We did it. We ate the most amazing pie ever. In fact, we have decided since we are staying a week here we will go to get a different piece of pie every morning so we can try all of Kathy’s pies at Pie-O-Neer!
Cowboy waiting for his coffee and piece of coconut cream pie.
The thing is, it’s hard for me to pull away from what I love (which was warm cherry pie with ice cream) to try something else. I am the same way with Mexican food. I always want to branch out, but when the server comes to ask me what I would like “Chile Relleno” is all I can muster up.
I’m going to try though. I’m going to go for something I wouldn’t usually go for but that has been recommended to me, which is banana cream pie. It looked pretty amazing yesterday. In fact, I think it’s banana coconut cream pie…probably even better. Walter had apple crumble pie with ice cream. Of course all of this was washed down with endless cups of great coffee.
It’s so nice to have good coffee. Our coffee is kind of hit or miss when we’re camping, although we’re starting to get better at it. The more coffee grounds, the better. That’s what I’ve concluded.
The pie baker, Kathy, is a big jumping ball of energy. Walter and I were eating and all of a sudden at the side of our table a woman in a big white hat was there…
“Hi!!! How’s your food!? Good? Good! You’re riding your horse across the country!? Fun!!! Is he outside!?”
He wasn’t, we had driven, but when we leave here on Friday we are going to tie Soj up outside and have one more slice of pie for the road. They are only open Friday-Monday so that will work out perfect. I think Soj will have to have a bite of pie as well. He has a sweet tooth as bad as mine.
The clinic Larry and Jenny are teaching goes from Tuesday-Thursday so that’s why we are leaving so late, but it’s good because Soj is already well rested and eating a ton so we will be like new when we take off again. We’ll have to try and make some decent time after this though. We’ll probably ease into the miles and then pick it up after a few days.
Yesterday Larry gave me a taste of some training. Jenny is away teaching in (I think) Las Vegas so it was just Larry, Walter, and I at dinner. Larry had made us all a stir-fry and as we ate we talked about body language and getting horses to respond to our energy and movements.
Larry was looking at me as we spoke and then he started shifting his eyes down to the chair at my right. I just kept watching him and he kept looking at me and then back at the chair, at me, back at the chair. I said, “What? Do you want me to get that chair for you?” with a little laugh.
He just kept doing it.
I looked at the chair and said, “Do you want the chair?”
He said “Good, see, you did what I wanted you to. You looked at that chair. That’s all I wanted.”
I said, “No I didn’t. Not at first. I spoke. I used words and asked you what you were doing and if you wanted me to get that chair.”
He started doing it again.
I said, “Well! Now I’m definitely not going to look ‘cause I know what you’re trying to do!”
He said, “Oh yes you will.”
I said, “Oh no I won’t.”
He said “Oh yes you will!” and got up.
I asked “Where are you going!?”
He replied, “To get a tool”. He was walking over to where there were ropes and halters hanging on the wall by the door to our room.
“What?!!” , I said. “A tool!? What are you going to whip me?!”
He came with a rope swinging over his head like a helicopter and sat back down in his chair right next to me, rope still swinging.
He shifted his eyes to the chair beside me.
I looked at him.
“Alright. I’m going to apply a little pressure”.
“You won’t hit me with that!!”, I proclaimed.
“Oh yes I will!”, he said.
whoosh whoosh whoosh whoosh….closer and closer to my head this spinning rope came. Really? I asked myself….WHAP! WHAP!
I closed my eyes tight and took it.
“Ah!” I yelled! “I’m not going to look!!”
He backed off laughing and then tried again. This time I turned my head ever so slightly towards the chair and he immediately stopped.
“There you go. Your nose turned that way. That’s all I wanted. The slightest bit of effort gets rewarded.”
To teach a horse how to do something you make it a little uncomfortable for him not to do what you ask. Not at first, of course. At first you just gently ask. Then you apply a little pressure. It can be as easy as shifting your body in a way that asks the horse to move. If he moves ever so slightly the way you’ve asked, you release the pressure and rub him (no patting, patting isn’t nice, rub).
The rope was a little uncomfortable whapping my head. So even if looking at the chair seemed a little “scary” to me at first (as it would the unsure horse), the rope is annoying and so I (or the horse) would shift away from it toward the chair. Eventually the horse will learn that when he is near that chair he can relax. There are no swinging ropes, no pressure.
Larry’s teachings are very similar to James back in Joshua Tree. I must have told Larry that a hundred times.
“You’ve got to meet James. You’ve got to meet James!”
They both say that it is about making what you want the horse to do the most enjoyable, comfortable option for the horse.
When James and I were teaching Soj to trailer in Joshua Tree, Soj would often go to one side or the other of the trailer door trying to get away. When he did this, James would lunge him there. Wherever Soj went meant work. The only place that didn’t mean work was in that trailer. If Soj would slow down by the entrance of the trailer to sniff it, James stopped working him and let him explore. Eventually Soj would learn that the trailer door meant rest and in the trailer was rest, air, no running around, even food.
Larry and James both say horses are pretty lazy animals. They want to eat and rest…and poop a lot. When we give them the option to do those things, they’ll take it.
Later on this afternoon Larry and I are going to work on some things with Sojourner. Larry lives for this and said he will drop anything to play with a horse so I just need to go and get my horse and walk toward him when I feel like working. I should take advantage so we’ll start today. It’s a little warmer today too so I won’t shiver and shake and cry while we’re working. Just kidding. I’ve got New Hampshire blood…thinned…watery thin NH blood, but it’s still there.
First though….first things first. Banana cream pie and coffee.