Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Learning from Forrest

Bar watching Forrest arrive

This post could be about what Katie's learning as she works with Forrest, but it's not.

It's about watching her with her young, fresh-off-the-track Thoroughbred and wishing I'd understood things a little better when I brought Bar home.

Forrest is curious about everything. It's all new, it's all different from his previous life--including obstacles on the ground and the indoor arena and working at night under lights.

Bar was older when we got him, and had a little more experience, but not as much as I mistakenly assumed. He'd never really seen an indoor arena, either, or worked at night or clambered over logs on the ground.

The difference is in their reactions to new situations. The motivation is the same--"This is new, this is different, how do I deal with it?"--but where Bar went for huge, dramatic movements, Forrest stops and gulps, needing to be coaxed along gently. (Yes, he really does gulp. It's rather endearing, actually.)

It took a long time and patience for Bar and me to build the trust we have--the trust that means he pays attention and is alert, but doesn't spin up out of control because he knows I've got his back. And his front. Sides, too.

I don't regret the journey at all--the training epiphanies alone have been worth the struggles. To have come through it, emerge on the other side, and feel this connected to Calabar is a gift beyond measure.

I only feel a little twinge watching Katie and Forrest, wishing I'd figured things out a little sooner for Bar's sake. Then again, I wouldn't have learned nearly as much about myself or been able to appreciate the path he's taken to meet me here.

Here is good. There, wherever that is, is good, too. We're not done, yet, this big brown horse and me. There are many adventures to come and many trails to take.

And I've got a horse who will travel with me.

What more could I ask for?

1 comment:

Buckskins Rule said...

You have given Bar exactly what he needs, love, trust, and understanding. The pace of progress is not important, only the progress is itself.

And think how much Forrest will benefit from what you and Bar have learned.