In the Groove and Hitting Our Stride
April 1, 2013, 8:35 am
Filed under: April 2013 | Tags: , ,
The horses help gather sap by voice command

The horses help gather sap by voice command


April 1, 2013

After several trips up and down the sap roads, stopping many, many times along the way, the horses have the routes memorized. Jake was gathering sap along the edge of the roads. He would ask the horses to go. They would lean into their work, step off together and walk until he told them, “Whoa.”

This is where horses beat a tractor everytime ­čś« You can tell the tractor to move. You can yell and scream until you are blue in the face… and that tractor will not move. Of course, leave the thing in gear or on a hill in neutral … and suddenly it won’t “Whoa!” I’ll take horses over a tractor every time for this job!

I guess the horses work by “conditioned response”. They know the way. They know where we stop most times. Telling them to stop and go, makes sense to them…. This is what the experts would say… I however prefer to think a bit differently ­čś« I say the horses are my partners. They work for me because I ask.

I look after the horses just as I would my children. I feed and care for them. I nurture and praise them. When needed, they get a slap on the butt or usually a stern voice of disapproval. I think my voice, filled with disappointment, stings much more than the slap on the butt.

Our horses have come a long way. Their training is on going, but they are becoming a trusted team. They stand when told. The move when asked. They enjoy our farm’s visitors.┬áThey almost look forward to┬áall the petting and love, especially when given┬áby children.

There is sap to gather again today. The rain fell last night along with the temperature.┬áThe horses┬áwill get a short break tomorrow, perhaps even Wednesday, but there is warm in the forecast by the weeks end. I am sure the horses will take it all in stride. The maple season for us, is nearing its end… but for now, we are in the groove!


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