Australian Brumby Challenge ©
I am very proud of the young fella this week. He has picked straight up from where we left off last week and not skipped a beat. With just a few minutes of preparation we were up and away on his first ride. Rarely if ever would the first few rides on a colt be the same, with all horses having different needs. I always have an idea of where I would like a horse to end up (and even that can change, once on board) but the way we get there is often different for every horse. This philosophy reminds me of something I heard at a horsemanship clinic recently: “The definition of confidence is to always be prepared for the unexpected" and this is exactly true. Given Kai’s initial very strong flight reflex, I am just blown away by how well he is now adapting to every new experience I present him with.
For the first few rides especially, I like a horse to be able to move forward free and confidently, which for the most part means staying out of there way (or off their head). For Kai I felt this was particularly important in his first ride, and pretty well just let him be, giving him free rein over direction, and letting him change eyes as he saw fit. I spent time with me bringing the life up in my body and letting that come down and into his feet, helping Kai to move through our paces.
It's in these moments with a horse moving out freely that I can hear one of my strongest mentors, Kevin Stallings, my friend and host for legacy of Legends scholarship. His voice rings in my ears every time I get on a horse "ride him forward, and then guide him", “let him go somewhere, you don't want him thinking his feet are all bound up and can't go anywhere” and this is exactly what I try to do.
Kai is now tucked up for a weekend off, having been a huge week of firsts for him. We've had our first rides traveling forward and free in the round pen where he has allowed me to direct both fore and hindquarters. I start all horses in a halter initially, and then we have played with a snaffle bit, introducing this to Kai and him starting to understand how the different feel operates. He has had his first rug (big Ol' flash city horse now), his first hoof trim, and he has had his firsts rides out in the arena and then into the bush. I can safely say I am having a lot of fun and Kai has been the perfect student taking everything in his stride.
Now that I have his trust, the journey has only just begun for us. I have the duty to never blow it and to continue to keep building this relationship!!!!
*** This week’s photo is of the view between Kai’s ears from his back, on our first ride out. Unfortunately it’s very hard to take a photo of oneself riding, but being alone this week was the best that I could do – I still wanted to show off how proud I am of Kai (and he seems to be too) with this great achievement!