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RE: Verbal Cues

Most people around here think that I'm slightly nuts, but then I also used
to ride alone ALOT until I got some others around to thinking that horses
could be ridden for more than 45 minutes in an arena. Probably as a result
of riding alone, I talk to my horses all the time about the footing or
whatever bizarre creature (like a policeman on a camel or a rattling sheet
metal donkey cart) and I find that my old girls who have had over 10 years
to get used to my idiocy seem to understand most of what I say in
conversation. One of my favourite commands is "Come" which can be upgraded
to "Get your butt over here right now!". This turned out to be very useful
recently when a friend wanted to see how her gelding would get along in a
paddock with other horses, so we tried putting my two older mares in with
him. They are wonderful etiquette teachers and at the same time don't bite
or kick. My mares didn't have halters on although the gelding did. The
experiment was moderately successful but we hadn't realised that my 26 yr
old Nimbus had just come into heat, and the excitement was a bit too much
for the gelding (gelded about a year ago). Rather than walking into a
situation of trying to grab the gelding who was wearing a halter, I opened
the gate of the paddock and called, "Nim, Dory! Come here now." Dory came
immediately but it took "Get your slutty butt out of there!" to have Nim
come somewhat reluctantly so that my friend's grooms could go in and calm
down the gelding. My friend was somewhat freaked out by the whole thing but
the guy who cares for my horses in his stable next door and I were laughing
our heads off. Friend's grooms, who don't know my horses that well yet were
very impressed, but it never occurred to me that they wouldn't come when
told to. I figure that they have to be at least as smart as dogs and dogs
have pretty big vocabularies.

Maryanne Stroud Gabbani
Cairo, Egypt

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