Achieving Goals

I always thought I’d get my goals achieved when I was young, vital, small, and cute. Nope. I learned a lot then, though, and it prepared me to be very grateful when, with help from others, I do achieve goals in this older, creakier, larger, and plainer phase.

Two happy hard working goal achievers

Apache and I have been trying to become good partners and have fun together for many years. I realized we couldn’t get there without help, so as you probably know, we’ve been working with a trainer, Tarrin Warren, whose philosophy of working with horses is compatible with mine. It’s been very hard work, but tons of fun, too.

Tarrin building up Drew’s muscles

As a teacher of adults, I appreciate someone who’s good at it. Tarrin is so patient and consistent with people, and she’s training them way more than training their horses! Thanks to her help and lots of practice, I can do this:

  • Ride my horse alone
  • Trot on my horse in a controlled way
  • Tell when my horse is having anxiety symptoms before he gets squirrelly
  • Give my horse good information about what I want him to do
  • Ride calmly, so my fears don’t pass on to him

And yesterday, while we were working on improving our skills, I hit a new milestone or two. First, some of the things I’m learning are becoming ingrained and I don’t have to think about them. And second, Apache and I can now go sideways. I finally got the coordination to ask him right and not feel all awkward.

Goal achieved! I feel like I can now get him to move in all the ways. I’ll need to get better, but this was a big milestone. No, I’m not doing advanced dressage, but I can safely ride and communicate with my very patient horse, who I’ve also helped get into good enough shape that he can listen.

So yes, I cried happy tears yesterday and Tarrin said if she had a certificate of achievement to give me, she would. But to hear her say she’s proud of our progress and to see a relaxed and happy Apache were enough for me. Heck, we even made it to the trailer without a meltdown (that took months— the boy hates that trailer).

Meanwhile, Drew is making great progress in his training. My little pony (he’s so small when I ride him after Apache) has been causing Tarrin no problems and progressing right along. He canters for her, and will get better at that! Mostly she is working on building his muscles up to carry a rider after his break.

Then I was surprised to get to ride Drew myself! I had taken off my helmet, but he was a good boy and I was fine. I’d ridden him before but not too well. This time went way better. I ended up trotting and even leg yielding on him! I’m doing way better figuring him out and he’s doing better taking my cues instead of Tarrin’s. I felt competent! Another goal achieved!

I told Tarrin I look huge in those pictures but she reminded me he is small. That’s for sure. When I went to pat his neck to tell him he was good, it felt so skinny compared to Apache. But his mane amazed me. It was parted in the middle like a human and there was enough on each side that it looked full. What a guy.

I don’t even have to train Fiona. She volunteers to get in the trailer

I’m proud of me and my horses. They aren’t fancy and can’t trace their bloodlines to any famous steed, but they sure have good hearts and are willing partners. And I’m chugging along and making progress. I’m glad to have a training partner to guide us so well and at our pace. It takes as long as it takes!

Now to go put on a green tutu. Explanation later!

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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