Saturday, August 3, 2013

My bird friends ...

Someday when I have a little more disposable funds I'm going to set up that bird cam on the bird feeders outside my kitchen window.   Over the past couple months we've got quite a few regulars that I'm enjoying watching.  And in the last week a gang of black-capped chickadees has commandeered one of the bird feeders and regularly chases away the bigger birds.  Then they post two or three around the periphery while a couple of them eat.  They're like little hooded gangsters.  There are now two goldfinch couples who come by every day, the usual house sparrow couples and the new arrivals a black-headed grosbeak couple.  The latter are the most skittish and even the hint of a black-capped chickadee in the area (or me trying to snap a photo from the kitchen window) sends them flying off.  We also have one or two bald eagle families behind our house but we only hear them but rarely see htem most of the time. Except rare early evenings if we happen to be out and are lucky enough to see one of them heading out to hunt.   I've got a couple other bird watching friends who think this is cool but most of my neighbor's eyes glass over if I talk about it - a lot like how their eyes glass over when I talk about horses.  Or science.

My week off from working at pony camp was not even remotely as productive as I'd hoped.  I guess it was more productive in that I was able to get out and work with my horse every day and I was able to go do fun stuff with my daughter.  We went kayaking with one of her friends and a the mom at a local lake on Wednesday and I sent my 9-year old daughter and her 10-year old friend out alone in the kayak for the first time.  Because neither girl had much kayaking experience and the 10-year old had none to my knowledge and is on the autism spectrum so I wasn't quite sure how much of her "I can do it" was coming from wishful thinking rather than fact, we tied a rope to the kayak just in case (since neither of us were wearing clothes condusive to swimming out into the lake to save them).  As it was they did really well.  My daughter was far more proficient in paddling a kayak than I'd thought so next time she can go out without a rope (as long as I'm wearing clothes I wouldn't mind swimming in just in case).

Maiden is doing well and she is still trying very hard to do what I ask her.  On Tuesday I had a lesson and we were working - again- on my timing and also on having Maiden actually have energy in her transitions.  When I ask her to trot she usually does a few steps of a super slow trot and about half way around the arena we finally get going.  Trainer K wants me to work on going from an active walk straight into a working trot.  It took a few tries and Trainer K. having to take my dressage whip from me to tap Maiden on the butt to get her to move but she finally got the idea.   So, the next day when we were practicing when I asked her to trot she went straight from the walk to a canter!  Such a sweet girl!  I slowed her down and laughed because she was trying so hard and then we found a happy medium.

I've been thinking a lot about my friend's Friesan who Trainer K. has refused to ride anymore because he's too dangerous.  I'm still trying to wrap my head around how he doesn't seem to understand that humans are sentient beings and not plants or tress you just stomp over.  I wish there was more research into how horses brains work because in my very limited time with horses as an adult I'd never met one who was so oblivious to human space.  Trainer K. also said he does not comprehend cause and effect and I'm wondering if that is tied into the same part of the brain that acknowledges the space of other living things.  Not that horses are born respecting humans, but if a horse is running at you and you wave your arms and yell "Stay away" it is natural instinct to avoid that - but he doesn't. If I hadn't run out of the way he would've literally trampled right over me.   He scares me quite a bit because of that.  When I got Toad she was probably a "dangerous" horse to a certain degree because she was poorly handled and had no ground training and was very nervous and scared.  But her natural instinct to respond to pressure was there and the Friesan seems to lack that.  It makes me want to study horse neurology although I'm not sure how much research is out there.  I'm wondering if he has brain damage or a disability that has disconnected the ability to understand cause/effect and to respond to pressure - in which case he will always be very dangerous.  Which is sad but good to know if that's the case.

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