We got this new horse. He’s HUGE. He was free. He is old. He is well trained. BUT, he’s also a little bit of a nervous Nellie. When he’s in a new situation he blows out of his nose and moves his feet a lot.
Rose gets a little frustrated with him–even though we’ve only had him for 8 weeks and he’s still settling in. She sorta growls at him and stomps her foot. I keep telling her he can feel her stress–just like she can feel my stress when I’m upset. “Do you like it when I’m impatient with you?” I ask. Of course she doesn’t. Scowl.
“You have to build a relationship with him so he can trust that you will protect him. Then, he will stop pushing you around.” Wha, wha, wha…says Charlie Brown’s teacher. (Charlie Brown’s teacher decides to go inside and let the darling sort it out on her own.)
Anyway, two days ago I had a moment of brilliance and had Rose watch a “Jump Start” Parelli video that goes through the ground work she needs to do in order to build a relationship with the horse. I left her to it and after the video had been watched, she was to go out and work with her new horse.
An hour or two later she comes bouncing in the door, bursting with excitement. “Mom! You know how I’ve been pushing on his nose here (she gestures toward her own small and completely un-horselike nasal cavity) to get him to back up? ” I nod and strain to hold my tongue. “Well, on the video I saw they pushed here instead.” (Again, gestures toward her own nose.) “I wish I’d known that a long time ago!”
Lesson learned. Make it her idea much sooner next time and we just might move along at a little faster pace.