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I have to preface this by saying all winter it's been so cold that our handling of the horses has been based on hurredly getting them in or out and no attention to manners. Just do it and get back in the warm. The farm is out in the open and the windchill for the most part is more than 10 degrees LOWER than in town.

Also, I would never smite them out of anger or in an abusive way.

So,

Night before last, I'm bringing them in. I turn to latch the gate so it doesn't swing open letting them both out. Next thing I know I'm on the ground. It seems The Professor pulled an 'Earnhardt' (as in I can squeeze through THERE) and ran between my back and Harry's nose, knocking me over. SIL was with me and couldn't believe it. One moment I was standing showing him how to latch the gate (new set up) and the next thing I was gone...on the ground. No harm, no foul, no injuries.

Now they're learning the lesson called PLEASE STEP AWAY FROM THE GATE! I use one of my 5 foot whips (not to whip them with) as an extension of my arm. From the outside of the gate (both of them have their heads hanging OVER the gate at this point) I use my whip to direct them to back up. I don't actually have to touch them with it...they KNOW a whip means MOVE.

I go through the gate and turn my back on them to latch the gate ...this is when I ran into trouble with them the other night. I tuck my whip handle under my arm with the long end extending out behind me. I feel a little tug, tug, tug. Happy Harry, the class clown, has the lash tip in his teeth trying to play with it. :bowl: He is so cute.

But having them back off the gate and each in his own space makes it much easier and safer to get them haltered and led in.

Oh, and the reason we work on manners? After 2 nights of my carrying the whip (and not touching anyone with it) Harry walked VERY QUIETLY at my side last night, waited patiently at his stall door (knowing his food was inside) while I put my whip down. He waited to be invited into his stall and then as soon as I took hold of his halter, he ripped his head out to get to his grain. Usually he's pulling on me, a little prancey and a little bit of a bully. "My" horse is the one I led last night: calm, patient, pays attention to me and waits for directions!

The next lesson? Standing quietly WHILE I REMOVE THE HALTER. No "helping" on from them!

To make this Golden Retriever related: Horses are the same as dogs in the NILIF way of thinking. And just like dogs, when you let the bar on expections get lower and lower, eventually you get to critical mass where you ABSOLUTELY have to get things back under control.

If anyone gets tired of hearing about horses, pm me. Sorry Joe if this is is the wrong thing to do here.
 

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They sure do "remember" all the bad things and so quickly forget their manners. I was feeding and I got freight trained by my gelding when the mare gave him the "evil eye" last August. I heard him coming, but had no where to go. Luckily I almost made it clear and just got tossed in the dirt. Like you said - not a problem, but it could be! So now he goes to the roundpen to eat and gets locked up until finished (smart boy lets himself out!). Otherwise "Witchie Poo" wil eat her food and his too of course.
I went on a 3 mile trail ride yesterday and the gelding did great! so did Copper even though it was only 3 weeks after his surgery. Witchie Poo stayed home and hollered.:(
I'm sure ready for spring and it is nowhere near as cold here as where you live. Brrrr!
Glad to hear they are behaving better. I definitely let the dogs get away with more than the horses can - too much danger of being seriously hurt.
Hope it gets warm soon and you can take Happy Harry for a spin.
 
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