07-23-2014, 07:17 AM
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I got my first horse when I was 13 and she was a mess. She had a lot of problems and needed lots of care and attentions. We took her in because her owner was moving away and had completely neglected her and if she could not find a home, she would be left to waist away in a paddock full of cows for the rest of her life. Of course, for the first month it was impossible to get near her and it took a good half hour to catch her. She was so flighty on the lead and lunge line and panicy under saddle. We had her visited by a chyropractor twice (having her third and final in a few weeks) and a lot of her problems faded substantially. I continued to work with her and train her up. At one point, I found myself tearfully writing up a draft add for the local news paper but, as I'm sure a lot will say, I stupidly backed out. But I'm so glad that I carried on.
Now, I'm 15 years old and my pony is as happy and healthy as she has ever been! No more chasing around the paddock and troublesome leading. She now either approaches me or waits calmly for me to easily pop the halter on, or even sling my jacket around her neck, and lead her on. Most if the time, I don't need to hold her, she just follows. She's the most well behaved and cooperative horse during ground work and does everything without hesitation. Under saddle, she is a calm, happy little girl. When I first got her, I wouldn't even ride her outside of the round yard. Now I can comfortably ride bareback in the open pasture.
While, like any horse you come across, she has the odd buck or puts her ears back but she has never once bitten or kicked. While it took some time to get her cheeky riding habits under control, we managed to do it. Trial and error. I thought about what I was doing wrong and what I could change. Eventually, I worked out her buttons and we understand.
I feel like there can be a lot of age discrimination when it comes to this. Not every teenager is hopeless and incapable. And yes, while I was reluctant to let her go when I felt it was time, I still managed to gain an amazing little pony and I only have 6 - 7 years of experience under my belt. But I feel it's for that reason that I can admit my wrong doings as my methods are not cemented into my routine. I don't know, just my opinion.
If it weren't for Pippa, I wouldn't be half the horse person I am today. She taught me so much and it's been such a valuable experience. I wouldn't call her a bombproof beginners horse by any means but it shows what people can do when your mind is in the right place.
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