Horses are herd animals. They prefer to hang in groups like teen age girls at the mall. (Hey! I used to be one.) Being in a herd means there is a definite hierarchy, every member has a place. Unlike a pack of dogs, where there is a leader and then the rest of the pack. However, cats are unique animals. They tend to assign a mother role to one of their people. A devoted human who will feed, clean, and adore them even as they are being ignored by said cat. Again, like teens.
Since Jameson came out of a pasture with other 2 year olds, it would not be fair to bring her straight home as an only horse. (Neighbor horses are separated by a few fences, and in time this could work.) But for now, Jameson headed to the Barefoot Veterinarian’s and a new herd. Lorrie is a long time friend and she runs her small animal clinic on the property. Beth, Huey’s mom, is frequently there, too. So, I knew she would have someone keeping an eye on her all the time.
Of course, not just other horses figure into the new herd equation. Horses have the obvious size advantage over us. I am not going to out muscle any horse, but I want to be the leader with my horse in our mini herd. This is so important for training, enjoyment of horses, but most importantly for safety! Fear based training has a major flaw, there will always be something scarier. So with these thoughts in mind, I started working with Jameson.
I had the great opportunity to meet and become friends with Sarah Rolston. She is based in New Zealand, and a popular trainer for all disciplines with her “Release Riding” clinics. Even though she is based half way around the world, she has been helpful and supportive. I hear her in my head as Jameson and I work. “Based on the old classical methods and riding with purpose where you and your horse form a positive partnership. The focus is on soft feel and good leadership. You learn to listen to your horse, and your horse learns to follow your leadership… ”
So even if it’s from the ground, enjoy the ride!