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Posted on Dec 04, 2012 at 12:29 PM

Where do we go to find rest and peace?

I'm working with a mustang this month.  Patch had been trained for a competition four years ago, but with a constant stream of clients and horses to train he had been allowed to run with his herd in pasture.  He is still a great riding horse when you take time to bring him up to speed, but he's dangerous on trail because of his distrust of people.

The lesson today and for the rest of the week is where he can find rest.  Two weeks ago in order to catch Patch we would bait him with grain and lock him in a pen.  Since leaving him in a stall for two weeks he depends on us for food and water.  He can't run free right now, so he tolerates human handling.  This is not the same thing as trust though.

We brought Patch into the round pen and had him exercise on a long line.  He loves to run, he changes directions on command, changes speed when asked, but he will not latch onto the person giving direction.  With the long line he is willing to be drawn in gently and gets to rest from exercise when he comes to me.  The hope is that he will come on his own for that peace and quiet.

There is no demand, no command, that will 'make' a horse (or a person) come willingly and find rest with us.  I can only ask for this trust.  For now I have to be firm with my direction, and ask gently for Patch to come close to find rest.  I have to be a good leader if I want a horse to be a willing follower.  The prize so to speak is to ask for this connection without having a long rope on the horse.  The reward is a willing and responsive partner.  One that trusts me.


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