Thursday, December 31, 2009


For those of you familiar with the big Boo in CA. You will remember that she was very rarely uncovered. Her pink skin was way to vulnerable in the hot desert sun. She grew used to this since her only shelter was a tin roof covering on legs in all but our Valley Center set up. She went through 1 and a half fly sheets a year it seemed. Here our gal gets to go naked all the time! Its winter after all, much to her delight! She didn't even fluff up her woolly mammoth type coat until it got below 40 degrees with a stiff breeze. Even then she was quite content in the sun. Cuervo on the other hand is cold. He has a longish coat for his norm from Ca but its not cutting the mustard. In fact several weeks ago we had a 71 degree day with a warm soaking rain. He came in shivering violently. On went the wool cooler and down went a warm bran mash. So it seems my two horses have swapped needs. Now its his turn to wear clothes most of the time. In his trunk he has a rain sheet with no insulation, a lite, weatherproof, puffy blanket with minimal insulation and a heavy duty winterized rug that I purchased when we thought we where heading north to Or. So of course what does he need? Why, a medium weight weather proof rug. From what I have read in the various catalogues a medium weight blanket is 200 grams of poly fill insulation and is suitable down to 35 degrees with a full coat. OK, but what if it heats up to the mid 50s? Which it has been known to do here on the coast after a chilling, rainy morning. It also goes the other way with equal speed and propensity. Almost every one has heard the saying "If you don't like the weather, wait five minutes". Well, I gotta say, this place is the closet I've come to this saying ringing true since Boulder CO. My head is fairly spinning with choices of high tech, high priced , high falutin', choices! Many years ago in MD, my standard rule was "keep 'em dry and keep 'em natural". That meant everyone had a good rain sheet and a stable blanket to make me feel better on bitter nights. This combined with a very modified trace clip seemed to fit the bill just fine. It seems, my sensitive, light bodied, boy is bucking the norm. Next week arrives a brand new, temperature controlling, mid weight, moisture wicking,self righting,coat polishing, rain proof, wind breaking blanky of the ages. Boo is looking awfully smug, my guess is she took a lot of ribbing in Ca for her outfits.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Pony fun!

Cuervo and I have been fooling with a few fun things so I thought I would record the progress. He's such a ham..... We built on what I discovered during our trailer loading session before our grand exodus east. But I didnt like the "cue" so back to the round pen and low and behold we got a good start on our "levade" on a recall. I simply stopped him with more energy on his way to me at a canter. From there I could stop him and then ask for the energy to go up and now we have a pretty good cue that nets me the same idea with out the round pen, halter or speed. Here is the succession, if you will, Don't you love that his hair lands last? I'll have you know he was all beautified that morning, then I had to go to lessons and I returned to Mr. tanglemane mudsides!

The tire work is more challenging as our boy can jump over, around, laterally across...well, you get the picture. Slowing it down was the challenge. My next goal is to load him onto it backwards, then work on various pairs of feet remaining on the tire and then maybe levade on the tire!? who knows.... What ever we find fun! Thanks to Timmie for being the frosted over photographer. As you can tell by my michelan man look it was COLD out.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

"hangin" with the horses.

and then the lens fogged up....

dipilatory needed!

whatcha doin?

"sneaking" up...

Friday, December 11, 2009

ah.... the good old days!

A good friend forwarded me this YouTube vid :

I in turn shared it with some riding buddies that I thought would relate! But the more I thought about it the more I needed to share it with everyone. Not only for its comedy, but for its sweetness. Can you remember the days when 8 plus hours at the barn was to short? Can you remember braiding tails for fun? Jumping horse jumps and doing flying changes OFF horses? The adventures we had....I raced in the derby, I steeple chased, I went to the Olympics and won the Tevis cup. All from the back of my 14 hand welsh /TB cross pony. These imaginary adventures blended right in with the actual adventures which sometimes found me walking home, brambles in my hair and dirt on my breeches. It was grand!

