We had another amazing day, thanks to Kim Veenstra and her Mobile Confidence Course. Petey did awesome, starting from being pretty wound up and excited, and ending with me being able to ride through the obstacles. I was very proud of my big, brown horse, and, as he usually does, he taught me a few things.
I would say that the biggest take away I had from our experience yesterday would always give me permission to dismount. In some of the places that I’ve been in my journey with horses, it would have been frowned upon to get off your horse and lead them through a situation. Not every place, but some, there was a link between your level of bravery or experience, and your commitment to staying in the saddle no matter what you and your horse were facing. Like many other beliefs I was subjected to, this one, too, can be laid to rest. If it would be better for us as a team, I will get off my horse and lead them through whatever we are facing.
Petey helped teach me this with the water hazard Kim set up in the obstacles. It is one of the most difficult parts of the course, because the horses have to step over a beam and into the water. They really don’t have any idea how deep it is, and they have to pick their feet up first and then down into the great abyss.
Petey had been through this obstacle last spring. It had taken him a while, and there was much splashing! This time, he went through it much quicker. In fact, there was hardly any hesitation at all. Both with just the halter rope and when I asked him to go through with his saddle on. However, once I got in that saddle, for him, everything changed.
Kim was right there as we attempted the obstacle, and offered suggestions and encouragement. Then, she took my lead rope, and helped get Petey through the obstacle. She did that a couple of times, and then we were able to get through on our own. I don’t think having her help us spoke at all of my lack of courage, or my horse’s willingness to try. I think it was the absolute best way to support my horse through what was scary to him. I will continue to pick and choose our stepping stones by what works best for my horse. That is also what works best for me!
I am going to share a video of this adventure we had together. After reviewing the video, I see a couple areas where I have room for improvement. One of them is my patting Petey for his reward. Next time, I will do my best to stick to the scratching that he loves so much. Always room for improvement!