I rode Chloe at the farm for the first time today. I was expecting that she would behave the same way she did when I would tack and ride her at Eli’s when I was taking lessons. But it was different. And now that I think about it, it makes sense. She’s in a completely new place, a whole new life.
We had some lead ropes that were in the barn when we bought the house. And there are rings in the stall in the barn. So I was able to cross tie Chloe in the stall. She did a lot of moving around and was having a hard time settling as I brushed her. I talked to her quietly and reassuringly. I told her we were going riding. She was okay with the saddle, but gave me a hard time when I tried to put the bridle on her. Once on she didn’t want me to buckle the chin and throat straps. At first I was thinking I was doing something wrong. But it didn’t look wrong to me and I realized that I had to let her know that I wasn’t giving up and we were going to do this. I think it was a test of wills. She was trying. So I just kept at it till I got them buckled.
After that I knew she was nervous and decided to just walk her around the pastures instead of riding her. She’d never been in two of the pastures before. Also, the sheep were grazing not too far away. I didn’t want to upset Chloe any more than she already was, so I moved the sheep into the side pasture and closed the gate.
Then I unhooked the cross ties, took off her halter and off we went. First I walked her around the pasture that she’s been grazing in since she came to the farm. Then we went into the back pasture. When we got back to the barn I felt like we were ready for a ride.
We stayed in the pasture Chloe was familiar with and walked the edge. I didn’t let her trot although a few times she wanted to. I was really conscious of the fact that this was our first ride in her new home together and I wanted it to be an example of how things would be between us. I was the one in charge and she had to do what I asked. She wasn’t always so willing, but I kept reminding her. If she went to far in the wrong direction, I made her stop and back up three times then pointed her where I wanted to go. But most of the time we were in sync.
I stopped when it was still going good. When I got off of Chloe, Fanny and Lulu were looking at us quizzically, like they were trying to figure it all out.
I think Chloe and me did pretty good for our first time. I understand now that I need to be more patient and sensitive to how new it all is for her. I also think it’s important for us to ride regularly, especially in the beginning, so it becomes routine. I remembered Eli telling me first I have to be the leader then we can be partners. I’m seeing the same thing applies to training Fate. I told Chloe we’re going to learn from each other. And I tried to listen to her to see what she needed and figure out the best way to respond to that. And I felt like I could deal with whatever came along.
Some things just feel right. Even with the mistakes I made, or maybe because I was able to see them, it just felt good. But having Chloe and riding her, well, it’s hard for me to say why it’s good. I can’t even explain why I want to do it. It’s like my body is drawn to it, and my head has little to say about it. I guess I’m trusting my body, but even if I didn’t , I’d be doing it anyway.