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You've found the Mary-Dixon page about horsemanship.  Horses are my passion and my obsession.  They have helped me become a kinder, more confident, more patient person.  What they have taught me about them and taught me about myself is immeasureable.  I now try to teach folks about the nature of horses and how to understand each other which leads to a more confident human and a more confident little darling.
Adventure Horse Riding in NYS

11/13/13

#101 Discouragement and Ms. Know It All 2


Discouragement and Ms. Know It All part 2

So I take  Molly out, and really dread doing this because it is windy and freaking cold out, the next day - day 2.  It was so bad that I could not get her  even  INCHES out of the gate leading to the trail - neither gate was she going to go through. Not going to happen.

Now this is a lovely mule - she is what I call  man-broke, and she has thought for a long time now that this natural horsemanship stuff is a bunch of crap.  And round and round we have gone until I really whack her (can you be firm without being mean?) which I cannot stand doing but then she has always, and only then, seen the light.

Like she got it.  We've been together 11 months and 198 hours so we know each other pretty well and I have had to compromise between my approach of natural horsemanship "sissy" stuff and the man-broke whack.  And it has always ended up being the whack that would get the job  done -  much to my mortification and annoyance  - being the believer, instructor, trainer, etc that I am in the partnership approach.  It just did not work with her sweet highness.  And this, for heaven's sake, is what I do for a living and what I take great pride in.

So, yesterday was a total loss - whacks and nat'l horsemanship methods; both have failed.

And today it did not look much better.  In fact, actually it was much worse. So I interpreted it as she simply DID NOT want to leave, wasn't going to and nothing nothing nothing was going to convince her otherwise. She simply dug her heels. Ain't gonna, don't wanna.

So,I am now draped in helmet and full body armor, I called Rich out to watch the problem as it continued to  unfold.  He was quite concerned over my safety (as I was at this point). Admittedly, it was a good rodeo show.  

So I went back to the basic, basic, basic - like really basic -  which I had  thought I'd done yesterday,  but apparently did not do a very good job.  She just plain did not want to leave the barn.  Literally.  And nothing is going to get her to do it.

And I mean, back to the basic - as if she had never, ever, ever, ever gone out alone.  As in 3 steps and back to the safe area, and 3 steps again - and to safe area and over and over and over and over again with a fair amount of heavy duty head shaking and backing up and popping up and spinning going on.  I just stayed very soft and gentle, and waited and waited and waited and waited and waited , can you say boring, but I hung in there - and after 2 hours of literally just steps at a time. we could and did leave and go on all kinds of mini rides alone and away from the barn.

One one condition, though.  She was not going to walk on an actual trail.  She would bushwhack and go next to and go over hill and dale but no way were her feet even going to touch any trail.

So, I guess I either misread her - or she decided to really truly put me to the test.  And Molly  decided that she maybe does like "Mary's way" rather than the "man way" which she had been used to for several years  - after 11 months and near 200 hours of me trying to convince her.  So, I just am not as good as I thought in reading these equines - and I do have enough humility to thank Molly for that lesson.  And, what a freaking, long 2 day, 4 hour, scary lesson it was.

Obviously we were not real successful - but small doses - even off the trail is a lot better than not moving at all.

I have been on her for 2 additional days and have had lovely rides with her - again, no trails but she did move out wherever I asked - and occasionally a stall out but then she would decide to go ahead.  At least, we are not at war anymore.

And, there is a part 3 to this coming..


Adventure Horse Riding in NYS            Smilla13@gmail.com  (Mary Dixon)         www.RideNYS.com