Training the Mind of the Horse and Rider

Training the Mind of the Horse and Rider
Click on Logo (Original artwork by Lanie Frick for Messick Quarter Horses. Not permitted to be copied)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

My Blog: Boss Mare

"Starlet and Duster"
Summer, 2008
It’s time to write my thoughts down. I’ve been giving a lot of thought lately, to sharing what I know, what I feel when I work horses, how I help people, what the horses teach me, and on and on. Life is moving on. What is the best way for me to help people? What is the best way for me to get the most out of horses? Sometimes, we need to think about ourselves and do things for ourselves.

Horses are sensitive individuals. You need to understand the horse. You need to understand what is going on in their mind. You need to give the horse what the horse needs, not what you need to do. Read that last sentence again. Give the horse what it needs! Hmmm. As an instructor, that is one of the hardest things to teach a student to understand and to see whether what they are doing, is working or not. Another hard thing is to make sure the rider isn’t getting frustrated, yet understand what to do. Another hard thing is to teach to feel, which is probably the core of understanding me and how I teach. My goal is to teach “the feel”. I’ll often say, “there, do you feel that” or “that looks good, do you feel what you are doing”, and on and on. Starlet taught me to feel. I like that mare! No, I love that mare! When I give a lesson with her, I know exactly what the person is doing by how Starlet is reacting. More about what Starlet means to me later…

Getting back to giving the horse what it needs. Hmmmm…is the horse a gelding or mare, young or old, previous training or no training, ridden by advanced riders or beginner riders, spring or late summer (it’s amazing how well they act when it is hot outside, or if they are fat, or they have been trained before). Sometimes, this doesn’t matter, sometimes it does. The horse may need something now, today, right at this moment, and then tomorrow….sometimes you pull out the same horse, but you have a different horse’s mind, and that mind needs something different. Does any of this really matter, or does the horse just need someone to understand him/her? More about what horses need later…

I understand mares. I have had a lot of mares: Ann, Ginger, Skipa, Yellow Page, Capree, Goldie, Caprice, Starlet, Star, Misty, another Misty, Chick, and others. Some of these were Broodmares, some where the kid’s horses, some were shown, some are lesson horses. I understand geldings, too. I have had a lot of geldings, too: Cimarron, Rags, Star, Red, Crescent, Bubba, JR, Roy, Finny, and others. Most of these were the kid’s horses, except Finny. Most were shown, then later sold as the kids moved out of their youth years. We still have Bubba. I should keep him. Red has come home for retirement. And I have had 1 stud, Duke. I understand 1 stud. More about the horses that have been in my life later…

Blog name: I was thinking Boss Mare. Reason? I have a Boss Mare cap. I thought people would get a kick out of me wearing it. It’s been on a shelf in my office, staring at me, reminding me that I act like the Boss Mare. I’m going to start wearing it in the spring when I start working young horses again. I need to remind them that I am the Boss Mare. I hope they can read. Another reason? Because I understand mares and I like mares. They let you know EXACTLY how it is, and I like that personality, in both horses and humans! Well, sometimes not so much in horses, especially if they are kicking their feet towards me, or running me over out of disregard to MY space, or just spooked and knocked me over, not seeing me as their leader!!! But then I thought: I wanted to share more than what boss mares do, and I want to share my love for horses, and that horses are a part of my life. (I just typed love instead of life. They are my love, too).
Boss Mares. I love how the boss mare can just look at a horse, in a seemingly harmless way, and that other horse moves away. I love how that mare will let another horse, who is timid, stand with her while she chases away the bully of the herd. I love how that boss mare moves across the pasture in no hurry, but all the other horses hurry to catch up to her! And I love how she is such a good buddy to her buddy! A Friend Forever to that lucky soul! I want that Boss Mare to be my buddy, because then you have a buddy for life! Maybe we all need a Buddy for life. Misty was a nice Boss Mare. Starlet isn’t so nice, but she is still young. She’ll learn she doesn’t have to bully to get her way. But I love the way she nickers softly to me when I’m bring her feed. Love that sound!

