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Horsemanship and life--risk-taking

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Joined: 16 Mar 2012
Posts: 212
Location: Durango, Colorado

PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2012 6:06 am    Post subject: Horsemanship and life--risk-taking  Reply with quote

On the theme that horsemanship and life are the same:

In our lesson yesterday, Kathleen pointed out how my energy and body language were very tentative and uncertain, especially with yearling Bridger.  

For me with the youngster (and to a lesser degree the other horses), being clear and insistent and even vigorous feels like a huge risk.  Maybe I'll do it at the wrong time, for the wrong reason, in the wrong way.  Maybe I'll cause an immediate wreck or else build in something bad for the long term.  I get paralyzed by the feeling of potential disaster.  My Achilles heel is the fear of messing up, not a fear of getting hurt, but the theme is the same.  

As Kathleen said and I've heard many a time before--may as well get out there and make the inevitable mistakes with some energy, confidence and flair!  I can't become a better horsewoman or educate my horses by playing it safe.  And the potential disasters I fear aren't that bad.  A wreck with any horse, particularly a fresh new one, is not a fun thing and can have lasting consequences.  Less dramatic stuff over time can also have lasting, undesirable consequences.  But none of that is likely to lead to torture, prison, exile or (hopefully) death for any of us.  Particularly when I have good information, use good principles, get professional assistance and make sure my risks are calculated.

Here's to horses and horsemanship making us better people!  Get out there and take calculated risks in pursuit of what you love, and may your mistakes and disasters be easily mendable!

"Horsemanship and life, it's all the same to me."  Buck Brannaman
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Joined: 29 Mar 2012
Posts: 50
Location: Emmett, ID

PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2012 1:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I came back to this post as it has some extra meaning for me at the moment.  Things are progressing comfortably with Khari but I hit a snag - I think-maybe-don't know- with my filly Jetty in the saddling department.

I was incorrect in thinking she was ready for the saddle the first time I tried it - lots of bucking, crashing into RP fence, falling down, etc.  Shortly thereafter,  Kathleen was here, and she demonstrated how much Jetty didn't care for the flag in her flank area and I got to observe her working on that.  I went back to work with Jetty, doing a lot more flag work, getting in the flanks and under her belly, pushing her buttons more by asking her to speed up to a trot occasionally while using the flag because she seems to be pretty reactive to changes in speed. I also did more work with the rope around her belly & flank area.  Once again, I thought she was ready to saddle; this second time I had her on line so I could (ha!) "help" her.  She reacted pretty much the same as the first time but I was able to keep her sort of under control and eventually get her calmed down.  I did some GW with her saddled and felt pretty good about it when I turned her loose.  I didn't do too much with either horse during the heat wave and since the weather changed, I've been focusing more on Khari but I finally got back to Jetty and the saddle a few days ago.    In the GW we have done over the summer, I improved her softness in moving those hq's and changing direction with the saddling in mind 'cause I noticed in the midst of the "rodeo" that the short person angle I have on my 16-2 hand baby is not optimal for cornering her when she is upset.  Prior to this 3rd saddling, I also did a bunch more work from above her on the fence; rubbing her with blanket, flopping the tarp around on her back, setting the saddle on and wiggling, patting it, etc.  With this 3rd saddling, I started by  moving her around online from up above on the fence and she did get rev'd up but I was able to corner her easily from that higher angle and she calmed down nicely.  As soon as I asked her to move around the pen with me on the ground, she went right back to trying to buck and plunge around.   Once again, I got her calmed down and did lots of half circle ex, etc. before calling it a day and she was soft and sweet and blinking when I left her saddled in the pen with her hay.  However, when I went to unsaddle her later, she was tense about me messing with the cinch so I had to work through that before taking it off.

I am seriously worried that I am missing something big and, by continuing to saddle her and go through the bucking, even briefly, I am building a bad habit in there.  I am sending her across the valley to Wade Black after Christmas for his colt starting class and had hoped to have her good with the saddle before then so they would have more time to focus on riding (thereby getting the most bang for my limited bucks)  but now I'm thinking it would be better to leave the saddling to him as well.  

I have gone from feeling like it was good to get out there and make my mistakes with flair (love that concept) to feeling like I am on the verge of creating a much bigger issue than it has to be and that is definitely something I don't think is fair to Jetty.  I am already dealing with the lasting, undesirable consequences I (and others) caused in Khari; I sure don't want to be the cause of them in Jetty, for lack of being honest about my limitations!

"Sometimes you're the windshield, sometimes you're the bug" - Mark Knopfler
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