I always love the beginning stages of forming a new partnership. It’s such a dance of discovery.
I love asking the questions of ‘how do you feel about this?’, and, ‘do you understand what I mean when I ask this?’
Whether they answer with certain or unsure, clear or unclear, the response is always welcome. It’s all just information to clarify the next steps we take together.
No matter how old or young the horse I’m working with. Regardless of whether we would describe them as sensible or sensitive, I never assume.
I never assume they will be comfortable when they land in my paddock.
I never assume they will be the same under saddle as when I last rode them.
I never assume I can just get on and go.
I think in so many instances, we underestimate how destabilizing it is for a horse to arrive in a new home, and how long it can take for them to settle into the edges of their skin.
I’m in the privileged position of having many daily conversations with horsepeople, many of whom are starting out on their journey with a new horse, sometimes after spending many years with a different horse previously.
The conversations are full of many emotions, and sometimes what’s experienced is frustration and disappointment.
“You are coming from a marriage,” I often tell them, “And expecting to experience the same sense of knowing and comfort with your new horse when you’ve only just texted and met for coffee. You have to give yourself a bit of time.”
Every horse is different. You have to let yourself enjoy the not knowing as much as the knowing and build your steps from there.
This photo is of me and Merc riding on the farm today. It’s our two-week anniversary of getting to know each other, exploring together. And I’m loving every minute.
He’s my patchy warrior pony of awesomeness.
I hope he knows I’ve got his back. And if not, in time I hope he learns it fully.