Some days it’s worth it to just hold up in a field with a good book, and watch the herd. Yesterday was one of those days. I usually have more of an agenda with Jean Luc, but yesterday, work had been long, my breathing was is still pathetically labored from this head cold, and motivation was lacking.
I wasn’t in love with the idea of being at the barn. In all honesty, I wasn’t in love with the idea of being anywhere but at home, in bed. Fighting off the last bit of this ridiculous summer cold has been a bear. However, the need to see my horse won out.
Like usual, I pulled in to the barn around 5:30 PM and saw the fly mask near one of the haystacks in the field. Thanks to a quick lift from my BM and her 4-wheeler, the fact that Jean Luc had tossed his new mask like yesterday’s news was really no big deal. It wasn’t even covered in mud. (What a polite young gelding.) BM then asked me where I’d like to be dropped off at.
“The herd,” I told her.
“Really? Like, in the middle of the herd,” she questioned. Clearly, I’m nuts.
“Yes. It’s been a long day. I just want to sit in the field and read a book today. I don’t have it in me to continue working.”
I could feel the judgement ooze off her. But then, after further explanation, I think I won her over. I explained I just wanted to be there. I wanted to observe the dynamics of the herd more. I simply wanted to watch and listen. As odd as the image of someone just chilling in your yard reading a book on the grass while they watch your horses may seem, BM appreciated it. After all, she does it every day from her kitchen window.
We chatted for a few more minutes before she revved the engine to see if it spooked any of the horses. They didn’t budge. Good herd.
“Have fun,” she yelled, and sped off.
I sat in that field for over an hour just watching the herd be horses. They enjoyed sniffing me, trying to figure out what I was doing there. Eventually, I decided I shouldn’t be the only one to relish in a good book, so read to them. In no time at all I was boring to everyone but a brown horse known as Oliver. He stuck around just to make sure I was not a threat (and for the apple treats. If anyone was getting an apple treat, he made sure I knew he wanted one first…sadly his patience was all for naught.)
People believe Jean Luc and I have already created some sort of “magical connection.” People are idiots. The truth is, after yesterday and a few helpful conversations today from others who have clearly gone through these struggles already, I realize just how long and winding the road truly is.
Jean Luc and I have had our moments but we still haven’t had that moment. Reality check. He is pretty, but he’s definitely still not a unicorn. Jean Luc sees me the way a fifteen-year-old views their parents – ATM machine! Only in our case – yummy food machine!
Truth is, I’ve been taking a few shortcuts with Jean Luc. Things I thought we didn’t need to do I skipped. I figured, he's over 10 years old, he knows this stuff already. I would be wrong. But that’s okay, in fact, I’m already feeling better about tonight because I was able to come will a lesson plan for us.
Positive Reinforcement Training Goals for Tonight Include:
Missy also talks about the “comfort” of the horse and uses phrases like, “They’re having a worry.” Though a little soft handed, I think these techniques may work best for Jean Luc and me. Looking at Jean Luc’s behavior as “he’s having a worry,” makes more sense to me. Instead of understanding his issues to be a result of a wimpy horse, he’s just a little scared. It’s my responsibility to show him there are no monsters in the closet or under the bed.
All in all, I’m a planner. Having a plan makes me secure. Hopefully that translates in our work time together tonight. Here’s another great video with Missy and honestly, I hope to somewhat mirror this lesson tonight. Fingers crossed. Time to #BoldlyGo.
(2:30 - in. My point. "You gotta have that Johnny Cash demeanor no matter the situation.")
I have mentioned before that I suffer from ridiculous, in explicable anxiety attacks. They often come out of nowhere and only recently have I been able to successfully identify triggers. Which is why it is only fitting that my horse seems to suffer from a similar issue. Karma? Twisted yes, but perhaps that’s just how the world works.
Last night, I made it to the barn around 5:30 PM. Like most nights after work, just pulling into the driveway was a freeing experience. I felt less sick than previous days and took that as a small win.
