Friday, April 8, 2016


Our program has grown dramatically in the past two years. We are on sounder footing than we have ever been. If I had someone to do the things that I do in regard to running this program it would continue to grow. Age, absolute exhaustion, and the occasional wondering what it would be like to work less than seven days a week have increased the allure of retiring from this operation. Over the past two weeks I have been studying various options as to how best keep things going without my participation, but for chipping in the needed cash when we do not have enough to cover costs for a given month.

To use Jefferson's phrase, I have a wolf by the ears, afraid of the consequences of turning it loose and being worn out from holding on. The reality is that I can neither turn it loose nor hold on forever on the track that I have been on for the past several years.

The solution came to me this week. There are few problems that cannot be made better by spending time with a horse. The most extreme irony is that a major flaw in my lifestyle is that I am so busy working with horses and people that I do not have time left to spend time with a horse.

For me it is the peace that comes from the gentling, calming and training of a horse--what I once called "sweetening" of  a horse, that matters most.  During the first three months of this year I have ridden over 500 miles (not a figure of speech, literal record kept mileage) but had spent not a single moment in the solitary sweetening of a horse.

Demonstrating how to do so is rewarding, but teaching does not bring the peace that working a horse in a predawn round pen until that horse settles in and wants, yes, even needs, to be close to me.  The sweetening of horses has gotten me through many intense crisis over the last fifteen years.

This week I have not been in the saddle. I have been in the round pen.

 I am working with the horse shown above  and her half brother, both untrained Corollas--offspring of the famous Red Feather and half siblings of my Red Feather. She is the most beautiful Corolla that I have encountered. She is a nervous horse who finds the world to be a place filled with potential threats around each corner.

She only feels secure when standing close to her brother. When I finish sweetening her she will feel just as secure standing with me.

And as that process goes on my battery will be charged enough to keep our program going and, most of all, to maintain the integrity of the program so that we never become a place where spoiled little rich girls learn to ride in circles in the sand--seeking fulfillment in being awarded a blue strip of cloth.

So I am not going to retire, but I am going to rewire. I am going to rewire my schedule to allow me to spend time with a horse  instead of simply spending all of my time in the presence of horses.

1 comment:

George W said...

I have felt the need for you to do something like this.
That concept of benign non leadership is a good start.
I have been trying to simply spen more time with a horse lately. It is not easy.. -Lloyd