Girls Horse Club Blog

Horsemanship

Published by • Nov 9th, 2009 • Category: Guest Bloggers, Horse Girls

by Raven, age 13

I’ve never been a really outgoing person. I don’t like looking strangers in the eye and I sit by myself a lot at meetings. I don’t talk a lot to people I don’t know well and I tend to be really shy. I mostly let others take charge and I’m content to follow.

Then I started doing horses, and I discovered that I had to take charge of this thousand pound walking muscle. I had to be assertive and confident. I still have to work on it, even after seven months. Mickey, the horse I lease, is pushy and stubborn. I don’t know what happened to him, but I knew I had to stand up and not let him push me around. I discovered it wasn’t that easy. But I’m getting slowly better at it, and I’m not terrified like I used to be.

Yesterday, when I was doing groundwork with him and not letting him get away with stuff, he tried to bite me. Seven months ago I would have run screaming as far away from him as I could get. Yesterday, I wasn’t scared, just kind of mad. I believe that I’ve gotten braver and more assertive from working with horses. I’m not scared of them and I am slowly learning how to be Mickey’s leader. It’s hard. It’s really hard. I have a bad time of it sometimes. My feet have been stepped on a gazillion times. I know I have a long way to go. A really long way to go. But I have so many rewards: Mickey nickers when he sees me. I’ve learned so, so much. I’ve come farther than I thought I could.

Horsemanship is full of wonders, and I love it with all my heart.

22 Nickers »

  1. Champion work! It is such an inspirational story. Great job Raven!

  2. Raven- champion blog! I know you feel at times. Just the other day i was out in the field trying to catch my riding horse izzy. I got the halter on her and was walking with her for a while but then she just stopped suddenly. She would NOT move. I tried gently pulling on her lead and clucking to her.. nothing. I tried checking her hooves to see if she picked up an annoying stone or something.. nothing. I tried being more aggressive in my tone telling her to “Walk on”. Nothing.. lol she just was seeing how much she could get away with. So finaly i took a lead rope and swung it apove my head and gently slapped her rump with it. Then finaly she moved forward and i brought her back to barn. (not without her stopping a few more times though.) I asked my instructor about it and she said that izzy was trying me and i handled it pretty well. If you let your horse win then your telling them that they are are in control.

    Thats why i believe that Patience and persistence are two key factors in Horsemanship. Spot on for not running away when the horse tried to bight you. It sounds like he was just trying to be obnoxious not mean. best of luck to you and your horse.

    ~HF

  3. the first sentence perfectly described me a couple years ago. But a lot of things have changed me. Writing, Bible quizzing, choir, speech, etc. . . Just a ton of things changed me :-)

    I love when horses nicker! It is so precious! And totally rewarding!

    Champion blog Raven! I loved it and really enjoyed reading it! Because I could totally know how you felt and it was such a great blog! Great job.

  4. Carolina Cowgirl–thanks for the compliment. I’m glad that it was inspirational to you.
    HorseFeathers–thanks! Mickey has done that before. He might have been testing me too. Izzy sounds like she has an interesting personality.
    Jonannah–thanks for the compliments. I’m glad that I was able to convey the feeling.
    All of you–thanks for complimenting and encouraging me!

    -Raven

  5. Great blog, Raven. I hope you and Mickey come very far in your time together!

  6. good for you! Seeing life through the eyes of a horse girl is so much better than being shy! Just smile, shake someone’s hand, and say ‘HELLO’. Forget about shy, you have guts and brains and you know how to use them!

    Awsome blog, I am anxiously looking forward to more, more, more!

    YAHOO RAVEN!

  7. Mustang23-thanks, I defintely hope that we will!
    Violet Inkpen-thanks…I’ll try. =S Thanks for the compliment!
    Both of you-thanks for the encouragment!!

    -Raven

  8. Wow Raven- I love your story! Being around horses and other animals helps me feel more confident too. I hope you contribute more blogs to GHC- you’re a good writer!

  9. i SOO agree with Vi! I was (and still have a tendancey to be) VERY shy. Pal has opened me up, and now im somwhat soial xD awesome blog ;)

  10. The horse I ride is very stubborn also, she really doesn’t appreciate the bit…at all! She tosses her head every time were are getting her ready to ride. I love her anyway. Who wouldn’t? I want to learn to show her that she’s not the boss, and I want to be more in command with her, but also patient. Whenever I lead her to the Tack room, she attempts to graze, right then and there! She tries that just about every 30 seconds, and I’m sad to say that’s not much of an exaggeration either. I have to pull her head up hard every time to get her attention and remind her that I’m still there! She wont back up for me lately, and she was harder to ride the last time. I try my hardest to not confuse her, and give her straight commands, but I find it difficult. What makes it harder than ever is that I can have one lesson a week. If anyone has any suggestions on how communicating better, please tell me! I’ve tried looking back on all my books about better communication between you an your horse, but I still find it very difficult. I’m still a beginner, so I know I shouldn’t rush (and I’m not trying too) but I want her to know I’m the boss when it comes to handling her, and I want riding to be more comfortable for the both of us. Again, I appreciate any suggestions.