Sadly, I was feeling rushed because I’d once again double booked my evening. I think this may have contributed the fact that my threshold of understanding was exceptionally thin. I didn’t have a long time to spend with Jean Luc, but I told myself I would just go out and take this thousand-pound fur baby on a brief walk. Come hay or high horses, we were going on a walk!
When I got to the barn my ever-supportive dad showed up. I must confess, he’s really nailing the supportive dad role lately. He’s been working on a project and just wanted to catch up.
“Perfect, walk with me,” I suggested in an all too familiar business voice.
As always, catching Jean Luc was easy. Though, this was the first time he really tried hard to not be caught once the lead rope was around his neck. (First sign of the “Little Feral Beasty” within.)
After catching him, I didn’t give him his usual grain stop at the barn before just walking down the road casually chatting dad. In retrospect, I messed with a routine there, and plan on correcting that in the future. Regardless, Jean Luc walked fine while Dad and caught up, until we made it to the turn in the road that starts down a hill into the big field.
Jean Luc began to get a little fidgety. I ignored it. His way of coping with being away from the herd is stress eating. I was having none of it. I was actually a little proud of myself for paying enough attention to stop him from grazing.
By the time we made it to the creek crossing he wanted to call out in a very loud, and in my opinion, obnoxious whinny back to the herd. I had little patience for this either yesterday and after allowing a few quick gulps of creek water, pressed on into the big field.
Once in the big field, Jean Luc really began to lose his composure. Enter “Little Feral Beasty” stage right! Looking back, he was having a complete and utter breakdown. Similar to the way I felt in an Argentine airport after sitting on a small prison-like seat for hours, only to be patted down and prodded in all the offensive places, and sprayed with pesticides, before being allowed to fly home to America (a story for another time), Jean Luc could not get a grip.
He pranced in a circle with eyes the size of dinner plates. I stood there looking pissed and apologizing to my dad for his behavior. He whinnied loudly to his herd. I stood there called him a few words my grandmother would not be proud of.
The fact is, Jean Luc is herd sour. Until this point I have been looking at it all wrong, though. In my mind, like many who judge those with anxiety, I understood him as a wimp – it’s deeper than that.
Last week I was shoved into a basement with nearly three hundred campers between the ages of 14 and 21 because of a very serious tornado threat. I was responsible for these children, and did not have the tools to feel like I knew we would all be okay. Cue massive panic attack.
(Note: when you live in West Virginia and someone tells you a tornado is coming, it’s never a drill. West Virginians don’t joke about such things because they literally almost never happen. When they do happen . . . well, google Cheat Mountain Lake, June 24, 2017).
Clearly, the people “in charge” were, no offense, not good executing any sort of natural disaster safety drill. I yelled at like a child, and given no tools (procedures, skills, etc.) for how to handle the situation. I can say this. I have spent many cold, desperate, yet not scary hours trapped on an isolated mountain with no heat and been responsible for thousands, yes thousands of humans! (Another life.) Also, never once did those situation trigger any sort of panic attacks. My heart stayed in my chest, not my throat.
I credit it all to the following theory: Nagging Mother vs. Chill Ski Patroller.
The powers at be last week were far more nagging mother, far less chill ski patroller. You know, when your leg has basically exploded from the skin surrounding it? You know? Your bone is sticking out. You could die. You won’t, but then again, you might.
Your mother screams, “What happened!? How on earth did you do this!? You’re at death’s door!!! I care about you and want to fix you but have no clue how!” Meanwhile, the chill ski patroller will look at you, and simply say, “Man. Looks kind of gnarly, but we got you. Hold tight while I do things. I can't fix your leg here, but I am confident enough to get you out of this really bad situation alive and to people who can actually help.”
Give me the chill ski patroller! Why? Because unlike the nagging mother, I trust the ski patroller. I believe the ski patroller. I may not know him/her, but the ski patroller is able to BS their way into my head’s desperate need to be “okay”. Please God, always give me the chill ski patroller.
