Here is a fun picture of Frisco playing while I am riding Charisma. He was such a funny and cute baby! I've been sorting through all my Charisma related stuff lately, trying to get everything organized so that I can create a little "shrine" if you will. I happened upon my journal from when I was a working student for Sheri Dumonceaux, and once I started reading, I could not stop. I can ride her in my memory, when I read my notes. I remember it all like it was yesterday. And what I most need to remember is this....I cannot forget all that I already know. Charisma was "The Great One", my Professor. I feel very guilty that such a kind and noble mare had to be my guinea pig. Maybe it is because only a kind and noble mare could remain so generous as I grew, and change with me. So much, really almost everything, of what I have learned, I have learned with Charisma. So long as I continue to learn, and to teach what I have learned to clients, I can continue to share her great gift with others. She will live forever this way. I write a lot, it helps me learn, so I've always made notes from my lessons, even when I first was learning. I still have all my notes. It is hard to believe that going forward, when I write about what I am learning, I will not be writing about it with Charisma included in the experience. I hope and pray that I have many, many years ahead of me to write more, except that Frisco will be the star. Everything that I learn going forward will be without her, however it will be BECAUSE of her...her gift to me. I hope to make myself worthy. Everything she taught me will cast a hue on everything new that I learn.
Today-well actually yesterday-was my first experience with learning something from Frisco. He has been the easiest horse in the world to start, almost couldn't wait to be ridden. So easy that, I tend to overlook the ground manners, because it is SO FUN to ride him, and in my mind he is still that hilarious and adorable colt you see in the picture above. So I just think to myself...he'll grow up eventually, no need to be stern with him when most of the time he is so good. But yesterday, he just walked away when I removed the halter to put the bridle on. You can't really punish at that moment, because then the horse will just run away-he was loose afterall!! I managed to wrestle the bridle onto a thousand pound moving target, and then drag him to the mounting block. He wasn't really doing anything bad or trying to get out of being ridden, he just wanted to play with my stuff on the ground and go see the horse at the other tie rack. He is a kid afterall, and a social butterfly. Once at the mounting block, he was ready to go!! To go out and see everything...so much so that he kept walking off. Still I wasn't in a position to punish him, because I'd kind of set the tone already. I just ignored all the crap, and we went on with our ride, which as usual was really great. Did I mention he loves to be ridden?! But I realized we needed to go back to kindergarten on certain things. So I decided that today, I would tack him up as usual, all except for the bridle, and put him in the round pen. I've mentioned that Frisco loves to be ridden. Have I mentioned how much he hates the round pen?! He knows that's for bad ponies, and plus, he can't see a damned thing, it's boring. I sent him around a few minutes each direction until I was really sure his attention was on me. The second I allowed it, he immediately turned to me for approval and I allowed him to come to the center. I removed his halter the way our second favorite cowboy taught us...head DOWN. Then, I put his bridle on the same way...head DOWN. He knows when I put pressure on his neck, he is to drop his head for me. He didn't forget a thing. Then we went to the mounting block. A couple taps with the whip on his chest, then a patient minute spent standing once I was in the saddle, and he was allowed to quietly walk off to see the exciting world. Horses don't forget. People do. The next time you are having a problem with something, something you thought had already been dealt with, you need to take the time to step back. In the end, it will be the fastest way. Our kindergarten session lasted all of ten minutes today. Go back to the beginning, rack your brain for the answers, read your old notes, try to remember what your trainer said. You probably already know it, and your horse is just patiently waiting for you to remember.