Well, if you’re a horse person you might have guessed that this blog is a bit of a misnomer. This little filly I’ve taken on has no intention what-so-ever of taking a journey of any kind. In fact, I’m fairly sure she just wants to stay out in the field with her buddies and eat some grass.
Indeed, this blog might have been better named “Under-Qualified Rider Tries Her Hand at Colt Starting”.
I found myself driving home across the country a few evenings ago with a two year old unbroken, and largely unhandled filly in tow. It has long-since been my ambition to work with a horse who is a close as possible to being a ‘blank slate’. A student of Buck Brannaman’s style of Horsemanship, I have tried to apply his way of interacting with, communicating with, and feeling of a horse over the last year or two. However, working as a groom in the polo world where horses often change hands from groom to groom every couple of weeks, I felt that I was somewhat swimming against the tide and longed to work with a horse of my own – to give them a good start with the most consistency of handling, softness, and feel I can provide. I also thoroughly believe that horses’ behavior mirrors what we teach them, and the flaws in that teaching. In that sense, a horse who has had little or no contact with humans is the perfect test of my methods, my attitude towards the horses I work with, my patience, my feel, my timing. No longer will the excuses “her previous owner spoiled her” or “it’s obvious he was handled violently before” have any place in my yard.
So that’s where Ellie comes in – she is my Blank Slate. The mirror reflection of myself, my attitudes and my horsemanship. In return, I hope to offer her a peaceful, clear, safe, and relatively stress-free entry into the world of the riding horse. And as to whose journey this is – I have no idea! But I have a feeling that Ellie and I will be learning from each other in equal measure.