20161119_130928It’s cold out, snowed a little a couple of days ago. A bit of a shock after being in the seventies. 8 and I are sick, I’m sure the others will be sharing it with us soon enough. All of which leads to not playing with Rusty anytime too soon. So…

My husband has no interest in horses. I like that in a marriage. When most men think they know something they feel the need to impose their knowledge on everyone, wives especially. I always scoff when I see a girl looking for a boyfriend who rides.

I think we have a deeper understanding of each others hobbies without necessarily sharing them. Well I think I do at least, he never really does more than nod, and look confused when I point out the similarities.

He is a computer guy, a brilliant one in my opinion. We have all sorts of unusual technology around our house making life more fun.

He will not beĀ  bound by the constant constraints of Windows. It is common place, beset by viruses, stifling to someone who wants to get the most, the best, out of a computer. I compare it to the old fashion bucking out, rein yanking type of riding. The people who grew up watching John Wayne and think the neck reining involves the horses nose stuck in the air and turned away from the direction they are going, stopping with a jerk of the reins, mouth open, eventually drug to a halt. Never heard of leg cues, and wouldn’t use something so silly if they had.

I was going to say grew up with but that’s not true, I didn’t grow up with any type of computer, so I come from a Mac family and it’s what I use. They are a far better riding type of computer. Smooth, run pretty good. A horse that listens well, moves off your legs, can turn on its quarters and stops pretty good to seat and leg. And that’s how I’ve ridden most of my life. I thought I could make a pretty good horse.

But then I met my husband, he’s a Linux guy. He can make a computer do just about anything. He never keeps things factory, not computers, not phones or anything else that can be tinkered with. He collects Raspberry Pi’s like some people collect, well, horses. He uses them throughout the house for fascinating little projects, music in the kids rooms, our TV, you name it and he can think of a way to make it cooler.

And that brings us to clicker training. Our horses go from a pretty good ride, they listen to us and don’t run away when we go out to catch them, to infinitely programmable. Instead of being stuck with the operating system they come with we can personalize them down to the finest detail.

I’ve taught my horses to paw on command ever since Coyote taught me how and we put it on a cue some fifteen or so years ago. But that is not a Spanish walk. With my clicker and a cookie I can ask him to raise his foot to an exact height at a tiny cue. Theoretically of course, we are close but not there yet. Before I could ask them to move off of pressure by removing the pressure. Now, I still remove the light pressure and offer a click so he knows exactly what he is being rewarded for. Progress is faster and he runs to the gate and begs to come play when he sees me outside.

As with Linux some knowledge of programming is required. Steps need to be broken down into their tiniest parts, we see clearly every line of the programming instead of the user interface. That is in no way a bad thing. Shouldn’t we know how our horses operate instead of getting on, yanking and pushing and expecting them to work?

One thought on “Similarities

  1. TEllingson

    some of us are happy with less. We can\’t figure out all the extra things. Luckily, horses are pretty accepting. Maybe some of them can\’t figure out all the extra either. You taught Smoke to paw, I don\’t know what it looks like, as he only does it when I am on him, but we can do what feels like a Spanish walk. Thank you! Now we can touch a toy on command, but Smoke will not pick it up yet. We don\’t use a clicker, just the word \’toy\’. Thank you for that. It is very nice to have something to do with him while he can\’t be ridden. The family came to the barn today and both kids loved holding the toy while Smoke touched it. I know this is not on topic, and totally agree with your last paragraph, but it is connected and I am glad you are sharing your knowledge and giving Smoke things to do!

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