I visited my Uncle Peter, who lives up in Levin, in February before choofing off to Rome. I’ve met him only a few times in my life. He’s one of Dad’s brothers, the other being David, who died in October 2006. I plan to visit him again in the next few months to renew our acquaintance but he told me during the February visit that my grandmother (who I never met) loved horses. And that one of them was named Janet.

I love horses too but I don’t have a Janet. I do have a Rosie though and she’s a very curious and increasingly bold girl. She’s been going through a lot of schooling and ground games. These are designed to give her confidence so that she won’t spook at the slightest thing that moves. A lot of people just get on a horse without taking the time to teach a horse to be calm and confident in any given situation such as moving traffic, branches that snap on the horse whilst out riding, dogs approaching or rabbits darting.

Before, if something frightened her, she’d start to bolt. Now, she stands her ground and moves forward to investigate. This last week, Rosie and I have been out and about in the district. She’s met up with some cows and a ginger cat. The cat suddenly darted out and ran behind her.

Rosie didn’t flinch not even when the cat dashed past her and ran up a ramp just in front of her. Rosie decided to sniff the cat out. She moved forward, head held low. The cat decided to sit down and show Rosie that she too was not scared. Rosie put her head through a tiny space in the wooden ramp and sniffed the cat. For a horse to willingly put itself in a confined space shows boldness and curiosity because horses do not like small or tight spaces. If a horse is trapped in a confined space, being a prey animal, it cannot easily bolt and run.

In natural horsemanship, there’s a game you can play with your horse called Squeeze It. This game teaches the horse to become more confident in confined spaces. Rosie loves to play Squeeze It with a large barrel in the round yard – she squeezes (her rather large) body between the big blue barrel and the wooden fence.

Rosie also loves to meet cows, so our outings around the district are full of opportunities for her to meet new friends.

Miss Rosie meets up with some local cows.

But soon becomes bored with the cows and wants to continue on around the district.

Rosie stops to eat some grass and spots a dog in the distance.

Ooooh, you’re so much smaller than me. Let me inch my head through this tight space so I can sniff you.

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