For the past couple of rides, I’ve just been letting Ella move out and go at her own pace, as long as she’s maintaining the gait that I’ve asked for. We’ve been on the road and in the pasture, just trying to cover some ground. There’s something special about that – nothing overly fancy, no “nit picking” her – just me and my horse being together.
There’s a spot on the road that she’s not a fan of. There are a lot of trees that make the stretch of road very spooky with ominous shadows, and sometimes the wind adds another factor with cracks and noises in the trees. Some days she’s not having it at all. “The boogeyman is in there, mom, I just know it!”
I can’t really blame her. In the wild, the horse that ventures into the ominous shadows alone is likely to become a snack. The safest place for them is back within the herd.
We’ll do the dance of me asking her to go, and her thinking that it’s safer not to. She’s not being mean or offering to buck or rear, she just doesn’t have the confidence at that moment. Sometimes with horses, it’s better to dismount and walk them through an obstacle rather than trying to force it and having something happen that sets you back. If necessary, I’ll hop off and show her that it’s ok.
There’s nothing better than watching her lower her head, sigh, and follow me right through. She trusts me enough to do what I ask, even if she’s still not 100% sure. “Ok mom, if you’re brave enough to go in there, so am I!”
The bond that we have formed is irreplaceable. We trust and respect each other, and I try to truly listen to whatever she’s saying. There will never be another Ella – love my little mustang mare 😊