All this to say: new approach. Like it or not, right now, I’m the nagging mother. Jean Luc and I have only been together a little over two months and we are still building trust. I just assumed we’d overcome his “whimpyness.” It doesn’t work that way. Humans don’t work that way. Logically, I can’t see why horses would either. Their need to be in a herd is powerful. I need to work on being the trusted herd leader, and for both of us, that means creating believably secure situations.
We did walk successfully back to the barn after approximately fifteen minutes of standing in the big field. We even came upon BM’s scary blue tractor working the fields next to the road. Jean Luc had a little spook, but contained that terror with impressive restraint.
I sent him back to the heard with a new fly mask on, in hopes that it would provide him some relief from the little black sky raisins. All in all, the photo below does a pretty good job of describing how the evening went.
Perhaps you disagree with my anxiety theory? That’s more than encouraged. What or how would you suggest tackling it? What successful ways have you resolved a buddy sour situation? No matter what, I’m interested to see where I find that fly mask tonight. Smart money is on, covered crap in a ditch somewhere. But, as we like to say, #BoldlyGo!
So, today I am feeling like the worst horse mommy ever. I have barely spent time with Jean Luc in the past week and a half due to one of my favorite volunteering activities (Staffing at the WVU 4-H Older Members Conference held at Jackson's Mill), that in turn led me to catching a pretty legit cold.
Yesterday was the first time I made it out to see Jean Luc in several days. His new saddle came while I was working camp and I was extatic to try it on him! It did not fit exactly how it should, so I'm sending it back for a better fitting one. (As an aside, go Stateline Tack for making that process STRESS FREE!)
But today is about how guilty I feel. I can't shake it. I'm sure it happens to the best of us, sadly, thanks to a few scheduling conflicts and I wasn't even free tonight until after 6 PM. Thing is, I miss my fella. I know sniffling, hacking and fighting off cold sweats is good for no one, though. I just keep telling myself, "Life happens." I just keep telling myself it will be better for both of us IF I actually take the time to not feel like donkey turds?!
I wonder, other horse mommas and papas, do you ever wish you could talk horse. I often wish I could text with Jean Luc. Send a quick, "Hey, thinking of you. Don't lose another shoe. Is the herd playing nice today?" - that sort of thing.
While completely irrational, I know I'm not the only one that thinks about these things. I mean look at what SmartPack created. . .
Tomorrow is another day. Tonight I committed to getting better, so no sense is wallowing in regret about that decision - roll with it. Tonight, sleep, because tomorrow WE RIDE!
I will never forget walking down the street in Dublin, Ireland. I found myself in The Oliver St. John’s Gogarty Pub, in the Temple Bar District. The pub was packed and rough looking man in his 60s immediately recognized that my friends and I were no locals. He paused his tune and asked where we were from.
“West Virginia,” we said sheepishly.
The seafaring looking singer smiled and immediately began to mumble the words, “Almost heaven, West Virginia…”
Together we belted out the rest of the lyrics to John Denver’s anthem like we were singing them for the first time. That was it. A bond had been eternally created with little more than a song.
Today the state of West Virginia turns 154 years old. Yes, 154 years ago the state of West Virginia chose to separate from Virginia. I happen to call this Virginia home and I am more than thankful Jean-Luc does as well. Though the mountains of the Midwest are vast, beautiful, and challenging, there is just no place quite like West Virginia, especially to own a horse it. Take a look at the incredible terrain from my friend Liz’s most recent ride at place known as Dolly Sods. It’s hard to believe a horse can tackle such terrain, but they can.
I said it often when searching for a horse. "I just want something I can sit back on and enjoy the view as it passes by." I'm so thankful that Jean-Luc helps bring me closer to that view. As the years go by, I find my home among the hills more and more unique. Words fail me every time I try to describe what makes West Virginia so, but I believe it has to do with the resilient brother/sisterhood that comes with being a West Virginian. And trust me, this is not an exclusive club. Born, or transplanted, once you’re in, you are in for life.
