I won’t lie when say that I don’t remember the last time that I blogged. Oops. Sorry!
I feel like each time I haven’t blogged in a while I always say that life has just been really busy. Well, that can’t be even truer at the moment!
Anna and I gained another job late last month when our friend Miss J. was bucked off her horse and broke her collarbone, so she has had to keep her arm in a sling and not lift anything too heavy. She is on the mend, though! She is back to her spunky self that jokes around, dances around the barn when her favorite song comes on (or out in public in general! Lol), minus an arm of course! Lol! She has been so positive while she has been healing, and she has been so kind to my sisters and I as we help her out with feeding her horses three times a day, cleaning the barn, picking up in the pastures, weeding in the pastures, etc. every day.
I know she would appreciate your prayers for her healing!
We have learned so much while keeping two jobs (Miss H’s. and Miss J’s.) and number 1 has been: Time management. Without it, we would literally get absolutely nothing done, both when we are at home and at the barn. It has taken a few weeks to get the hang of, but now it’s like we have done this system for years.
Number 2 is: Learning different ways about how to care for horses and take care of a barn is really good. Everyone does things differently in their barns, and that’s okay. It’s amazing how different, but similar they can be.
It has been really fun teaching our sisters how to work around horses, so in case Anna and I are not able to work at Miss J’s. they can do it for us. And they have enjoyed working around the horses, just as much as we have!
My sisters have worked around horses before, but it has been really fun teaching them the things that Miss H. has taught us as well as Miss J. And they have thoroughly enjoyed it!
There are lessons in everyday life with horses, but I have particularly noticed and learned these past few weeks:
1. The early mornings with horses are probably the best. Every day around horses is wonderful, but there is something about seeing the horses first thing in the morning and they greet you and start nickering and whinnying for their breakfast.
2. Observing how horses are in the wild and applying that to everyday handling makes a difference. One of the first things Miss J. told Anna and I the week we started working at her barn was: “When most people approach a horse, they approach their face. You should always approach their shoulder and stroke their shoulder because that’s how horses groom each other in the wild.” And since doing that the past few weeks, I have stained clothes from one of the horses because he has “mutual groomed” me after he’s eaten as I stroked his shoulder, lol.
3. Turpentine does wonders! Soft soled horse because it’s been raining every day for the past two weeks? Turpentine! Paint that stuff on their soles and it’ll toughen up his soles. Works like a wonder!
4. Showing the horse that you can be a leader is priceless in itself. One of the horses was really nervous because the weather was turning really nasty really fast and I had to bring him into the barn. On the lead-line, he tried running ahead of me because he was so antsy, and I had to jerk on his halter and show him that just because he was nervous, I wasn’t and he needed to trust me. After a couple more attempts by him (again, trying to speed up his pace and get in front of me to get to the barn faster), he finally calmed down and trusted me to lead him back safely. In the end, that’s a huge thing for a horse! To trust someone when they’re afraid is huge! I felt very “honored” that he trusted me as his leader in that situation.
5. Body language is everything. Miss H. has told Anna and me just how important body language is around horses, but especially working around horses every day, threes times a day it makes you much more aware of what type of “signals” you’re giving the horses. Just yesterday one of Miss J’s. horses came at me because he kept trying to break down the stall guard while I cleaned his stall (he bites, so we are a little extra careful around him), so I had to get at him and make him back up. He pinned his ears, his eyes got dilated and he threatened to bite me. I threw my hands up and yelled “Hey!” and he backed off in agitation, but I went and grabbed the crop anyway because the only thing going through my head was “Move his feet. Move his feet. Gain his respect by moving his feet“. I backed him up with the crop and didn’t break eye contact until he broke first. He was fine after that. Miss J. gave me pointers (and gave me permission to get after him more) if he does it again. 1. Approach any horse with your shoulders back. That shows confidence. Slouched shoulders invites the horse into your personal space. 2. Backing up a horse is a very de-dominating thing to them. It shows them that you can move their feet and they are not in control of their feet; you are. 3. Maintain eye contact only when you discipline them for biting, kicking, pawing, etc. Don’t do it “just because”; it is a sign of challenging in the wild.
There are so many more things that I have learned, but at the moment my head is muddled, lol! The past few weeks have taught me and my sisters so much, it’s hard to find words for it all and it would take me forever to write it all if I did find words for it!
Anna and I should be getting back in the saddle in the next couple of weeks. Miss H. has surgery so rides have been put off, as well as because of the heat.
I hope you all are enjoying your day and your horses! I’ll “see” you next time!