Wednesday, February 22, 2012

And the wind began to howl

Here is a map of my ride on Pie yesterday morning. Click to enlarge. This is fairly typical of my daily rides. Pie and I added a new spur in the neighborhood. He is amazing for a 6 year old OTTB. He walks down the streets and looks at all the flags and mailboxes and sewer hole covers. He loves to touch things because I "click and treat" him when he touches scary objects. Yesterday he touched a yellow fire hydrant for the first time. In Florida, I used fire hydrants to mount so I am glad to add that to Pie's list of things he can handle. 

Mid-way through our ride on the new loop, loud emergency vehicles whizzed by out on the main road. Pie was a wonderful boy and did nothing. The one thing I don't like about our farm is the noise. There are trucks on the turnpike and loud helicopters and trains and announcers at the auto-auction. There is the constant din of loud traffic and the bouncing of trailers over culverts. We are also near a fire/ambulance hub so there are emergency vehicle sirens all day. It is a noise pollution nightmare for me. But, my three horses are so used to all the noise and commotion. I got my dream of owning a police horse!  All three rarely flinch at any kind of noise. Pie never seemed to notice the fire sirens yesterday even though we were in a spooky new part of the neighborhood. 

I don't want to ride through a neighborhood, but the trails and fields don't last long on our daily rides. Yesterday, Pie kindly waited until we returned to our farm to "use the facilities" so I didn't have to go pick up manure in my Mini. I am sure that is a funny site when I arrive in my car with a muck bucket and shovel and start scraping the street!

The wind picked up on our return and we had a bouncy last straightaway back to the barn. Pie was happy to be home, I think, and he was light and airy and flighty with the gusts. Then, one happy snort and he walked into the wagonshed like a gentle giant. What a good ride!


  1. Good stuff. The one thing I wish we had more of around our place is horses. We don't so Sugar and Morgunn get really excited when they see another horse.


  2. Juliette, what a great ride on Pie! That is sooooo funny about how eager he is to touch scary and new things, so that he gets the clicker treat! I think that is a unique skill, and shows that he is quite smart (he knows exactly how to earn the treats), confident (to seek out new things to touch - what horse does that???), and kind (he is training you, too, and thus he is a wonderfully intelligent horse!!). What a dear.

    So funny about having to pick up poop. That was kind of Pie to wait to get home to do his business. And yes, your property is clearly the single ideal location to train all police horses!! LOL!

  3. Wow--sounds like it's an excellent place to train police horses! I like the idea of using fire hydrants as mounting blocks. I'm usually walking around looking for a rock, tree stump, or rise that will give me about 12 inches for my gimpy leg :)

  4. now i'm inspired to teach a horse to touch scary things for a c/t. bravo, you rock.

    this post reminds me of when i lived on first hill in seattle, what is known to locals as "pill hill" due to all the hospitals. ambulance sirens are non-stop, and after a while, we just didn't notice them anymore. only our guests did.

    "what? siren? hm? ooooh, yes, i hear that."

    i lived my whole life by the SEA-TAC airport and never noticed the sound, but now when i visit home, it almost panics me - what the heck is that vibrating shaking terror noise!? i've been in germany 5 years, in an area where the loudest things are the birds.

    my friends in bremen live near a train track and staying with them is hard cuz i wake up shaking thinking it's an earthquake when a train goes by. they say, "train? what train?"

    your horses are so good.

  5. What a good Pie he is. :)

    Scary objects = treat opportunities - yay!

    Where do clickers come from?

  6. Thanks everyone for the great comments!

    lytha - I so wish I lived in Germany where you are - I long for the birds to be the loudest things!

    Calm, Forward, Straight - I bought a clicker training book and I did not buy the clicker. I am not sure where you can get one but probably online at horse places or pet stores. The reason I didn't buy one is because I couldn't figure out how I was going to carry/use it while I ride or lead. I like to have treats in one pocket and I "click" by "clucking" my tongue loudly once. Pie knows the sound now. It didn't take him long to get that! (Treat boy.) Foggy and Sovey aren't trained to do that yet. They rarely shy at anything so I didn't need to have them touch anything.

  7. I have just started clicker training and you don't really need a clicker, but it does work a treat, doesn't it?

    I had no idea you had to cope with so much noise in your place! My place is like Lytha's, the loudest sounds we have are the birds, the wind in the trees or one of our dogs barking! Even our rides on the roads here are very quiet, but it does mean that the odd bicycle or worse, one of those big 4wd tractors, is a major and scary event.


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