trainer and rider develops a full set of "tools" that can be adapted to the unique personalities of each horse.  

        Yes, horses can be "forced" into "robot-like" performances if enough harsh measures are employed. Those who use those techniques however, end up with horses who do not achieve to the level of which they are capable.  You can put a different rider on the same horse though, a rider who is sensitive and adaptable to the horses personality, and that pair will excel to the extent their respective abilities allow.

    •  true, you understand the horse (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Miss Blue, AmericanRiverCanyon

      but this is in a performance enviornment, show horses are
      sometimes not worth a shit on the trail.

      When I took lessons as a kid, the horses were ex-racehorses,
      and would freak when you tried to take them out on the trail.

      I honestly don't think I am the best rider, so I don't always
      trust a  horse I don't know. But sure, if you are confident and
      have an excellent seat, you can ride pretty much any horse.

      •  Glad you posted your diary. (0+ / 0-)

        It's nice to discuss this on DK, and in fact, it involves many subjects pertinent to the more politically oriented diaries we see . . . in particular, "communication and relationships".  For example, in human relationships, "how" something is communicated is often as important as the content of that communication.  Same is true for human/animal relationships.  Politically, we seek the most effective means of communicating our ideological values and goals.  Having an understanding of the variety of personalities and ideologies of those we are communicating with (human and/or animal) is the only way to address the issues and present a clear, well reasoned debate leading to a positive outcome.

        You mentioned show horses were sometimes "not worth a shit" on the trail and ex-racehorses would "freak".  Consider the nature of the horse that preserved their species as wild animals - when in doubt, flee!  

        The only reason show horses and ex-race horses freak on the trail is because someone hasn't taken the time to overcome their fear by building their confidence in new environments and in their rider(s).  

        I own 2 off the track TBs that I trail ride all of the time and have shown for years.  When I first got them (fresh off the track) though, I had to gradually build their confidence in me and their comfort level on trails.  Many people punish the horses natural response to fear (such as bolting, shying, etc) which only increases the horses apprehension when in situations that cause them anxiety.  

        A better approach is to gradually earn their trust and reduce their fear level . . . a little at a time through firm but gentle communication and respectful handling.  Don't expect more than they can give.  Some horses develop confidence faster than others.  It's our job to progress at a pace they can handle.

        •  very true (0+ / 0-)

          a horse needs alot of love and time, to trust you, and if you
          put that same horse through strangeness he/she is not
          used too, you are going to probably have a problem.
          such as, the horse bolts, won't progress, acts out, etc.

          The horses I rode as a kid, they were never allowed to ajust to
          a trail, I know it wasn't their faults.....

          When in doubt, I get off and lead the nervous animal by the
          said obstacle, strictly speaking in terms of trail riding.

          This of course, does not apply to jumping or show,  that
          was the point I was making.  Horse's are pretty misunderstood
          by the general public.. LIke they think the horse will trample
          you to death. It is a cliche in every horse movie, i swear.

          If you just yell or move suddenly, chances are the horse will
          run away from you, not on top of you.  I,m pretty sure they
          go out of their way, to not roll or trample their owner. But you
          could get hurt, if you are thrown, or your mount gets close to
          a tree, yeah, you might get hurt.

          Definitely safer on the ground, then on the horses' back.
          that;s just IMHO

    •  Performance and relationship (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AmericanRiverCanyon

      are not the same thing.

      Make that change.

      by barnowl on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 08:43:41 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I hesitate to comment here,,, (0+ / 0-)

    with regard to your diary, as I can see the loving effort put into it and the love you have for your two equines.

    However, this is somewhat of a font of misinformation.

    Maybe I'll just leave it at that, as I see no point in hurting your feelings.

    "But your flag decal won't get you into heaven anymore"--Prine 4220+ dead Americans. Bring them home.

    by Miss Blue on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 07:22:41 AM PST

  •  Great Post... (4+ / 0-)

    Hope it's taken well by members here who come for political dialogue or rant.

    Here on the Border, there is a large community of horse people, brought on in equal part by history and the Sunland Park racetrack.

    Not all of the attitudes toward animals are good, in this culture and climate. I won't get into the abuses in horse racing, in this comment.  The situation of Eight Belles has already been discussed; the situation of how horses are bred and trained is not well-known.

    There was a disappointing verdict yesterday of a trainer found innocent of beating a colt to death, but I think this finding of innocence is more a legal finding than one couched in Border morality:  I expect the DA will go at it again, owing to the odious circumstances of the horse's death.

    They ought to hang the trainer high, just to make sure he can't get down.  But then, they don't hang people anymore in the West.  So, for now, he's walking.

