For all my (like maybe 2) followers, you might have noticed we added a page for a new horse!
Those that need a reminder, check out the post here: DUKE
Anyway, this guy is a 2015 model American Saddlebred. He is ALL BLACK you guys. My own personal black beauty. In real life. Like, how did I even get so lucky? My luckiness has not come without it’s struggles though.
Duke is, for lack of better words, a firecracker. He is bred to be hot. And HOT he is. When I first started driving Duke for his previous owner, the first time I grabbed the lines was at our first show together in Sept of 2020. We had a short little warm up that went really well. The literal MOMENT he stepped foot into the show ring though, I had a different horse. It took me by surprise, and I fell in love. That is a feeling I can’t explain. I have shown in many classes, on many different horses, in many different situations and places and this was a feeling that was completely new to me. I had a show horse. A fancy, fire breathing dragon who stomped the ground like he OWNED the place.
He had barely been pulling a cart for 30 days at that point, and since I had never driven him before we did have our share of mistakes. But we looked pretty good at our first show together and the few subsequent ones if I do say so myself. Evidence below. Disagree? You’re allowed but please kindly take your negativity elsewhere!
Fast forward to April 2022:
As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, Fizz and I moved to Brickyard Farms in early 2021, where Duke had been since late 2020. As time has rolled on, it’s becoming apparent that pulling a cart is not where Duke will ultimately excel so over the winter 2021/2022 we began to switch gears and focus more on riding. Duke has had a lot of negative experiences with riding in the past and has not been taught a lot, so we are basically working from the ground up here to re-teach him things that are paramount to his success.
So aside from my rambling because I haven’t talked much about this horse, my point is that too often, horses are rushed into situations for which they are not prepared. They are pushed too hard too fast and they do not learn everything they need to learn before they are expected to do all the things right. Then, when the FLIGHT animal shows it’s flight instincts, people misinterpret that as bad behavior. However, is it really fair to assume they are misbehaving, when infact, they just have never been given the chance to understand what is expected of them, and to learn a basic foundation on which they can rely on? The answer, in my book, is no.
Teach them the easy stuff. Let them understand the basics. Don’t expect them to know the hard stuff automatically just because you’re asking it. And if you are asking them over and over, and getting the same results, maybe evaluate how you are asking and ask in a different way. Just as with humans, horses do not all have the same personalities and they do not all learn the exact same way. This complicates things and makes training more difficult, but to me, a good trainer has patience. They have the good sense to know when to change their methods. They research. They learn new things. They are humble enough to ask for help.
All that said. We are still being patient. We are still researching. We are still finding new ways to ask for what we want. Slowly but surely, Duke is beginning to provide the right answers more often than not. We are in no hurry, when he’s ready, he will let us know. Check out the short video clip below. Please ignore my chattering, asking him not to “fall apart” since he was going along so nice!