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Dancer and I seeing eye to eye…

A few days ago, Todd the farrier came out to trim the horses before they’re shipped to overwinter somewhere else.  Dancer, our rascally four year old mare decided that she’d rather not have a manicure.  She stuck her nose and tail straight up in the air and outran us for a good twenty minutes.  It was only through trickery that we caught her and drug her over to have her hooves trimmed.  Todd said it best: “The worst part is you can’t paddle them once you’ve caught them.”  I sure wanted to give her a spanking but I refrained.

Despite being a quarter horse, Dancer has an excellent trot.  She really could trot all day.

The next day, the little devil was–were it possible–worse.  I’d left her halter on so I could catch and tame her up a bit.  It was my fault after all for having neglected her for a few months.  I did however, just have a baby so I tried my best not to get too upset with her lack of training.  She had embarrassed me the day before and instead of being a sweet angel after I’d held my temper, praised her and stuffed carrots in her mouth, she flew off each time I got within twenty feet of her.  So I got out my lunge whip and ran her for an hour.  Stoney would have given up within fifteen minutes but not my stubborn mare.  Even with frothy white sweat between her butt cheeks and her winter coat stringy from perspiration, she refused to let me even remotely close.  So, I gave up and did the only thing that seemed effective: I went inside and bawled my eyes out.

Dancer may be a stinker with me but she loves the girls.

Discouraged was the word of the day.  I simply didn’t have the time I needed to fix the problem while mothering my children and with Jack in the midst of finals, there was no way I was going to have any daylight left when he arrived home.  So, I headed to the feed store, bought a bag of sweet feed, said a prayer and stepped out of the truck to suck up to her.  It worked.


She resisted a bit when I grabbed her halter but I wasn’t about to let go because she gave a little tug.  Silly as it seems, I lectured her for a few minutes then fed her a scoop of sweet feed by hand and scratched her chest and behind her ears which she shamelessly admits are her favorite spots.

I think there’s a lot to learn from good horsemanship practices that translates to parenthood.  Even when children or horses are misbehaving, it rarely helps the situation when I lose my temper.  I’m not at all opposed to consequences but it doesn’t help the situation when I dole them out while angry.  Plus, I’m always reminded that no matter how frustrating and naughty my kids can be, it’s not even remotely as infuriating as a filly misbehaving.  At least I can still run down my girls if they take off.

I’m not taking off that halter until she proves she’s a good girl.
I’m just glad we’re friends again.
As long as I have a handful of sweet feed, I guess.

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True stories of raising children, remodeling, braving the elements and plotting out life, all while living on a humble acreage in central Indiana.

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