Boss Mare. Other horses respect her. She is the leader. She should be a passive leader, quietly doing her job of leading the herd, without striking out. I had a Boss mare like this. Misty. Great mare, never knew when she was in heat, great lesson horse even though she is a fast trotter but fantastic loper, a speed horse who slowed down for beginners learning general equitation, a mare who would drop her head and let you rub her. Perfect horse and I want her back. Hubby would probably shoot me. We sold her to some lesson kids who were getting into speed events and I knew she would babysit them. Our 3rd child just finished his youth years of showing Quarter Horse and 4-H speed events. She was too good to just stand around and “just” be a lesson horse. What was I thinking? She was too good to have sold. Especially after that 3rd child told me that I should never have sold her and he wants her back. What was I thinking? This coming from a 20 year old college student, and a boy to boot. But he loves his animals (he has raised beagles since age 14). I actually saw the present owner this past summer and told him that my son would like her back when his family is done with her. But that family has a 3 or 4 year old little boy…I wonder if he will outgrow her fast since he is following 3 older sisters.

Sometimes, I need people to understand me as much as I want people to understand their horse! I’m as easy to read as a Boss Mare. I need them to understand why I say what I do, what I feel when I feel it, why I do the things the way I do. I’ll show you exactly how I feel, when I feel it, but then be prepared for the blunt, honest truth! I’m a leader, I like to do things my way, I like to have things around me in order. I do need to learn to mosey around the pasture, though, and doze in the sun! My boys are teaching me, not forcing me, to stop mothering them. They are only 21 and 24. My daughter is 26 and soon to be a mother, and soon she will understand me better. More about Boss Mares later…

Currently I’m riding a gelding, Finny, in CTR. Competitive Trail Riding. 40 miles over 2 days. Judged Obstacles. P&R’s. Sometimes, keeping your horse tied to your trailer at night, and listening to them bang their water buckets at 3 am. My horse has me trained, but more about that later…

And I do love riding my stud, Duke. 16 hands of pure momentum. Love that lope. Love his collective, deep lope. Collection. Impulsion. Giving to the Bit. Maneuvers. More on that later too…

I have jumped around on a lot of topics. I just let my mind wonder and I typed. I reminisced. This is the first time in a long time that I thought of my ponies and my first “horse” Cimarron. I grew up on ponies, and I loved my ponies! My first pony, that I have seen pictures of , was when my brother, sister and I were under the age of 7, but I don’t know her name. Then I had Jennifer. Welsh cross, and she had a mind of her own! Don’t they all? She made me the rider that I am today. I loved sitting in her manger, watching her eat hay, and hoping she wouldn’t take a bite out of me!

I have been giving a lot of thought about all of this after I re-organized my home office. Maybe I was just moving things from one pile to another, but some papers did get thrown away. And why have 6 years worth of Quarter Horse Journals lay around, especially after I have taken out all the training, vet, etc articles. I did come across a note that my husband, Tom, had written to me after I started my Quarter Horse business and teaching lessons. He said he was proud of me. He said he would even start lessons with me too, so he could be a better rider! Wow! I’m glad I shuffled piles in my office and found that note. I love my husband more and more each day! We just celebrated our 27th Anniversary this past March. That note is now my inspiration. My husband reminded me why I love doing what I do, and I should tell him that.

More on everything…soon…

Enjoy the day, the sun, the moment! Enjoy what God has given you today!
Enjoy the horse. Enjoy the ride! Enjoy the feel!


Gretchen said...

good stuff. love your thougths. lots to ponder and think about. and cool to hear you reminisce and talk about your jouirney!!!

Tammy said...

Yellow Page! Now that's an interesting name.

Enjoyed your first entry, Brenda! I'm along for the ride.


Nosnikta said...

You are a good Boss Mare. I try to be Boss Mare at my place too. It's interesting how the horses react when they are scuffling around with each other and then come near you and you give them "the look" and they remember "oops! better watch where I'm going!" I see that a lot with my young horses. It's very interesting.

You are so much a plethora of knowledge (I thought you'd appreciate that lol). I really enjoyed reading your first blog.

You are a super person, and I'm happy to earn the right to call you "friend".

I hope you can get Misty back! But I do know she is being well taken care of.

I hope you and Fin are kicking butt at Kanapolis today!!! WOO HOO!


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