SWR Blog: New Every Day
I have recently been blessed with the opportunity to start two colts from the Chambers C Cross Ranch. Up until now, most of the horses that I’ve had the pleasure to work with have been raised around people and handled for years. These two C Cross colts were born and raised out on the range. The only time they’ve ever been handled is to be wormed once or twice, branded and castrated. So you can understand when I say they haven’t had many good experiences with people. But on the up side, they have not been taught the numerous bad habits of many overly handled horses. They are pure instinct at its finest.
Dealing with pure instinct at its finest, however, brings with it a unique set of challenges. Having not been dulled by mishandling, these colts are extremely sensitive and observant. As such, I not only have to be on top of my game, but I have to push the limits of my feel of the situation and maintaining my position.
Most horses I can coax into relaxing and standing still by taking a deep breath and keeping my feet quiet. These two are making me redefine my definition of “turned off”. I can actually see a definite change in their posture by completely clearing my mind and relaxing my whole body.
I have also found that I have to be fully perceptive at all times. As I discussed in a previous blog, horses are always telling us what is going through their heads. These horses do just that as well, but on a scale I have never seen before. It is amazing how, in the beginning, they could be comfortable with me standing a foot away from them. But if I shifted my weight towards them, they would instantly be uncomfortable and want to leave. I have to be very careful how I push each of these horses’ comfort, without losing the trust I have built up. This means I have to be constantly vigilant and not taking anything for granted.
I look forward to the many lessons these colts can teach me in the months to come.
Stay safe, keep riding, and above all, never stop thinking.
Director of Horsemanship Programs