Well, 2017 proved itself an unusual year with challenges and accomplishments. I did several clinics in CA and a few in NV, had several short term training clients and a few long term ones as well. My personal horses were slightly back burner-ed but then they are young and there isn’t any great hurry.
I have discovered is that the people that don’t truly understand methods and aren’t willing to ask questions will always poopooo them and the person applying them, and honestly, that’s fine because the only one who’s opinion REALLY matters is the horse. They can’t tell lies or say things to make themselves feel better. They are totally honest in their opinion of the human that in interacting with them.
The second thing I have learned to embrace is the fact I can offer the horse a multi-faceted approach to solving an issue. If one thing doesn’t seem to be working, I have the depth of knowledge to draw on multiple avenues to correct things. Do I know EVERYTHING??? Nope, no one does. BUT I have an excellent mentor system comprising some of the best horsemen in the world that come from a VERY broad discipline base from Classical Dressage (Spanish Riding School), international grand prix jumping, world class reined cow horse, “natural” horsemanship and ranch horses. Everyone of the masters in their field, I have personally worked with and am proud to call friend. The great thing is they all believe that they are never done learning and search for others to learn from . . . . . If you are working with a trainer or instructor that doesn’t attempt to learn & grow from others, then there will be a limit to what they can teach you. Just something to keep in mind.
As for the horses, well they teach me plenty every day. I’ve had a few tough eggs to crack but they came through with flying colors. A 10 year old Arabian gelding that had gone “through the wringer”. After one of the best beginnings in life that could be had by a young horse, he was sold and fell into some abusive hands. After a horrible start into training and dumping his owner, he sat in a 12×12 pipe corral for nearly 2 years. When he came to me, he was terrified of ropes, 2 horse trailers, more then 2 people around him at once, resentful of moving forward, sticky feet and several other small idiosyncrasies. After 90 days, he had learned to leave most of that behind. He still harbors issues with the 2-horse trailer but sometimes it takes awhile of doing things to truly let go of the big ticket item.
Speaking of letting go of big ticket issues, one of my long term clients is doing that herself. She harbored a fear of going forward on her horse, she was terrified of being run off with. We have been working on her fears and chipping away at it a little at a time. I have become a better instructor because of her. She was REALLY new to horses 2 years ago and only been riding with me for about 18 months. As she has learned more about horses & why they do the things they do, she has slowly learned to let go of bits & pieces of her fear. I know a lot of people that have gotten into riding in their later years, 40+ years of age. It is TOUGH to work through the “self preservation” mind set. I have been tough on her but she has come SOOO far! Yesterday, the last day of the year, she finally started loping her green mare around and having success. She still was scared but had learned how to replace that fear with knowledge. Knowledge born of learning and muscle memory and remembering to BREATHE!!!! Was a wonderful day for me to watch her success and I surely hope it was just as wonderful for her.
I’m closing this blog with a short reminder to people to be kind to others. If you have a friendship, be loyal & honest to that friendship. Whether it is to your horse or human friend. Once you betray the relationship, whether on purpose or simply from lack of knowledge, it is hard to get the relationship back. OH and horses are WAY more forgiving then humans will ever be.
Happy New Year everyone! Look for my calendar of events in the next post and have a great ride!!!