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May 9, 2014: Horse Sense: Live to Learn/Learn to Live

Today I worked for a few hours with Jerri Ostendorf, who contacted me after taking a look at my website. She was wanting to find out a bit more about TTeam training – it sounded like we were on the same horse training wavelength. So for this reason I invited her out for a visit.

Jerri lives in Anchorage – her horse, a Morgan, is currently down in Washington State. She and her husband are going to purchase a retirement home and move down there in the near future. Jerri’s story is that she’s not feeling confident about her ability to work with or ride her mare. Apparently, the mare has been in the hands of several trainers, and during

Jerri on Lifre

this time she has become quite uneasy. I agreed to give her a hand in regaining her confidence using our horses.

I decided that we’d work with and have Jerri ride Tinni. But after giving the mater some thought, I instead decided that Jerri would be better off working with Lifre. Was this the right thing to do? I don’t know. I’ll never know.

I had a plan in mind as to what we might do, but I think that I failed in assisting Jerri because I attempted to do too much. So, not as much got accomplished as might have gotten accomplished.

We began our session by doing body work on Lifre. In the process we discovered that he had a crooked tail and four rather than two holes in his abdominal area. Jerri suggested that I flush out the larger hole with a Bedadine solution. I don’t know – I think that I’ll try to get his new owner to schedule an appointment at the veterinarian’s and have the veterinarian do an ultrasound on him.

We next did some playground of higher learning work. Lifre was extremely bargy – he knows how to use his head in attempting to get his way. There is the grass. The head goes down, and its well neigh impossible to get up. I have some ideas about how I might train him to lift his head, and will work on this in the next few days.

I next had Jerri visualize her upcoming ride on Lifre. This turned out to be nonsensical because it’s hard to imagine what it might be like to ride a horse you’ve never ridden.

After, we went for a ride. Nancy W.D. joined us on Raudi.

I envisioned our trek as taking the form of a lesson for Jerri. This was not the way it was at all. Rather, it was more of a jaunt with me following Nancy on Raudi and Jerri on Lifre. I tried to offer Jerri some pointers, but instead I found myself focusing on Raudi. I did this because, like it or not, Raudi and I are really joined at the hip. Raudi also kept her eye on me.

We three rode the road loop and then finally got on the trail. We did a rather circuitous trail loop, not because I was intent on showing Jerri how to supple Lifre, but because I lost track of the trail, and instead meandered through the woods. I generally knew where we were, but just generally. I was out front because I wanted to keep my eye on the footing, which can be overly soft.

We soon came back to the road. I had Jerri and Nancy take the horses down road a bit, and then head them in the direction of home. Nancy cantered Raudi and Jerri alternated walking and trotting Lifre. About a quarter mile from home, I had Nancy dismount. I then did some groundwork with Raudi, by having her side-pass and come to me.

Once home, we hung out for a bit, then Jerri left.

I’d give my attempt at horse training a C + or a B-. I wasn’t as focused as I might otherwise have been, mainly because I didn’t sit down beforehand and come up with a plan. In the future, this is what I’ll do. However, I won’t be working with anyone until I am also working with a mentor, which is someone who can guide my actions.

I also need access to an arena. Right now, by all appearances, it appears as though I’m no more than a backyard pony owner. At the same time, I would not waste time moving obstacles around. And the sessions would go a bit better since things would be set up nicely.

So, I guess I figured out the easy way that, for now, I will send those wanting instruction in the direction of those who are doing this for a living. And instead, I’ll continue to work with our own horses. I think I figured this out the easy way. Live to learn. Learn to live.

Next: 129. 5/10/14: Horse Sense: Moving Forward, Incrementally