Monday, March 2, 2015



Kevin was out riding Starry on the hill, and Ellen and I thought we would go see what he was doing. We had already ridden our horses in the indoor arena and out on the loop outside, so we were going to go on the hill on foot.

The snow was very deep and hard to walk on. We made it about halfway down when we they caught up with us on the way up. Since it was so hard to walk, we just stood there as Kevin trotted Starry past us and on to the spot where he likes to turn around.

Starry was trotting rather fast, and then he broke into a canter. It was a pretty sight to see with snow spraying in all directions—but it wasn’t what Kevin wanted to do. He pulled the reins back and said, “Hey. Hey. Hey.” Starry didn’t listen to his command and kept on going. Finally, he managed to stop him, turn him around and come back to us.

We all walked down the hill together. We have a flat section at the bottom, and Kevin asked Starry to trot it. Starry had better ideas—and cantered—and bucked. Once again, Kevin pulled back the reins and said, “Hey. Hey. Hey.” Starry did finally stop at the end of the trail.

They trotted back to us, and we pointed out to Kevin that Starry has no idea what “Hey. Hey. Hey.” means. If he did, he would probably think it was “Hay. Hay. Hay.” It’s not likely that would do anything to slow him down.

We said to try “walk” or “trot” or “whoa” since he knows very well what those words are. He didn’t even realize he was making that mistake. I guess he got out of practice over our long winter.

I write this not to make you think that Kevin is an inexperienced dolt—he is far from it. Over the years, he has learned so much—it amazes me. He intuitively seems to know what to do and how to handle pretty difficult situations—not from riding Starry, so much. Starry is a great horse that doesn’t give him many problems at all. No, I think that Kevin has learned the most from riding with Ellen and I on our green horses, Cole and Dante—who aren’t green anymore and volunteering to go riding with anyone with their green horses when they are looking for a quiet horse to go with. In fact, we just got a new boarder who bought a very lovely, well-behaved horse—who has never been on the trail. We volunteered Kevin and Starry for her first few rides. (We warned her that we would be a bad choice because we like to trot and canter a lot.)

No, I am writing about this to just remind people that when things aren’t working, take a look at yourself. You may be doing something as simple as using a verbal command that your horse never learned. We are all guilty. I had Cole more than a year when I realized that he never learned to stop when I pulled the reins. He was so awesome with the verbal command that I forgot to teach him the rein command. Just last month, Ellen realized she did the exact same thing with Dante.

None of us are immune, so whenever you are having a problem, look to yourself, first. Your horse will thank you.


Mrs. Shoes said...

Sage advice.
Thanks for the reminder!

achieve1dream said...

I'm guilty of it too!! Great advice and reminder. :D