West Virginian’s are funny people. If you are a West Virginian (or say you are) and you happen upon another one anywhere outside of West Virginia, they’re immediately your family. Period. Any barriers of discomfort are immediately removed. The experience I had in Dublin, though amazing, was not unique. I have repeated nearly that exact same scenario in Manila, Buenos Ares, Lima, Delphi, and several other countries throughout the world.
I have thought about this phenomenon for years, and I believe it has to do with a few shared experiences nearly every West Virginian has in common. The first - at some point someone has inevitably asked you, “Western Virginia? How far do you live from Richmond? Are you near Blacksburg?” (If that doesn’t make sense to you please review any map of the United States newer than 1863).
The second shared experience is a bit deeper, though likely all the same. As a West Virginian, at some point, you have both been looked down upon for being from West Virginia. Sad as it may sound, this experience is a shared one for many from the Mountain State. At some point, someone that is unlikely to know your name has considered you “less-than,” thanks to stereotypes, accents, or some other identifying moniker. Please don’t misunderstand though, this isn’t something people from our state see as a reason to be pitied – it is just a fact of life that comes with living in a state that ranks pretty low on most things people give rank to.
Regardless, I’ve personally had the opportunity to leave this place many times, never to return. I passed them all up. Not because I am scared or afraid of what the world may hold out there. I do not consider myself a martyr for staying. I love visiting other places. However, I passed up the opportunities because of something that may make me sound insane but I truly have no other way to describe it. There is magic in these hills. I live here for the unexplained, breathtaking beauty. I believe people long for West Virginia because it offers an experience that is not found elsewhere.
I live here because it is almost heaven.
COMING THIS FRIDAY:
Fictional Fridays occur on the Horseback Writing Blog every fourth Friday of the month. The idea is to fill your feed with a horse-related short-story or chapter of a larger novel. These stories are entirely made up, and the direction of next month’s tale is often determined by YOU – the reader. So, share your comments, plot twist, and character suggestions and more below.
JUNE, 23 | Sneak Peak
“The records speak of a vast power that your city once brought to a halt in its insolent march against the whole of Europe and Asia at once - a power that sprang forth from beyond, from the Atlantic Ocean. For at that time this ocean was passable, since it had an island in it in the front of the strait that you people say you call the ‘Pillars of Hercules.’ This island was larger than Libya and Asia combined, and it provided passage to the other islands for people who travelled in those days. From those islands, one could then travel to the entire continent on the other side, which surrounds that real sea beyond. Everything here inside the strait we’re talking about seems nothing but a harbor with a narrow entrance, whereas that really is an ocean out there and the land that embraces it all the way around truly deserves to be called a continent. Now on this Isle of Atlantis a great and marvelous royal power established itself, and ruled not the whole island, but many of the other islands and parts of the continent as well.
What’s more, their rule extended even inside the strait, over Libya as far as Egypt, and over Europe as far as Tyrrhenia. Now, one day this power gathered all of itself together, and set out to enslave all of the territory inside the strait, including your region and ours, in one fell swoop. Then it was, Solon, that your city’s might shone bright with excellence and strength, for all humankind to see. Preeminent among all others in the nobility of her spirit and in her use of all the arts of war she first rose to the leadership of the Greek cause. Later, forced to stand alone, deserted by her allies, she reached a point of extreme peril. Nevertheless, she overcame the invaders and erected her monument of victory. She prevented the enslavement of those not yet enslaved, and generously freed all the rest of us who lived within the boundaries of Hercules. Sometime later excessively violent earthquakes and floods occurred, and after the onset of an unbearable day and a night, your entire warrior force sank below the earth all at once, and the Isle of Atlantis likewise sank below the sea and disappeared. That is how the ocean in that region has come to be even now unnavigable and unexplorable, obstructed as it is by a layer of mud at a shallow depth.” (Plato’s Timaeus, 24e-25e, Translated by D.J.Zeyl)
CHAPTER I –
My name, is Solon. Theories of the city of Atlantis have graced the lips of those intrigued for centuries. Few were ever made privy to the truth of her vast secrets. I hesitate to share that I am one of those few. I bore witness to those truths. I know of what happened within the glorious structures on the eighth continent between the seas. I have seen the civilization unlike any before nor ever after. And I know why she fell.
