It’s a lot like nuts and bolts – if the rider’s nuts, the horse bolts! ~Nicholas Evans
Carter is ten years old this year. He was brought home as a three year old and throughout these years we’ve grown and learned together. With help from some friends and a trainer as well as Level 1 and Level 2 Parelli Natural Horsemanship Program, I have learned more about myself than just sitting in the saddle. That’s not to say I know far more now than ever on the topic of riding and working with my horse and am far more savvy than I ever was.
It’s not the mechanics of it all or the repititions, the practice, the patterns, or the hours in the saddle. It’s not how feed is mixed or the brand of fly spray. It’s not about flying lead changes, half passes, or long trots. What matters is the mind of the handler/rider. My mind. My attitude.
I learned to relax and not to be so reactive. I have more faith in myself and enjoy my horse so much more. I don’t worry so much about doing something wrong. I simply ask for help. As much as I want to be better at what I do, I only take it one day at a time. If it didn’t happen just right today, I keep working at it.
Looking back over the past 5 years, I realize how frustrated I was in the beginning. Every part of my relationship with my horse had to be just right and if it wasn’t I was failing. When I started looking at where my horse’s brain was, it then I realized I needed to be paying more attention to him instead of getting it exact every time.
There is so much more confidence now with both of us and I can tell that he feels it and enjoys our rides more. As an Arabian he does have his moments. Although he is such a people pleaser and will do just about anything I ask him to, he does easily spook and is always on the lookout for dragons. I cannot say he is a high-strung Arab as many people consider this breed to be. Now that he’s matured, he is much more focused. Today is such a contrast to those first two years of equine adolescence.
We have so far to go yet and continue to learn. But what really matters is that its not work anymore. Although we do have to practice those mechanics, we have alot more fun. I simply enjoy the ride.