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 .

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

its not how much they love you

Hold on to your hats gang ,I been thinking! And as always I tend to ramble and circle around , but hopefully eventually do get to my point , or points

'There is a fairly  famous  quote out there that goes along the lines of:
 "People don't  one  care  how  much you  know , till they know how much  you care " John C Maxwell

Well in my opinion horses aren't a whole  lot different . So many times we see folks struggling with the idea, that their horse  doesn't listen  for many reasons ,they are  moody, or "mad at me" or ...
Or the classic anthropomorphism "He/she  doesn't love me , or he/she would do what I want "

Now I realize I am preaching to the choir here  for the most part, I have found  most of the folks who read my blog think an awful lot the way I do , but let me go ahead anyway ( a few things I have seen on TV  lately, and on other sites  are what have brought this to mind )
So what makes  your horse do what you ask? respect, patience trust ,food. My horses all have come to me on the run for  years. It makes for  great photos  but having a herd of horses stampede towards you is not for the faint of heart either. The fact that I make me the safe secure positive place in their world helps a lot. Not to say I don't  give them firm consistent direction and boundaries,if I didn't , there is no way in the world I would stand firm in front of them when they run  towards me. I KNOW they know the rules and boundaries, and boundaries are also  part of why they feel safe with me .
Imagine for a moment you are on a high staircase with no handrails , and a steep dangerous drop on each side. (OK bad example for me I am afraid of heights and had to take a moment there .) then imagine , nice strong secure handrails on either side, feels a lot better and safer right ? that's how  boundaries work. They actually add security. In a herd the boss  horse establishes  boundaries for [pecking order and behavior, when things are  frightening to the herd they tend to  follow the boss mare's lead  for what to do and how to respond (safety , security ) do they "love her" cant say, but they dang sure trust her.So we are back to me talking about herd  dynamics and "boss mares " again lol
One on one with a horse, you get your best success with good leadership, and teaching boundaries, your ability to do so and your  patience shows your love and compassion for your horse. After all training, done right is never a quick thing .
 I have written about my old mare C7 Sparks Jewel  in the past, she was an abused mare ,who never really overcame all of her issues, however she and I did fine together  in time because I took the time,and still gave her clear boundaries, helping her to feel safe in my presence. Did she love me , NOPE , did I love her, oh yes! Otherwise why would I do it? But for the love of the horse?

That all said, it is true sometimes that love is not enough. Jewel was a  case that  the right combo of time , patience, resources and love got through to. But one variable taken out of the mix? her story would be very different . Another conversation about "rescue" came up recently and the huge outcry that happens when rescue horses  go to auction  Fact of the matter is it happens. Some do not find the "happy ending " in a foster case ,or a forever home right away or at all. Many things contribute to this , the horses age, health,and temperament. The resources of the rescuer  or the governing body that  is forced to seize the animal in the first place and on and on. There has been a huge outcry recently about  just this type of situation. Many ready to point fingers and cry foul, and of course they could have  handled it sooo much better ...

My rule of thumb about these things ,is know all of the facts before I  voice my opinion, and also be ready to put my money where my mouth is , and if I am going to stand in judgement and say I can do better? well then I better be prepared to take those horses on and show that I can. Some horses , even with the best of our intentions will and do fall through the cracks, and I would far rather they met a quick end than fall into the hands of someone without the skills , time and resources to manage them . Does that mean I am pro slaughter? I don't  know , It means to me I am "pro horse"

Anyhow, busy times ahead here, calving , slogging through  mud, planning and preparing, with my sister for our parents 50th Anniversary party on Sunday , and apparently thinking . Something has to give, so I will stop thinking LOL and wish  you all a great  week, stay safe my friends


Anonymous said...

Very nice post.

I think about it as consistency and connection - the horse has to know that your behavior and demeanor will be consistent and fair. This includes setting appropriate boudaries - the horse doesn't want to have to worry about that stuff and would prefer you to take care of it, but has to trust that you consistently will.

And you have to build connection, through feel and mutual respect - then you can do anything.

Country Gal said...

Very much the same as dogs . You need to know and trust each other whether it be horse or dog and do not let them take over for they will if you let them you are the pack leader and yes they need to know their boundaries with you . You need to connect with both and have respect for each other as well .You need to be consistent and fair to the animal as well and take in consideration that they are doing it out of trust of you and how you treat them ! Awesome post great topic ! Have a good evening !

