12600 Pelican Beach Road, Merrifiled, MN (218) 851-1937
Ministry, Ranch Life, The Boys

Asking vs. Telling

Who hates being told what to do? I sure do! From the time I can remember when someone told me to do something I resisted with all my soul. But when asked with a “suggestion” or “request” I was more apt to WANT to oblige.  Being asked to do something is always much better received than telling in any relationship, horse to human, and especially human to human.

Asking brings a much sweeter response to any relationship!

Patience is a Virtue

It’s funny how much I dislike math, more specifically, algebra! The old saying, “what you do to one side you have to do to the other.” Well, fancy that…the same is true in teaching a horse! Horses have an immature corpus callosum, which is the link between the two sides of the brain. So when I work with my horse and I teach on one side I must do the same to the other.  For example, when I ASK my horse to move his hind end on his right side, I must do the same on the other. Asking, get a response, receive a reward for even a try, back off, try again, and if he moves it over reward and love him up! Then do the same thing on the other side.  The same holds true for human relationships. This reminds me of the verse in John 16:12 when Jesus says to his disciples, “I still have many things to say to you, but you can not bear them now.”  I think about one example of when I am sharing the gospel or truth from His word with someone they may only be able to handle a little bit at a time and to hear the same thing again until received well.

Training is a special time

Being a Partner vs a Boss

Horses are herd animals meaning they always need another herd bound animal. They are not loners. We have two horses and when we are on a trail ride if one of us travels further away from the other they will begin to neigh at each other and even get a little pushy to want to go closer to their buddy. It is what is called “buddy sour”.  As much as we work on this we still struggle with gaining the partnership relationship vs getting bossier. If my horse knows I will keep him safe and am his partner in this relationship, he will respond in a way to show he doesn’t have to have his herd mate with him all the time. I don’t have to have a bossy way about my communication with him to keep him focused on the ride and not worry as he can trust me. Partnership in a relationship vs being overpowering in a conversation or “winning” will lead to one wanting to run away for safety.  We work better together in human relationships when we work as partners seeking trust and respect for one another. 

Seek the Fruit of Kindness

Over the years I have seen many ways people handle their horses both in training and in riding on trails. There are ones who have the “breaking” mentality where kindness is not present in the human. Training is a special unique relationship between horse and human. It’s asking, being patient, and being a partner. I have a special horse with a very unique relationship because it is based on being kind to one another. Human relationships respond in the same way. Kindness is one of the Fruits of the Spirit and there is a reason for that. It’s always well received and builds lasting relationships.

My first day with my new buddy…Bokoda Joe

Communication is Key to Relationships

Boy, when I don’t let my horse know where I am and sneak up on him disaster is at hand! A horse is a prey animal and is always nervous about a predator attacking them so when one sneaks up on a horse you will get what you deserve…a kick…a rear…or a blowout run! The same holds with my relationships with others. Being open with my thoughts and feelings especially in conflict is huge to understanding one another. It helps build the relationship to be stronger and overall healthier. Trust is key in any successful relationship…how do I know…I learned from my special horse!

Since I got Bokoda I have learned so much about relationships! Bokoda has indeed taught me many things. One thing for sure I am thankful for is his patience as it surely isn’t natural for a horse to trust a human. But his love for me is evident by the sweet response of faithfulness in every day! Especially in ministry! Thanks Bokoda we sure do have a special bond!

Faithful friend!

Peace in Christ and in all your relationships!

Love deeper, talk sweeter,

Lee and Bokoda

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Ranch Life, Ranch Life
Training a dog is easy…when you make it FUN and by using choices! I love training! I love training most when Cruz is doing what he loves. Agility or herding. Being a border collie his mind and body is working all the time. We have to use an “off switch” word to settle him down or to let him know we are finished. We chose the word “all done”. It works. He immediately takes a deep sigh and lays down. Literally, he could run all day so it is important for his health and our sanity to have this off switch. When I train on the obstacle course with him, we use a toy for his motivation. I am not keen on treat rewards in dog training and especially with this black and white cutie. Cruz is motivated by play so play he gets! I begin by training him to stand in the box. If he moves out of the box before I say “ready”, I direct him back to the box, make him sit, and again we try. No punishment or “NO”, just simply show him what I want and his reward is the toy for sitting in the box. He is smart and learns very quickly, but some days this alone may take a few more times. He must look at me, wait in the box and I will give him a toy when he sits well. Once he has that down, we move to the first obstacle. We first work on the weaving course. If he does it right I throw his toy. He fetches it and we start again in the box. We do this about 2-3 times all with no bumps or misses. Then I add another obstacle. Usually the jump. Again we do 2-3 times. Box, weave, jump. If he does it with no mistakes, I throw his toy and we play. The last obstacle is the tunnel. Which he LOVES! Cruz will often just run it just to do it. So it was easy to train him by just saying, “tunnel” and no prob…through the tube he went like a flash! Training is really about understanding the personality of your dog and what he or she loves. If they are motivated by treats, break them up small so you have plenty. If they love to play use a toy. Also, training is about giving choices. When they choose the right thing, that is what you want, there is a reward like a treat of a toy. If they choose their own way, which is not what you want you to redirect to the place where the right choice is. Waiting for them to make that choice is hard. They may take awhile doing lots of wrong choices, but hang in there until they make the right one and reward quickly. NOW, obedience training is a whole new thing. I don’t use treats or toys. This is a time for walking at my side, coming when called, laying down for a period of time, and moving out and laying down. The only reward is my voice. You know why? Because in a crisis your voice is all you will have! You may not have a toy or treat when your dog is chasing a squirrel and heading toward a car. Or you may not have a toy or treat when the UPS man comes and he/she needs to stay. Dogs love your voice of praise just as much as the other rewards and it is important to use it. I have trained many dogs in my lifetime and find the voice and a warm friendly hand is the sign of true love between friends. Our training time has different pictures for the needs they are to meet. A well-trained dog walks at your side without pulling ahead (leads to many problems) or lagging behind. A dog that is secure stops a bad behavior when told, ONCE. You will have a happier dog and family when your 4 legged friend has boundaries. Enjoy your training and if you need advice, I am happy to help. Love deeper, talk sweeter, Lee
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