Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Mental Practice

Those of you who have horses are often awed by the way horses think about things on their “down time.”  

DeCato and Starlight tracking sheep.
What I mean is, when you teach a horse something, they might not get it quite correctly the first day.  But, often, the next time out, they get it right away.  It always seems as though they have thought about it in between sessions and figured what you wanted, and then they show you right away, “See?  I got it!”

I just love that about horses, because it definitely shows a willing interest in this strange partnership we have with them. 

Starlight recently showed me this amazing ability to think about things on her down time.  As you know, the other day, I used her to herd and stop the sheep, and toward the end of this short, intense session, she was starting to get it.

Well, yesterday, I went out to the sheep.  I’m concerned because they don’t seem to be drinking water.  So I started to herd them toward the water (the water is on one of their spots, so they’ll go there).   

The sheep took off at a run toward the water, and this of course, interested the horses.  Starlight had been hanging out near me, on the other side of the fence, but when I started the sheep going, she suddenly kicked into gear.  She outran those sheep, who were running up the fence line, then turned toward them quickly and stopped them right in their tracks. 

Then she looked over at me with her ears pricked.  “See?  I got it!”
Good girl, Starlight!


  1. Too cute! I love it when they get that look on their face: "I am just so smart, aren't I? I do good, riiight? COOKIE!?"
    Of course, my childhood horse would give me a very similar look if he let himself out of his stall...and stood by the cross ties, waiting for a treat. :P

  2. He sounds like he was a good boy!