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May 17, 2014: Horse Sense: Only Connect

Another beautiful day. The plan was for Pete, Vicki, and I to go for a ride this afternoon. But then Mike, Vicki’s husband, said he’d like to go along. I said this was fine – he could ride Tinni.

I had the gear but not the horses ready before Vicki and Mike arrived. I presumed that we’d do the ride to Grizzly Camp. However, Pete was eager to have us all ride the new trail he put in, which is one that goes up to the bench and now parallels what is an ATV trail. I was concerned about Mike’s doing this because he’s an inexperienced rider, but I wasn’t up for arguing with Pete about what he thought was and I thought was

not a good idea. I did throw caution to the wind by taking the dogs for a hike beforehand. This way Ryder and Hrimmi wouldn’t get into it.

I need not have worried. Tinni (once again) did an incredible job, following the other horses and making all the correct turns. I was, as always, at first concerned about how Raudi would do because I’m always at first concerned about how Raudi will do. This now is just a matter of habit and has no basis in reality. And so once again she did excellent. In fact I can now say with utmost certainty that we have finally (as horse and rider) made an overall all important connection. Previously, it was sporadic. But now this is a way of being.

I cannot fully define what a horse/human connection is – a partial definition is that connection of this sort centers around trust. More and more, I am trusting Raudi’s judgment when we are out riding. And more and more, she trusts my judgment.

I don’t know if connection is or isn’t important to other owners. But I do think that when horse and rider are connected, that the two are more appreciative of one another. And with mutual appreciation comes mutual respect.

As we were riding today, Vicki mentioned that she’d heard that a woman we both know named Cath was in the hospital. Cath previously owned a large dark bay Morgan horse named Star. The two had quite the reputation for butting heads with one another.

Well, Cath after finally conceding that Star was too much horse for her to handle, sold him and purchased a Rocky Mountain horse. The story Vicki heard is that this new horse first bucked her off and then trampled her.

I feel terrible for Cath. And I seriously doubt that she’ll ever ride again. I know I would not if this happened to me. I think it’s safe to say that there was on Cath’s part, a decided lack of connection with Star and the new horse. This could be her nature, the horses’ nature, or just a case of plain bad luck. Dunno. What I do know is what I previously said – the connection is important.

And how does one connect with their horse? Vicki got it by taking many, many lessons in the arena. I took a more roundabout approach and spent many, many, many hours on the trails.

My approach has been in part economically motivated. I have not been able to afford lessons. So I’ve done the next best thing and spent time on the trails, doing what I might otherwise do in the arena. This has worked for us. It’s now time to incorporate arena work into the mix.

Sometimes I forget how far Raudi and I have come. This is an instance in which determination has trumped willfulness.

Next: 137. 5/18/14: Dog Training: Search and Rescue Trail Dog In Training