Crystal said...

Great topic. I find my boss mare a little harder to deal with cause she sometimes thinks she is the boss, but I love her out with the rest of the herd cause they dont hardly ever try to "boss" me.

Not related, but it always makes me laugh when your feed says I am from Morrin, that is over an hour away from here and not even a very big place (I am not sure I have even ever been there!)

Buttons Thoughts said...

Well I found this a bit like cattle I have very little knowledge of horses but I can see similarities. I will leave it like that I think you understand what I mean.
50 years WOW that is exciting what a great day that will be.
Take it easy working in the mud and enjoy those mountain views. Hug B

Shirley said...

Great post. I had to set some boundaries yesterday with Rio and Nitro; I had to take Gussie out to the hydrant to cold hose her leg, and they came up to the fence wanting to love up on her.... literally.... so they each got a smack on the nose with the tail of the lead rope- worked like a charm. They became respectful and stayed back.Only took being "told" once.

Unknown said...

Good post...I'm pretty sure none of my horses love me, unless I have food in hand. Then I am the apple of their eye...so to speak. They darn sure don't sit out there and think to them selves, "Gosh I hope she comes to ride me today."

Although sometimes I wonder about Trax. The fact that he can't wait to get his nose in the halter on riding days makes me think that maybe he does enjoy what we are doing. This is new behavior for him, just started this spring. Crazy.

I totally agree with consistent solid boundaries, with horses, with dogs, and I think people too. (especially children) It is mostly apparent to me with Sassy, who doesn't get as much consistent attention as she needs. When she gets pushed to the side for a while she gets rude and bossy quickly. Then we have to "re-examine" the rules. It doesn't take much to get her back in line, but she sure likes to test it.

BrownEyed Cowgirl said...

I feel sorry for those horses whose owners never get around to doing anything with them because the owner seems to believe that they need to build a bond before they can do anything with them. Horses don't need a bond with a person to function as a usable and enjoyable horse. Use them, treat them kindly and let the bond build itself. :-)

Cut-N-Jump said...

I agree with BEC's. Working with them and doing something- you build that bond. Otherwise they are just a lawn ornament. A costly one at that.

If you aren't making that connection (sometimes we just don't), there is no harm or foul in selling the horse or giving it away and just moving on. The horse will do better in another home, you will do better with another horse and everyone will be happy.

cdncowgirl said...

I have to admit I'm somewhat guilty of anthropomorphizing (sp?) my critters. I say somewhat because I KNOW they have emotions but that how emotions and relationships relate to them is not the same as it is with we humans. But it is a way for me to relate I guess... does that make sense?

Take my horse Voodoo for example. I've been talking a bit on the blog & FB about rebuilding our relationship and bond. Some are taking this as "he hated me" and "now he loves me again" but the bare bones behind it is that he was associating me with pain from his injury last summer. We had to work through that to where he didn't associate me and certain behavior & equipment with pain.

I do think horses and dogs can bond with us and with other animals (their own species or another) in a way that for some is best described as love.
It's also my opinion that they can dislike people and other animals. Maybe they're associating them with something bad, maybe they feel bad energy/vibes, whatever it is they sure don't like everyone!

aurora said...

Your thoughts always ring true, and are such good "food for thought"!!

Happy Anniversary to your parents!

Janice said...

Good post. Love the wee ones below. Congrats to your parents...that really is an accomplishment....and proof that it can be done.

kestrel said...

Very true. The most dangerous horses I've ever had to retrain had never been abused, they were spoiled. They had never ever been told no, so would retaliate in dangerous and nasty ways when they actually had to start earning their keep. Straightening them out took way more work, and sometimes having to get after them to an extent that a normal horse wouldn't ever need. I've also met some spoiled kids that reacted in the exact same way when 'crossed'...

Janice L. Grinyer said...

the closer we get to technology, the further away we get from Natures cues...

good post of yours!

GoLightly said...

Well, I can't leave it at 13 comments, now can I?
When a $400.00 horse can be harvested to yield $20,000.00, who in their right business mind wouldn't get into that?
That's one helluva return, don't you think?

at least Alberta SPCA admits they send the rescued horses to auction. That never happens in OntarioLaLaLand.

Maybe I'm just being extremely cynical.
Oh, wait, I am!!