Wednesday, July 03, 2019
I’ve written about my complicated 22-year-old mare, Rosie. She was bred and raised for nearly 10 years by a very experienced, capable horsewoman, who was mentally ill and sometimes lost control. Rosie’s somewhat headstrong and sometimes challenging behaviors probably originated early in experiences with that handler, who taught her to be a driving horse.
Rosie is a foundation Morgan and lovely representation of the breed–hard-working and a pretty-mover. She still resists being led into new situations and dislikes the confines of a horse trailer. These problems might stem from early unpleasant experiences. Fortunately, Rosie’s next owner was her first owner’s niece, another very experienced horsewoman, with a calm, steady manner. The years with this handler probably saved Rosie.
Rosie came to me six years ago. At that time and new to horses, I knew little about handling them. My previous horses had been easy to get along with, had taught me how to ride and were fun. Rosie was a new challenge. I wanted to cope because of my dream of driving a horse. Rosie knew that sport. Eventually, I learned some of her quirks, figured out how to get her into and out of a trailer, and felt comfortable riding her. When finally, my back began resisting in-saddle activities, I decided to learn to drive Rosie.
She loved being in harness, was fast, energetic, and too much horse for this new driver. So, I parked that idea for several years, and instead dealt with breast cancer, returning last year to the idea of driving. My solution to a fear of driving Rosie was first having her little sister, Sunni, trained to drive. I practiced driving Sunni, and when my confidence had grown, again hitched Rosie and began learning to drive an highly energetic, decision-making horse.
I finally gained the courage to drive Rosie on neighborhood streets. You’d think she’d never had been on a street, with her head held high, looking around and worried, her body weaving from one side of the road to another. I’ve been forced to learn how to keep her straight and on path. Yesterday, I realized that my confidence and skills have grown, for Rosie seemed easier to handle.
Today something different–no exercise to work off energy prior to hitching. Well, maybe just a little warming-up. The ultimate goal is for Rosie to be harnessed, hitched, and told “Go”, without first working off steam. Yahoo!
Dear Friends: For Rosie and me, these small steps represent a huge victory. Diana