Ain't nuthin like ridin' a fine horse in a new country - Augustus McCrae – Lonesome Dove

Friday, November 8, 2013

Thankful - For a Great Mentor & Good Horse!

First ride on Khari 9-25-05  Dean on Scooter, Connie on Khari, Butch on Jas
When I hear stories of some of the problems riders put up with from their horses, I'm amazed.  I wouldn't have been years ago - before the Greatest Horseman I've been lucky enough to call friend - took me under his wing.

I'd been seriously hurt & still wouldn't give up riding.  ( At 52, I was already older than most of the relatively "new" riders that have come into the sport since.)  Instead of following all wisdom on the topic, to buy a well-trained horse & enjoy the ride...  I went out & bought another young, green, untrained mare.  It was a long process, is a long story - but what I learned - changed the way I look at horses & riding in general.

I'd brought Khari home the day before.  Dean asked us to bring Khari to the farm, so he could check her out.  Next, he wanted us to go riding!  We all saddled up & Khari evaded the bit...  I freaked...  All the faith I had left in the equine species - was in another gray mare - Not this one!  Dean raised his voice saying;  "Get Off!"  I did!  He turned to Butch;  "I'll train that mare, but only if you let me train your wife!"  Loud laughter resounded from everyone within earshot!

I spent the next months re-learning how to ride.  Each morning I would head over - with deep trepidation - scared to death to find out what my lesson for the day would be!  I had to ride about every horse on the farm, I had to do things on a horse that I'd never dreamed I'd do!  The plus side, was getting to see my mare go galloping by ridden by another amazing horseman.  At least it gave me motivation!
Evias & Khari
 There were days that I cried in frustration - the task seemed beyond me - I had no confidence in myself or my riding.  I needed to learn that the horse gained confidence from ME - not visa/versa!  Again - a long story & I'm going to post a page with Dean's "thots on horses" - that he shared with me & is such good basic advice that's too easily overlooked.

The most basic thing I learned though - & the one I'm the most commonly asked about - is why I carry a "stick" or a "bat" or a "whip" or "crop" - whatever your discipline may call it?  It was a couple years later - I'd been riding Khari successfully for a while - when we were on the farm & Dean was showing a young Thoroughbred to it's owner.  The Thoroughbred was to gallop & Khari was to act as the "pony".  Khari had no intentions of being a "pony" on this day & took to bucking when the Thoroughbred flew past us!  Dean started yelling & any of you who have had the pleasure of his company - know that voice!  He said; "Hit that Bit_h with your Stick!"  "Hard!"  I thought I was past freaking - but I wasn't...  a dilemma...  what to do?  Hit the mare & probably get bucked off, or ignore Dean's command? Guess what I did?  I HIT the mare!  Hard!  "Where the colt sucks!"  What happened you ask?  She straightened right OUT!  She went back into a nice gallop & did as she was told!  I'd Won!

That's the point - to WIN!  Always Win!  Horses only respect those who demand it!  They only respect those who can Win a fight!  They want to survive & they have a better chance of it with someone that they trust to be the leader & keep them safe! 

I do carry a stick & I've used it more than once!  It's quick, swift punishment - there's never a question that I mean business!  It also comes in handy for moving blackberry vines :-)

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