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SWR Blog: The Cow Horse and the Greenhorn

My greatest teacher in the school of soft-feel.”

The first time I met Sackett – a solid, well-built Quarter Horse, let’s just say, I was a little bit out of practice. I started out riding on a bareback pad. It was just like riding a bike. Only this bike was a 1,200 pound, living, breathing animal.

A relatively good beginning, however, changed significantly when Lisa wanted me to trot.

Breathe…alright, Harmoni, just relax.

I said to myself as I squeezed Sackett into the trot. It was going well, until I got a little out of rhythm and clamped like a pair of vise-grips…and away we went! We were flying around the arena in the fastest pony-trot that only Sackett could accomplish. While my instructor was calling out “just relax”, I am thinking:

Relax? Was she kidding? If I loosen my grip I am definitely going to die!

Then, contrary to everything screaming inside of me, I just relaxed and leaned back a bit. To my amazement, Sackett calmly slowed to a stop, and right in front of Lisa no less.

Hooray! I’m saved! – Show-off.

Now, Sackett and I’ve gone through a lot together since that epic first ride, and not once has he let me down. Sackett taught me a tremendous lesson that day: “Less is more”. You see, I have a habit of micromanaging and over-riding my horse. And nothing makes Sackett grumpy faster than somebody doing just that. Sackett’s philosophy seems to be:

Ask me softly and clearly, then get out of my way and let me do it.”

It was a very hard lesson for me, and one with which I still struggle. But anytime I need a reminder, I always have Sackett…my greatest teacher in the school of soft-feel.


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