A Note about Sugarbush Draft Horses
I see it over and over again, and no matter how many times it's said, it's still wrong. "Sugarbush Drafts are just an Appaloosa Draft Cross". Uh.... no. The Sugarbush Draft Horse was a breed created many years ago in Ohio. While the initial cross was made using Percherons to Appaloosas, in the many generations following, the breed has been solidified into a consistent type. Saying these horses are "just" a draft cross makes as much sense as saying that AQHA horses are "just" a Thoroughbred cross, American Cream Drafts are "just" a dilute Belgian, or that Morgans are "just" a grade.
Friday, July 29, 2011
Fear Friday: Take a Break!
Dealing with fear issues usually means that we have to tackle big things, overcome terrifying obstacles, and do things that we might not want to do... right? Yeah, no. Think of it more like a vacation. Just because yesterday you went bungee jumping (which I for one would never do!) doesn't mean that you need to sky dive today. I think it's better to mix it all up a bit. Do things that you are comfortable with for the most part, and then challenge yourself if and only if you think you can succeed that day.
When we train our horses we usually have a goal. Look at starting a horse under saddle: I ask the horse to accept my weight. When the horse can do that with out fear, I praise the horse, and stop the lesson. The next day, I ask the horse to accept my weight again, until it's no big deal. From there I MAY add one more thing to the list, or I may not. I may go from laying over the horse to ground driving (something the horse should know by that point in my training program). A step forward is rewarded with a step back, and a release of pressure... and that includes mental pressure!
Think back to when you first got into horses. Your very first ride wasn't nearly as easy as you thought it would be, and yet you were so proud of yourself. Most of us never got out of a walk. We were lucky if the horse turned and stopped when we wanted, but by golly, we RODE a horse! And probably you told every friend you knew about it, and how good you did. You didn't worry that you hadn't cantered. You didn't feel bad because you weren't able to do advanced things. You were simply happy that you did something, ANYTHING, with a horse!
I think that love, that awe, and that amazement is what we've lost when we are so befuddled by fear. Taking some time to regain that awe, even if it means you do nothing more then have a picnic in the pasture, really does something good for the soul. I've always told people to spend time with their horses in any way that they can, and like, to help build a bond and ease tensions. Now, I'm having to take my own advice.
It was one of the happiest, and most relaxing days I've had in a while. Want to know why? Because I had no expectations. Nothing but pure enjoyment of time with the boys.
But there's something about doing everyday things, and having your horse (or someone else's as the case may be) come up and just want to hang out with you. I wasn't asking anything of them, they weren't my student or my subject that day. They were just my friends. From tasting my hair to sniffing the water, and the baffled look on Daltrey's face because I CHOSE to climb in that weird thing... it just brought back the love of horses to me. Not that I've lost it, but sometimes it's all about the little things.
Or do you remember to stop and smell the roses, because the love of horses is more about the journey then the tasks we've done. It's about the feel of it all, the emotions. Our passion for horses is rarely based in common sense. Rather it's the highs, and even the lows, with our horses that we remember and treasure the most.
Do you take the time for the simple and maybe silly things that you always dreamed of as a girl (or boy)? When was the last time you dressed your horse up in glitter? Braided it's mane? Took pictures of the herd cantering at full speed?
For me, it's the feel of their velvet muzzles that gets me. Whether that's a hand on their nose, or giving Phoenix a kiss, I just can't get enough of it. The smell of leather and horse, the soft feel of their hair, and gentleness of so large of an animal.... It's the little things that keep me coming back to horses, and make me want to over come my fears.