Somewhere between there and here things change beyond our control and something is lost. I once credited John Lyons for giving me back my joy in horses. He did and then some. But Ive realized something recently and that is that the joy and the fun and the adventure may get redefined, may get side tracked and may get dusty from disuse but its still there. So many of us remember fondly our childhood horse experiences. Its why most woman get back into horses when they "grow up". Every last one of the gals that I meet don't understand why its not the same and why their childhood pony outshines their current mount in brains and brawn. Gals, Its not the horses that have changed( well, outside of the fact that we can afford the ones we drooled over as kids! wink wink)Its us. Try this: laugh when your horse does something unexpected, braid flowers into his mane, stop during your ride and let your horse graze while you take in the scenery. Imagine you have wings on your next canter, hug him and kiss his warm muzzle. Then when no one is looking gallop yourself(sans horse) over a few cross rails, throw in a buck after a high one and laugh till your sides hurt. Our dreams don't have to die when we attain them and they don't have to become more grand. We where never happier than when our pony's where scraggly,wild and unruly. I will cherish those days and endeavour to create more just like them!

Friday, December 4, 2009

A sport for all ages!

This video is great and gives me all kinds of ideas for my confidence course. The horses expression is pretty good through out too which just makes this little clip better. In related video on YouTube, they have some of the obstacles broken down to the teaching level. Very cool. When do you think we will see this at shows?

The second vid is one great trail course! Love the little guy and the riders eye view! Cuervo would love it!!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Be like Mike......

,One of the perks of my job is getting to meet all manner of horse people. Ones who have been astride a horse since their exit from the womb and those who one day, right smack dab in the throws of middle age, up and decide to get a horse and get to riding. I enjoy all manner of horse person, especially when they fall into that category I can only label as "characters" Don't read me wrong here, a character is a term of positive distinction in my book. I usually learn my best lessons from a "character". Lessons I use to help the next person who calls with a horse dilemma. One of my favorite "characters" is a man we'll call Mike. His take on some of his horses behaviours was not quite what most horse folks would have agreed with. That being said, after further consideration, I began to wonder if Mike was onto something and the rest of us where off base.

Mike took his two horses everywhere to ride, an unusual thing for a relatively new horse owner to do. His attitude about it was one of hoping his horses, like his family dogs, would enjoy the new scenery and appreciate the outing. And by golly I think they did. Not because his horses where so different from all of our horses but because of Mikes attitude. When we would meet for our weekly lesson he would tell me of his various adventures that week, and while I shook my head in amazement at some of the "fun" they had had, I noticed that the language mike used in retelling the strories was so positive from beginning to end. I couldn't help but believe a grand time was had by all. For instance, as many of us have experienced when taking stable buddies on rides away from home. Theres a good amount of "talking" that goes on between them when one gets just a bit to far out of range of the other. Most of us would say "He was yelling his head off for his friend." Or "The screaming back and forth was getting on my nerves." Not Mike! He described it as "they CHEERED for each other!" I have never heard horses calling for each other referred to as "cheering". But because he believed this to be the case, He was not distracted or disturbed by it and had a pleasant ride. His horses picking up on his vibe, settled down and enjoyed it too. Another Mike original is describing his horses prancing after a particularly challenging obstacle as the horse having pride in his success of tackling that obstacle. Well why not? Haven't we heard it said time and time again that attitude is everything? I think Mike has proven it is.

Monday, November 9, 2009

odds and ends

proof boo is worth $10!

I was out today making an addition to my horses confidence course. It consisted of two truck tires filled in with DG. I figured it was would be good for all kinds of fun things, like pony pedestals, weave patterns and a nice place for me to sit or stand out of the fire ants and occasional muck. It was shoulder breaking work! No less than 6 wheel barrows full each. Ugh, when did I become too old for this? In any case, once I was done, I gladly took a seat on the front one and had some major horse company. Cuervo, sweet boy, just has to see it all (and taste it all) , all the time! We played lip games, had lots of muzzle smooches, ear rubs, one pretty prolonged head nuggy from him to me before it was nap time and he curled up right by my feet. This was first! It was still a bit nippy , so I scooched off my muck boots and rubbed my socked feet on his warm fur. He and I where all kinds of bonding when Boo came over for her share and broke up the party. After she clumped right over where I was sitting( no tire trepidation from her), roused the dozing Cuervo, determined there was no snacks involved in all the canoodling. She then ambled off to suck up the last of the hay. I was thrilled by this little exchange between the boy and I. I realized we had never had an opportunity to hang out like that as I haven't made it a priority to hang out with my horses in their fields for years. Sounds funny doesn't it? I LOVE my horses! I LOVE watching horses! Heck, I make a living with horses and yet I have forgotten how to engage this very gratifying skill. When I was a kid, I could sit for hours on a paddock fence or a jump standard just being with a herd of horses, whether they where mine or not. In Md. after the horses had eaten a nice little spot in the center of a round bale, I'd wander out there on clear, cold fall nights in my jacket and jammies and climb up in the center of the bale in my pasture with horses eating all around me and listen to horses breathe and chew...It was sooooo therapeutic! Boo chewing in a darkened stable got me through my divorce, I swear! Any way, I have been on cloud nine all day long. I know in our busy lives, we get carried away with stuff. I've been carried away for years! Today though, Ive made a commitment to nurturing this need. I will be out there hanging with the ponies as much as I can, just being, not grooming , not training, not talking on the phone or reading a book. I'll be 100 percent there, hanging out and being horse like for a time. It may sound very "horse whispery" of me, maybe even a little "gawani-like" but I don't mind, I'm not out there to work or teach or pick. Im there for the therapeutic effect that taking a little time to just be with our favorite creatures on earth affords. Try it, you'll remember too!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


