Non-horse people can never understand why we pull ourselves into that saddle every day. Why we would put our own lives at risk getting on somethings back that has a mind of its own? My answer? Have you ever trusted something with all your heart and soul? I trust that horse every day not to kill me. I trust that he will look after me, He trusts that I will look after him- even if something is super scary. Where else can you get such a unique trusting bond?
Bonding with your horse isn’t something that happens over night, It’s long hard days where you feel like you have been defeated. It’s one step forward but 8 steps back with in half a breath. It’s work.
Getting some of my confidence back was only half the battle. I constantly had that voice in my head to dishearten my every move.
Charlie is a strong dominant horse on the ground and tries the same under saddle. Even now he requires an experienced rider which at the time I certainly was a shadow of my former self.
I spent a lot of time just sitting with Charlie. Sitting on the ground while he ate and just talking to him. Now when ever I sit, he comes over to me, puts his head in my lap and just stands there looking for mum cuddles and words of wisdom. Lately those wisdom words have been along the lines of “Do you know where Buddy came from? His been around the ringer and I would really appreciate if you stopped picking on him”
I’d even do things like making him walk with me on fence checks, tie him up when I was busy doing something else in that area. I gave up on giving him a full brush without a bath, I soon realized all I was doing is pushing the dirt around and making him look worse.
Then came the confidence to get on his back, with just a halter while he grazed around the paddock. These little things seemed to help with his own issues. Somewhere in between all of this, He stopped his constant head toss. Maybe a sign that whatever anxiety he had was leaving and he was beginning to put more trust in me because he felt like he could.
Bonding at one point meant being up at 4.30am in winter, in the very low temperatures. Having so much of my snow gear on I can barely get into the saddle. It was battling with the frost, with a grumpy horse that didn’t want rugs off and a grumpy me that REALLY didn’t want to get out of bed when its -1 outside. The things we learn on those cold, gloomy and wet mornings is something I’m not sure I could have manufactured any other way. The way we ride when the moon is still high in the sky with limited light before the dawn breaks over the still paddocks. Your best friends ears are in the view of the horizon and all of a sudden, you realize how lucky you are.