Monday, November 22, 2010

The long drought

It’s been two years since I could think about seriously working with the horses. Two years is a long time in which to lose confidence, and a long time for them to forget that you really DO know what you know.

It all comes down to establishing leadership once again. If I make the commitment to talk with you, my readers, about what I’m doing, as well as, actually begin to accrue RAC** points, I believe it will not take long in their eyes to once again be the leader I was, rather than simply the food-bearer.

Today, I began my NEW job. The job I’m happiest at doing, even if I make no money at it. Thankfully, I have a loving and wonderful husband who is extremely supportive. And today, *Beau, *Red, and *Jack were reminded that I really did know what I know, and they honestly needed to listen to me as much as I will listen to them.

Amazingly, neither *Beau nor *Red, who are much older than *Jack, could pass their thresholds. My job, of course is to bring them to that threshold and encourage them through it. For *Beau, it was the top of the hill over looking the lower pastures. “Nope, too far!” he said. I encouraged him again, “Can’t do it!” So I suggested side-stepping and eating some grass. “I can do that”, he said. After relaxing, I asked again, “Go down?” “NOPE!”. “Okay, what if we go over here.?” And off we went. So then we worked our way back up toward his paddock, maintaining attention to me.

*Red was funny. All excited to get out of the paddock and then lost. “Where we going?” “Let’s walk down the drive. Can you ‘whoa’?” Yep! Walking and whoaing established. “Turn left” “Sure!” “Turn right” “Sure!” “Whoa” “YEP!” “Walk beyond the arena” SCREECH “I halt good don’t I?” So we worked on approach and retreat and relax, then into the arena and back to the paddock.

Last out was *Jack. He and I have been buds since he was born, and he naturally accepts my leadership, but I pushed his boundaries today, and we came out winners on the other end. “Where we going?” he asked. “To the lower pastures.” “Okay….OMgoodness look at all those turkeys….I dunno…..” “Oh Jack, come on, you know turkeys, they always run away.” “Okay, if you say so…..” “Um, Adria, did you notice there is grass?” “Yes, and let’s see if you can listen, I’ll tell you when to eat as long as you don’t dive for the grass.” So around the large 12 acre field we walked…going, whoaing, and eating grass. As we began to make our way back toward the way up, Jack got a bit faster, so I went slower. “Why are we going so slow?” “Because I only have 2 legs, you have to stay with me.” “Oh, okay” Relaxing himself, he kept pace with me and we slowly worked out way back up to the winter paddocks. We walked past his, then back to his gate, just to make sure he was still with me.

All in all, about an hour and a half’s work. I expect that as time goes by, each horse will get more time, but I believe in taking the time it takes with them, so sometimes more, and sometimes less will be taken. I have 6 boys to work with and hope to work with each of them twice a week. I have one mare to work with, and will work with her at least twice, if not three times each week. Feel free to bug me if I don’t tell you what we’ve done .

**RAC=Ride a Curly Contest; read about that on Curly Horse

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