    Last summer, there was this shocking case in Socorro, south of El Paso.  I know the person involved in rescuing (in conjunction with local law enforcement) these horses, and there has been a good outpouring of concern and financial aid.

    Getting back to my first comment, I'd like to see dKos expand its vision beyond politics, and there are good leanings toward this.  A lot of what goes on in this country touches politics, though not all of it directly relates to Dems/Repubs/Nader actions.  Politics influences everything we do and are about, and tactical topics like horses and how we view them are no less relevant to political discourse than how we treat Gitmo detainees or how we deal with gas prices or how the Western Addition in SanFran reviews new restaurants.  All are fascinating and all are worthy of discourse, in a holistic way:  because all these discussions inform our political foundation.

    As for me, today I'm off to train 10 good pit bulls, in an attempt to help shape the politico-media environment over whether they should be banned, or nurtured.  Obviously, I don't think they should be banned, though them who clip ears and tails and look for a macho dog to make themselves feel tougher, probably should be banned from owning them.

  •  Which kind of horse owner are you? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Miss Blue, Piaffe

    If you are only going to allow for three types, and all of them have negative attitudes and/or behaviors, which of these categories do you put yourself into?  Or are you willing to allow that there are many horse owners out there who understand and have great relationships with their horses, and that, in fact, many of them know far more about relating to horses than you do?

    •  "In Fact..." (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AmericanRiverCanyon, lu3

      How do you, lu3, know that these horse owners know more than the person you are responding to?  

      In context of an online diary/comment thread, that just doesn't make sense to me.

      Can you elaborate on the "in fact" part of your post?  Can you "in fact" describe the horsemanship traits of poster and the "many of them" horse owners, for comparison?

      I don't think you can, and I don't think that was the intent of your post.

      •  You are right (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Miss Blue, Piaffe, RoCali

        and that was not the intent of my post.  I should have said "many of them MAY know far more about relating to horses than you do."  I clearly see that the diarist understands horses well, but horsemanship is a huge continuum, and most of us here who own horses are probably better than the three types the diarist spelled out while implying that they were the only types there are and some of us MAY be far more versed in horsemanship.

        •  I've spent my life in the horse world (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Miss Blue, Piaffe

          and know many, many "horse people."  They do not fit conveniently in those three catagories, not by a long shot.  

          That said, I enjoyed the diary, as one horse lover to another.

          1/20/09. The error has ended. The real work begins.

          by RoCali on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 09:01:14 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  i knew i would get flack for that comment (3+ / 0-)

      Mostly, I think it is because of the stable enviornment. People
      come and go so often, horses, good horses are abandoned, because
      people don't understand, or can't afford the animal. So I know
      there really are infinite possibilities of owner types...

      And what kind am I. Well, just because I own the horse, or any
      animal doens't mean I can abuse it, or take it for granted. I respect
      horses, and would llke to have that special bond, person to animal.
      But so far, I think I have not achieved that goal. So sorry if someone
      got offended.

      It's just I see all kinds, not anymore since I moved my animals onto
      my own property.  And thank goodness!

      •  this is true for any animal (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        A Man Called Gloom

        taken by humans into their care: dogs, cats, birds, reptiles, fish...

        When I was a girl, I had a pony. I adored her! My father built a barn and a corral for her in our back yard. When I came home from school I'd head out there just as soon as I changed my clothes and spend all of my time with her until it got dark. She'd whinny to greet me just as soon as she saw me coming around the corner from the house and follow me around the corral like a dog.

        Now as an adult, as I look back on it, I understand I should never have kept a horse, as a herd animal, in what amounted to solitary confinement for so much of the day. Of course she whinnied when she saw me: I was her only companion!

  •  Spot on (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    barnowl, 4 Borders Pundit

    That is because most people under estimate the intelligence of a horse. And the
    other problem, if the horse doesn't perfom the way they want, then chances are
    the owner will sell the horse and buy another one, until he/she finds the perfect horse.

    There is no perfect horse, just like there are no perfect people. Owning a horse involves
    a relationship, just like the ones you have with your friends,  and family.
    Everyone has their quirks, and weirdness. Well, horses are no different.

    "Toads of Glory, slugs of joy... as he trotted down the path before a dragon ate him"-Alex Hall/ Stop McClintock

    by AmericanRiverCanyon on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 07:58:19 AM PST

  •  Great Diary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sharistuff

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts.  I completely agree with your overall point that the relationship with the horse is important.  You gave the many here that are not "horse people" a realistic view of your horse world.  I have had horses 7 years and still consider myself a beginner with tons to learn.  I am continually amazed how horses can appear so stupid on some stuff, and so smart on things like intuition (when they spot the green rider from a mile away).

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