Stevie and Spirit are our brave-hearts. They trusted our ideas and crossed the biggest parts of the creek. They snorted, looked and thought, but ultimately they carried us over the water onto different trails on the property. It’s heart-warming to see them feel so proud of their achievements when we praise their bravery. Within the creek there are one or two larger stones that Spirit tripped on last time (no damage!). With thoughts of moving some larger rocks, I thought, “if the horses can do it, so can I” and I paddled in with jeans rolled up, socks and boots in hand (we were crossing from one side to the other). The water was colder than ice. I believe it cannot freeze because it is too cold. My feet didn’t go numb, but the pain that stung from knees down was intense. Four strides into the creek and I was searching for a high rock. After much scrabbling and eventually remembering to breath, I finally stepped out the other side; I think the tears were from laughter . . . I staggered up the bank, tripping on stones. That was the horses revenge – they are braver (and tougher) than I am.
Charlie and Ned – With Charlie’s long strides it’s like riding in an armchair. Occasionally he stops to check with us that, yes, we do want to you to climb that bank or weave down that narrow path. With trust that brings tears to my eyes he follows command and takes on all that we ask. He is my very own warhorse. Meanwhile Ned is naughty and Charlie tries to copy him sometimes! Noel has his hands full with Ned deciding when to go home and making a song and dance about it. The tap with the whip for bad behaviour meets a big swish of his full tail and the odd buck. Ned then behaves but is agitated. We are not sure what to do for a while. Noel has been great on Ned, gradually calming him after each fracas, while I just plod along on Charlie. Concerns were mounting, Ned wouldn’t give in, one minute he was bolshie, the next nervous. How do you handle such opposing characters? Answer: you start at the beginning. We went back to schooling, taught Ned to lunge and gently worked him with voice commands. Ridiculously quickly he understood what we wanted and obeyed with just the odd twinkle in his eye. Riding him thereafter was like riding a different horse. An encouraging growl soon has him giving up on turning around or stopping at his whim. The command to stand is met with military precision and an incredible calmness – even when Charlie keeps walking and disappears around the corner. In just one day Neddy Boy shed is nervousness; he understands his role and has re-captured our hearts. In just one day our concerns were banished – we are starting to believe he’ll become a great team member – but always with that twinkle in his eye. (In the picture – Jet is our friends horse).