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Mental Morsels With Dr. Cearley


Tired of Your Coworkers? 6 Reasons to Hire a Dog

Mosie_Meet

Jamie Cearley, PhDMeet Mosie, my little helper on the farm. 

We spend most of our days working on a wide variety of projects all geared toward keeping our small horse farm running smoothly. Some folks think Mosie isn’t much help when they see me struggling and slaving away while she lays nearby and sleeps, or worse yet has her little snoot right up in whatever I am trying to accomplish. But what they don’t know about Mosie is I would rather work with my dog than most people.

Here are six reasons why:

1. She has great enthusiasm for anything we are doing.

Mosie is always excited to start a new project. She has to see every tool I get out, follow me on every trip back to the barn, she absolutely loves it when we dig, which is far too often, and best of all she behaves as though horse manure is chocolate. You simply could not ask for a more positive enthusiastic work partner. No complaints or dragging around from Mosie, she literally jumps right into whatever the task.

Mosie_Dig

2. She has always got my back.

Mosie may appear to be a cute, sweet puppy, but deep inside she is a fierce fighter watching over her territory and her alpha with keen awareness. Working alone on the farm, she provides me with a sense of confidence knowing she is constantly looking out for our safety. Rather than seeking an opportunity to stab me in the back, I am at ease knowing she has my back covered.

Mosie_OnWatch

3. She realizes sometimes simply getting out of the way is the best way to help.

One thing fascinates me about Mosie; she is never discouraging. She shows me being an encouragement to others doesn’t necessarily require action on my part, sometimes you just simply need to get out of their way and let them thrive.

Mosie_GoodGirl

4. She knows sometimes just hanging out and being beside you is all you really need.

If you have ever worked on a farm long you know the frustration it can bring. Some days it can seem as though things are breaking simply because you walked by. Farm care is not only hard physical labor, it can also wear on you mentally as it seems we are in a never-ending battle with entropy. When I have reached my limit, just can’t carry any more, pull any harder, reach any farther and crash to the ground in exhausted despair, Mosie is there in seconds. Her little snoot roots under my arm, and she smiles her dog smile at me, as if to say, “It's OK, just take a break and you will get it done.” She teaches me when people lose heart, or are in a time of anguish, they don’t always need your words; your presence alone will work wonders.

Mosie_AllOK

5. She realizes the need for balance in life.

Mosie likes to play fetch. She also likes to wrestle and just plain run as fast as she can for no apparent reason other than it feels good. Periodically, she suckers me into stopping my work and engaging in play with her for a few minutes. Maintaining a healthy work life balance is natural to her. Mosie will never become a workaholic for sure.

Mosie_TennisBall

6. She sticks with me until the bitter end.

Some days on the farm are long. We don’t work a typical eight-hour day. This does not seem to bother Mosie. No matter how long the project takes, she is there. Her loyalty to the job and her coworker is unwavering. It is funny how much it can mean to know someone will not give up on you, no matter how long it may take you to figure out the solution to a problem, or finish a project.

Mosie_Waiting

I would not trade my Mosie when it comes to having a little helper on the farm. It intrigues me how much help she is in spite of having no speech, no hands, no degree, and no trade skills. Interesting, isn’t it? Dogs are cool coworkers. 

Would you like to read more stories like this? Please visit my website for more Mental Morsels with Dr. Cearley. Learning life principles from the farm.

19 Clever Uses for Hay You May Be Missing Out On

Jamie Cearley, PhDHay production is not for wimps. Don’t let this grueling job merely feed animals in winter. Get more from your hay this year by benefiting from one or more of these creative uses.

1. Spare Seating. Grab an old quilt and this hay couch can be made in a matter of minutes with just a few square bales.

spare seating 

2. Babysitter. Something is just plain captivating about hay (below left).

3. Time out. Hay can be used for one of today’s most popular child discipline strategies (below right).

babysitter timeout

4. Photography Prop. Try something besides the “leaning against the old barn” scene for pictures. With hay bales the possibilities are endless. Get creative.

photography prop 

5. Egg cushion. No more cracked eggs! Simply place some loose hay in the bottom of a container.

egg cushion 

6. Hay ride. So this one is a bit more common, yet little can beat a hay ride on a cool fall night.

hayride 

7. Substitute for gym membership. Save money and lose weight with hay.

gym membership 

8. Hands-on lessons in history. Have youngsters recreate the Egyptian pyramids, or a Native American burial mound. This is a great way to put learning to a purpose.

