Day 20 – Phil’s Courage’s Journal

Morning feeding: Phil did what he was supposed to do this morning only he told me “hurry it up”. He lowered his head for the head rubbing ritual and before I took my hand off his head he took his head away from me and took a step towards the dish. Immediately my posture straightened and let out a firm “NO”.  I didn’t even have to wave Phil off; he did it on his own and circled back in with a completely different body posture. I invited him in to my space, rubbed his head for a lengthy time and let him go to the food dish.

Side note: I use certain words like “NO” or “BACK” to help me raise my energy and change my facial expression, not necessarily to teach Phil to respond to the words. Eventually, he will make the connection between the words and my actions. These words are always said in the same authoritative tone.

Phil and I attempted the obstacle course backwards today. It was tough on both of us, but it was a neat way to do something different. Yes, we mowed over some obstacles, but it was fun.  Be creative with your horse. As you can see my training style is very different. I teach all the same lessons and introduce new ones in different environments. For example, I took Phil off our property down the road. I practiced all the things I have been building on only with different scenery. I also was able to see Phil’s reaction to cars whizzing by. Cars do not bother Phil.

I will give you a visual of what I looked like walking Phil down the road. Note: When hand walking your horse on side of the road you are considered a pedestrian and should walk against the flow of traffic. Upon horseback you travel with the flow of traffic in most states. I am a safety nerd. I wear a helmet (even on the ground) and an orange hunting vest. I know I looked like a complete dork, but I have many healed broken bones, including a fractured vertebra L3, from “horse accidents”. I started wearing a helmet during ground work recently when one day working with a client’s rank horse my timing was off just slightly and this mare kicked me in the cheek. Thank goodness my position was correct or she would have let me have it with both barrels. She gave me a concussion, fractured cheek bone, and 3 bulging disks in my neck. I ALWAYS WEAR A HELMET when riding. It doesn’t matter if I’m riding English or Western. I look back at those times (20 years ago) and almost all of the “accidents” could have been avoided if I had my horse’s respect. Back then I was taught to dominate your horse into submission.

This is good food for thought.
smiles, Kara

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