Wednesday, August 1, 2012

In the present with my gift

I've been working more regularly with Eagle for the last couple of months, and his progress is impressive.  To say that he's smart is an understatement...the horse is exceptional, and he LOVES his work.  He's always present, interested in what we're doing, waiting for the next directive, and more than willing to comply and always eager to please.  I'm continually amazed...and always humbled.

Sheer heaven...

See what I mean about "always interested", and being "present"?  He's waiting and watching to see what's next.  :)

I absolutely love spending time with this horse!  I am honored to feel his trust in me growing every day, and I want to be especially careful to never betray that trust...for it truly feels like a gift.  And, you know what else?  My trust in Eagle is growing every day too.  When we first got him, he was so spooky and would bolt away at the drop of a hat, that I was very nervous around him.  For all I knew, he'd jump right on top of me, but I know longer believe that.  He's still more spooky than I'd like, but he's improving greatly, and he's never spooked towards me, even when he had nowhere else to go, but towards me.  That gives me confidence in him.  I'm still more cautious around him than I am around the other horses, but then again, I've been around them for years and years.  On August 13th, we'll celebrate our first anniversary together.  Our story is still new, and is just unfolding.

I spend quite a bit of time above and behind this horse's eyes.  He used to bolt when I stepped up on the mounting block.  He used to bolt when I picked up the stirrup or slapped the seat of the saddle.  That told me he wasn't ready for mounting, let alone riding.  If he was walking past me, and I reached out my hand and brushed his side or his hip - he lit out like a streak, and would then turn around with a startled expression.  We're soooo past that now.  Most of the time anyway.  I'm so pleased.

I spend time fidgeting around on the mounting block, slapping ropes, saddle strings, the seat of the saddle, leaning on him and brushing his rump, flopping the stirrups, basically whatever I can think of to do while above and behind his eyes.  I also move him around me, a lot.  Any bit of forward movement from Eagle earns recognition of the "try", and release, even if for a second.  It's all working.  Like Ray always said, "recognize the slightest change and reward the smallest try".  Eagle knows exactly when he's done right, and looks for his tiny blessing.  That's the big difference in this kind of horsemanship verses just repetition for the sake of repetition - he has understanding of each tiny step.  I recognize it, and he knows that I know, that he knows.  So simple that it's confusing at times.  I love how he loves the lessons.

There's a fine line between working on his acceptance of unexpected movement and new things, and spooking him.  If he needs to move away, I always let him.  When he comes back, I always reward him.  He's leaving less and less often now, and realizes he can leave if he wants to, but there's safety and peace in sticking around.

I'm thinking it's about time that I begin stepping up and down in the stirrup.  Depending on how that goes, I'll be mounting up very, very soon.  I think he's ready.  I hope and pray that I can be as relaxed in the saddle as I am working him from the ground.  I just need to remember to breathe deeply and sing if I need to.  My heart has always known this is a good horse.  I just hope my mind follows suit.  We've got all the time in the world.  I'm having so much fun getting to know this horse, and I'm thrilled that he enjoys it just as much.  

What more could I ask for?

7 comments:

aurora said...

Love that first photo of you two! Eagle has such kind eyes, and is a handsome guy. I give you so much credit, for doing things your way - the only way that's going to be right.

Grey Horse Matters said...

He's a lovely horse and so handsome. I know you're doing the right thing by getting him to trust you and giving him time to accept everything. You two will be riding the trails in no time. Good luck. Love the pictures of you both.

Lea and her Mustangs said...

Are you flexing his head/kneck? That is important to keep him soft. I also back him 3/4 steps when I stop. He is such a beautiful horse. Hope you are riding soon but don't rush. Do remember to breath and to relax. You will do great on him I just know. BIL is hanging on by a thread. Sister said this morning he wasn't really with them, somewhere between there and Jesus. I will going down as soon as we get the word. I will be flying with daughter and SIL so I won't have to go alone. Bob is not going because his brothers wife is about in the same place but not with cancer. I keep telling the Lord that He promised not to give me more than I can handle and then ask him to make me able. In my own strength, I could not. Love your pictures of Eagle. How big is he, I can't remember.

Kate said...

I love his eye and the way he "addresses" you. He looks like a great horse who may not always have had the leadership he needed to feel safe from the humans in his life - but now that you're providing that he'll be there for you.

Ranch Girl Diaries said...

He's so beautiful!!! I love the progress and your positive attitude towards it! I am getting ready to ride my filly too....very excited about it but nervous...I know she's been ridden so it's not a total first time ride, but you never know what could be in store so it feels like a first time ride for me! Can't wait to see more!!

fernvalley01 said...

Looks like he is coming along great! And gorgeous!

Lori Skoog said...

What a team. He is a sweetheart.