First of all:

I was thinking…Allen Kalpin is reading the book about Jim Key and he suggested that our autumn fundraiser have The Beautiful Jim Key as its central theme. This morning I thought of creating a classroom for the horses. On a wall there can be cards (which the horses can remove and bring to me) listing the different subjects taught. I could ask a specific horse to pick any subject. The horse might bring back “nap time.” I point out we just got to school and we can do that later. I replace it and ask him to pick another subject…and he brings back “nap time”… Could be fun.

The horses have games/tricks/liberty for quite a few subjects, including: art, geometry (studying the circle…hula-hoops, jump rope), reading (bringing specific cards to me), theatre, gym, math (how many carrot pieces are on the pedestal? The horse eats them and holds up “zero”)…


Bill finished the three note piano! Ann was here and helped me paint it. Soon the paint will dry, we’ll paint three different colours (one on each note at the “sweet spot”) and we’ll take the piano over to the horses.

We’ve figured out several songs where these three notes are at the beginning – do, re, me 
–  jingle bells
– three blind mice
– are you sleeping?
– the alphabet song/twinkle, twinkle little star
– one little, two little, three little Indians
– Jack and Jill went up the hill
– Where is thumbkin? (same/similar to Are You Sleeping?)
– 100 bottles of beer on the wall…
– ring around the rosy
– row, row, row your boat
– my father slew a kangaroo, he gave me the grizzly part to chew 
–  ????? (There’s got to be more.)

I actually said out loud… “If this piano works, then Bill can make another piano with three or four more notes and two horses can play at the same time. Think of the additional songs six or seven notes will create.”


Colleen Archer lives in Deep River and is trick training her horses. She sent this story about teaching her Palomino, Aurum, to lead her pony, Timbit, to a bucket. Developing the theme: you can lead a horse to water…

I had a little setback this morning regarding the new trick.  (Leading the horse to water, but the horse not drinking.)  I decided it looked dumb having two buckets as the final targets, so I switched Aurum’s target to a small traffic cone which I placed beside the bucket. I also created a start channel using eight small traffic cones. These clearly established the direction to the targets.

I brought out Aurum without Timbit so that he could learn this new variation without unnecessary distractions.

I wanted to continue with Aurum pulling something so I had him pull the agility tunnel which I’d used initially for him to “lead” to the bucket. I positioned Aurum at the start channel with the eight small traffic cones and handed him the rope, saying “Pull to the cone.”  Aurum just stood there looking at me. I repeated, “Pull to the cone.”  Nothing. AGAIN, “Pull to the cone.” Not even an ear twitch!

I must have sounded annoyed (Aurum knows his “pull” command!) because Aurum dropped the rope, leaned over, picked up the cone that was beside his front hoof and shoved it at me.  He was clearly saying, “I’m AT the cone.”

Ah…I explained to Aurum that I meant the single cone near the bucket!  When he pulled the tunnel to it, he got LOTS of treats.