Friday, May 13, 2011

Ups and Downs

I thought I would pull my hair out yesterday, figuratively of course. I have a very nice futurity horse, The Situation, and he has been coming along so nicely. Physically, he is big stopping, quick footed and mature; The Holy Grail of futurity prospects. He is a bit broncy and still likes to be a little cold backed most days, but always works out of it, and has only almost lawn darted me once. We had two days of heavy rain, and he was stuck inside. He is a colt who does not come back after time off as well as some and yesterday was a prime example. Broncy, despite being thrown in the bronc pen, and literally was going to give me a fight whether or not I asked for it. He spooked at the pro cutter every time we went by and was looking for any excuse to grab his butt. He felt like a 2 year old with 90 days. By the end of the hour ride we were both dripping sweat and I wasn’t sure if screaming or crying was in order. I am sure each of you has been there.

The past couple of weeks I have been going through lead changes on my pony and it has put him under a a lot of pressure. He is responding the way most colts do while going through the lead change. I am so used to him grasping everything so quickly that honestly this is the first snag we have had. I have had so many futurity horses, and experience has taught me that there is an ebb and flow to it. Each time you step your horse up in their training you are pushing their comfort zone. It is the only way to improvement, and sometimes it is not an easy task and it can feel like you have taken 2 steps back.

I love teaching people, but I think sometimes it does more for me and my training program than it does for them. I have started to learn to follow my own advice. I am constantly reminding people that horse training is a day in and day out process that has peaks and valleys. Even with the most talented horse, there will be set backs. You have to control your emotions and not allow the fact that there is a tough spot let you get frustrated. Your job as the trainer is to evaluate what your particular horse needs without emotional charge. You must constantly be editing your approach and not let one bad day, or one bad week, get you down.

Today I am going to saddle up and treat it as a new day, giving him every opportunity to rise to the occasion. If he doesn’t, I am going to remember that the best horse training happens when your horse is difficult. If everything was smooth sailing, you simply wouldn’t be getting anywhere. If it was easy, everyone would be good at it.

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