Most people seem to believe that those who start colts or work with horses in any aspect seem to have this they know all mentality.
Now, we are very educated in this subject because honestly, you can’t mix ignorance with 1,000 pounds of muscle and mind but we do in fact DO NOT know it all.
I have always grown up with horses and riding but I did not begin my journey into starting colts until about ten years ago. Ten years ago puts me in my mid to late teens and even though I thought I knew it all, I absolutely did not. Nothing quite puts that into perspective like working with horses.
Here are three things I’ve learned about myself while training horses:
- Patience. I thought I had all the patience in the world until I had a colt absolutely refuse to get out of a horse trailer. He had trailered before loaded and unloaded but this time was different. Anybody who works with horses will tell you, you can be the most educated, highly trained professional but any horse on a bad day can make you look like you know nothing. Long story short, it took hours of coaxing, a mutual understanding of each other and patience. He showed me a level of myself that I didn’t know existed.
- Trust. The first time stepping on a colt doesn’t all come from bravery. It begins with trust. Trust you have gained through groundwork. Now not only should you trust the horse, but you should trust in your gut. That feeling you get deep inside your belly, that is the biggest instinct I have learned to tune into. Just like humans, horses have off days (see above bullet point). It can be the feed, the weather outside, a new environment, a sore muscle or if you are on a mare it could just be the way she’s feeling that particular day! But, if you are about to move forward into a new phase of training and something doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. You’ll know to hold off when you feel it. Trust your instincts.
- Time Management. By nature, I am a very efficient person when it comes to managing my time. If I have to arrive somewhere at 8:00 am, I’ll show up at 7:30 am. If I only have a certain amount of time to complete a task, you better believe it will be done thirty minutes early. Although, when it comes to a horse learning something new, you cannot put a time limit on it. If you do that you will set yourself up for failure. He might not have picked up what you were teaching him in that one-hour time frame, now you’re frustrated, in turn, he gets upset since there’s a time limit, you’re ending on a bad note. The biggest mistake anyone can do. Take your time with him. If done correctly, he will repay you immensely.
As I sit back and reminisce on how I began starting colts I have come to realize that while all along I thought I was teaching them, they were actually teaching me. Horses are funny like that.
If you’re like me and your horse has taught you something about yourself I would love to hear from you!
**I am a mama to two stunning daughters, a wife to my hunky husband and, an Arizona native. We reside in a very small town in Southeastern, Arizona. My days consists of homeschooling, horses and balancing the fine line between motherhood and insanity. I definitely appreciate the outdoors; the smell of wet dirt and the lovely sunsets the Arizona deserts have to offer. My life is chaotic between the girls, one kitty, two dogs, and four horses but I wouldn’t have it any other way!