Alright folks, I'm sticking my toes in the Parelli Program pool. As many of you know Nibs went to some great people in Oregon who are Parelli followers. In keeping up with him I have made a new friend. His new "mom" has been following Parelli for 8 years and Ive really enjoyed our discussions on horse training. Well, recently she shared her horseanaliy DVD with me and I gotta tell ya, Its pretty darn interesting. Using their charting method on all the horses I have owned has been eye opening. Just as a "for instance", when I chose my old Arab Figgy and picked Boo for the Lyons program I did so wanting complete opposites. You know, to get that "full" training experience. grin. Well, man did I ever pick polar opposites. So not only where they totally different physically, gender wise, and breed wise they charted differently too.

I hear you all rolling your eyes out there saying "well duh, of course they would be opposites just look at them" But hear me out. This chart you make for your horse doesn't help you classify your horse, nor does it pigeon hole him either. It simply gives you structure for your impression of your horse! Here's the kicker though, then it goes on to tell you how best to train him!

Oh sit down will ya? Look, how many times have I heard "but how do I know what exercise to use when?" and I'm like" well, start here then if its not working go here?" Then I would usually get the old "well, I did the wrong thing because..." OK ,well...? You know who you are out there! grin. What I'm saying to you is that this chart helps to explain how YOU have to be WITH IN the exercises for your type of horse! Its pretty darn brilliant. I can tell you all day what my impressions are of your horse but if you are having trouble accepting that immpression then the chart will help you! Im just sayin'.....

Now let me tell you what totally gelled in my head as I watched this DVD. Cuervo, (my baby!) is an extrovert, this we knew, but what I didn't know was that he has left and right brain tendencies in extreme and equal amounts. This means nothing to you right now I know, and it doesn't have to. What it did for me is to help me figure out what would be the most effective way/ method to present the training to him. According to the chart, he needs to play and feel safe. I'm not sure I could have verbalized that. Instinctively, for the most part I succeeded in our sessions, but you know those times when you go home from the barn thinking"wow that was good , but something is missing, hmmmmm" Well that's where the chart shed light for me.

You have all heard me talk about my time in Johns program. My struggles with Boo and challenges with Figgy. If I had had this template then? Wow! My job would have been a bit easier. If only for the fact that I could have had a better idea of what I truly needed to change/improve in myself. Now let me wax philosophic for a minute. Ive always said "horse training teaches you about life and life teaches you about horse training" I also believe that everything happens for a reason and at the right time. Usually not soon enough and in the least expected way. grin! Anyway, the clarity I experienced after watching the DVD put a lot of the goings on in the past three years into perspective for me. Nibs had to go Or or I never would have met his new family, Cuervos physical problems kept me from pushing on him and myself in his learning which is good as I needed more information to make this journey as great as its going to be. There's more on deeper,more personal levels but I'll save those for myself for now. I just wanted to give a shout out to Horsanality. It may be the key you need to break through to the next level with your horse.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Hay, Glorious Hay!

How does northern Ethiopian hay, grown in the Midwest by an Amish farmer, delivered in a semi from a furniture company end up in my barn? Well, quite simply, luck! Hay procurement has been more challenging than I remember it being on the east coast. (Or maybe its just here in the south east) My theory is that a lot of nice hay grown in the north by passes us to get to Fla. where the race horses and jumpers go to winter. Well, that's my theory anyway and I'm sticking to it!

