“What do I do????” It’s the question. I have asked it, been asked, heard it answered, provided answers all my life, about all kinds of different things. Turns out, it’s not the “what” at all. It’s the how and when.
The devil is truly in the details. I could give you guys a blow by blow account of what we did during the four days of Peter’s clinic. Quite a few of you would wrinkle your brow, scrunch your face and say, well heck. I know how to do those things. Hell, Terri, YOU know how to do those things!” And that would be the end of your interest here.
When Peter started talking about how Tom said mechanics only work on about 90 % of all horses, that rang a big bell with me. I have lost some, and could not figure out what to do to make things different for them. I have won some, in ways that defy description, horses that had very little hope of being anything but the supposed outlaws that they were and those things defied description as well.
It’s why when people ask me now about their horse, when the horse does X, what should I do, I smile and say, the horse is not here. How can we know what you should do with him when he is not even here?
We don’t know what led up to the horse behaving in whatever undesirable way is taking place. We don’t know what the person did, didn’t do, and most likely, they don’t either. Without that crucial and pertinent information, any kind of “what” answer I would give is almost certain to be inaccurate at best and frustrating, maybe, dangerous at worst.
Peter showed us how to make changes in our horses. I watched him relax Superman, and tried those things on Royal. Starting the little bay horse was a highlight of my life with horses. It was FUN. At the end of the four days, that little horse rode around like we might both know what we were doing. He was cool, calm and completely relaxed with it all. Four days. From first saddle to backing half circles, chin tucked, light feel, doing whatever the big boys were up to.
Let me make it clear that is not about me. Peter could have started that horse through anyone. Could have picked someone out of the stands and if they listened, paid attention, would have had the same result. I am just happy it got to be me.
I did the best I could with Duke. I made choices to keep him quiet, unsure about letting him get too upset, and got his hind feet sticky as a result. Peter took him on Day Two and in about 10 minute, filled the holes I was leaving and set us both up for success.
I stood up in the stirrups, “rode” him from the ground, used one rein, one corner of his mouth to direct his feet. I did these things at Peter’s direction, and again, it wasn’t the “what’ it was the when and the how that made the difference, both right and wrong for us.
This photo is at the end of day 1 and he was ready to ride at this point. I was not ready to ride him. Wasn’t about the horse but about the fears, misgivings and doubts that can get in a person’s way and cause them more trouble than any horse ever could. It got better.