Horses love a routine. It helps them feel secure to know what is next. Over the years, when I have riders coming to the ranch, I have created a routine that makes the job easier.
There are 5 horses I can depend on to be consistently easy-going. Preacher, Spur, Emory, Gator and Sabo. All of the ranch geldings are kept in a pasture during their off days, so when I need them I have to hook up to a trailer and go out and get them.
Weekend after weekend, I do pretty much the same thing. There may be 9 horses in the pasture but those 5 are the ones I use the most often.
When I get out to the pasture, I point to and speak the names of the horses I will want to load in the trailer. I walk up to each of them and grab a hunk of mane and we walk to the trailer and they hop in. I don’t position them, they will work it out. They all hop in and I close the gate and head to the barn.
When I get to the barn, I open the gate to the trailer and they step out and walk to the pen they will stay in for the next few days.
Of course, they know that good things happen at the barn. It’s spa day for them. A bath, a good scrubbing, mane and tail combed out and fly spray. What more could you want?
But when the weekend is over, it’s the same thing in reverse. They hop into the trailer to be taken back out to the pasture. Freedom, grazing on green grass and the rest of the “herd”.
People ask me how I train horses to load into the trailer without a halter and why they are so easy to catch. Consistency.
I remember Ray Hunt talking about how his Dad’s plow horses use to walk into the barn and get into position to have the harnesses put on without any direction.
Oh, there had been direction, but it had come over the years, day after day, the same routine.
The horses know their job and they like the consistency.
Kids thrive with consistency, I thrive with consistency. I like to depend on certain things in my life and one of those is knowing that the people who I think love me, are going to be the same no matter what is going on. I can count on them to react or respond in a consistent manner.
Life will throw you a curve ball. I’m thankful for my “consistent” companions.