Monday, June 1, 2009

Trust-Building Update: Charm's First Halter Ride

Recently I posted about how I've been working to melt fear and boost trust with my horse Charm.

Today I wanted to share a win!

Charm has had about 2 weeks off due to an injury, so we haven't been riding. I'd had a tough day and needed to feel rejuvenated, so I headed out to the best healers I know: The Ponies!

I started with a leisurely bareback gallop around the field on my old, trustworthy standby Seren. Feeling refreshed, I decided to offer Charm the opportunity to build on our blossoming trust.

I held up the halter and reins that I had just trusted Seren to gallop in, and with a questioning look on my face, I asked Charm if she wanted to give it a try?

Her answer? I kid you not: A little whinny.

So, I tied on the halter and off we went.

Mind you, I've NEVER ridden Charm in a halter before. We've worked up to doing some bareback dressage, but always I've ridden her in a bridle.

To take this young, athletic, playful mare and ride her bareback. That's trust.
To ride her bareback, in a halter. That's a lot of trust.

To ride with halter, bareback when a horse hasn't been ridden in a few weeks? Perhaps that borders on insane!

So, we started in the round pen. I did some natural horsemanship tuning from her back, making sure she responded by moving each body part.

Frankly, I was surprised how responsive she was given her time off! I am definitely starting to believe that bareback riding gives a much closer communication- allowing for clearer signals and quicker response from your horse- especially when teaching them something new.

I knew it was time to move on after she turned her head toward me and made a big sigh, "Ok, mom, see, I'm listening. Now can we go do something more interesting?"

So, receiving gold stars for her responsiveness, I opened the gate from her back, another thing I've never done. She pushed it open with her nose- as if she'd done it her whole life.

Then, off we went down the driveway to retrieve the garbage cans- a chore she often helps me with.

She was an angel and we were both relaxed. I didn't even need to use our Power symbol of the sun.

And in appreciation, she got to eat tasty grass, all the way back to the house!

Thank you Charm, for being willing to build a heart-centered relationship with me!

Readers: Please share how you've worked to build up trust with your horse!

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