Long have held these secrets. Long have I crossed the plans of existence, listing to the few who do little more than guess at her tragedy. However, the time has come. A shadow may no longer be allowed to besmirch her legacy. The task now falls to me to unlock the door and share with you the tale of her demise, for the city was real. The city did exist. And her name was Atlantis.
I would say one of the most terrifying, yet simultaneously fun aspects of purchasing a horse is shopping for all the accessories that go with buying the horse. One thing I never realized, was just how much emphasis riders place on the overall look of their tack. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about quality. I am a firm subscriber to, “you get what you pay for.”
I am referring to the overall look that riders strive for. Shortly after bringing Jean-Luc home, people started to ask me a question I found strange.
“What’s your horse’s color?”
“Ah, he’s a palomino paint?” I cautiously would respond. Clearly, I mean those asking the question had eyes.
However, like usual, I was the one confused. What they really wanted to know, is what color scheme would I be using for my tack? Clearly. Since Jean-Luc is white and gold, our options were numerous.
Choosing his particular color scheme is a story for another day, but it suffices to say that we went with burgundy (wine color!)
Now, together Jean-Luc and I have several fun new tack items, but I’ve been purposefully slow to pick up one crucial item – the saddle.
Saddle shopping is intense! This singular item could very easily surpass the price a person pays for the horse. Taking the purchase seriously is a must, because the saddle will largely contribute to the success of the horse and ride as a team. So, where does one even begin?
I started by asking myself what type of riding I primarily wanted to do with Jean-Luc. The answer – trails. Long, obstacle filled, slow going, trails.
Because most of my riding will be on trails I began to look at endurance, western style saddles. I went back and forth with this though as I am currently rolling around in a pretty large 40-pound western saddle that belongs to BM’s man. It’s a beast to haul around, but it reminds me of a Cadillac – too big, too heavy, protective, and something you can roll in for days. It’s basically everything I’m looking for, minus the too heavy part.
From there I asked myself if I wanted leather, or synthetic. Synthetic is often easier to keep, clean and cheaper, but I do love the smell of a good leather saddle. In the end, I find the comfort in a leather saddle a little higher as well. So, leather then.
All these answers pointed me towards a saddle introduced to America the early seventies and made popular thanks to, The Man from Snowy River. Honestly though, people have used this style of saddle for generations all over the world.
Traditionally, Australian stock saddles were created to hold a rider in securely and comfortably through some of the most intense terrain on the planet. The earliest versions borrowed heavily from traditional English saddles as the premise for their design. Since everything is out to kill you down under, they added a much deeper seat, higher cantle, and front knee pads to really suck a person in when their equine counterpart comes into contact with one of many outback terrors.
By adding these design features, the Australian saddle also became one of the most comfortable to spend days, upon days in. So, light weight – check. Conformable – check. Sticky, and holds me in when Jean-Luc doesn’t agree with what’s on the ground – Check. Check, check and check!
Everything seemed to fall into place. I knew what type of saddle I wanted, but now what brand? This decision came after reading as many reviews as I could find, and settled on the best reviewed saddle brand I could comfortably afford without making my you know what pucker.
Finally, there was really only one conundrum:
Horn, or no horn - that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer being skewered
Like a pig on a modern western horn
for the fortune of looks and copious amounts of bags hanging
Or to take arms against the horn,
And by opposing modernity end a fine riding utensil without such ornament?
