Equi-Sense Day 4: Yellow and Boots
Yesterday was my last day working with horses at Equi-Sense. We started out by doing the obstacle course which was the hardest task of the previous day. I worked with a horse I’d never worked with before. I chose her because I’d observed her following a helper in the pen just moments prior. As far as I know, this mare didn’t have a name, so I just called her Yellow.
Apart from walking a bit too fast and occasionally stopping to feed on tufts of grass, I had no problems at all with her. She was a good horse who knew the obstacle course very well. As I was leading her around, the wife of the owner of the place (possibly co-owner,) came over to talk about me. She seemed surprised at how well Yellow and I were doing, telling me that Yellow tended to be high-strung and a bit aggressive. I saw neither of those traits that day. She was great horse to work with.
After this, we rode a horse for the first time since being there. Boots was a horse I’d never worked with at all before as well. She was a large horse, and the leader of the heard from what I observed.
I had trouble getting on her, requiring a boost. I had both stirrups shortened as far as they could go, yet I still barely reached them, and my feet often fell out. Walking, we didn’t have much trouble. Boots was very responsive to directions, and we were soon traveling in figure eights in the small pen. Then I rode her over to the large pen (after removing Brandy from it so it was empty) so we’d have more space. A few times I asked her to trot, but when she did, My feet lost the stirrups and I felt like I might fall off. I tried riding her around a bit without using the stirrups at all, but, unable to lift myself off the saddle, it was a bumpy, unsteady ride. I didn’t want to fall off, so I decided it was best to stick to walking.
All in all, I really enjoyed my experience at Equi-Sense. I feel that I learned a lot about horses and communication, about leadership, and about operant conditioning. I also feel that working with horses has helped me feel more confident around horses, as well as help manage the anxiety I’d been dealing with lately.
I was pleased to learn that there’s an advanced class starting next month, which my health insurance will also pay for. Count me in.