Very Happy Students

I’m really happy, relieved, and looking forward to the future now. You know I’ve been frustrated lately with my inability to communicate well with my dear horse Apache when he’s under saddle. Today I finally took the long-anticipated step of getting answers to my questions and start to improve the communication and make riding and learning fun again.

We went to our new trainer’s place for the first time, which was a learning experience in itself, since Lee had to drive someone else’s truck and trailer over there. Luckily, Apache loaded easily (more easily than I opened the door), despite the loud creaking sound the trailer door makes (I will get some oil). I had hay ready for him, but that made it hard for me to tie him up. While I was occupied with that, I heard a noise. Just guess who had voluntarily loaded herself?

I’m coming too, right? Photo and editing by Lee.

I asked Fiona to get down, and she looked all bummed that she could go with us. I think she had more fun at home. In any case, we made it with a couple of minutes to spare, then embarked on our learning fest. I was so ready to learn some techniques that worked better than the ones I was using before and to get some tips on keeping Apache engaged.

Hint: there will be much less of THIS going on.

I got all that, and more. It was a pretty learning-packed lesson for both me and Apache, even though I’d forgotten my reins (now I know how to make them out of my lead rope, which worked very well). I now know how to make the round pen work more of an exercise in mind and body for both of us, and how some of the things I learned before actually weren’t a great idea. Little modifications really helped.

And when I was riding, I got all the stuff I’d been trying to figure out on my own, explained so much better and more clearly. It was such a relief to get this information and try it out. I kept smiling with joy that I was doing things well and Apache was figuring out what to do more and more quickly. It’s such a relief to have a patient and reassuring teacher who frequently reminds me that this stuff will take a while, but will be worth it.

It’s very pretty where we went. And so many horses!

My hands and legs need retraining, so I’ll just keep repeating things the new way, which makes sense, so is quite worth it. I have great homework to do, as soon as I can make myself a cone and circle setup. I ordered some cones, but may have to borrow some until they get here. But hey, I know much more subtle ways to start, stop, turn and go in circles already. Oh and backing up. Yes! I can’t wait to get to practicing and to teaching Drew some of the round pen stuff I learned.

But wait, you know what was the BEST thing the trainer told me: Apache’s weight looks good! She said it more than once! All that hard work HAS paid off. Hooray!

Lee spent a lot of time looking at clouds. He said this looked like Hercules. He didn’t even notice the dragonfly.

I haven’t had this much fun in an hour in AGES. Neither has Apache, though he was ready to get that saddle off when we got home! Lee was darned ready, too. I think he really hopes the other driver will be available next time, the one who is interested in horse training.

Author: Sue Ann (Suna) Kendall

The person behind The Hermits' Rest blog and many others. I'm a certified Texas Master Naturalist and love the nature of Milam County. I manage technical writers in Austin, help with Hearts Homes and Hands, a personal assistance service, in Cameron, and serve on three nonprofit boards. You may know me from La Leche League, knitting, iNaturalist, or Facebook. I'm interested in ALL of you!

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