On Friday, we stacked over 41 thousand pounds of hay two barns. I'll spare you all the details. suffice it to say, no one is looking forward to the next load we will have to buy around March! I chose to buy so much for several reasons, first and foremost I really wanted my horses to be on a consistent supply of hay. By that I mean hay from the same cutting, from the same soils, put up the same way. I felt after years of inconsistency, mild colics, bouts of watery stool, random weight losses and gains that it was the least I could do for my ponies. In CA, I bought hay in small 10 to 15 bale loads. Due to cost and storage constraints this was the best I could do for them. One week they might be eating Oregon orchard, the next timothy from Nevada. Now while I've heard horses do like a variety, I think it very unlikely they would gallop themselves across several states to get it. A variety of grasses offered in the same soils/field is more likely the case.

I prefer to feed a grass hay like orchard or timothy and have stayed away from less expensive varieties like bermuda. I did this in Ca because the bermuda I came across was very dirty and very salty. The horses I saw living on it had bloated hay belly's and poor coats. It didn't seem to be a quality hay. Here in the south, Bermuda is a huge hay crop and while it seems much less dirty, I've opted to stay away from it here as well. I have read from several sources online that bermuda is suspected to be the cause of an increase in colics here in the southeast. That being said, none of the sources agreed on why. Some said it was the physical make up of the bermuda stem. Fine grass shoots off of one tougher main stem. Making it hard for the horses to chew effectively.(I guess kind of like celery, tender parts with stringy bits.) The lack of proper chewing caused it to form a plug in the lower intestine ensuing in a colic. Another source said it was the genetic make up of the hay. Something like the endophyte problems they have in some fescues. Then there is the local problem of the farms using a raw, liquid pig waste fertilizer to treat their hay fields...In any case bermuda is still on the "no feed" list where my horses are concerned. That makes hay purchasing quite the feat.

There has been alot of rain on the east coast this year, which is good for hay growing, but bad for hay curing and baling. The result is moldy hay or hay to mature to be either palatable or nutritious. Orchard and timothy are cool weather crops, doing best with cold nights and warm days. Neither tolerate heat particularly well so if the summer is hot early the hay crop is bad, if there is alot of rain the hay crop is bad, In other words if its not camelot-esque the hay crop will be difficult! So what to do? Well, research of course! What I came up with teff. teff is a relatively new hay crop from Ethiopia. Like bermuda it thrives in hot climates. Making it a great summer crop. Something that could grow and produce after orchard and timothy was finished for the season. It is a grain hay. So like oat hay, it produces a grain. Unlike oat hay it is a fine stemmed grass, whose nutrient value as a hay does not diminish once the grains are ripe. It resembles bermuda to the untrained eye and I in fact once sarcastically said as much to a poor feed store worker in Ca. He was showing me what I thought at the time where two identical bales of hay one being the usual affordable bermuda( which he knew I never fed) and one being something called Tiffany hay for several more dollars......I dismissed it out of had thinking he was trying to pull a fast one! (Sorry Bonbones! ;0)) Any how if I had only looked closer, I could have told the difference immediately. The teff/tiffany not having a tough main stem with shoots. Another way to have seen the difference would have been to cut open the bales. Bermuda falls apart very easily resembling grass clippings instead of flakes. Teff having individual grass leaves or stems holds its shape in a flake like most hay.

So far the horses are really enjoying their teff hay, leaving the grass patch they have access to in the mornings to eat their hay first. Something that was not the norm with the timothy I started with. Their manure looks good too. TMI , I know, but something we horse people have no qualms about discussing! I got this load tested, and while it came back in the normal ranges for teff in both protein and fiber/moisture and digestibility. It would raise eye brows with folks used to seeing 14 percent protein and above. I like my horses to be able to have hay in front of them all day. We have little grass here for foraging and will have less come winter. The teff hay fits the bill across the board for me and mine. I'll keep you posted on how it performs through the winter. Meanwhile give it a look!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Some favorite vids from youtube!
If you've never seen a speed racking horse, this one is the grand daddy of them all. I smile everytime I watch this one!
I dont condone bull fighting. This horse though, is fantastic in athletisism and expression.
Interesting.....wish they where both smiling! It is a very nice looking akhel teke (I can't help but think about monte python busting out somewhere in the video) The canter "ariers" (backwards) is a noble quest!
pas de duex, with some really nice moments , but the best part about it is the fun!

