Wednesday, November 04, 2009
When we moved, we encountered some serious issues with Estrella. Being new and inexperienced horse owners, we apparently were not good "leaders" according to our Momma horse, and so she took over. This resulted in her behaving rather meanly (biting, kicking, ear pinning, herding, running "at" us) toward our family members. At first, we thought it was aggressive behavior.
Our vet of 12 years, concerned for our safety first and foremost, recommended that we find Estrella a new home - fast.
However, we loved her too much to just give up. So we hired a horse trainer that came highly recommended.
This trainer, R.G., came to evaluate our situation. And she explained that because we were not "good lead mares" ourselves, that Estrella had stepped into the role in order to protect herself and her baby.
R.G. has been coming here twice weekly for some time now -- mostly to train the humans more so than Estrella and Sunny. HA !! She has helped us determine the issues with Estrella, and to modify how we work with her to accommodate her fears and reservations so that she can work through them better.
The method of Horse Training that R.G. is teaching us is called Horsemanship By Feel -- there are no whips, no intimidating, and no "respect by fear" that seem to be the norm for horse training. Instead, the training works toward a mutual trust and mutual concern. (The above link is to a website for another professional trainer, who also had a big part in training "our" trainer. the methods are described in this website.)
We have learned so much from R.G., and have begun to build a delightful relationship with both of our horses. This relationship is based on mutual respect and mutual trust. Our horses are flourishing under the guidance of this trainer (esp Sunny, who lovesssss R.G. and is excited on training days to see her arrive !), and all residents of Beck's Bounty are truly enjoying being horse owners and are dedicated horse lovers.
Equestrian Studies --- this was not a planned subject for study this year, but has certainly been a wonderful "elective" addition to our homeschool as well as to our lives. Our Cherubs have learned so much about caring for our horses and about interacting with them. Feeding, brushing, hoof care, leading, and now we are easing into leading them (on a line), and will eventually head into riding. What a blessing !