Seriously, being on the trail all the time might mean wanting the option to ride with a saddle horn bag, so that makes sense. Plus they're often more affordable than many English front bags. The Australian horns aren’t made for roping, but neither were Jean-Luc and me. Truthfully, we’re about as coordinated as a synchronized swim team made entirely of kittens. Horns are great, right? They look cool, they can serve a purpose, and they can stab your sides out if you ever end up in the wrong place at the wrong time!
The man from Snowy River didn’t need a horn. He tamed the wilds with no such thing.
Oh, the options? Whatever shall we choose?
Suggestions, comments, and rants are welcome, but I must confess, whatever I ordered is on its way! Stay tuned and see what Jean-LucPonycard and I #boldlygo forth in.
Jean-Luc and I have been making pretty great progress in the month we’ve come together. One huge leap forward comes in the form of being able to lead him to and from the field without total melt downs and without the fear of being trampled. We have fallen into routines that I believe are teaching him “safe spaces”. For example, he’s learned that the barn is a safe place. Going to the barn means there will likely be grain with some light grooming – all for the price of some quiet standing in place.
Depending on our headspace, we then either tack up and head to the round pin for some ground work, or we just go straight over sans the tack. As a point of validation, those who say, “solid ground work is the foundation for everything else,” aren’t kidding! Since I really started understanding how to communicate through intension and body langue, things have really changed.
Our first few sessions together were tough. Jean-Luc acted like a hot horse, running as fast as he could with his head cocked to the outside, trying desperately to get to his buddies. But, more recently he’s started to perform a very calm and collected canter. In fact, in the past four days I’ve witnessed something I’d really like to sit. (Nope, haven’t tried it yet.)
Like I said, things were progressing nicely. Something new we tried last week involved saddling up and making our way into a field used for training. The field itself is full of jumps the aforementioned Wonder Woman Liz uses, and plenty of other terrifying things – like deer. On this particular day, we were alone. A thunderstorm was making its way towards us over the mountains. Jean-Luc and I made our way across the creek, and overall, he seemed to be in the mood for exploring – I encouraged him. Together, we walked around Liz’s jumps, and managed to keep our cool when two does darted through the far pasture.
Upon surviving all those scary things, I figured this was a pretty big step and took Jean-Luc back to the barn to unsaddle. The week continued on, and while I had some great quality training time in the round pin, I was unable to carve out enough time to repeat the field session until nearly four days later.
Cue literal hell. Occasionally I suffer from panic attacks. I can’t always pinpoint when or what triggers them, they just happen. However, the world isn’t going to stop, and nor should my breathing. Usually, that’s how I pass them – breathing. It just wasn’t working on this particular day, though. Nope, instead a thousand-pound imaginary critter had parked itself on my chest with zero intensions of moving.
At 10:00 AM it was already balmy. The temperature was a West Virginia seventy-two degrees. Meaning, without checking, I knew the humidity had to be floating around 100 percent. I didn’t care, it was Sunday and I had the entire day to work with my horse!
I rolled into the barn, exchanged pleasantries with BM, and started my usual routine, making ready for my session with Jean-Luc. In my head I was thinking, “Hey, I have the time. I’ll saddle up and maybe even find my way to the rail trail! It’s just over the river and through the woods. Or, something like that.”
And this is the part where my mother would chime in, “Dream on, Alice”. However, she clearly was not there to do so.
I retrieved Jean-Luc from the field. I could tell after a few minutes that exploring our way to the rail trail might have been a little too ambitions. “Fine,” I thought to myself, “adjust.”
That’s another realization I’m learning – patience and fluidity are paramount. Though I may have more patience than most, it still takes quite a bit of mental awareness to recognize things you or maybe your horse just are not ready for. I mean sure, others would clearly see the fact that Jean-Luc, a buddy sour horse, and me hadn’t even completed two successful sessions in a field on our own yet. Setting a goal to hit the rail trail alone was beyond unrealistic and unattainable.
