Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Horse's View of Natural Horsemanship

Hello, my name is Flicka and my Owner's a clinic junkie.

Yes, it's true. She went thru her mid life crisis and came to the
sale barn and bought me. I spent my whole life misbehaving and being
passed from greenhorn to greenhorn till someone finally got smart and
sent me to the sale barn. I was seriously hoping to be picked up by
one of those show horse fellas so I could live in a fancy barn and
stand around and look pretty, but they told me my butt's too small,
my heads too big, and the crest on my neck from a bout with grass
founder (thanks to owner number 2) is not desirable, and in general I
was just not that capable of looking pretty, so I went home with
Phyllis instead.

She pets me and loves me, and in general I had a pretty good life
at first. Then she heard about those guys who whisper to horses. Life
has never been the same. First there was Pat. At Pat's clinic Phyllis
learned to twirl a big stick and chase me around a round pen till I
was wringing wet with sweat. Once I had "calmed down" (I was never
really fired up in the first place till that guy came at me with the
stick like an idiot) she began learning to ride me with no bridle.
Talk about giving an old spoiled horse an opportunity to have some

Initially I went along with it. I'd lope around the pen real nice
like, and everyone would oooh and aaah over my "natural horse"
abilities. Then, just when everyone had gathered around to watch, I
would see the SCARIEST!! (teeheeheehee) shadow in the history of
scary shadows and switch directions and take off with my rider
clinging terrified to my back. Every other horse on the place was
envious of me because their owners would take them out back and beat
them with that overpriced stick when no one was watching, but I knew
my Phyllis would not.

Eventually Philly (as I like to call her) gave up on the whole
natural horse idea when Pat tried to talk her into jumping me without
a bridle over some barrels. Off we went in search of another guru. In
our search we found Monty. He threw a string at a horse and talked to
the horse with winks and stares. I spent some time with his clinic
horses. I saw the demonstration where an unbroken 2 year old became
an overnight Reiner. Later I talked to the 2 year old. He was
actually 5 and had been doing this same routine for about 5 clinics

The first time Phyllis broke out the string I again, went along
with it. Well, until she got tired of me stopping and looking at her
like she was stupid. When she went to get herself a glass of water
and refer to that chapter in Monty's book, I grabbed the string and
chewed it to pieces.

And this is how I got my Jolly ball!

Then there was the Indian fella with a name I can't pronounce. To
get the full effect of his clinic, Philly painted stuff on my body
and put feathers in my hair. I looked like I was in a Costume Class,
but hey whatever floats your boat... I thought maybe at least with
this guy we might get to play Indian pony games and have mock battles
or something but no. More round pen work and gimmicks. This time
there was a fire in the middle of the round pen and they danced
around it while praying that I would become a good horse and always
mind my owner. He only took her for a couple thousand pelts and a
bottle of firewater.

There's been the Australian guy. Training with a Boomerang while he
hopped around like a kangaroo and called me his mate... "Sorry fella,
you¢re cute and all but my mate has 4 legs. I just don't swing
interspecies. " There was a horse psychic who told Phyllis my momma
didn't lick me enough when I was born, a guy who used his hands like
ears to talk to me and of course the touchy, feely lady.

I can't complain though; I've got an owner who loves me and has
devoted her time to trying to make me a better horse. I really should
behave, really I should, but I think I am contributing to her youth
by giving her a reason to take me to all these clinics. Maybe the
next clinic will involve turning me out with the mustangs so I find
my inner wild stallion.

Sincerely, Flicka

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