Chippewa Is Learning And Growing Each Day
Little baby Chippewa, the young foal who we have been featuring in the EP News, continues to do well.
According to Dr. Marie Richardson (Dr. C) “Last week, in Chip’s update, I wrote about Natural Horsemanship. So I thought that I would touch upon it a bit this week. Everyone has seen the old cowboy movies when someone jumps on a wild horse and “breaks” the horse to ride. This method of training basically causes the horse to fight back and be defeated, thus being dominated. This method was quite popular in the old west when economics and time dictated taking semi-wild horses and trying to train large numbers of a herd in a relatively short period of time. Natural
Horsemanship avoids fear-based training methods. The natural herd instincts of the horse are utilized in order to create a natural partnership.
For thousands of years horses have been prey animals and man has been a predator. Humans have their eyes in front of their heads and teeth that show when he talks or smiles. He stands upright (as if to strike), moves, and smells like a predator. Even what we eat makes us perceived to be predators. We eat meat and thus we have a smell of predator. To let a predator jump on their back goes against every instinct of a horse. We must convince a horse that we are actually a friendly and respected herd member and not a predator.
Horses communicate largely through body language. When we learn more about their body language we can communicate better with them. For example, a horse pins his ears back when agitated. We humans, by design, have our ears always pinned back. Some of us have ears that poke out more than others. SO for those people who got teased about their big ears as kids, in the horse’s world…you are OK!! Natural Horsemanship uses herd leadership and body language in order to earn the respect and cooperation of the horse.
In any case, this is the method by which I have started training Chip. We have some factors going for us. Chip already considers me part of the herd and has no fear of any movements that I make. We have to now earn his respect. Just like horses in a herd, for him to learn to respect our space we can’t let him believe that humans are pansies either. This is the hardest hill for me to climb. I WAS the one out there shoveling the snow this past weekend so that he would have a snow-free paddock. As I have said before, some lessons are better learned from other horses.
An interesting side-note, for those of you that don’t know, most horses change color as they age. Now, I have my opinion as to what color Chippewa will be but I would love to hear your guesses. (Maybe we should start a contest). Thanks again Estes Park for all of your support.”
Editors Note: The supplies and medication needed to treat little Chip are very expensive and the costs add up quickly.
If you would like to help out Dr. C with some of Chippewa’s medical expenses, you can drop off or mail a donation in care of the Friends of Chippewa Fund to the Animal Hospital of the Rockies, P.O. Box 2897, Estes Park, CO 80517. Any size donation would make a difference in the life of this young horse who has such a determined will to live.
Thank you and keep watching the EP News for further updates.