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Learning a little about horsemanship

posted Dec 16, 2011, 3:03 PM by Admin at Yacolt Mountain Farm and Nursery   [ updated Dec 20, 2011, 6:23 PM ]

After things settled down, a bit, with the birth of Isaiah, I was ready to start putting Lucy to work again. I didn't get to work Lucy  for about a week and a half  after Isaiah was born and I didn't think much of it at the time. I went and put the collar, harness on her with the single tree attached and she stood  quiet. As soon as I went to go hook her up the disc, she would not stand still and was very anxious. Eventually, she settled down and I was able to attach her to the disc and got to working her. The next day, it was the same thing. I was feeling discouraged. It felt like I was starting from the begining when we first started with Lucy. Caroline, suggested herself taking Lucy for a ride to get out some of that extra energy. Caroline hadn't ridden her before because she was pregnant. When Caroline returned from her ride with Lucy she couldn't  believe how much pep she had.  She was wondering how I could of rode her with that kind of energy. I then proceeded to harness Lucy up and she was still anxious. Lucy was not standing still but eventually I was able to attach her to the disc. All of the sudden Lucy was full on and full speed ahead. Normally, she casually walks out to the field with the disc not engaged so it doesn't tear of the soil on the way out. Now, because the disc was unengaged and she was full on, I pulled back and got her to slow and only to have the disc catch up to her and scare her to the side. I envisioned us going straight through the greenhouse. I was mad!!! But then I caught myself. I know I need to be calm for Lucy to be calm. I was able to walk her out and re-attach her, this time with the disc engaged in case she took off again. Off we went, again. This time just as fast and now the disc was partially engaged ,so, it was catching every so often and I was now riding a bull on the back of a disc! It was crazy! I was able to make it out to the field and disc the field down with her eventually calming down. I came inside the house afterwards confused. My mind was going everywhere. Is this the right horse for us? I almost went through the greenhouse? I called Lester and talked to him about it. I also called Ross at Red Tail Canyon Farm in Leavenworth, WA to talk about what had happened. After listening and doing my own research, I realized that part of being a horseman is controlling your emotions. I can't get extremely angry at Lucy for what she did. She feeds off of my energy. When I was getting angry with her, I saw her reaction. Then, when I calmed down she began to calm down. Also, that day it was windy , the pressure in the atmosphere was changing, and I was hoping to get the field disced before it started to rain. The more I thought about the situation the more I learned. I started to think that maybe Lucy is anticipating the next move when I am hooking her up. I can't really get mad at her forbeing an anxious worker.  I would always harness Lucy up and then immediately hook her up to the implement and go. Everytime I would do this and Lucy picked up on the routine. I would unhook her from the lead rope, walk her out a bit, make her stand still in front of the implement, and then attach the single tree to the implement and go.   So, after reading about this type of situation, I decided to change it up. After I would unhook the lead rope, I would make her stand there and give her positive reinforcement. Then, I would walk her out a bit and make her stand in random spots. Right before I would hook her up, if she wouldn't stand still, I would give her a poke, so, she would know not to back up anymore. The very next day after this crazy rodeo event, I did these things and she was calm and patient. I think it had a lot to do with the weather that day along with myself. I am constantly learning and I absolutely love it. Sometimes my mentality is so used to hopping in a truck or tractor and turning the key and not putting much thought into it. It is not like that with a horse. I respect that. Sometimes gaining Lucy's respect has been a real challenge but the process of  gaining her respect makes it all worth it.