Nic has been riding now for several years and while I was learning a ton at every lesson I was kind of in the mode that I knew ‘enough’. (not all but enough) So we decided to buy a horse. Seems like an easy decision, find the right one to buy, find a place for it to live and move on.
For those of you who know horses you are probably laughing yourselves off your chairs right now. I know rookie mistake! What I didn’t know, was the learning curve that was going to be associated with this experience for both myself and Nicole.
You see buying a dog, a car, even a house is easy. You decide the one you want you test drive you make a decision and you bring it home. There is a learning curve, if you get a puppy you have to potty train, if you buy a car you have to find the gas cap, and even a house comes with it’s own issues of figuring out where stuff is and how it all fits together.
Owning a horse is so much more! Not only do you have to learn how to operate this new thing but it has an opinion and often isn’t afraid to share it with you! See horses are pack animals AND they are at the bottom of the food chain. So they are always trying to figure out who is the boss.
And if you aren’t it, then they are going to be and then sometimes they still want to be the boss! Duke likes to push Nicole. He likes to test her – he gets spooked pretty easily and when he does he gets bossy. He won’t put his head down, he will pull on the reins and he will push her to do what HE wants. She is learning to push back be big and make sure he knows she is the boss.
What is funny (in a loose sense of the word) is that he is well aware of what he’s doing. He will give her a look, like “hmm let’s see what I can do here”. What I have read is that they are going to test, and if you let them win, they are going to learn. They learn that they are now in charge and you aren’t. So every test she has to meet and and push back. She simply can’t let him win. For either of them!
She is learning some very important lessons, one of those is that you have to always be thinking 3 steps ahead. Its a tough lesson for a 14yo kid! She has to work hard to teach her horse what he needs to do, this often means not doing what she wants (like riding) and pushing him to do what she thinks is important.
This means educating the rest of us about how to handle him and where to stand. Today she is going to teach me how to hold him so that if he gets spooked we are both safe.
Life lessons are often hard to teach however having a horse has certainly given us alot of opportunities to teach them!