Subject: A Bridge Too Near or Get Off Your High Horse

Don't do too much at one time.  Do a little bit often.
-Ray Hunt
What we think about when we ride will make all the difference.  Believe in both yourself and your horse, for greatness is always there, just waiting to flow freely.
A Bridge Too Near
Get Off Your High Horse

The other day Janet and I loaded up the dogs and a couple of horses and headed for the Wallowa Mountains just outside of Wallowa Oregon. When you live in the mountains as we do, what would you do for a short vacation? Go to another mountain, of course! On our way we made a little detour to Terminal Gravity, a fabulous little brewery / eatery on the edge of Enterprise. A must experience if you are ever in the area.

After arriving at our camp destination we took a walk with our horses Ruby and Jasper and our dogs Woodrow and Maggie to check out the trailhead and to let our partners have drink and the dogs a bath in Bear Creek. Next, we returned to camp and tied the ponies to a highline and prepared a nice camp supper, if you can call camping out of a live-in horse trailer camping. Camping to me has always meant a tent and cooking over an open fire. Not now, what a bunch of weenies we have become.

The following morning we saddled up for a short ride up the creek and before we traveled too far we came to a nice little bridge crossing over the creek. The bridge was much nicer and safer than some I've crossed in the past but Jasper was not in complete agreement with that. He was not sure at all about this thing. Now there isn't much I've asked him to do for me that he wasn't willing to try, but he was truly worried about this contraption. Now years ago, I would have insisted that my horse go where I pointed him just because I knew it was safe and he should do what I ask. I now am more interested in constantly building a trusting relationship with all my horses. I don't want to do anything that would cause my horse to “blow through my legs”. By this I mean a scenario where I ask something of my horse and he refuses or literally “pushes” through my legs or hands. A common example that many can relate to would be when you ask your horse to move to the left and he instead pushes through to the right.

There was a time when I would have become very forceful or even ugly and insisted that my horse “obey” me. Having experienced all that in my past, what did I do in this case? So respecting his fear, I got off. I rarely would get off for something like this, but in this case I wanted to try something that would benefit both of us. I then lead the way towards and then on to the bridge with a very trusting horse behind me. The whole time I supported Jasper with my faith in him and confidence in myself. By handling this obstacle in this way, we both were more trusting in each other from the experience. Now, I know this wasn't the “Cowboy Way”, but it worked very well for both of us. We then returned to where we started. I remounted and we rode across without any hesitation. We crossed that bridge a number of times that and the next day without any hesitation.

If we are seeking to build trust and confidence in our horses, sometimes we need to stop and think about our approach. Forcing something to happen can bring about reactions that we would rather avoid. So always consider your number one objective when a new challenge presents itself. Ask yourself what is really important in getting a thing done.

Happy Trails,
Harmony, beauty and strength are three things that Robert and I are very passionate about.  Now you have all heard of harmony, that is what we think of when a ride feels good.  Beauty is what we all see when a rider and her horse is in harmony, no matter what they are doing.  Strength is not something most people talk about, but it is the word we use when we refer to being able to trust yourself and your horse; to have the confidence to do what you desire; to have the discipline to stay on track and not give up.  Personal strength is very important for achieving those really cool goals we all have.  It opens all new doors, and it starts with acquiring a greater understanding of both yourself and your horse.  New knowledge provides a willingness but it is the understanding we get through experiences that bring the desired strength which leads to greater Joy.

We are teaching two more clinics this year at our ranch and we will be teaching, through horsemanship, how to increase your harmony, beauty and strength in a very fun sort of way.  We have a beautiful facility and hundreds of acres that provide the opportunities for the experiences that bring the greater joy.  We accept only 6 participants in each clinic.  Both clinics are two days, August 25-26 and September 8-9.  Arrive Friday late afternoon and spend the weekend disconnecting from your daily routine and connecting deeper with your horse.  The price is $400.00.  Please call or email us if your are interested.  A $200 deposit will hold your spot which can be paid by check or credit card on our website.
Visit our Youtube channel for ideas on movements and thoughts to grow your communication with your horse. 
Upcoming Clinics
August 25-26, Coyote Mountain Ranch, Dayton WA
September 8-9, Coyote Mountain Ranch, Dayton WA
September 22-23, Moses Lake, WA
September 29-30, Star, ID

Please visit our website for details on our clinics.

The Horse Fellowship LLC
Robert and Janet Phinney

PO Box 4, Dayton, WA 99328, United States
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