Today’s Peregrine Story: Then and Now

Peregrine in snow head shotPeregrine will be 30 in two weeks.  You can see his age in his face.  Just like an elderly person, his flesh has melted away from his bones.  But there’s something else I see his face.  I see the foal who greeted me thirty years ago.

I was there at his birth which was a very good thing or he might not have survived his first day.  His mother had neurological damage to her spine resulting in limited proprioception in her hind end.  She panicked during the foaling.  As Peregrine began to emerge, she fell down against the stall wall and couldn’t get up.  He was trapped in the corner of the stall with not enough Peregrine halter close editroom to get free of her pelvis.  If I had not been camped out just outside her stall and heard the first sounds of her struggle, I might have lost them both.

I was able to pull Peregrine out and then summon the help I needed to move her away from the wall.  While his mother rested, he struggled to his feet.

I’ve watched people trying to catch new born foals.  They have to corner them, trap them, grab them up in their arms and hold them tight.  Peregrine was never like that.  I’d been talking to him for months before his birth.  He was born knowing my voice, knowing me.   He was every bit as at ease with me as he was his own mother.  This foal picture was taken just eight hours after he was born.  The halter was a non-event.  I slipped it on, and he wore it as though it was the most natural thing in the world for a horse to do.  He fell asleep that first morning with his head in my lap, something he still does, thirty years later.

When I look at this picture, I see my beautiful Peregrine.   He’s curious, open, eager for the life that is ahead of him.  When I look at Peregrine now, I see the same horse.  He’s still beautiful and still eager for what the day will bring.  I wish we could say the same for all old horses.

Happy Birthday Peregrine.  Thank you for the gift of 30 years.

Help me celebrate his 30th birthday on April 26, 2015.  Details to be announced.

Peregrine just a few hours old.

Peregrine just a few hours old.

Peregrine enjoying an afternoon nap in the arena.

Peregrine enjoying an afternoon nap in the arena.

You’re invited!

In just a few short weeks I will be celebrating Peregrine’s 30th Birthday, and you are all invited to his party!
Where: Here on the internet.  Details to be announced.

Peregrine foal sleeping standing

When:  Peregrine was born at 11:35 p.m. 1985.  On Sunday April 26, 2015 I will celebrating his 30th Birthday.

And on Monday April 27 the festivities continue as I celebrate his First Day.

Throughout the day on April 26 and 27 Peregrine and I will be receiving internet “visitors”.

What to bring: Your stories!

Peregrine is our original clicker-trained horse.  He’s the one who got the whole ball rolling back in 1993.

I first learned about clicker training from a friend who trained Irish wolf hounds.  I was curious to see what Peregrine would think about it so I went out to the barn with clicker and treats.  He was laid up with abscesses in both front feet at the time – the after effects of Potomac horse fever.  There wasn’t much he could do.  He was too sore to walk, but he could touch a target.  I used a dressage whip which he was perfectly happy to bump with his nose, especially when he discovered that doing so got me to reach into my pocket and give him treats!

We both thought this clicker game was entertaining.  As he became more mobile, I added bits and pieces from the things he already knew.  The result: after seven weeks of stall rest, he was further ahead in his training than he had been when he was laid up.  I was hooked, and the rest, as they say, is history.  Peregrine was my original clicker pioneer and experimental “guinea pig”.  He helped spread this wonderful way of training around the planet.

I’d like to celebrate his 30th Birthday – a major milestone for us – by hearing about your clicker horses.  Share your pictures, and your stories.  Celebrate with me the love we have for our horses.

How:  Share your stories and your pictures here and on facebook.   I’ll be celebrating 30 years with Peregrine.  What special relationships do you cherish and celebrate every day?

Alexandra Kurland