Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sister A...............Meets Arabian Horses

It was the very next day when I saw Sister A again. She was running down the same path towards where I had my horse trailer parked. This time I spotted Sister A before she spotted me. Not sure if she would react to my presence the same way or not, I decided I needed to be prepared for whatever might come our way.

This time I was in the smaller arena at the park. The 4-H kids use it for warm-ups and maybe lunging. I prefer to ride my young horses in that smaller enclosure because the other arena is absolutely huge and can be intimidating to a young horse.

I believe I was holding Percy at the time. It was one of his first times to this facility and he was already sure there were trolls hiding everywhere. To let him sort out his fears I was not riding the horse at all. I focusing on working on the lunge and moving up my requests only as he came down from his heightened state of anxiety about this new strange place.

I had just finished lunging the horse bitted up in a very loose frame. I wanted him to think about working but not have more than he could handle. I did manage to get the horse past that excited trot that has at least a foot of added loft in it. Thinking that was a good place to quit, I'd gathered up my lunge line and my horse only to turn right into the vision of Sister A running down that path right towards us.

I had my hands full with the lunge line, the whip and the horse so I turned quickly moving towards the fence. I wanted to get things out of my hands so I had more freedom to control the horse should he spook at Sister A's antics.

I flung the coiled up lunge line onto the fence with a little too much force and poor Percy threw his head up into the air. That kind of stuff wasn't going to help my horse one bit. Fast is not always better in controlling a situation with a horse. I apologized profusely to Percy stroking the Arabian horse on the neck and telling him he was ok. Then I loosened the reins so the horse wouldn't bump himself again if he was startled.

Just as I got the reins free I heard Sister A's loud exclamations. "Hey!..........Hey!..................I SEE you!...................Hey Lady!............Lady with the horse!..................I SEE you!............Sister A here.................I love you!" I took a deep breath patting Percy on the neck and braced myself for the onslaught.

"God LOVES you!...................I love you!...............I LOVE horses!" exclaimed Sister A as she barreled toward us. At least we had the fence in between her and us. I was hoping that barrier would help Percy deal with this situation.

Still flailing her arms in the air, Sister A ran all the way right up to smack dab in front of us. Percy's eyes got huge and he raised up but didn't fly backwards like I'd expected. I raised my voice over the top of the screaming woman's, "Sister A, remember what I told you about horses! You must approach softly. Get smaller not bigger is you want to be accepted."

At first I got that blank look I had seen the day before but slowly I saw my words register for Sister A. As soon as the woman realized what I'd said she came down to a reasonable posture to approach a horse.

Percy responded in kind. The minute to woman got smaller in her demeanor so did my horse. I tried to take that moment to explain to Sister A about horses and predators. If she wanted to be near my horses, she had to not act like a predator. The horses can't deal with that kind of behavior from someone they don't know without wanting to flee.

Of course, that's an over simplified statement but getting Sister A to take in the most elemental things are difficult. Her attention span seems to be short. Just like with the horses, as long as we can make progress, I'm good and I think Sister A will be as well.

The woman did ask if it was ok to pet my horse. I answered in the affirmative never thinking her response would be to jump up onto the fence and fling the upper half of her body our way. Sister A could hardly contain the prospect of actually touching my horse. Poor Percy flew backwards in an instant and the lesson I'd just tried to teach Sister A was finally learned.

'You've made yourself bigger than the horse, Sister A. You must get down from the fence if you want to touch this horse." For an instant I saw a look of sadness cross Sister A's face and I felt for her. I understood the exuberance of a child's heart being dashed in an instant by her own actions. It was heartbreaking, even if it was for just for a flicker in time.

To be continued...........................

A Lesson Learned

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  1. Just found your site. Love your Sister A stories :) I'm going to think of how you handled this when ever I'm tempted to get impatient with anyone.

  2. She is so funny, I can understand her love of your horses, and its so good she is learning how to behave around them.

    I do hope you have more stories about this lady, they make me laugh, and in a way I can see myself in her (in her enthusiasum for horses), and I know that as a child I probably behaved similar to her when it came to me trying to get near horses, but I had no one to help me to learn how to do it so they didn't run away LOL!

    I used to be so dissapointed all the time as a child, these beautiful horses kept running away when all I wanted to do was give them a big hug LOL, then I started reading more about horses and it dawned on me what I wsa doing wrong, thank goodness, because it was about that time my family moved to our 25 acre property and I got my first horse!!


  3. I am just loving this story. Sister A sounds like quite the character (but so sweet). I've known a fer "sister A's" too :).

  4. Like I've said before she seems like a real character. I'm hoping she starts listening to you and remembering the lessons you're trying to teach her about being around horses. I'd sort of be wary about being on any horse when she comes running and flailing her arms around them.

  5. I love how you're educating her about horses and how your young horses are getting exposure to stuff like this at the same time.

    I'd love to see a photo of you and Legs on those trails sometime. I bet he makes quite a sight out there.

  6. I'm enjoying this series of posts. I know it's hard enough to train a horse, but then when you have to train both people and a horse at the same time... I had kids climbing my fence to get a closer look while the vet was wrapping Bombay's legs yesterday. When the vet said, "Given his Arabian breeding, he's going to need plenty of sedatives," I sighed in frustration. He gave him two right off the bat because of that assumption, then gave him a third because Bombay wouldn't set his foot flat on the ground. When the kids climbed the fence, that startled Bombay and I could see that the vet was about to give him a fourth sedative. Again, I found myself paying (literally) for the antics of uneducated onlookers.