Friday, November 13, 2009

our anscestors must have been nuts

We have just been watching a show on the tv on the
evolution of humanoids and it showed the usual bits about
when tools were first used and made etc. all the
basic national geographic blah blah about what
was the reason for our ancestry's success and subsequently our being here. What was not mentioned was that somewhere along the line of this evolutionary changes one of these humanoids must have blown a fuse and decided they were sick and tired of carrying their mate's stuff around on their backs and started to use their newly increased brain size to figure a way to make their lives easier. They must've looked at that herd of early horses and said "how hard could it be to domesticate that horse over there and make it work for you." Right. That's a kind of the screwy logic ... the part about the horse being scared of everything with a strong tendency to leave, or fight with its hard hooves and some sharp teeth, must've been a small point to them. And like I wrote yesterday about those defensive tools to survive.... who the heck first got one of these animals to stand still long enough to get a rope on,, oh wait was rope even invented yet. Probably not. Then how do you communicate with an animal with a brain of grossly smaller capacity than homo erectus and no rational thought patterns that could bite, kick, buck and turn your day into pure misery, if not kill you? It amazes me that anyone ever got horses domesticated without the entire group attempting it dieing and not being able to pass along techniques that make it possible today to continue this madness.
Today I rode my young gelding, Atlas, who is doing remarkably well with his training. He is biddable and sweet and fairly uncomplicated. That being said he is where he is in his training because I have spent an enormous amount of my time and adrenalin to get his brain to run in a slow mode where his thought patterns now move at a snails pace instead of light speed, which is where it was when I first began work with him. He was scared of things , imagined or real, and he left. Fast. Not good for my neck but good business for my bone cracking chiropractor.
It is such a long road to train a horse for our uses, farm, dressage, pleasure. It is the first months which are critical to it becoming a "good" horse or a "bad" one, or totally useless. The folks who ride who have never started a young one from scratch have zero idea of what has to happen to make this creature safe enough so they can buy this nice young prospect and then take it to a show and come away with a blue ribbon.
Every time I start a new one down that road to being a useful animal in my world, it takes such an enormous amount of my physical and mental energy to just try and get it right. I try to limit mistakes that will set the training back or doom it. How did our ancestors do it with no books nor instructors.. and bigger question is why try. I suppose the mate breathing down their necks with lots of stuff to get carried around was high enough motivation. I am glad they did and were successful. I do have to admit there is nothing like the communication between with an engaged horse that has learned to learn and is relaxed and comfortable in sharing the job with you. That is sublime.

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