Welcome to Fern Valley

Here in central Alberta prime farm country,my husband Martin and I work together raising beef cattle and Appaloosa horses. Fern valley appaloosas have long been known for their quality of temperament conformation and color.I have recently rediscovered a love of writing and have published 2 collections of poetry. "Telling Tails" and Tails Trails and Campfire stories" . I look forward to a future spreading my wings as an author and as a horse woman .

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Boundaries , Bent , and determined

Thank you for the support and input on the last  2 posts regarding safety . Crystal , of Ranch Riding has accepted my Challenge and written a very good post on Horse safety  on her blog . Shirley ,of Ride a good Horse and Kate of A Year with Horses have agreed to also post on the topic . These are very wise ladies, as are several others, hint hint , who have a wealth of knowledge to share.
I have set up a page here (see above tabs ) Boundaries ,Bent and determined . Where I am linking each of the posts related to this series.Having them all linked in one spot will hopefully provoide easy access ,I am sure these posts are ones I am going to want to read again !

I did a post  with this title a few months ago , about an incedent with Dandy , and his attempt to asert his authority over me .
An excerpt from this post:
What happened with Dandy last night was as a result of what I will call"testosterone toxicity" translation , young stud colt growing up a little Manageable , and or totally curable depending on your choices (IE. training,and, or gelding).He decided yesterday was the day he was going to determine hierarchy with me. and essentially he did , I was the boss of his little herd and I still am!LOL.This is not such unusual behavior especially for foals raised in small groups or one on one.It still happens in larger groups , just usually is handles by herdmate or a "boss mare"

As I walked into the pen , I got a sense that he was a little revved up , so as I walked down to the feed ,I did turn my back on him, but not completely.I kept my body turned obliquely towards him .I did this so that if and or when he challenged(in this case when ) and attempted to hit me with his chest ,the worst he would do is bounce me off of him. If my back was totally to him ,I wouldn't see him coming , and be face down in the snow , and facing him full on isn't always best either, as they can and will still try , and even a yearling barreling his chest into you is enough to make you pasture pizza!

So sure enough ,he made his move , I turned and he glanced off of me and I gave him a swat and growled something like "here now" This is where you need to get BIG!!!,not happy Jelly bean big ,but really big and mean big !"you wouldn't like me when I am angry"


Not intending to hurt the horse or frighten him ,but just make very clear you are NOT TO BE MESSED WITH!!

Because often the challenge is not over on the first try , and it wasn't with him either , he then thought it might be wise to strike out at me . He did not connect , because again I am watchful of my space and his and position myself to get out of the way. He did not connect ... but I did!!! one time, gave him a good solid boot to the chest and he leaped back this he was dealing with a monster. This is not abuse! I did not kick him with 1/4 the strength that another horse would have , but they need to know that it is Not OK.

That all said , he is fine and was fine 5 minutes later coming up for pets and scratches and the only change in his behavior today is that he is far more respectful of my space.Is this the end of all challenges with Dandy??

Heck no! the only time a first battle is the last is when it ends with someone dead or disabled, but he did learn a valuable lesson .

I am a huge stickler for ground manners and boundaries with my horses, and because of that and the training I do when they are young I am able to go into a pen like I did with Phoenix and take pics of him rampaging around .He has respect for my space, and the little reminders he needs now are often no more than a raised hands and "here" or "easy "

Dandy is his own sweet self today ,and I spent a little time moving him around before feeding him just to be sure . My training techniques are not everyones, and as I have said , I am not a "trainer " Just a farmer who raise horses. But as much of what I do I do alone ,I need to be able to keep that statement"I have never been killed by a horse I trained" to be true.I should note that this behavior is not exclusive to colts , fillies will do the same in the similar effort to establish their place in the pecking order.

I have removed commnets for this post as it hasd been posted before

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