Friday, August 8, 2008

Making Lemonade


After feeding the horses Tuesday evening, I accidentally left the hose running in Consolation and Acey's water tub. All. Night. Long.

By morning, the east side of my round corral -- conveniently located just downhill of Consolation and Acey's pen -- was flooded. This fact did nothing to improve my attitude Wednesday morning.

By Wednesday evening, the water had receded several feet, but four-inch deep puddles remained. That's when I remembered the old saying: When you do something stupid, make lemonade. Or something of that sort.

I took advantage of the oppor- tunity, rare in our high desert summer, to see how Consolation would react when asked to walk through water. As she grew up in a 200 acre pasture with a creek running through the middle, I didn't anticipate any drama. Sure enough, she walked right through. As you experienced trainers know, this was probably, at least in part, because I didn't expect any drama.

Consolation and I have been struggling in our relationship lately. We both want to be in charge, and we haven't quite found the route to that perfect 50/50 yet. So, we moved on to some team problem-solving exercises.

I built a tiny obstacle course of poles. We walked through forward several times in each direction, then backed through. I was pleased to find that all our lateral work paid off with several flawless runs.

Next, I upped the ante by putting a tarp in the path. Having worked over tarps before, Consolation walked through with only the slightest hesitation. Backing through, however, presented a bit more of a challenge. She didn't listen as well to my cues, eager as she was to hurry over that tarp. It took us a good eight tries to make a clean pass. By then, I felt she'd earned a few minutes of hand grazing out by the garden, so we called it quits.

Sometime soon, we’ll try all this again, under saddle...and without the flooded corral!

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