Monday, January 12, 2009

Another Stunning Moment

We took several walks today in town. One took us past the old railroad
depot, up a side street and then we turned right to go past the County Parole Office. Lots'
of people commented especially as we crossed the street directly towards a loading dock

Straight across the street took us to the precipice of this 4' drop off.
Cali stopped.

"Forward" took us right and back to the walkway to go on again by turning

A little ways down the street Cali stopped dead in her tracks. Once when I
was walking with Panda and Alex at an Expo we walked towards the spot that
all the big horses were getting ready to go into the practice arena. Panda

A "forward" command left her standing. She would not go forward.

Clearly Panda had decided that this environment was one where she did not
feel she could safely take us through. And so it was with Cali today. I've never
taught her this. Technically speaking this is called intelligent disobedience. This is
when the guide disobeys a command in order to keep the handler safe.

"Forward" from that spot had her do a U-turn. I faced her back down the road
and asked for forward again. Again she quietly turned us around. She never does

So I scanned the street. Clearly in her mind she could not take us safely
down that road. Was it due to the smell of the Parole back door? Was it the unevenness
of the upcoming path. I do not know what it was and at first I thought I would
correct her and send her forward again. My in the back of my mind I heard the words
"Trust her"
And, so I did.

Without a quickening of a step, without any signs of alarm, just the
steadfastness that forward would not be the way to go, we turned 180 deg and walked back up the walk.

We never had another blink of an incident like this. This trust in a horse.
Somehow, she knew.

Later, we walked in a strip mall. Up stairs, no problem. Found the doors to
stores, ran into and spoke with gawkers. Nice people asking nice questions. Some
said she was the most beautiful mini that they had ever seen. Priceless.

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