Hands free

Saturday, December 9, 2017

My previous post (Part of your world) described how I’d decided to get serious about improved relationship building with my top mare a week or so ago. Now I’ll begin telling how it’s gone over the days.

I’ll start by saying I don’t have an instructional DVD set or a plan exactly or probably a real clue yet. I had to believe I have gained enough knowledge mostly through my simple equine training to observe what is before me and make good decisions each step of the way. This isn’t a training method… it’s a way of thinking. As well as an understanding that it would also be continuing education.

So I went into the field with overall idea that I’d like to continue with the trailer loading process with Wild Heart. I’d done some good work over the summer- gotten her on but not shut her in. Then I took a hiatus and let it rest.

My hope is to do this without forcing her to comply. I’m not sure how well that will work because she’s not afraid of the trailer so much as what the trailer represents. Leaving forever. Every time she’s been loaded onto a trailer she’s been moved away from a place she’d at least gotten used to.

This means the mare is going to have to trust me and want to do what I ask, then she’s going to have to be able to comply even though her wild animal survival instinct which is very very strong in her is going to push very very hard against all of that trust.

So the trust somehow is going to have to be bigger.

As I walked into the field with the goal (both my horses loaded on the trailer) loosely in mind – knowing full well it could be a year out more or less- I saw the mares at the farthest corner of the multi-acre field where they enjoy hanging out, and started walking over.

As I walked, halter in hand, I decided if I was going to ask these horses to work for me willingly it would have to begin right here. In the field.

If I can’t get them to walk across the field willingly with me I’d say there is not a hint of chance the wild one is getting on a horse trailer willingly.

I would begin by asking them to cross the field with me to the gate with no halter.

Hands free.

How exactly I wasn’t quite sure yet.

When I got to them I tried a few things and won’t go into all the details because they don’t matter – it would change each time depending on how the individual conversation with each animal went but this became pretty clear:

  • Khaleesi was dubious she wanted to even care what I was asking.
  • Wild Heart knew what I wanted and began to ask if I she could come along.

So I (being flexible and aware of what is happening not just what I think should be happening!) said ok, why not?

And I began to walk away with that little mustang right on my shoulder as if on lead.

And then Khaleesi now left behind began to follow at a distance until both mares were walking toward the gate with me.

Wow! Ok! This is working! what will I do once we get there? Where did I leave the feed? (I’d planned to feed them if they came with me)… Will I finish for the day or move on and bring them into the barn?….



I lost them.


I disconnected from the moment and left for the future. As gone to them as if I’d gotten in the Back to the Future time machine.

Will I ever learn?< em>

y hadn't gone far. They were just grazing now about half way to the gate. Still a long walk to go.

So I began again and this time Wild Heart wasn’t as quick to connect but I was able to get Khaleesi to come and after a few minutes we all made it to the gate!

I fed them (they like food but they don’t like it enough to do anything they don’t want to do in order to get it. I don’t bribe them- it wouldn’t work if I tried anyway). Then I did the unhuman thing.

I walked away.

I did not then halter them up and go try to get closer to my end goal… I didn’t ask another thing. It wouldn’t have been the wrong thing to continue with them- but I saw my pile of chips on the table and decided that day to take the payout and go home. Stack up some reserve credit and come back with some seed investment tomorrow.

I played it safe.

For me it worked.

The next visit was even more interesting.

Published by JaimeHope

Violin teacher and endurance rider living in a rural mountain county - one of the least population dense and without a single stoplight.

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