Aug 30, 2012

Small Therapeutic Doses

This is how we taught Bryan The Rules.

At the time all the boys lived in stalls. So first thing they would all go out. But usually before they went out they would go in to the cross ties for a quick groom, check, what have you. I don’t boot so they are always bare legged but they would get fly sprayed or whatever.

B had a total thing about the cross ties. Well, B had total things about a lot of things but he had a *big* total thing about the cross ties. My cross ties at the time faced the row of stalls. But behind them was a large lawn, with a lake, and ducks, and birds, and frogs, and a driveway. All of these things periodically made NOISES. In Bryanville, NOISE was bad. And noise *behind* you was DEATH. Of course, I am making that up as I have no way of actually knowing that. But that was sure how he acted. Or over reacted, as the case may be.

He would always walk *in* to the cross ties, but halfway around would leap *out* of the cross ties. Of course, since the human leading him in was right there, said human would go flying. Sure, you could muscle him around and push him back in, smacking him on the shoulder and telling him to get over himself. I certainly did that lots and lots of times. But I wanted to fix him, not just bully him. So we had frequent cross tie training sessions that went as follows.

Bryan faces the cross ties. His head is up and he is searching the horizon. He knows the ducks, frogs, birds, and cars are behind the cross ties, waiting for their moment for DEATH. I have a chain over his nose. I do not shank him or anything, but I softly pull down on it; I ask him to bring his head down. That’s all. Just to bring his head down. He gets, in a week or two, that a soft chain pressure means put your head down. Of course, like a shot, the head is instantly back up. So we work, for a long time, on put your head down, and keep it down. For one second. For two seconds. For 30 seconds.

When he would put his head down and keep it down for a second or two or ten, we would take a step toward the cross ties. Up would go the head again, since now he was One Step Closer to DEATH. Self-Preservation Perusal Process Re-Activated SIR! And so we would ask, again, for the head to go down. And we would do this over, and over, and over. One step at a time, head down. Until we were half way in, or part way in, but before we turned around.