Posted by: shannonc | March 12, 2009


I see quite a bit of negative speculation about various ex-racehorses, how they must  have been ear twitched, brought along too quickly, etc., so I just have to give a shout out to whomever Pippermint’s people were – a great deal of care must have been taken with him.  I think he was born with a good brain and then brought along to make the most of it.  One of the things I like best about him is his confidence.  He doesn’t understand everything, but he never seems fearful when he approaches new challenges.

We’ve had some strange weather here – a couple of days in the upper 40s and 50s that warmed the ground, followed by a quick-cooling and a snowstorm that left odd looking slush-mud-ice in places.  Maybe 20 feet outside Pip’s paddock yesterday, a drainage stream had developed under intact snow.  It looked like a foot-thick brown snake lurking under flat cover.  When I led him out, he stopped and gave it an odd look.  He didn’t grow roots or stop obstinately, he just seemed to be wondering what in the heck this was.  I hopped across and gave him a minute to think about it when he didn’t follow.  Then I clucked to him and he understood that he was supposed to move his feet, but clearly wasn’t too sure how to best go about answering the question, so he calmly began trying to find a way around the thing.  I let him pick a spot that looked better to cross and praised him when he did, then went back to the original section (now going in the other direction).  He hesitated then stepped over very carefully, giving it plenty of clearance but also staying out of my lap.  Pat, pat, good boy, big fuss.  Then back to the original direction.  Eyes forward, staying close to his head, no pressure on the lead, and a little encouragement.  This time he didn’t pause at all.  Okay, he said, no problem, I get it now!  Smart, smart Pippermint!  I broke out a carrot and we carried on happily into the barn with the horse feeling quite good about himself!

I always try to make time to take advantage of little opportunities like this.  I think it’s possible that the 5 minutes we spent 20 feet outside his paddock was very possibly more meaningful to our work together than the 15 minutes of longeing we did later.



  1. He’s a smart boy no doubt. :)

  2. Horses are learning all the time! Even when walking to turnout! ;)

  3. Smart boy and very smart girl :-)

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