December 16, 2013

The Horse You Deserve

First to clean up some loose ends:
  1. Hubby did great on his race. 54 grueling, icy, cold and rainy hilly miles in 12 1/2 hours! Way to go!
  2. My demo saddle ships today!!!! Can't wait to get it and try it out :)
  3. The hunter pace was post poned on Sunday, so I didn't miss it. I doubt I will have things sorted out for the 2 in Jan, but you never know. We may make them yet.

I read somewhere recently that after two years of owning a horse you have the horse you deserve.

This is a very interesting thought. I will have had Gemmie for 4 years as of Jan 1st (I bought her right before Christmas, but she came to me on News Years) so if this is true then everything she does now has long since been on my head. I understand where the saying is coming from. For example: Gem does not stand still when I get on her. She immediately starts walking away. Why? Because I have never asked her to stand still. I don't mind it enough to put forth the effort to teach her that she needs to stand still. So, yes that ones on me. Or on the good side: Gem loves her ears being scratched (the inside of her ears to be specific). She wouldn't let me get near her ears when I first got her, but now she lowers her head, tilts it to the side and makes the cutest face and grunts while I give her ear a rub. I taught her that. Go me.

But is everything that she does my doing? I'm not a trainer (as if you didn't surmise that for yourself over the last 100 posts) and everything we have been through has been learning on the fly. She is a smart cookie, if a bit opinionated. If I was a trainer or had been working with one, I am sure she could do all sorts of things she can't do right now. If I had the know how and the gumption, I'm sure she could be doing flying lead changes, allowing me to open a gate from on her, jumping 3ft, doing dressage etc... So, from that point of view yes I do have the horse I deserve. Having not spent any time teaching her any of those things, she doesn't do them.

But...Gem has her own brain. Her own opinions and her own baggage. Am I responsible for that too? She is a slow poke solo on trails. Is that my doing? I keep pushing her to trot and maybe if I was more forceful she would be crusing at a gallop by now. But I have learned one thing form her (well, many things, but this one applies here)...Gem requires patience. If she doesn't want to do something because she is unsure of it (not because she is being lazy or stubborn, thats different and I have learned to tell the difference) and I push her and get after her, she will shut down and its game off. If I tell her she is doing really well and allow her to take a few moments to figure it out, she will do it of her own accord, be proud of herself and the next time we come across the situation it will be easier. So I ask for the trot and tell her she is good when she responds and we trot along. I've been working really hard with her solo on trails lately and it is paying off big time. Maybe I should have done this 4 years ago, but I seriously doubt I could have with the horse she was 4 years ago. She is a totally different animal today.

I think in the end I do agree that some things are my doing. Like the fact that she doesn't lunge in correct form, but instead runs around with her back hollow and looking toward the outside of the circle instead of being bent toward the center like she is supposed to. I don't have the foggiest how to make her do it, so when we do lunge (which is a rare event) she continues to do it the wrong way. Or how she has started to really enjoy exploring the woods with me solo. Those are my doing, for good or for bad.

But there are things inherent to Gem that make her Gem and those are all on her. She has a brain and she uses it, for good or bad. Maybe it is my fault for allowing her to do so, but even at her worst I would never wish for her to be a perfect "robot" horse that does everything I say without a thought. She has taught me probably a lot more than I have taught her. In fact, the saying should be "After 2 years you have the rider you deserve" for Gem.

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