history 

9. Physics lessons. Hay bales can teach about basic principles of physics such as gravity, and the laws of thermodynamics.

physics lessons 

10. Structural engineering lessons. If there is a future engineer in the family, this is a great place to start. Bigger than Lincoln logs, and more useful than Legos. Not to mention less painful to step on.

structural engineering 

11. Bedding for other animals.

animal bedding 

12. Find a mate. If a girl or boy enjoys just hanging out on a pile of hay and talking for hours, this is a good indication of character.

romance 

13. Saddle rack. Cheap and found around every corner.

saddle rack

14. Cat naps. Even the barn cats can benefit from hay.

cat naps

15. Making frightening images of a boss or mother-in-law (below left).

16. Keep children from fighting. It is virtually impossible for two youngsters to fight while pushing a round bale (below right).

frightening images  fighting children

17. Place to park your bicycle.

park the bicycle 

18. Art canvas.

art canvas 

19. Music stage. Set up a nice stage for a fall fest. In just a few minutes this stage can be built and decorated with fall décor. Ready to jam.

stage

20. What is the 20th great use for hay? Please share your ideas.

Would you like to read more stories like this? Please visit my website for more Mental Morsels with Dr. Cearley. Learning life principles from the farm.

Talking Horses? Reading Horse Facial Expressions

Pleased_Horse

If his mouth doesn’t say it, his face surely will. Twister was always such an expressive horse. He would draw, ears pricked, eyes soft, and lips relaxed as he approached his human partner. It was clear, Twister was pleased. It was also clear when he was afraid. The white sclera of his Appaloosa eyes would show like the morning sun as a tell-tale sign of his concern.

We understood many of Twisters facial expressions. Still, he left us to wonder about much of what he was saying, yet was never heard by human eyes. He was the leader of the herd. So much in control, he rarely exhibited any behavior beyond an ear flick. We often referred to his ruling the herd by Jedi mind tricks. His language was too discrete for our untrained eyes. Careful observation and study opens human eyes, enabling communication with the horse using their language. Many horse students have a growing vocabulary on which to draw.

Horse_In_command_FacialExpression

Still, our understanding of the subtleties of this language is deepening. Researchers at the University of Sussex, have made interpreting horse facial expressions easier (Jen Wathan, 2015). Studies have documented human facial muscles, expressions produced, and what emotions those expressions indicated. But no such data had existed for the horse, until recent years. In the August 2015 issue of PLOS, scientists describe EquiFACS (Equine Facial Action Coding System). Using EquiFACS they identified expressions based on facial musculature and muscle movement. This marks the first documentation of all facial configurations of the horse.

With the intricate muscling of the human face, we have the most cataloged expressions at 27. Dogs, our companion predators, have 16 and chimpanzees 13. Cats come in with a whopping 21, albeit, due to a wide range of whisker and ear movement. Many were not expecting the researcher’s findings rendering the horse with 17 varieties. Yet, those of us in the horse lover’s community would have expected no less.

Even more interesting are the many similarities between humans and horses expressions and musculature. Will these similarities in muscle structure and action extend to similarities in emotion? One example where this correlation holds true is between the showing of the whites of the eye and fear. A second similarity lies in the ability of both horse and human to raise the skin above their eyes. This action appears to correlate with negative emotional states as well. Will other similarities, like tongue showing or nostril dilation, elicit emotions like humans? It will be most interesting to find out.

Then there are the differences, just as important to understand. Much of a horse’s facial expression depends on their ears. Humans have some control over ear movement, but the role they play in our expressions is trivial. It is unsafe to assume similar musculature will always correlate with similar emotional context. Understanding the emotional context of these 17 facial expressions is a worthwhile task.

No studies to date have investigated what expressions may correlate with positive emotional experiences. It is useful to recognize fearful expression as well as those that are neutral. Yet, a catalog of positive expressions is necessary to complete the vocabulary. After all, recognizing pleasure is just as important as seeing fear. Recognition of positive expressions would complete our understanding for the welfare of the horse. 

