There all these weird things on my to-do list now a days. One is “walking April”. Sounds easy, but trust me, it isn’t. She is wild and skitterish. Kent and I work together to catch her. We chase her (and that is truly a beautiful sight) until she gets tired, and when she nuzzles into her mother for comfort, we approach in a spread out pattern with a rope held between us. When she goes to run, we hang on for dear life. We are usually pulled along for a while, and if she doesn’t shake us off with her powerful bucking, we rein her in and clip the leadrope onto her halter. We calm her and touch her all over, talking softly and “desensitizing” her to touch and people. Then, we try to walk her. This, you see, is how you halter break a young filly. (We country folk know these things, ya’all.)
However, April is still stubborn and won’t walk with us. She is worse than the donkey when he is in a belligerent mood. She digs her feet into the earth and pulls away, mad as all get-out. Therefore, Kent has to shove from the rear and I pull from the front as we drag her around the pasture. Her mother, Dixie, whinnies and snorts, watching us work with her baby. We drag the brat around for about ten minutes, then stop to pet her all over some more. Then, we let her go. It isn’t fun. It isn’t easy. But it sure is interesting. She is one month old, and we just found out we should have been doing this from day one – then she would be halter trained by now. Oops. So, we’ve done it twice, and have intention to continue as often as possible until she is trained. We figure a month. Lord knows, it would be impossible if we didn’t do this now, because the thought of battling a full-grown horse is more than a wee-bit intimidating. As it is, she inevitably stomps on us (and even at her measly 250 pounds, that hurts) and she has dragged me a good 40 feet until my fingers just can’t hold on anymore and I end up dumped on my butt on the mud packed earth. But in any battle of wills, the person with the most commitment wins – and I am far more committed to making her a good horse than she is in avoiding becoming one, so she is out of her league if she thinks she is going to win this war.
I love that my life is filled with these new, novel challenges. I learn so much everyday. It keeps ya young, ya know. Caring for horses doesn’t take a rocket scientist, but raising, breading, teaching, breaking, and making friends with horses is a far cry from teaching dance, and I love how it makes me see the world through new eyes.
Anyway, I’d advise everyone to go out for a drag with a young horse at least once in their life. In fact, if you want to try it, come visit. Kent and I will sit on the lawn chairs and have a coke while shouting advice. Somebody has to do the dirty job. And if we can get out of it . . . .