Wednesday, February 22, 2012

It Could Be Seasonal

If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome. ~Anne Bradstreet

My husband took today off to join us on a 4-H field trip to a tack store just across the state line to Alabama. It is about an hour drive. There they plan to talk about the different types of bits and their purposes. The Princess will be using gift moneys she has been saving to buy brushes, hoof picks, and combs to make a nice grooming kit. We also plan to buy a couple of lead ropes and two halter whips, which I think is the type the trainer used in the horse clinic last for lunge training.

Last Saturday the Princess and I attended a horse clinic with the 4-H club. It was a great clinic about ground manners, loading horses onto a trailer, proper lunging, and riding stubborn and problem horses. We have some stubborn ponies and some miniatures with ground manner problems at Miss Annette's. A large part of the problem is her horses do not get worked regularly and when they do it is by a variety of children, with no horses of their own and little to no experience with horses. They love them, but do not know how to train them, so there is no consistency and way too many treats as if rewarding their bad behavior. Often these horses are being unintentionally trained to have bad behavior or to do the wrong things because of inexperience; it helps to have some insights in how to think like a horse. We have many educational clinics throughout the year for that purpose, but often the very people, who really need learn, cannot or do not attend.

The Saturday clinic was all day for just $10 per person. It was great! Some of it I knew and some of it was new to me, particularly the lunging technique he used. Quite effective as he got one pony who would only lunge in one direction to work in the opposite direction for the first time ever. However, these horses need to be worked regularly and I am thinking of starting the Princess working the easy-going minis first until she gets some confidence, while I try out more challenging ones. I would like to start this Tuesday, but school is out for our county this week and some of the other children might be coming out during the day or the borders may be there to ride their own horses, so we would not be able to do so if that is the case.

My other concern is the family I am partnered with at this time. The mother does not like the idea of any strong disciplining methods used on the horses. While her two girls were there for the clinic, the mother was not, so I do not know how she would respond to the techniques the trainer used that were quite effective. Also, Miss Annette feels that bad ground manners need to be corrected and can be dangerous for the children, so she was very pleased with what she saw and hopes that her horses would be worked in that way by the 4-H'ers. She is unable to work them herself and most of the people who work at the barn do not have horses, therefore are less experience also.

At this time, I am one of the most experienced parents without a horse coming to the stables. There are a few parents who have been feeding horses for a bit longer than I have, but they really had not been around horses much previously or don't have as much confidence with them. The family that does the Tuesday night feeding just bought a horse for their daughter so they are looking for a replacement so they can stop coming; these change-overs happen every time people get their own horses. For now I am quite content for the Princess to learn to work with a variety of horse personalities and sizes at Miss Annette's so she gains her confidence. Besides, I find it rather challenging too.

Miss Annette did mention to me on Saturday that she sees what I was talking about with the other mother, because she is still going out there on Friday nights also. Friday nights are for beginner's night, so Annette tries to come out that night when she is able. She said that she could see the mother acted afraid of her horses and I can see that Annette does not feel comfortable about them being there alone, although they did that once when the Princess and I was sick. I do not feel comfortable with them even letting the horses into the barn alone yet because every now and then the horses do a barn scramble just to make life more exciting, I guess.

The mother is very nice, but I feel that I cannot trust her in a way because her actions and abilities are not what she portrayed. Actually, I am very frustrated by the entire situation.

I am angry with myself for feeling resentment towards the mother. I believe her intentions were good, but as I stated, I feel I cannot trust what she says nor can I count on her to handle a horse when it is necessary to really handle one, if you get what I mean.

I feel saddled with extra responsibility and concern for this family because they really don't know anything about handling horses, especially horses with some ground manner problems, so I am concerned about them getting hurt. My husband says it is not my responsibility, but I feel it is and at the same time I cannot keep my attention on my own daughter to be sure about her safety, who is so easily distracted by other children.

I would rather the Princess and I work with a couple of horses at a time on the ground and that only the two of us ride so I could work on training the two ponies to behave themselves better.

I just need some patience. I know that everything is for a season. This family will be leasing horses at another barn soon and even though the mother plans to come every Tuesday morning until public school is out for the summer, she may change her mind before that time. That would be fine with me. The Princess likes having other people there, but then she goofs off more and not putting her full attention on whatever she is doing with the horses, even just grooming. Last week after working with the boy, I found my daughter crouched down polishing Mack's hoof and without any part of her body touching him; although Mack is a sweet pony, it is a very big no-no to be in that position--too easy to get stepped on or kicked--but the other mother watching her for me did not even seem to know that. Things like that concern me very much.

Personally, I am really not there to socialize with much of anyone lacking four hoofs. I really want to work on training more. I was even thinking of taking off a week of homeschooling soon and daily going out to work on their ground manners and lunging, weather permitting.

I would love to go out there twice a week instead just once a week, but that would really crimp our homeschool schedule. It would be nice to have another day to work with the horses when the weather is bad on Tuesday.

Mostly, (sigh)...I wish I could be rid of this frustration I am feeling!

~ My Lord, help me to have a more forgiving and loving heart. Help me be patient for the change of seasons in my life and to seek to please You most of all. ~


  1. Hmmm. Some people just can't help but coming across as super competent ~ even if they aren't. It's just the way they are but I am always leery of them.

    Not a horse person, I'm afraid. waaay too big; Waay too scary. ☺

    1. I appreciate your feelings.

      We have those very cute miniature horses there that some think are easier to handle--for me, way too small...and still scary. ☺

      I guess I would not be so frustrated if I did not love being with the horses so much and knowing that the few ground manner issues can be resolved with just a bit of the right training.


Thank you fellow travelers for walking and talking with me along this journey.