There is little doubt horses understand what is written on our faces.  So much so, we sometimes credit horses with being able to read thoughts. In reality it isn’t thoughts at all they are reading. Rather, they are masters at reading not only facial expressions but body language as a whole. Once again, human egos get checked at the gate. Horses don’t need scientific studies, or hours of video to know what is written on our faces. They are aware of how thoughts change muscles which change expressions. We are just beginning to communicate with our horses. True communication being two or more individuals sharing and understanding an idea. Humans have a long ways to go. Continuing research like this will increase our abilities beyond what is currently possible.

Scientists continue using EquiFACS to link expressions with emotion. Validation of expressions will advance horsemanship and our quest to communicate with horses. Indeed we will enter into the conversation on an even deeper level.

Horse_FacialExpression

If only Twister were still here to tell us one more time all he wanted heard by his human. “Some people talk to animals. Not many listen though. That’s the problem." —A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh.

How to Have a More Fulfilling Christmas

Jamie Cearley, PhDchristmas teddy bear

What if I told you that you were getting ripped off during Christmastime? A little abrasive I know, but many fall for a make-believe form of the holidays that leaves their emotions and their wallets hollow on December 26th.

Try these 8 actions to ward off those who would leave you feeling slighted come January, and have a marvelous, merry Christmas indeed.

1. Determine you will not go into debt for presents. The pressure of our materialistic society can be crushing at Christmas. The marketers are relentless in their quest. If only they would leave kids out of the equation, then maybe we would stand a chance. But no, children are the focus of their efforts. Indeed, Santa’s elves are no more than creditors in cute disguises with squeaky voices. How can you escape this pressure? Here are just a few strategies to help:

• Set a budget early on. Determine how much you have to spend on Christmas and stick to it.
• Do not use credit to buy presents.
• Get away from the media. When you can, turn off the television, the radio, or any other avenue where marketing is thrust upon you or your children.
• Stay out of the stores as much as possible.
• Kids do not need a multitude of presents to open on Christmas morning. Don’t fall for this lie. People of all ages are only capable of focusing on a small number of things at a time. A few thoughtful, quality gifts are far better than overwhelming a anyone with the number of gifts they have to open.

2. Realize you cannot buy Christmas. Take some time to contemplate what you think you should be so merry about come December 25th, anyway. Is it tangible? How do you get it? Is it a feeling? Is it an attitude? How much does it cost? Is it even real, or just fantasy? Most would say one or more of the following: Christianity, Jesus Christ, family, celebration, and gratitude. Priceless and joyous are each one.

3. Free gifts are the best gifts. Here are some ideas for low to no-cost “gifts.” All are sure to make memories, not anxiety.

• Pick up the phone. Give an old friend a call.
• Pack up the family and take a day trip to visit a friend or family member.
• Visit a nursing home or hospital.
• Take some vacation days from work and stay home.
• Go for a walk with a friend or family member.
• Make something from scratch with someone you love.

4. Remember those grieving. Remembering a grieving friend is a fantastic way to give a slap in the face to the unimportant facets of Christmas and re-focus on what matters most. For those who are missing a loved one, the holidays can be tough to manage. Knowing someone is thinking of them in a special way and recognizes their agony is priceless.

5. Forget about self. Most, if not all counselors would agree that serving others is beneficial to our personal psyche. There is something about giving of ourselves in any form to another that breathes life into us. Maybe this is the key to getting what you want out of Christmas after all — seek to make someone's Christmas merry and bright and forget about your own.

6. Show authentic kindness. The world needs more authentic kindness, not the phony kind. The real deal takes time, respect, and humility. Learn about phony kindness and how to be genuine in your kindness.

7. Make Christmas about less: Less stuff, less debt, and less busyness. Contentment can be hard to find at Christmas. If we are not careful, our stuff can begin to own us instead of the other way around. Less stuff brings more space, resources, and time. The irony comes to light of how much more we can have when we have less.

8. Make Christmas about more: More family time, more conversation, more listening, more service to others, and more giving. Throw in a dash of play, and you just might leave Christmas gratified rather than disgruntled.

Don’t feel cheated again this January. Get control over your spending, forget about yourself, serve someone, spread kindness, and make Christmas about more. May you start off the New Year pleased with your spending and feeling as though Christmas was indeed merry and bright.

Make Kids Great Again: Ignore Them

Jamie Cearley, PhDKids_550x550

Kids have a lousy reputation these days. Some of this standing is unjustified. There are some dandy kids out there. Yet I am afraid many times a bad reputation is warranted.

