Saturday, August 15, 2009

Training Pains

Dylan is and has been a lot of "firsts" for me in terms of my equestrian education.  The two biggest "firsts" are probably that he is the first horse I have owned, and he is the first horse that I am training (with the assistance of my coach/trainer, Jenny Nell).

Of course, there is the adage that any time you ride, you are training...(or un-training!)...but for the most part, the equine companions I have worked with were pretty set in their ways...I could influence them to small degrees, but not really change their life view.

Dylan is much younger than most horses I've worked with (10), and while he sometimes thinks he knows all there is to know about the world...there is still a wide range of experiences I can bring forward to him to shape his future.  He had a pretty solid start as a youngster, racking up the blues with his teen-aged owner at training & first levels.  His second owner absolutely adored him, but was perhaps a bit intimidated by his antics - and Dylan learned that being a bully would sometimes get him out of doing things that were perhaps a bit hard for him.

As we move up the proverbial training scale, and as the work sometimes gets a little tough, Dylan will sometimes want to show me all his old tricks, to see if I, too, will feel a little bullied and back down.  In times like these, I resort to an old wisdom I learned from a riding instructor as a teen:  "don't pick a fight with your horse.  best plan is to find a way of compromise"  - if your horse absolutely refuses to go past the letter "A", and you are dead-set on getting over are better off going to letter "C" for awhile until the two of you can find some common ground again.

I'm not sure how "Dylan the Bully" feels about "Erin the Zen Master" in these moments.  I can only imagine it must be a bit frustrating for him when he is trying to push all my buttons, and I'm "Ohm Mani Padme Hum"-ing through our trot-work.  But at the same time, I would like to think that he might be learning that the "bully-buttons" just don't work the same way they used to.   

Anyway...things are clickin' along.  Need to start getting sponsorships & fundraisers in order for next year.  Going to be a couple of road trips!!  Contact me if you have ideas! 

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