  11. Rochlia-how cool, I’m not the only one! I have been contributing a lot and I hope to get published again.
    Pal’s Pal-thanks for the compliment! Somewhat social…that’s me on a good day. =D

    -Raven

  12. Animals do have a way of opening us up don’t they :)

  13. It’s amazing how through this one blog I’m able to see the beauty of horsemanship. It’s always been something I’m interested in, something I would love to learn more of. Since I met horses, I’ve changed a lot too. I’ve become more confident, stronger and definitely happier, but I’m still a quiet person. There’s nothing wrong with being shy; that’s just who you are. And it’s great that it doesn’t get between you and horses. I hope all goes well with you and Mickey! Excellent blog, and congratulations on getting published. I’d love to hear more from you soon.

  14. Nevada Sunshine- I understand your situation in a sense. Maybe try submitting an ASK GHC blog so that alot of girls can see your question and help. Basicaly, you need to be able to control your horse on the ground before you get in the saddle. I’m still a beginner/intermediate at the english style myself (i like it better than western). You should be able to walk, trot, and back up with your horse while on the ground. While backing up the horse (from the ground) Stand facing the horse staring at its feet where you plan to back him or her up. Pull gently back with the reins, releasing and tugging. Tell the horse “back” in a firm tone. Ask your instructor for help whenever you need it, you need to show your horse who’s boss if he or she is being just plain stubborn.

    ~HF

  15. Madelina-thanks, I’m glad that you liked it!
    Nevada Sunshine- your riding horse sounds a lot like Mickey. I have exactly the same problem with grass-eating. Does she do it when you’re on her, too? My instructor told me that when they start eating grass when you don’t want them to, and if they resist when you try to pull their head up, what you should do is kick their nose. Not hard, just firm enough to kind of surprise them and make them not want to feel it again. Don’t think that I go around kicking and beating my horse, because I don’t. Just see if that would work.
    One of the things that would frustrate me most was when Mickey would start eating grass when I was on him. I would try and try to pull his head up, but it wouldn’t work. He was stronger than me, and he knew it. If this happens, maybe you could talk to your instructor about using a crop, or a checkrein. I used a crop on Mickey, which really helped.
    Sometimes Mickey will refuse to back too. He will tuck his chin and fight the bit, and refuse to back. What I do is sit back, pull back on the reins, and say Back. I don’t release the pressure until he’s obeyed me. This is only my way, your instructor might have a different way. This is just my opinion.

    Good luck!

    -Raven

  16. Raven- ive never heard of the nose tactic.. how you would get your foot all the way up to the horse’s long neck is beyond my comprehension. Ive found that “bending” the horse works on some ocassions. Meaning you pull on the right side of the reins.. forcing the horse to bend its neck and body to turn in circles. This is a tactic used to put naughty horses into submission.
    Its important though never to act out of frustration or anger.. because your horse will sence it and your trust and loyalty between each other will start to linger. You simply need to teach your horse who is in control and they should respect you for that eventualy.

    ~HF

  17. I agree with your advice, HorseFeathers, but I was talking about when the horse’s head was down and they were eating and ignoring you. I don’t kick Mickey hard at all, I just give him a hard prod when he starts eating. When I want him to eat, I will tug down on the leadrope and bring his head to the grass.
    Don’t think that I go around kicking and hitting and hurting my horse. I don’t. I do these things because my instructor says that they’re okay, and I need to do them for Mickey’s training. I don’t like to do them, but it’s essential to his training. In time I won’t have to do them anymore.
    Good tips, HorseFeathers-you sound like you really know what you’re talking about.

    -Raven

  18. Raven- i never intended to say that you do kick your horse around. I know people have different methods of correction. I just have to realize that when one tactic doesnt work its time to switch to a different one. I get alot of help from my riding mentor.. shes the best. I wish you and your horse the best of futures. =0)
    ~HF

  19. i know wat u need! some help to be optimistic lik me! wat u can do is talk to yur parents to see if they have a solution,and tell your frends if they can help u train and practice with yur self esteem or confidence ,and wat u can do is lay down and b qiuet and calm for 5-10mins and close yur eyes and imagine yur somewhere with a good amount of ppl (for yur quality) and pretend in yur mine that yur talking to them! hope this helps bye bye =)

  20. HorseFeathers,

    I didn’t think that you were saying that, I just wanted to make sure that y’all knew. =)

    -Raven

  21. You really have a way with writing things and I believe that working with horses definently strenghthens ones confidence, It certainly has strenghthened mine. :)

  22. My horse and me,

    Thanks for your compliment–all of you have inspired and encouraged me. Thanks!

    -Raven