Best Friends (Our True Story) - Chapter 6: Training
by Leah F.
Chapter 6 - Training
To say the least, attempting to train a horse when you're on one side of the fence and he's on the other, is very difficult.
I had no problem leading Raphael everywhere, because he followed me around like a puppy. But what I really wanted to train him to do, was come to me on command. I saw Lord Of The Rings, where Gandalf's white horse, Shadowfax, came to him when he whistled, and I'd read stories of people who had trained their horses to do the same.
"Why not? I'm not sure how to train him to do that, but it's worth a shot."
Raphael had already learned the sound of our Dodge mini-van, and would come to the fence as soon as we reached the driveway, but there were still some days he wouldn't come as quickly. So on those slow-poke days, I would run to the fence, whistle as loud as I could, and make it last a good 3 or 4 seconds.
I wasn't sure if he was actually learning it, or if he just started walking up because he saw me. We ended up buying a new van (a few years later actually), and he didn't recognize the sound of that one, so he stayed with the herd.
On one visit after we bought the van, he was behind a few of the other horses, and didn't see me at the fence, so I decided to see if he really soaked up any of that whistle training.
I set my backpack down and let out a long whistle, and saw him toss his head up and look towards me. I heard a soft nicker as he came trotting up the slight hill, and I was grinning from ear to ear.
By the time he got to the fence, I could hardly contain myself. I wanted to jump up and down and squeal. I hugged him and said, "You did it! You came to my whistle!" But he was already trying to search my backpack for his apple.