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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Un Natural Horse keeping

In 2012 my young colt Sterling fractured his coffin bone.  This is a piece of my experience at that time.
So many lessons to be learned from one moment in time..  Since Sterling has been in the stall, I have been fragmenting the herd.  Two horses in the barn, three on the trailer and 4 on the track.  And with the exception of Sterling always being in the barn, they rotate.  Valentine is obviously disturbed by this turn of events. I'm pretty sure she is feeling x-communicated or at least, not in charge of things.  She eats outside and rarely comes into the barn, only when she wants to. She runs away  and feels generally distrustful.  Patches calls for whomever is not home but relishes her turn in the barn.  Jessie steps up and goes to work or stays in the barn whatever I ask of her.  Summer doesn't usually stay inside but does come to work and Harley never stays in the barn and is now earning his keep as a therapy horse for people in early days of recovery from addiction to drugs or alcohol instead of being Sterling's gelding!
Valentine Harley and Summer lunching at work

Whew and keeping horses inside - I find it hard to imagine why people do this when there is nothing wrong.  When the horses come out, even the really grounded ones,  they are spooky, flighty, worried.  It makes no sense to do this to horses on purpose on a regular basis.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Fun and Games Workshop!

It was a fun time we were after and we found it! 
The goal was just to spend some time with our horses before the holidays and winter took over our attention! 
There were horses and people of all ages and skill level, just out to have a good time in a relaxed environment but with some focus. 
No saddles, no bridles, no shoes, no problem!

The first thing we did is just get in the space with our horses and meet and greet everyone and every thing! Here at ICOH (In the Company of Horses Inc.) we have peafowl, guinea fowl, a duck (Howard) cats and horses including a miniature pony,. 
Not to mention jumps, tires for going between or to stand on, a car wash blowing in the breeze bamboo poles for jousting and hula hoops hanging from the trees all to help our horses not worry about us or our stuff! 
In the afternoon everyone had the opportunity to play at liberty, either in the round pen or in the big field! That was fun!  Everyone was able to get connected by spacial awareness and by energy.  
On day two we rode.  After visiting about the day before we prepared our horses for riding by dragging things, cones, barrels, balls, poles and our bamboo, all to prepare for this days riding games which included "Moving Day" where everyone mounted up and hooked up something to a rope and began moving things from one place to another. This "purpose" game helped the people and the horses feel the need to cooperate and not to worry so much.  For the horses who were not ready to drag their own things, they followed other horses brave enough to move stuff.  Before lunch everyone was able to move everything together! This game prepared everyone, horses and humans mentally physically and emotionally for things that could show up on a trail or in a show arena.  The horses were all calmer, braver and more partnered by lunch time.  
After lunch we had a go at our own version of Doma Vaquera and precision with our long poles by skewering a brass ring!  There was a prize for the one who could be moving on their horse and skewer a small ring with their long bamboo pole and the youngest rider with the smallest horse took home the prize! 
The last game of our workshop was the double barrell pattern; set up like a barrel race only mirrored so your first turn is to the left on one pattern and then to the right on the next pattern in an effort to have our horses even and less one sided.

A great time was had by all! 
For more information about future dates for this workshop, check in on our website!