I don’t have kids. Wait! Before you stop reading; I do remember being one. I always knew I was a big part of my mom’s world. I also knew I was not her whole world. Nor was I even at the top of her list. For this I am forever grateful.

I started to say I have a lot of friends with kids, but that isn’t true. I have some friends with kids but they tend to be parents like my mom. Most others I know with kids are impossible to be friends with because their kids are their entirety. Control of everything they say, do, buy, and everywhere they go belongs to their kids. In short, their kids are their lives, their sole existence; dictating their every move.

I feel sorry for kids who grow up in this environment, thinking the world revolves around them. The future is not bright for such a soul entering adulthood. I also feel sorry for those moms who have become empty shells of their former selves.

Perhaps it is social pressure from our society where so many children are outright neglected driving this focus. Or maybe it is the stigma surrounding “working mothers” who are guilt-ridden for not being “stay-at-home moms.” Those are two paradoxical labels I will for the life of me never come to terms with. Perhaps moms who want to do well are so laden by our culture, their guilt drives them to behave this way. Whatever the reason, excluding those who neglect their children outright, I beg you to pay less attention to your kids.

I learned priceless lessons because my mom wasn’t paying attention.

Here are 11 Worthy Lessons Taught When You Pay Less Attention to Your Kids:

1. Listen when adults are talking; you just might learn something. Being silent can have great benefits.
2. Not everything you do is amazing. My mom kept her praise in reserve. High achievement was an expectation, as was responsibility, and hard work. Praise was held in reserve for those occasions when it would mean the most, not made commonplace. In the adult world, gold stars are a rare prize.
3. The conversation isn’t always about me. Learn how to talk about something besides yourself; maybe even something bigger than yourself. Today’s version of this would include selfies. My mom taught me to live my life, not document it.
4. Eat what you are given. It isn’t easy to cook all those meals, and yes, the meals aren’t about me either. It just may be someone else’s day to have their favorite.
5. How to entertain yourself with nothing. Have some imagination. It isn’t always your show. This skill comes in handy almost daily as an adult.
6. Enjoy the outdoors. That is where my mother thought children belonged. It was not beyond her to send us out in morning and lock the door behind us. I realize our world is not as safe as it used to be, but the principle still applies.
7. Learn how to play. Not to push buttons on a screen but to play indeed. Learn what play feels like.
8. When it is your money, you are tighter with it. If Mom was buying it was a must. If I was buying I was self-sufficient, in need nor want for anything, not even chocolate.
9. Respect others' desire to be alone. Sometimes even moms want to be alone. That’s a desire we would all enjoy honoring.
10. Respect others' space and possessions. We did not have toys all over the house, nor did we have a room full of them. We have gone from the concept of a toy box to a play room. I have seen houses where there are toys in every room from wall to wall and even out into the yard. I can remember having a bicycle. No, wait, it was my sister’s bicycle. I did not have one of my own; not until I was about 12. I remember my dad emphasizing we were not to leave the bicycle outside overnight as this would show lack of appreciation by not caring for it and putting it away out of the weather. I know my future employers and spouse appreciated my having learned this lesson.
11. Respect private space. We did not go into my parents’ bedroom whether they were in there or not. If you did it had better be an emergency. It was their private space. We respected it as such.

I find it fascinating how often our plans backfire on us. Often parents think if they offer a total self-sacrifice for their kids somehow they will turn out better. When in fact total self-sacrifice leads to kids who are totally selfish.

Not having kids means I am not into giving parenting advice. Go ahead and put your comment below anyway, I can take it. Yet, looking from the outside in, I see both healthier moms and kids when the kids are not their mom’s whole world. At least I can say as an adult I am indebted to my mom for all those times she was not paying attention. Thanks, Mom.

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Smackdown Farm Boy vs Disney Prince

Jamie Cearley, PhDSmackdown_FarmBoyvsDisneyPrince

Girls waiting on their prince to arrive, sweep them off their feet to the castle, and live happily ever after: you might want to read this while getting your nails done. Let’s take a closer look at these would-be prizes and how a Farm Boy just might be a better catch.

Charming: Cinderella

First, Prince Harry, better known as Prince Charming, the love interest of Cinderella. We start off thinking this guy is quite suitable marriage material. After all he first meets Cinderella riding her massive Andalusian horse bareback and bridleless in a dress through the woods. Saying nothing of the matter, he is more concerned she is alone. Huge points here. He also confirms everything she says is right in their brief conversation, more points. Besides, this guy rides a black Friesian. Sounds like a done deal right? Oh, but then he takes a major turn for the worse as he develops a type of foot fetish and becomes obsessed with glass slippers.

