dancing horses

dancing horses

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Stable Manners

I have been fortunate in my journey with horses that I have lots of good instruction not just on riding but on horse handling. Good manners with horses are extremely important to me. I believe in being clear on my expectations and boundaries. While I doubt that I am 100% consistent I am pretty good at it. In fact I've been told how 'lucky' I am that Irish is so well mannered. I love how people assume that well mannered horses just 'are' rather than made. I believe that there are just as many injuries handling horses from the ground as from horseback.

Steele has had the benefit of good handling from the moment of his birth. That has made my job with him so much easier. Not that he doesn't push it sometimes- he is a youth after all. You have heard me say about how smart he is so it's no surprise that he's learned what I want and typically tries to please. All this work from myself and the people that have come before is paying off for me now.

On Sunday I woke up with a pain in my hip. I carried on as usual but as the day wore on it worsened. I tried medication for back pain and straight advil. Nothing seemed to help. I went to the doctor on monday and now I'm on stronger pain pills and muscle relaxants. And going to physio. It seems that bursa below my hip flexors is highly irritated with me. It's been awful- I couldn't lift my leg without searing pain. I couldn't even put on my boots. Ed was away for work Monday and Tuesday so I was on my own. Tuesday morning I tried to get my mucking out boots on. I couldn't lift my leg.
"Come on leg"
"just lift up and go in this boot"
"screw you"
I ended up putting on my low winter boots. Then began the slowest muck out ever. I had to fill the manure bucket 1/3 full and then empty it. Because it's winter I can't use the hose to fill the water buckets so I had to fill them a bit at a time. The horses have been quite tolerant of my slow gait.

As I may have mentioned before, Steele loves his food. However whenever I go in his stall while he's eating he's very polite. If I come in with water he shuffles to the side and when I come in with hay he shuffles the other way. All without missing a beat in his chewing. It's quite cute- it's chomp-chomp-shuffle-chomp-shuffle-chomp.  A few times I have had to catch my balance on him in the stall and he didn't mind at all. Yesterday afternoon I went in and saw that the water bucket had a bunch of hay in it and needed to be empty. As always when someone is in the barn Steele comes in to see what's up. I gave him  a scratch and went out to dump the water. As I was outside the barn I realized that I had left the stall door open. Crap. I shuffled back as fast as possible. There was Steele standing inside the stall with the door wide open. I'm not sure who was more surprised.

I think he realizes that I'm not at my full potential so there's no sport in it.


  1. I hope you are feeling better soon -- and that your help returns home soon. I'm glad Steele is behaving for you and saving the antics for when there is more "sport" to it -- maybe you should fake limp around him when you are feeling better...

  2. I suspect that he would know if I was faking.....

  3. Aww that sucks! My husband has bursitis in his shoulders so I know how painful it is. I hope you feel better soon.

    Steele is such a sweetheart. :)

    It's funny you mention people think that manners just are and not made! It's the same with the dogs. My dogs are so much better behaved than other people's dogs and they don't realize it's because I train them!

  4. I have been told several times that I am lucky that my first horse is so good. While I agree that a little bit of luck may come into play, I would say that the way I handle and train my horse has more to do with it. He may have been green when I got him, but I wasn't. ;)

    I hope your hip feels better. Hip pain is no picnic.

    1. I agree. even the sweetest horse can become pushy and not respect personal space or behave in a dangerous way.

  5. Ouch! May you recover swiftly. That sounds very painful. So true that good manners are made, not born. I am thinking of one particular horse whose owner I had to rush to the emergency room - twice in 3 months - for emergency surgery involving plates and screws. (both times!) Horses are big. We are not. Seems like such a simple equation, though I have my "aww isn't he cute" moments also. Good for you, insisting on manners!


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