I wanted to continue my thoughts and musings on Natural Horsemanship or as I prefer “Alternative Horsemanship”.
I got some good feedback on my last post on Natural Horsemanship, thank you! I have been asked some really good questions and it caused me to think about my journey with horses and how I have come to my way of being with them.
I didn’t grow up with horses but I always wanted one and knew as soon as I was able, I would have one. That opportunity came when I was 21 and got my first mare “Bell”. She was a beautiful chestnut, and quite a hand full. I learned so much with her. She was incredibly difficult and if I had her now, I would do things totally different. But, ya can’t do better till ya know better. Looking back I did all the things people were telling me to do. Bigger, harsher bits, spurs, show her who is boss, etc. Of course, none of it helped. At the time I just decided that someone else had ruined her before I got her, and my best hope was to get another younger horse that I could train myself.
That turned out to be a yearling paint gelding named “Blue Eye Luke”. I still have him, he is 23. I do not ride him anymore but he has been my best friend for over 20 years. What a gentle, kind, and patient teacher he has always been. With me, and the other horses in the herd. And I learned so much from him. What to do and what not to do. We had that special something that I had always wanted and knew was possible. I remember when I was first riding him and those moments when it all came together so beautifully. I would throw my arms around his neck with such love and joy. And somehow, I knew he knew. I was naive enough to think I was teaching him something. Boy, how silly that was. Luke was a joy and no matter what big adventure I decided to take us on he was right there backing me up, always willing and happy. We trailrode, wagontrained, went on cattle roundups, teamroped, teampenned, jumped and I’m sure things I don’t even recall. As Luke got older and started slowing down I decided it was time to get another horse. Another, eventually turned into 4 more. With each one I was trying to replace Luke. What a tall order to fill. None of them were like him. Imagine that? They were completely different, with their own personalities, quirks, likes and dislikes. I tried all the things I knew to no avail. I couldn’t squeeze them into the “Luke” box. And each one presented me with challenges that I had to find a way to overcome. Cause what I had always done was not working, I had to find a better way.
One of the first books I read was “Horses don’t lie” by Chris Erwin. I liked what he wrote and it really spurred a lot of thought. If you like to read check it out.
It really started to open my eyes to another way of being with horses. And it would be many hours of riding, reading, contemplating and even sometimes crying. There were times I wanted to give up. Sell them all and be done with it. But I can see now that the challenges I was being given were all so necessry for me to “wake up” to a whole new paradigm in the horse/human relationship.
I’d love to hear your stories so please share them with me. I will continue tp write on this topic and will be sharing some more books that changed my life.
Thanks for reading and stay tuned!
To your pets,
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