Monday, September 21, 2009

play time with ponies

Fun! Fun! Fun today! Boo and I started off with some liberty stuff, basically hanging out for a brushing in the big field while Cuervo ate hay nearby...that is challenging for a big gal who hoovers hay like a tornado from the movie twister. Not to mention "moi" has been very lax in that department, letting her eat her breaky while I groom....bad mommy bad mommy! anyhow, she was very excited to be picked first for once and so I thought why not. There where a few walk off attempts but she went smoothly into a back up when I called and backed right up under my brush! grin. So cute! Of course I couldn't resist and made the beeping noise that trucks use when they are backing up. Hey, if you ever have been up close to the big Boo you know what it looks like when that big bohunk is coming your way. It begs for that beeping noise.....

We progressed to some WESN (no lead rope) and while the canter departs where no where to be seen today her stops where very nice. She seems a bit creaky to me here, I'm wondering if 14 years old is the magic number to start with cortaflex. It helped Zee so much.... hmmm,I digress. We where having some nice praise time when Cuervo decided if pets where being doled out, he was going to get his...So much for the hay keeping him busy.(grin) Anyway we all had a great time leading at liberty ( one on each side) even through the "trot to stops". Then, pushing my luck, I tried for a canter to stop, and , well... the horses won that foot race and Boo for giggles decided Cuervo was not going to horn in on her time. So he got the hoof and I had to call Boo back into position,park her and then call Cuervy back. Since I'm still a bit icky from what ever I ate two days ago that whipped my butt. So bridle work was my next thought. Nice slow, bridle work in control, on the ground.....Boo had great self carriage from the gecko( that's" from the get- go" in Rog speak...wink wink) So we did some lateral work and just as I thought the hips trailed both directions. Since canter departs did not exist today I figured the hips would be "broken". So on that note, we worked on some disengaging the hips both sides via Hip shoulder shoulder and some backing with disengage thrown in the mix to speed up the backing and viola, hips came on line and we had one really nice depart to the left ...Goody, big pets and she was done for the day! Of course after all the love there was a bee line to the hay pile, it is Boo after all. Cuervo then got a little liberty leading fun with the addition of a nice little ditch jump compliments of the ten inches of rain we had last week. He was more than happy to jump it with me or after me, but the real challenge for him was to do it without me...mission accomplished on the third try! He is soooo precious. Anyhow I was getting woozy so had to call it quits but we had nice "trot to stops" all the way to the barn for a cookie. I love my ponies and am getting so spoiled being able to focus on only them for once!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The skinny on beet pulp

I was really surprised how much our trip across the country took its toll on both horses. Not that I was silly enough to believe that it wouldn't adversely affect them but in my previous travels with ponies, we didn't see the kind of weight loss that Cuervo( sweet boy) showed. He actually started to loose weight when we arrived. Now I'm no alarmist, but when I can see the shadows of his rib bones on his coat from the kitchen window, well, I freak out. So I start out kinda slow giving him more grazing time, adding 1/3 more hay to the piles I'm throwing, etc etc...nothing was happening...well that's not true Boo was gaining weight...grin. Anyway after weighing and throwing out several options I decided on fat first as a "quick" weight gain tool. Oil was going to be to dicey in this climate. Even if it didn't go rancid in the bottle, his dish would be a nightmare to keep clean with out a good dish washing twice a day, to inconvenient ( and to hard to explain to pet sitters. One must think ahead.) So a stabilized rice bran pellet by Nutrena was the winner! After reading the label and consulting with a Nutrena rep. on line, I began with only a 1/2 cup of the product twice a day. Like all fats, it could cause diarrhea. Not something I wanted to risk with an underweight horse. As I worked my way through two and a half weeks of this gradual increase, I was not noticing any change. He looked stringy and bony, his neck was shrinking and he was leaving hay in his stall. Darn it! So back to research my options. I was still increasing the fat, but wanted more weight gain from fiber and since neither seemed to be drinking like they used to in CA, I figured I would up the beet pulp I had always used t0 sweeten their buckets. I remember it being used back in Maryland to help hard keepers maintain weight, and to get more water into the horses in the winter. Nothing like a steamy warm bucket of beet pulp and bran to warm a tumtum when its blowing snow outside. What I wanted to know was why this was. Well turns out, beet pulp is some pretty cool stuff! A by product of the sugar beet industry(its what is left after the sugar is removed from the beet, to be used in all manner of sweetening in prepared foods) Beet pulp has fiber on par with most types of forage, protein that hovers around 8 percent, low in starch, high in calcium,low in phosphorous(6:1 ratio) and can safely replace 25% of a horses hay ration pound per pound. Neat huh? Now its not with out its detractors, horses prone to bladder stones should avoid the stuff due to the high calcium and balancing the calcium to phosphorous ratio in the ration can be a challenge because of the calcium as well. This dually noted,I increased the beet pulp and fat in equal levels. Cuervo actually drools for his bucket and is putting back the weight he lost in the move. His energy is back up, is coat is glossy, and he is far less dehydrated than he was a month ago. I soak the stuff for half a day before feeding it to optimise the water content, but according to the research I read, soaking is optional. In fact, its been used in sweet feeds for years unsoaked. If your horse bolts his food, the threat of choke is very real with a product as dry as this, but as far as it expanding in your horses stomach and causing colic, this is unsubstantiated. I like to keep my horses diet as natural as possible, forage,vitamins,salt and unprocessed grain (for nummy factor! ;0)) Beet pulp fits right into that philosophy for me, with wonderful results.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Horse Nanny....

