Wednesday, April 24, 2013

My Clinic with Buck - by Honey - Day 4

Day 4 – April 22, 2013

Today was the last day of the clinic. Buck and Martha made me work harder than I wanted to today. Finally I reminded her about my brood mare contract, which said all I had to do was stand around, look pretty and make pretty babies. There is nothing in my contract about carrying a rider or going to class. Then Martha reminded me that my brood mare contract expired when I arrived at DreamPower, so it wasn’t valid any more. She reminded me that all the horses at DreamPower have a job to do and one of the reasons we were at the clinic this week was to help figure out what my next job will be.

During the second half of class today, I was getting irritated when Martha kept asking me to do things that were completely new to me. She seemed to have forgotten that I’m a 16-year-old brood mare who is barely started with this riding stuff. Anyway, every time I got irritated, Martha would ask me to do the short serpentine drill Buck taught us. “Just like riding around the sagebrush on my ranch in Wyoming,” Buck said. Martha told me she rode around a lot of sagebrush at the Lazy L & B Ranch in Wyoming, and I think that was why she liked this exercise so much, because she loved the Lazy L & B. Anyway, every time we started doing short serpentines, I would forget how irritated I was and I did what she asked. That worked over and over! Maybe it’s like this thing I heard about called hypnosis – once the short serpentines started I kept forgetting to remember that I was irritated!

We did have fun at the beginning of class today. Buck talked about working from the fence, so Martha and I tried it. Garry had taught me how to come up to the fence from the first day I was at DreamPower, so that was old stuff for me. Yea! Something familiar! Martha got brave today and climbed onto me from the fence. I’m so short and the arena fence is so tall she had to climb down the fence a couple rails so she would land softly on my back. But I was comfortable by the fence, even with all the people and all the weird things on the other side. Martha looked kind of funny doing it, but we both had fun with the fence!

The other fun thing was we almost backed a circle today! Martha put the flag on the ground and we tried to back around it. Our circle looked kind of like an egg.

About half-way through today’s class, a nice horse got scared and her rider fell off. The rider wasn’t hurt but she and the horse were both really scared. Buck asked a helper to work with the horse with a flag for a few minutes. I felt sorry for the horse because I know exactly how she was feeling! I used to be TERRIFIED of those foam pool noodles. I would shake and clamp down with my tail and tremble when the pool noodle moved. That’s how this horse was with the flag. I felt sorry for her. I wanted to tell her, “It’s OK. It won’t hurt you!” but that is something every horse has to discover for herself.

At the end of class today Buck said to the riders, “Keep a bunch of plates spinning at the same time – that’s the only way to keep your horse from going nuts.” He said that everything we worked on this week is important and to keep working on all of it (don’t pick just one thing to work on at a time – keep working on it all or you will drive your horse crazy). I’m so glad he said that because, speaking as a horse, it’s true!

I liked Buck. He seemed to really care about the horse’s feelings and he wants every horse to feel comfortable and safe with their person. Buck said it’s the person’s responsibility to study and learn about horsemanship with dedication and a commitment to quality.

When the class ended, I was embarrassed at how cranky I had been for a little while. I felt like I want to be a good ambassador for this kind of horsemanship, where horses like me are treated with kindness and respect. Buck really inspired me this week-end. Then I got this idea that maybe I could inspire some humans – in just a little tiny way – who are struggling with changing careers or learning new things in the middle of their lives. It occurred to me that maybe if I can learn the things I need in order to have a new career that I’m really good at, maybe that would encourage a few humans who are feeling sad or discouraged, that they can start a new career or a new job and be successful at it. OK, I’ve got some work to do now! Thanks for reading my clinic blog. It’s been fun to share the horse’s side of things!

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