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It's all about love=trust

Submitted by Kathy Gummere

This concept could be applied to all kinds of horse-care and horse-interaction behaviors:

We bought 2 ranch horses April 2007, that were work only. No real "personalities."

Cash didn't like you touching his face, now he wants you to. Lots of "daily" attention is what makes them learn all the new words they never knew.

When we got them , the former owner told us to whistle when we wanted them to come in to eat. Yeah, right . . . have you ever tried that with the wind blowing 30 mph in your face. SO, every time we fed them we said the word "dinner" . . . so now all we have to do is say "dinner" and they come in! Actually now, if we go outside at all they come in. "Out" means out of the stall, "outside" means out in the

Left: Cash, 23 years and Dunkin, 18 years

pasture. They want their hugs and kisses every day. So we turned perfectly good ranch horses into "big dogs " !! HAHAHA

Cash is quite spirited, which is not what I wanted since I had a neck surgery before. So he will get next to the fence so I can get on him (very tall) and he only walks with me. He knows exactly what I want him to do.

They are also very good about going outside to poop. We put pine shavings and cedar in their stalls, so since they like it so much, most the time they go out to poop, and then back in the stall. If the weather is really bad, they stay in, which I can't blame them!! -Kathy

Fun 'nure

Submitted by Marla Clark

For horse pucky hockey, you can use a hoe, a golf club or croquet mallet.

I think cleaning stalls is the best time for a moving meditation. I have my greatest contemplations while cleaning stalls, plus it keeps me in touch with my kids so I can learn from them.

It's more fun when the turds are frozen, and then I just think of it as horse pucky hockey (keep mouth closed). I do have a warped sense of humor, but even when it's cold out I enjoy the "fresh air," and if you can knock them loose in one big clump that's a win. But if they're scattered and frozen and the scooping surface is bumpy, need good gloves and you lose. Then there are the hide and seek turds under the snow, at least by spring you'll find them. My 'nure pile is now mixed with wasted hay and becoming great garden compost, and I think that's fun because I don't have to buy it, and I'm easy to amuse.

Please note carefully the hazmat uniform worn (above). Not only is it warm, but it protects from "who flung dung." Hat and glasses or goggles are also recommended. Gloves are also good for those stubborn stuck turds, and most of the time no one is looking anyway, so go ahead and pick it up by hand. Tool choice is essential, the hoe is my favorite, but occasionally the trenching tool is a must. For those who are really adventurous, try a golf club, but aim away from horse. Enjoy!

Other thoughts: If I were an electrical genius, I would invent a voice recording that could be installed in a pickup truck, so when you're going too fast pulling a horse trailer, a voice would come on and say, "Hey slow down, you're making me nauseous back here."

And for people who don't trim their horses feet often, take a photo with a horse who would be willing wear some fake long "hooves" with a caption that reads "and you expect me to walk in these? I told you I take a size one."--Marla

Getting youngsters excited about horses

Submitted by Vicki Sullivan of Townsend

Logan helps grandma muck the stalls.

It's never too young to teach kids to muck stalls! Our 2-year-old grandson spent his first long weekend with grandma and grandpa last weekend. You guessed it, grandma had him out sharing "brilliant revelations" while teaching him to muck stalls. After cleaning stalls, I saddled up Annie, and Logan and I spent the afternoon in my indoor arena.

I am trying to acclimate Logan to the "big horses" as he was afraid of them so I thought it would be good for Logan to see grandma ride, and of course, Annie was the most logical selection as you know, everyone falls in love with Annie. I had just read a horse story to Logan before we headed to the barn and in the story there was a picture of a horse jumping over a jump. That impressed Logan. I have a dozen smaller cones that I gave him to play with as I rode and he busily set them up in a line. Then he called to me and said, "Grandma, make horsey jump over" and pointed to the cones.

At that point, I brought a cavalette into the arena and set a jump up. Annie and I jumped the cavalette and that impressed Logan. He kept saying, "She did it," and cheered each time we jumped. Then I gave him the dressage whip to play with and he proceeded to smack the ground and said "go horsey, go horsey" which meant grandma was to lope.

I had a various assortment of trail obstacles stored in the corner of the arena that Logan discovered. He proceeded to direct me to set up an obstacle course. While Annie patiently ground tied, Logan and I placed rails to step over, we drug out and placed the wooden bridge, I was instructed to place the mattress at the edge of the bridge so Annie could jump off the bridge into the "water", he spaced the cones out for a serpentine course, and we placed foam noodles to step over after we used them as swords and had a sword fight together.

Annie was such a gem, patiently standing ground tied accepting the commotion of the little guy running all around her with foam noodles and other items flailing around her in the hands of supertyke! Then Logan and Annie took turns running the obstacle course. Logan was very good at directing grandma and Annie over the obstacles he selected. I'm thinking of hiring him as my coach!

Of course, grandma and Annie tired out long before Logan. All ended up in that Logan asked to pet Annie several times. Grandma would dismount and pick Logan up so he could pet Annie. In the end, Logan went from petting to hugging Annie around her neck, and he ended by instinctively leaning into her and giving her a kiss at the base of her ear. I knew Annie would charm him. Although I couldn't convince him to sit on Annie, he at least became comfortable on his own to pet her. Needless to say, Logan is a great little coach. It was so fun. I've come to the conclusion that indoor riding arenas make great play pens for kids! -Vicki

If you'd like us to consider your FUN idea, send it to the sanctuary at info@montanahorsesanctuary.org. If your idea is chosen you win a cap, travel mug or sanctuary t-shirt.

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P.O. Box 10, Simms, MT 59477 • (406) 264-5300