Saturday, August 6, 2011


There are moments in our lives when we wake up to the fact that we’re really just little people in a big world with things constantly trying to kill us. I think these epiphanies usually happen in Houston traffic situations.

I happened to have one of those today, but I was on top of a bucking horse.

Don’t worry. I didn’t fall; probably because I’m a badass apprentice horse whisperer (but mostly because they were just little wussy bucks).

I’m super excited to be working with horses again. I forgot how satisfying it is to communicate what you want to an animal and actually have it respond. My uncle Robin and Vanessa (Robin’s girlfriend) were refreshing my memory on horsemanship. We covered a lot of ground today. I desensitized their horses to the stick, practiced yielding the hind quarters, making them back up, and general responses to looks and verbal cues. I worked on lunging on the line and off it in the round pen. It was amazing to make a horse change direction, pick up speed or slow down, or back up with only body language, verbal cues, and no actual physical link to the horse. Vanessa’s way of teaching was perfect for me, and I felt like I remembered old things and picked up new tricks pretty easily. Robin added in tips here and there and was generally super supportive. It really couldn’t have gone any better.

I feel like most people are into horses for riding purposes. Some people can spend days in the saddle, and can’t wait to gallop across a field or whatever. My interest seems to lie more in the training aspect, but that’s probably because I haven’t spent very much time actually riding. I’ll probably like it more when I’m galloping across an Irish field or some such. Right now working them feels easy, and riding beyond a walk feels unnatural. Also, riding at a trot feels weird as shit, and posting is both embarrassing and hugely daunting. I’ll have to work on that - maybe alone, where nobody can see my awkward hip-thrusting.

Today they’re going to show me more of their beautiful Bloomington, Indiana on a hike. Then we’ll have buffalo burgers before heading back to the barn and working on more natural horsemanship techniques. It's going to be a great day.

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