As someone pointed out, the person sitting on Steele didn't look like me. Now that Steele is 3 and a half it's time for him to be started out under saddle. As much as I would have liked it to be me I did some careful thinking. I know I have the skills to sit on him and go on if everything goes well. But I'm not a professional trainer and I can't be sure that I'd handle it well if things went wrong. So I decided to put my ego to the side and find someone who could help me start him. Figuring out that would be seemed much like finding someone to date. I made my list:
- I wanted somone who's philosophy of training matched mine (not necessarily perfectly but we had to be close),
- Someone who would come to my place. This was for a couple reasons. I'm not a big fan of the '30 days' training as I worry that it could be overwhelming (dpending of course on how it's done) and I wanted to supervise (call me paranoid).
- Someone who was kind and loved horses. It seems weird that I'd need that criteria but I've seen some horse trainers who seem to have no regard for the horses they work with.
I asked my vet when he came to do the shots and he mentioned a name of a local person. I had heard of him and seen him work with horses. I liked what I saw so thought that I'd give him a call. We spoke on the phone a few times. I told him about Steele and what I wanted. That was back in March. Of course the weather was too nasty to do anything but he gave me some ideas and asked me to call back when I had him started. I connected with him again a few weeks ago and he came out to see us on the Easter weekend. He watched us work, made some excellent observations about us and gave me some homework. He also drove Steele. I was so impressed with how he handled him and managed to get him wherever he wanted him to go.
He observed that Steele was starting to invade my space and not reacting quick enough when I told him to get out. My first response was 'no he's not'. Then it was 'well not all the time' and then over the week as I paid more attention and realized that he was right. Steele was starting to be pushy. I also noticed that he was doing the same thing with Irish. Since he arrvied Irish has been the leader but lately Steele is starting to think that this is negotiable. It's all part of growing up (think teenagers). Irish is having none of it. This young whippersnapper is geeting put in his place by Irish. I needed to so the same. It's so easy to fall into that trap- the horse steps into your space and you move without thinking. Next thing you know you're getting pushed around. Of course I never got to that last point but it's good to nip it in the bud. But I digress.
While Royce was learning about me I was learning about him. This is what I learned:
- he seemed to genuinely love horses. He talked about riding being his get away and his face got that far away look that horse people do
- he believed in working at the horse's pace. I heard phrases 'it takes as long as it takes' and 'every horse is different'
- He was careful 'I won't get on a horse until I can ride him from the ground'. He told me I should wear a helmet when lunging and he always wore one when riding and training
- he was fair. "I can make a horse do whatever I want but there's no point. You have to let the horse learn" which means allowing them to make mistakes and showing them what you want.
- he believes that the whorls on a horse (where the hair swirls) tells you about them. Apparrently Steele's say that he's sensitive, hot blooded and smart. Sounds like a Spanish horse to me.
He showed me how to teach Steele to ground tie and advised that I also go back to single ties because 'every horse needs to know how to tie'. I agree. I believe that horses need to know how to cross tie too (which he doesn't like but hey, it's my horse). I had a good feeling a wrote the check for the session knowing i got my money's worth. We made a date for the next weekend to carry on.
To be continued..
|hang on Steele your life is about to change|