“I didn’t expect you to be this good”
Yep, that phrase definitely came out of Ron’s mouth this morning. He doesn’t give praise very often, and when he does he usually avoids saying it directly to the person. He usually tells the Training I class he likes the person and lets them relay it later. But he told me directly. Over the microphone. While everyone was watching. So that must mean I’m super awesome!
That class is a bit like being a goldfish in a bowl. I’m in a small arena with thirty-two new students and three instructors watching through a window along one wall.
Little Studly (yes, my training horse’s name is Studly. He’s a stud but he doesn’t act like one) was quite entertaining. He wasn’t too sure about walking into the arena and I had to have someone else close the gate for me, but once we got in there he was pretty calm. Today was just a getting-to-know-you day. He’s only two and hasn’t been handled, so I didn’t expect too much from him.
Our session went something like this: wander around together until I could stop him and unhook him. He sniffed everything, rolled, and completely ignored me. I followed him around after he settled in. When I got his attention, I was able to get close to him and scratch him. He doesn’t have an itchy spot, which made things a bit tougher. At first he would just walk off, so I spent some time just standing with him. after some time of that, I decided it was time for him to come to me. I went back to the center of the arena and played with the grooming tools I had brought in earlier. He kept watching me and finally came in to see what I was up to. After that it was a lot easier to work with him because I didn’t have to fight for his attention. I free lunged him a bit before hooking him back up and working at his shoulder. As I got more in tune with him, I forgot about my huge audience. It was very rewarding to be able to connect with Studly and start to get better responses.
When Ron finally broke the silence with his little sentence, I was slightly surprised to see everyone watching. I hope they learned something from it, I know I’m supposed to be demonstrating how to start a horse.