“When your horse follows you without being asked, when he rubs his head on yours,
and when you look at him and feel a tingle down your spine…you know you are loved.”
~ John Lyons
Three weeks ago Buddy ran from me. I couldn’t catch him and if I did it took nothing short of 45mins and cornering him.
Two weeks ago I asked myself what in the world I had got myself into.
One week ago Buddy was tied to a hitching rail after getting his back fixed. He knocked something off the rail, went into absolute panic, broke the twine he was tied to and backed up like the speed of lightning. The lead rope was now chasing him. In that moment, when he finally stopped and looked at me as if to say ” Human mummy, please help”. As I approached him, he didn’t run for the first time ever. Instead embraced the fact I had just saved him from the lead rope.
Something so small and something I had never thought would make a difference, did. From that horrifying moment on, Buddy starts walking up to me in the paddock when he hears me. He stands calm and lets me throw the rope around his neck and put the halter over his nose. I thought these moments would take months.
Since Buddy had his back fixed a week ago, I rode him twice in his paddock. My thought process was at least in a smaller space if I come off or something happens he cant run to far. He had given me a bit of spunk but nothing I was afraid I couldn’t handle.
Yesterday I set off on a trail ride on Charlie. We didn’t make it to the end of the road before Charlie was showing signs of being sore in his back legs. Not wanting to miss out on the ride I had been working all morning to achieve, I turned Charlie back around.
I unsaddled my noble stead and saddled up Buddy. My riding buddy for the day was Charlie’s best friend George. An off the track thoroughbred with separation anxiety from Charlie. How was this going to go? We didn’t do a lot of thinking before I had a saddle on Buddy and was riding towards the road.
I didn’t know what Buddy was like with cars, motorbikes, or the outside world. George relies on Charlie while out on a trail ride to keep him safe, and now I was hoping George would keep all of us safe from the scary world.
When we left Charlie had a melt down because we had left with out him, we could hear him neighing out for George for what seemed like forever, in turn caused George to have a little melt down.
Buddy stayed cool, calm and collected while this was going on. Suddenly the tables had turned, the horse I was worried about I didn’t need to. Cars cruising past at 80-100kms were a bit scary at first for Buddy but not as scary as tree trunks!
We were in the thick scrub for about 20mins before Buddy’s first melt down. Little rears just because he didn’t want to go that way. If Buddy could have spoken in that moment imagine a toddler stamping their feet and screaming NO! in your face.
We had some discussions about this behavior and he soon worked out it wasn’t going to roll with me like it may have his previous owner.
All in all. I want to scream how proud I am. Buddy was scared at times, I could feel it. Three weeks ago was a horse that didn’t trust me at all and now he has instilled his trust in me to keep him safe in an environment that he was petrified of (like walking through a running creek, or confronting those tree stumps!)
I am completely in love. Every day I am seeing new aspect of his personality come through. Yesterday after our ride he decided to nibble on a tree as I lay in the grass to recover, I couldn’t avoid snapping some photos to show you this cheeky side!
Never doubt yourselves. Our ride may not have gone this way without my confidence in the saddle. Baby steps are just fine!