Farm Boy has all the good qualities of Charming but will bring you boots instead of glass slippers. Life is better in boots and Farm Boy knows it. Glass slippers are impractical for mucking stalls, riding horses, or just about anything else worth doing. I’m giving two points to Farm Boy. One on the probability he likes horses and another knowing he is a boot lover.

Charming=3 Farm Boy=2

Florian: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Next, there is the original Prince. To those who have succumbed to the marketing tactics of Disney’s Princess franchise you might know his name is Prince Florian. For those of us who have lives, he is just The Prince from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. This guy is so flaky he falls hopelessly in love with a girl because he hears her singing. He then proceeds with the ostentatious pick up tactic of joining her in song. He must have been like one of those less-than-talented guys on America’s Got No Talent, because rather than impress her, he sends her into a panicked flight to her castle. What does he do? Well, he keeps singing of course. The guy cannot take a hint: Florian zero.

We must give credit to the Prince for persistence, although misguided, and even a little frightening. Farm boy is also persistent but in a far more useful way. He isn’t nigh just for a sing along. Farm boy knows how to stick with it when it matters most. He is beside you for the long haul of life. He may not be able to sing but if he can’t, chances are he won’t try.  Farm boy gets one point for persistence and another for knowing when to quit.

Florian=0 Farm Boy=2     

Aladdin: Aladdin

“This isn’t fair, you keep choosing princes who were goody two shoes to be competitors with real life men. How about Aladdin?” you say. It turns out you are correct in Aladdin being far from noble. He was a thief. One of only two to become princes by marriage, not born into royalty. His problem isn’t so much with his character, although marrying a thief is a definite problem, mind you. His problem is clothing. That’s right, clothing is where Farm Boy whoops this guy. True, we can’t seem to get Aladdin to stop going shirtless, except for donning that teensy purple vest now and then. How many sizes too small is that vest anyway? But there are those poufy pants. Those pants are a problem. A PTO drive shaft is just waiting to suck those bad boys right in making mincemeat of your precious Prince. No points for this guy.

A Farm Boy who’s been stacking hay all summer looks pretty nice with or without a shirt. Add a pair of jeans that fit just right, some cowboy boots to complete the outfit, and he looks pretty hot. To boot, these clothes will keep your Boy safe, and in one piece. Two points here; one for good dress and one for staying healthy.

Aladdin=0 Farm Boy=2  

The Beast: Beauty and the Beast

“The Beast, he’s the one to whoop up on some Farm Boy,” you say. Let’s see, he does somehow seem closer to reality. He’s hairy, has protruding eye brows in dire need of trimming, and hates to bathe. He is also kind and thoughtful when he isn’t having a temper tantrum. But, let’s not forget the curse put upon him in the beginning was because he was arrogant, self-centered, and spoiled. Not exactly marriage material. But wait, if you kiss him he turns into a bald-chested, long-haired, baby-faced wuss, who once again can sing and dance but doesn’t have a job. He remains spoiled as all Princes, and his eyebrows are still out of control. What does a Prince do besides sing and dance? On all accounts, he eats food other people worked to grow, raise, and prepare. He wears clothes he didn’t pay for. In short, Princes are freeloaders. The Beast still gets a point for chest hair. At least in Beast form.

Farm boy is no wuss. At best he line dances, or maybe he is original and does some serious whip dancing, but he nails some hard work. He is no parasite on society.

Beast=1 Farm Boy=2

Eugene: Tangled

Alas, there is Eugene Fitzherbert. From the name it sounds like this guy could be for real. But wait, he thinks Eugene Fitzherbert is an embarrassing name so he goes by Flynn Rider. Sounds sexy, but he is just another thief with charm and good looks to beat. The darling of Rapunzel, this one has facial hair; the first of the Disney Princes to sport such. We are going to give him a point for facial hair. That’s not all, he has a horse! Make that two points. Not just any horse, but Maximus. Max is hands down the best character Disney has ever conjured up. He has more personality than Flynn, and way more brains. While never saying a word, but far from silent, he generates more laughs than you can imagine outsmarting his human. I am certain Maximus had his spots covered for camera and is an Appaloosa.

