WRANGLING ON THE RANGE #123
FROM HORSE AND RIDER - JULY 2011
Save the big challenges for when you're feeling bold.
BY JULIE GOODNIGHT, WITH J. FORSBERG MEYER
SOME DAYS, A CHANGE OF PLAN is your best plan. If you're feeling
daunted by a particular goal on a particular day (say, perfecting
your lope depart, or trying out that new section of local trail),
pushing ahead in spite of nervousness may be counterproductive.
Your horse will sense your uncertainty and may become less
willing as a result, which can further shake your confidence.
It's better to fall back on something you and your horse already
do well. Practice that until you feel up to moving ahead, maybe
later that same day, maybe on another day. Then, when you're
feeling bold from the success of your "fallback" practice, that's
the time to take the next step.
Sometimes the weather isn't conducive to new learning; cold or
windy days can make your horse distracted or spooky. Or he may
just be having a bad day, or you may be. Whatever it is, don't
get stuck in a war of wills. There's always tomorrow.
Your number-one goal, after all, is to have fun. And only you can
define what fun means to you - not your riding buddy, not even
your trainer. Know what you want to accomplish, then be flexible
and patient. Building confidence with horses takes time (although
losing it can happen in an instant, when you push yourself too
far or make a careless decision).
So, be smart. Fall back until you feel safe, and you'll find
yourself getting ahead faster in the long run.
Julie hosts "Horse Master With Julie Goodnight" on RFD-TV and
presents clinics nationwide from her home base near Salida,
To be continued from time to time