Clearing trails. It’s what we do as Back Country Horsemen. I’ve been making my contribution as a lopper, whacking away at small trees and branches that intrude on the trail. Lopping is a necessary job, but sometimes a mess to which loppers can’t measure up blocks the path. For the big stuff, you need a chain saw—or if you’re in the wilderness, a crosscut saw. Whether you’re in the wilderness or not, it’s a good idea to know what you’re doing with a saw. Gerry Engel has been working for the past couple of years with the Forest Service to organize chain saw and crosscut sawyer training organized for us. Gerry succeeded in March. Up at the rustic offices of the Wilderness Ranger District in Mimbres, eight of us from the BCH Gila Chapter and two folks from the BCH Rio Grande Chapter took advantage of the opportunity to learn (or refresh learning we already have) how to operate and maintain these saws without hurting ourselves. Here’s the list:
Dave Henderson – Rio Grande Chapter
Debby Henderson – Rio Grande Chapter
Our instructor, Aaron Jones, is one of the intrepid souls who undertake pretty much every job the Forest Service needs. He’s a wildland firefighter. He packs with horses and mules. He helps plan budgets and run interference with the bigwigs in Washington. He maintains the wilderness district’s collection of saws. He keeps a careful watch over his Hotshot associates. He’s a superb teacher, thoughtful and patient, who has an eye for the funny side of things and a passion for his subject matter. There’s nothing he doesn’t know about saws and how to use them. Everybody learned something (except Rawlings Lemon, who said after 40 years of using these tools, there are no mistakes he hasn’t already made). Nobody got hurt. We all had fun. In addition to the interesting lectures Aaron delivered, we had lab time so we could learn to take apart the business end of a chain saw, clean the air filter, to sharpen the chain, examine different chain configurations and discover what they’re for. We learned about fuel mixture, chain oil, chain tension, as well as the correct way to start a chainsaw, whether it’s cold or warmed-up. Aaron showed us the various permutations of crosscut saws, how to carry one safely, and what can happen if it’s not properly secured to a pack animal. Imagine the SPROING of a big saw as it comes loose from being wrapped around a mule, then scaring the wits out of the mule, who thinks he’s being chased by the saw flapping in the wind behind him. The best of the training was the hands-on part. Aaron didn’t merely turn us loose on trees. He teamed us up in three groups based on our level of experience. The more facile among us were turned over to Aaron’s assistants, Jorge and Joe. I was in the group of people so inexperienced that Aaron himself incubated us. Jorge cut down a tree; we observed and asked questions about what he was doing. It’s fun to watch these guys work. They size up the tree and the conditions surrounding it (such as wind, hazards, bystanders, buildings) in about 10 seconds. Then they clear their work area of anything that might cause a problem. In another 10 seconds, they can carve a notch into one side of the tree, make a horizontal cut 1/3 of the way through the other side, holler a warning, and the tree comes down. Nobody gets hurt. What the BCH mostly does on the trail, however, is bucking, which is what you do to a tree that’s already down and blocking the road. Aaron tutored us carefully in starting a cut in a way that doesn’t result in a sliced up face. He wasn’t shy about delivering corrections, but they were gentle and intended to help, not hurt. Just the way you want to correct a horse. Crosscut saw training was especially interesting. It requires coordination with the sawyer on the other end of the saw. We quickly found out how easy in cross-cutting it is to work at cross-purposes, where both sawyers pull on the saw at the same time. Turns out you have to pay attention to what’s happening on the other side of the log and let go at the proper moment. If you enjoy yelling, you’d have enjoyed this training. We got to yell when starting a chain saw, when something the might become unstable is about to happen, when you need help moving a bucked log off the trail, when issuing warnings and advice over the buzz of chain saws. The two days of training were an enjoyable exercise in comradeship and trust, to watch each other’s backs and listen carefully to what the experts had to say. Introduction to Clicker Training with Your Horse
Cindy Martin, Clinician – April 26 – 28, 2014, Mimbres, New Mexico What is Clicker Training? Clicker training is a science-based training method. It traces its origins back to the work of B.F. Skinner. Karen Pryor, one of the early pioneers of marine mammal training, coined the term clicker training and helped expand the work into the broader training community. It is now well established as a leading force-free method for training species as diverse as dolphins, dogs, giraffes and even cats! And now clicker training is proving its value with horses. (definition copied fromwww.theclickercenter.com) The behaviors you can train with the clicker method are unlimited, from ground manners to tricks, perfect your horse’s performance, rehabilitate an injured horse, and more. The beauty of the clicker is that you can capture the smallest muscle movement and shape behaviors with ease. Your horse will soon become addicted to learning with an eager attitude. You will both enjoy your training sessions. The bond you will build with your horse is invaluable. Cindy Martin is a Certified Training Partner of the Karen Pryor Academy for Animal Behavior and Training. She serves as an online coach for Alexandra Kurland’s “The Click That Teaches” course in equine clicker training.
