Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Baby Steps

I don't resent the time I invested in Courage. I learned so much from him that I can cross-apply to Zoë. SB-before-Courage would have said "you WILL stand in the wash rack", picked a fight, and made an issue out of a non-issue.

SB-after-Courage says "eh, we'll get there. I'm in no hurry."

Because as much as Zoëbird is a 180 from Courage in every possible way, she's also a living being. She's not a machine that mindlessly conforms.
plus she's wicked cute

So yeah, I could pick a fight with her about how the wash rack is NOT SCARY and SHE WILL MIND and DAMMIT YOU WILL GET THE HOSE AGAIN.

But I don't.

Because Zoë is a kind, sweet, smart creature and if I just take my time and show her that the hose is fun and the wash rack is safe, and hey! We eat cookies when we stand here! Pretty soon, the wash rack is going to be a non-issue and I will have built her trust in me instead of tearing it down.
I learned that attitude from Courage and it's infiltrated every part of my thinking about training horses. That's why even though I know Zoëbird has some quality training behind her, we started slow. I added one or two things at a time. I treated each item (saddle pads, boots, etc) like she'd never seen it before and let her understand each piece at her own speed.

And conversely, she's been pretty patient with me. We had our first session with my trainer yesterday. My trainer ground drove her (hint: they did great) and then she had me do it. Zoë is actually trained to drive and has pulled a cart even. SB, on the other hand, has never driven anything without wheels (hint: skill really doesn't cross apply).

We went slow and I made a lot of mistakes, but Zoë was Zoë and it was a positive experience for everyone.

I'm having so much fun with Ms. Zoëbird. She is absolutely the kind of horse I need right now.

And because of Courage, I can be the kind of person she needs too.

PS: last night, we stood in the wash rack eating cookies and I sprayed off her front legs with the lead line completely slack.

44 comments:

  1. I love this. You seem so much happier already. And she really is freaking adorable.

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  2. oh goodness this warms my heart. this is exactly what i hoped for for you.

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  3. ermergherd. I am SO happy for you! This girl is such a doll. You are doing such a great job with her!!!

    Yeah, the hard ones are still great teachers. When I have to move on to another horse, I'm going to be light-years ahead in knowledge because of RedMare.

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    1. I learned so much from my difficult horses.

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  4. Smart girl :) I love mares except for when they're too smart and then play me for a fool

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    1. Hahaha yeah I swore off mares after the last one, but I'm happy to make an exception for Zoë.

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  5. <3 this! That trust building is so so so key, something I don't doubt you've gotten to learn in a big way with C. It's so hard for me to read about folks with new or young horses having to "get after them" bc they're new or young and are making the little mistakes that new or young horses make. Like you say tho, most of those little mistakes aren't an issue unless you make them one. Otherwise, they're just opportunities to get to better know each other and open up doors for communication.

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    1. Haha right? It's so much easier to just not be frustrated and take things slow. Everybody wins.

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  6. First off, love the blue browband on her so much.

    Second, she looks so cute and like she's gonna be a ton of fun!

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    1. Haha she looks good in everything and I want purple.

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  7. I know it's cliche to say everything happens for a reason, but it does, and I'm glad that Courage gave you the skill set you get to use now to create a wonderful relationship with Zoëbird 😀

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    1. My life is sickeningly serendipitous. I've come to accept it.

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  8. That's awesome! There are times to be assertive, not take bs, but there's no reason to pick a fight. That's a true trainer. Go SB!

    Im also love the blue tiara.

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    1. Yeah there's a world of difference between not picking a fight and getting run over. :-)

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  9. Happy happy happy 💗💗💗💗💗💗

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    1. Haha you're welcome for a return to your daily programming.

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  10. <3 <3 She sounds like just the ticket.

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  11. I always think how much we learn from each horse and how much better we then become for the next. SO happy for you both!

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    1. It's such a huge learning curve, every single time.

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  12. Ground driving is hard! I am not sure I do it correctly, we seem drink

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    1. Yeah I definitely wanted trainer intervention/oversight for that part. Zoë was a total star but that's just a lot of stuff to try and keep straight.

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  13. That is a great attitude and will serve you well with her. Ground driving is fun...and hard! It's also super cool that she is broke to drive. I'd like to teach Emi.

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    1. Oh I bet Emi would be so cute at driving!!

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  14. Sounds like things are going swimmingly, congrats on your Zoebird!

    I frequently struggle with where to draw the line between expecting behavior but not wanting to fight unnecessarily. It seems like a continuously changing target because sometimes Kachina can take pressure and sometimes she really can't. Good for you for finding the balance yourself.

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  15. You are so right! Things take as long as they take and if you don't make a big deal out of stuff I find generally the ponies learn it's not a big deal either! Of course there's always a million exceptions right? Hahaha. She looks fab and so happy you're enjoying her!

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  16. The guy I had helping me with Carmen always said that you have to let a horse make a 'mistake' so that they learn. He said that he welcomes any try because the horse is trying to figure it out. She has no baggage so she will benefit from all that you have learned

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    1. She's definitely a whole different horse.

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  17. She sounds like a doll! I'm so happy for you :)

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  18. Yay!!! I'm so so happy for you and all of the progress. I feel like sometimes that sort of small step (washrack with cookies) is the most rewarding

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    1. I realize it's all still new, but I'm having so much fun. :-)

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  19. I love this so much! Beautiful mindset.

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