The adjustment came in the form of tried and true routine. I typically do some round pin work before ever even getting on, so that is what we did. I saddled up Jean-Luc and lead him to the round pin. He is getting pretty good in there. He turns to the inside usually, and has started looking at me more while working – until that day.
On that day, he decided he’d try something new. Rather than running around the arena like we’d practiced, and turning when I stepped in front of his drive line, backed up, and pointed – he just stopped. He just stopped and did not faced me, but looked forward. He would not go left. I’m pretty sure hellfire and brimstone could have rained from the sky and he would have considered running off to be one of the four horses of the apocalypse was a better idea than going left. I tried all the things I remembered from the training videos I’d watched and eventually got one painful lap before we finally quit that part of the session.
I hate how frustrated I let him make me. Looking back now, I know it was only because I just didn’t have the answer. That must be where most trainers, and people for that matter, go wrong. When you’re trying to communicate, and your message just isn’t getting across, or someone just doesn’t seem to care. It is only days later I realize that some things require more patience and more understanding. Trying something that doesn’t work is okay, so long as you can both end on a positive note.
Regardless, the goal I had set for that day was to make it to the field, and we had to try. I hoped on Jean-Luc and made a few passes in the yard I felt safe working in. He really wanted to head to the shade where the other horses were. I could feel his energy every time we came within eyesight of the herd.
Eventually, I got to the point where I felt like we were waiting time. In retrospect, more time working in the small yard might have been good for us. Nevertheless, I took control with my hips and pushed us onward through the little creek that leads into the big field. The flies were terrible. A giant horsefly even managed to bite through my spandex tights. Though I fly-sprayed him, they were no less forgiving to Jean-Luc.
Things were far from perfect. Jean-Luc desperately wanted to head back to his horse-friends, but I knew that three laps around that field equaled one mile and we were not heading back until we did at least one mile. I did not care what direction, but we were completing one mile together, in the field, under saddle.
So that is what we did. I pushed through one very prissy, head shaking, prancy, pacey mile – but we did it. I can’t say I finished that afternoon feeling very good. In fact, I was pretty disappointed things went so far south. I had all the best intentions of have a magical afternoon with my Jean-Luc, and none of it happened. Instead, we fought like an old Italian couple – loud, tossing things around, with our limbs flailing everywhere at each other.
The silver lining is that we did complete our goal. We had never actually done a full lap in the field. Three laps in the field was huge step forward. Again, I am only able to grasp that notion upon retrospect.
Today, I didn’t have time to head back out into the field, and with the promise of a real trail ride tomorrow alongside Liz and Q, I felt we needed to revisit this developing bad habit in the round pin. I still cannot put my finger on what started the unwillingness to turn when asked, but I believe it has to do with the heat, and the fact that Jean-Luc is actually quite the cold-blooded creature.
He has learned how to get out of moving and thus takes full advantage of it. To combat this, I simply had to become more firm and direct in my body motions. I called to memory my first lesson with BM. She talked about how the communication link between a horse and their person is almost psychic. One key is to literally envision what you want the horse to do – so I did, and it actually worked.
It took time, but when Jean-Luc started to protest, I managed to rein in my frustrations. I reacted with patience, direct cues, and practically willed him to listen. I don’t have any better explanation that that. It wasn’t the prettiest session in the round pin we’ve had thus far, but I believe we’re back on track.
Who knows what tomorrow’s trail ride will bring? The past few days were a reminder to set goals, but realistic, attainable goals. Otherwise, you end up feeling like a failure, robbed of your hard-earned confidence. Surpassing a properly set goal helps to earn and maintain much that needed con
My name is Chelsey.
Generator's Cuevo Gold, or as he's known around this barn, "Jean-Luc Ponycard", was foaled in 2004 from Generator's Hurricane & Cheyenne's Little Bit.