I have had a little free time at night and for some reason have found myself watching(on more than one occasion) The Nanny. That's the show where Jo, the cute British nanny comes to someones home and teaches them how to retrain their kids! I love her! She would be a fabulous horse trainer. If you have seen the show you know how challenging the kids can be. There are screamers, hitters,whiners, biters, over active ones, needy ones, aggressive ones and sad ones. Its like walking down any horse barn aisle in the world. Jo brings some exercises with her, like the binky fairy, and time out chair/room/pillow but the most important tool she tries to teach is consistency. Without consistency there is chaos or should I say a return to chaos. The poor parents are by turn, exhausted, bewildered, hurt, angry, indifferent and sad. And while its easy to sit in my childless home, from my comfy chair and shake my head at their lack of parental skills, Its also easy to draw direct parallels to the people I meet with their troubled relationship with their horses. The nanny was recently at a home in England. The family had three girls, the oldest was nine. She was a pistol! She yelled, she hit, she scratched, and had quite the vocabulary to top it all off! She even physically and verbally attacked Jo! Something that I had never seen....most of the kids had tantrums but they where not aimed at anyone in particular. This kid was something else,and she spent alot of time in the quiet room as it was dubbed for this episode. In any case as is customary for the show, Jo observes, formulates a plan, implements the plan then leaves the parent alone with candid cameras to continue the course they must all practice. The return to old habits was astonishing fast. Even though the parents had utilized the exercises and seen results, when left to their own devices, exercises where given a new twist, rules where broken and the decline was immediate. I think the reason this show stuck with me over the others, is the advice that Jo gave the parents In the midst of two phenomenal outbursts from the nine year old. One was "Its not personal!" OK, horse owners if its not personal between mother and child its not personal between horse and rider! Its not, no matter how much if "feels" like it is....Taking a miscomunication personally only clouds the way to communication. Yes, its an outburst. Yes, it scarey! Yes, you want to throttle them..... I think the mother of this child , would have happily pushed her out into the path of an oncomeing double decker bus. Regardless of how you feel you must stick to the game plan, and be consistent. Now lucky for us, we can choose when and how to meet our horses in the class room. We should arrive there with our pom poms out, and big, wide, horse- loveing grins on our faces. If our Pony doesnt want to play that day, then we should say,"thats Ok pony, tomarrow will be a new day. I'll be back to help you through it." Sound to polly anna for you? Well, maybe it is, but try it. The way its been handled in the past has created the horse of today afterall.

The second bit of nanny advice I found so timely was "Dont engage in the bad behaviour" For this Mom and child, it meant alot less verbal interaction. Sounds strange, but the child would engage Mom in a shouting fest, the two nose to nose, battleing it out. When Mom calmly gave the child direction and followed through with any time out neccisary despite the protest and abuse, the child became calm. Hmmmmmm, pretty amazing huh? This was a major challenge for Mom, she had done things with the same way for nine long years, but she saw how her behavior directly affected her childs behavior so she kept at it and will continue to for the rest of the childs life. This kid held onto her bad habits hard, she even became worse..... But as the Nanny so intuatively noticed the child was objecting to change. She was scared and angry of what this change might mean, just as our horses may be. The thing that always strikes me when watching Jo in action is her inherent empathy for the child, even when one is calling her a bitch and scratching furrows into her arms, she still feels for the child. Its a habit we should all endevour to embrace no matter what species we are dealing with.