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Full House Farm: Harmony With Horses

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"The lasting revolution comes from deep change in ourselves."
Anais Nin


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March 12, 2004

Letting Children Win

For those of you who do not know me or my horses, I have five horses here at my farm in Sebastopol. I have two others at my mother's farm in Los Altos Hills. My herd here consists of a Quarter Horse mare, Brannon, who is 30 this year; a TB gelding, Clancy, who is 34; a Welch/Arab mare, Missy Brown, who is around 15; an Anglo-Trehkener mare, Lyric, who is 22 this year and had her first baby last year; and my Freisan/Pinto/Anglo-Trehkener colt, Indy, who is almost 9 months old. Indy lives in a very functional herd. Everyone is comfortable with the role they have and Indy is well received. I am learning so much watching the elders raise this baby.

One lesson I had the pleasure of watching was when Indy went through a phase of enjoying to bite the hocks of his elders. The rear end of a horses can be a dangerous place to hang out, especially if you are going out of your way to aggravate the horse. It is a dominant place to hang out. Indy is learning about that position and his mom is teaching him. When Lyric, his mother, moves away as Indy bites her, he is learning about his power in that position. His mother is letting him "win". If Lyric were to kick Indy and reprimand him early on about biting her back there, Indy would not learn about his potential. When Indy is kicked, as Brannon has kicked him hard under his arm, he is learning that although it is a position of power, it is also a matter that requires strategy. You cannot be careless in that position. Lyric does eventually kick at Indy, not to hit him, but to show that her desire to move for him has lessoned and he needs to stop pushing. I think of my own son who is 12 now when I see this exchange between Lyric and Indy. I will sometimes move for my son if he puts himself in a leadership position and yet there must be a time, too, for myself that I say enough is enough. My son must learn how to be a leader and also how to be a follower. If children are not given a chance to fluff up their feathers and strut about, they will not be able to test the wings that will carry them later in life. I am never threatened by a child fluffing up. I am not threatened by Indy, either. I love watching him fluff.


Copyright 2004--2012 Full House Farm
Photos Copyright 2004 Barbara Bourne Photography, all rights reserved.
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