Farm Boy is proud of his heritage and is happy to wear his family name. Often family farms have passed through many generations. The family name has come to stand as an icon of sorts. That deserves a point. Even if your name is Eugene Fitzherbert.

Eugene=2 Farm Boy=1

Final score: Princes=6 Farm Boys=9

Farm Boys win. Don’t be disappointed. Being a Princess is overrated anyway. Plus, if you are lucky enough to find a good Farm Boy, he just might wake you up with a kiss each morning after all. Life may not be a fairy tale, but it wasn’t going to be anyway. Enjoy a simple, yet rich life with a Farm Boy.

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Why Size Does Not Matter To Your Horse

Jamie Cearley, PhDSize_Cearley

There is a bizarre logic many exhibit when it comes to horses. On the one hand we moan at the weight of our saddles as we hoist them to painful heights. We dread the arrival of the hay trailer. As it lumbers down the driveway to its winter resting place it feels like a funeral procession for the living.

But, the power of the horse is something we horse lovers hold in awe. Their massive muscles flexing as they run and jump gets us excited and wanting to ride.

Then we lose our minds.

Somehow while we struggle to carry a saddle or stack 50 pound bales of hay we think we can out muscle a 1200+ pound prey animal.

My farrier proclaimed our draft cross Loki was less than obedient because he knew I wasn’t strong enough and he could push me around.

This fascinates me for many reasons, not the least of which are these:

1. Loki is by far the largest and strongest horse in our herd of six. His hooves, resting at the ends of his tree trunk legs, are double the size of the others. His buns are like those of a mammoth. Funny thing is, Loki is at the bottom of the herd hierarchy. If size mattered to Loki or the other horses in the herd he would throw his weight around and be king, but that does not happen. Instead he runs at the flick of an ear from any of them, fearing they will have what I call “a cinnamon bun breakfast.”

2. While I may not be Schwarzenegger, I also doubt my farrier or any other human has the physical strength to control Loki. We should not find it surprising an animal capable of pulling a plow or carrying a large man would be less than impressed with human musculature.

3. As if the first two reasons weren’t enough there’s this: Loki responds to flies. Enough said.

So if size doesn’t matter to a horse what does?

Here are 3 attributes that matter to a horse far more than size or strength:

1. Timing. We’ve all heard it said, “Timing is everything.” Nowhere is this truer than in horsemanship. Timing can take on several different forms, all making you a great leader. Timing could be the release of your hands on the lead rope or reins the instant your horse tries what you asked, a small correction with your leg at just the right moment, or asking for a canter transition just as the lead foot is falling. All of these are examples of timing that matters to your horse. Or, it could be as simple as practicing your trailer loading long before your next trip. A timely dismount at the first sign of disaster can be life-saving for both you and your horse. I used to have a sign on my desk that read something like, “Procrastination on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.” We all detest leaders with bad timing. In this sense horses are no different.

2. Feel. What is feel to a horse? It is the ability to be in the moment. To have a deep sense of your surroundings. Not only knowing the physical environment but discerning what each herd member is experiencing at any given moment. For the most part, horses are non-verbal. They rely on body language to communicate in silence. You might say they have a sixth sense about them. That sixth sense is feel.

3. Movement of feet. To horses quality leadership often boils down to one simple factor: who moves whose feet first or most. This idea is foreign to humans. As a result many times our horses have an easy time getting us to move our feet. Our first horse Twister was so clever at this game he could have you on the other side of a 6 acre pasture wondering how you got there. I have thought it would be interesting to hook up our GoPro camera on time lapse and film myself performing basic tasks with our horses like grooming, bathing, saddling or even holding our horse for our farrier. Since these are all tasks requiring the horse to stand still I have a feeling I would look like a Mexican Jumping Bean in the resulting video.  

Have you ever seen two horses play the game of nip and duck? If played well both horses plant their feet and engage in somewhat of a sword fight using their heads and necks. The horse who manages to get the other to move his feet first wins that round. Our horses play this game daily, sometimes for hours. We would be fools to think they aren’t engaging in the same game with us, whether we even know we are playing.

The next time someone says you aren’t strong enough or big enough to handle your horse, remember size doesn’t matter to your horse. Focus on those attributes of leadership most important to your horse and bear in mind, even a fly can move a horse.

It isn’t about size. It is about effective leadership.

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