Over the years, Cindy has attended riding clinics with: Gunnar Ostergaard (one time Chef d’Equipe of the US Dressage Team), Dennis Callin, Linda Allen, Richard Winters, Ellen Eckstein, Jec Ballou. She has audited clinics with Mark Russell, Bettina Drummond and Wendy Murdoch. She introduced 17 different horses of various breeds to the sport of foxhunting. For a brief time, she helped show several part-Arab horses in breed shows, mostly in hunter-type classes. For that, she even learned to ride (and jump a little) sidesaddle. She has an interest in classical dressage and the Masterson Method of equine body work.
Clinic Schedule – Saturday, April 26th – Monday, April 28th Fees, Registration, Cancellation, etc. 2 Days – Participant with horse $175 Limited to 6 horses for the clinic; first come, first served registration. 3 Days – Participant with horse $265 Non-horse participant – $60 for 2 days/ $90 for 3 days. No limit on number of auditors . Auditors will be active participants in the clinic. Advance registration required. Deposit of $75 required (for horse participants) due by April 1st, balance to be paid before or first day of clinic. No deposit required for non-horse participants. Registration form and additional clinic documents available from Gail Skee <email@example.com> Stabling – Complimentary day stalls and overnight stabling available by advance arrangement only. Contact Sue Chiverton 575-536-3109 , firstname.lastname@example.org Meals – Please bring your own lunch. We will provide water, coffee, and tea and a light snack each day.
Clinic Format – Please plan to attend, at the least, Saturday and Sunday. The clinic will progress from day-to-day, and it’s not always easy for people to catch up on what they missed; there is a shared vocabulary that evolves from the learning experiences. We discourage participants from “dropping in” for just one day, or for a portion of the clinic. Monday, the third day of the clinic, will only be open to participants of the first two days. This additional day will be a chance to build on and refine the skills from the first two days. The format for the third day will include private lesson time with Cindy. All participants are welcome to observe all the lessons on Monday. Plan to arrive early at the clinic location to get your horse settled in. For best directions, please contact one of the organizers: Sue Chiverton, Gail Skee, or Mara Miles Resources – www.theclickercenter.com Alexandra Kurland’s website; www.clickertraining.com Karen Pryor’s website; www.equineclickertraining.com Kate Bartlett’s website; www.clickryder.com Judy Ryder’s site with lots of articles, videos, etc. Clicker Training for your Horse, by Alexandra Kurland Clicker Training Your Horse: A Step-by-Step Guide in Pictures, by Alexandra Kurland The Click that Teaches: Riding with the Clicker, by Alexandra Kurland Reaching the Animal Mind, by Karen Pryor; Don’t Shoot the Dog, by Karen Pryor There are quite a few videos on YouTube about clicker training horses, and Facebook has a growing network of pages and groups focusing on equine clicker training.
For Clinic information and questions, please contact: