We’re past mid-January and the days are getting longer. Not much, but it’s noticeable. Here in Colorado, it’s been extremely dry and warm. I don’t teach much during the months of December and January and I focus on my own horsemanship.
So far, my winter’s horseplay could be titled Patient Progress. My thoroughbred mare can now stand quietly without being tied while I’m saddling her. I’ve worked out most of the adjustments on my new dressage saddle, and both my horse and I love it. Daily issues–pulling back, ear pinning, and general resistance, based on old information, have now become infrequent or almost gone. For many months I thought some of this stuff would never go away, and, finally, the results are showing.
So, to all of us: NEVER, NEVER GIVE UP. Just keep doing the right thing with your horse and your horse will start doing the right thing with you.
And what about those cold, snowy, wet days that seem so discouraging? I once heard a good horseman say that you should be able to have a productive session with your horse in a stall. This winter I’ve been working on leading my horse easily with a rope around each one of her legs, backing her by the tail, and lots of ear desensitizing. I’m not yet able to scratch the inside of her ears–but when I got her, I was unable to touch anywhere on her head above her eyes! Winter is a great time for relationship building.
I’ve featured two of my favorite winter images from a photo shoot some years ago. My friend and mentor Don Knapp is posed with border collies Reba and Raider. The first one is the shot we were after, and the second shot is what was really going on most of the time. Happy Winter!