I limped out in bare feet. It was a bit chilly, but I did not feel like putting on socks and therefore did not want to wear shoes; sure sign of a child needing a nap--only I am an "adult."
Misty called and came trotting to the gate when she saw me. She stuck her nose in her halter and came sideways to me when I stood on the picnic table. She was pretty excited and walked off as soon as I was on. I was exhausted and just going for a ride, so I did not mind. I did no ground play, so what can I expect?
I took her over to some grass and she grazed happily. However, when I asked her to go back to the driveway, she balked and began going backwards and rearing. Instead of holding the pressure on until she did what I wanted, I tried something different: I waited. Misty is a mix of LBI and RBI and RBE. Right now, she was kind of high and needing to move her feet, but she LOVES food, so she was happy munching along. So, standing doing nothing and not being able to get grass was not comfortable. I knew that if I added pressure with my legs, she would just back up. So, I waited until she got antsy. Then it was our idea to go forward and she did so happily and we were off on our trail ride.
On the road, Misty was great, no tightness when traffic went by, no hustling to get to the next drive. The balking came up a lot on the trail ride, though. This can be very frustrating, and it used to be, but I happily recognized that I knew what was coming and I knew I had all the time in the world to wait. I was not bothered in the least. This type of patience reminds of when a friend was teaching her dog to not pull on the leash. She expressed her frustration that they hardly got anywhere on the walks because of all the stopping and waiting for the dog's attention and for slack in the leash. I asked her why she didn't just go out on a walk by herself first so she could devote her attention to her dog instead of fussing over the fact that she was not getting to walk. I don't know if that made sense, but it did at the time, and it does, now. It's not about the walk; it's about having a conversation with your horse, being with her, enjoying her company and her honesty.
So, next time your horse balks and you get frustrated, maybe recall that you know you came on a horse because you'd rather sit on a balking horse than walk alone.
Natural Horsewoman Out.