The opinions expressed in previous entries may or may not express the current opinion of the author.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Plan B

Having given up "training" Chloe, today I hit upon an alternative: I'm going to try and help Chloe to train me.

It's not that it's impossible to train Chloe. Chloe is very trainable; indeed I have won many arguments with her in the past. But I don't want to argue with her any more. If she thinks it's a bad idea, then it is.

She seems to like learning "tricks" though. Learning tricks was never compulsory, and maybe she enjoys the ability to elicit a result by producing a certain behavior. Pondering on this point, I thought - what if I react in the same way every time she does certain things, so that she can figure out ways to influence my behavior?

Today, when she nudged me with her head, I moved away from her in the direction of the nudge. I think she got it. Or maybe it was all my imagination. She seemed to herd me to the edge of the pasture and leave me there. She went off to graze nearby, every now and then coming back to make sure I was still in place and glaring daggers at the new filly to make sure she wasn't sneaking closer. She would come up to me, touch me oh-so-gently with her nose, casting her eyes suspiciously over her shoulder, ears suddenly flattening, toward where the filly was grazing.

Finally I got bored and went and stood with her for a while. She knew I was all out of treats, but she offered several times to "shake hands" - trying to communicate something? I didn't come up with a response I could offer, except to enthusiastically "shake" back - I'll have to think about what she might like me to do when she offers a foot - maybe I did the right thing - who knows? I hung out with her for a while longer, scratching her back as she grazed. When I left, she stayed where she was, in her favorite far-off corner of the pasture. When she saw me playing with the filly later in the distance, she didn't move.

I'm beginning to see that Chloe isn't nearly as negative about pony/human interaction as I'd thought. It's just very important for her that it happen on her terms. So we're doing everything at the far end of the pasture. Maybe she'll teach me some new tricks.


  1. Hello June!

    Today I went searching for this blog you say you have started.

    It was an easy find.

    A GOOD find!

    Though you have definitely overused the "Oxford Comma" (a habit of mine as well!) I see you also have one name too many in your list of idea inspirators (a made up word?) in the description of your blog. (Who the hay is Lynne Gerard, anyhow??)

    But what I really want to tell you is I have felt something wonderful in each entry you've posted so far. Well done!

    You wrote in this latest entry:
    "Having given up "training" Chloe, today I hit upon an alternative: I'm going to try and help Chloe to train me."

    This made my day...to know for sure that you (you who I don't know, except through comments you've left on my blog and others) have for sure become a "horse's apprentice"...which is what I consider myself to be and what I think is at the heart of Imke's and Klaus' "way" of being with horses, too.

    May I link to your blog, and write a wee bit about the new path you are following?

    I see you as a reflection of the many people who are gravitating towards learning from horses, which because they are such Gandhi-like beings (thank you Stormy May!) can only be something that benefits the evolution of humans away from their dominator, usurious, habitual patterns of behavior.

    Well done, June!

  2. Thanks, Lynne!

    And sure - link away!

  3. Wonderful blog, June!

    I just added myself as your reader. I also am a big fan of Stormy and Lynne and hope to have their ability to share love some day!

    I think Chloe looks a lot like my mare, go check her out on my blog! She also acts the same :D So I will be waiting eagerly on your updates!


  4. Thank you, Jenny!
    And Lynne, you are not a "name too many" on my list of inspirators - it's all very well reading an inspiring book like Empowered Horses, but after that comes the work of putting it all into practice, which requires more of a "daily bread" kind of input. So, thanks for being that "daily bread"!