We had a visitor over the weekend.

Pattie came clear from Michigan to see us. Well not us exactly. She had a whole list of friends, people who begged to be included as she planned her trip that she is stopping along the way to visit.

Pattie is a fascinating woman. She has traveled the country, and the world even, on her bicycle. On top of that she is a trainer and raises future leader dogs, that’s puppies that are going to grow up to be service dogs. Although she has some horse training experience she is not a horse person. It may be her one failure 😉

Not being a horse trainer didn’t stop us from having lots of training things to talk  about. There are very few differences between training dogs and horses and any species for that matter.

Traditional horse trainers are gasping and snorting and coming out of their seats in rebellion at that comment right about now.

With positive reinforcement though it’s true.

We look for the behaviors we want and reward them. Lions are trained the same way as butterflies. Horses the same way as dogs.

And yes, people have trained butterflies. We talked about that in awe while she was here. Also that plants have been and can be trained. If we can train a plant to respond to a stimuli, not sun or water but a cue, then are they really that different from any other living being? Can we really justify eating them but not their animal brethren? What a joy to be able to talk about all these things I ponder regularly with someone else who thinks about the same sort of thing.

I brought out Harvey and turned him over to her. Without a clue as to what we have been working on she went right to it with him. They did great together. I tried to resist filming the whole thing. It did seem rude to make her work with my horse and film it all when she didn’t know the horse and was playing without a particular goal.

She hopped on a fourwheeler, her first time with those, and drove it along to check cows with us.

Then we saddled up and went for a ride. I knew she had worked with a couple of friends horses and assumed there had been riding time involved there too. As I presented her with Smoke I asked how much riding she had done. She said none. That didn’t stop her from hopping right on and figuring it out, just like she had Harvey on the ground and driving the fourwheeler. It was easy to see how she had managed all the other much more impressive challenges that she has conquered in her life. Smart and capable, she just did it. Sadly I didn’t get any pictures.

We had a wonderful ride. I enjoyed it at least. Hope she did too. She did a much better job at riding than many people I know who think they know how to ride.

She spent the night in her tent in our yard. I’m afraid I’m not a very good host. We don’t have room in the house and aren’t used to company.

The next morning she stayed with us for breakfast before heading off to see more people, do more things. We were happy to have her as long as we did. She has more of the world to conquer and we have chores.


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