So, back on Chloe. Yesterday I decided to keep it simple and fun and go for a walk with Chloe. No saddle, no bridal, just a lead rope on her halter. I was back in a good place, feeling strong and in a good mood. I was hoping Chloe was feeling the same. I told her it would be like a picnic. We’d walk in the (dreaded) back pasture, have a bit to eat then walk around the rest of the farm. We stuck to the well worn donkey paths, I was hoping they’d feel comfortable if not familiar. And it worked, the donkeys and sheep followed us keeping the herd together. There we were, just a bunch of different species hanging out in the pasture. Chloe was easy and willing, we just had a good time together.
Today, I felt like going for a ride again. Instead of using the cross ties in the barn, I tied Chloe up outside. The donkeys hung around as I groomed and saddled her. Yesterday I saw how she really enjoyed have her tail combed, so I too some extra time grooming her. It felt less fraught, more comfortable and Chloe took the bit without a problem.
Again I walked her into the back pasture. This time, on the way back I let her go to the gate that leads to the woods behind the house. She seemed curious and stood still staring out at the woods as if she heard or saw something I didn’t. Then I got in the saddle and it went great for a while. Until we came around to the barn for the second time and she wanted to go back.
This time I knew what to expect and was ready and determined. I thought to use my legs (along with my body and reins) to get her going where I wanted. And I talked to her, letting her know I was ready to do this all day if we had to. She kept backing up and I kept stopping her and trying to redirect her. We did this until she gave in to me and walked away from the barn and around the pasture again. We did this two or three times, each time she eventually did as I asked.
Until I tried to get her to go in the back pasture. We had been at it a while so on this I decided to compromise. Instead of riding her, I got off and we walked, which she was willing to do. At the far fence I got back on and we rode back to the barn.
Although in some ways it was similar to the last time we rode. It felt completely different to me. I guess because I was feeling strong and determined. But I was also having fun, I was really enjoying trying to figure out what to do next and was enjoying riding and being with Chloe even though it didn’t go smoothly. And Chloe wasn’t agitated like the last time. I think maybe she enjoyed it a little more too.
This is new for both of us but I have that feeling about Chloe like we’re going to be together for a long time. Like when you meet someone for the first time and they’re so familiar and you feel so comfortable with them it’s as if you’ve always known them. That’s how it feels to me with Chloe and with riding. Like we’ve done it all before and this is just how it begins.
14 thoughts on “Riding Chloe, How it begins”
Such stubborness. I wonder what the deal is with the back pasture? I know you two will walk through it together.
I love the picture of you, Chloe, Lulu, Fanny, and a herd of sheep, all walking down the same path. If you aren’t the Pied Piper, I’ll eat my Goddess potholder! You are having so much fun. Thanks for sharing!
I’m so happy for you and for Chloe, Maria!
I’ve been following this recent episode of your life’s journey for a while on Facebook (the Bedlam Farm/Jon Katz blog) and love the updates about your “hello dance” with Chloe. I’m always in awe of how animals and humans find each other at just the right time.
I think that’s just what happened Kathy.
Keep up the good work with Chloe. I find riding in our pasture to be the hardest place to get my horse to do what I want. (I usually trailer to a state park where we ride with no issues) I think it must be like someone coming into my house and then telling me what to do. But, that being said, I find a lot of repetition and slowly working toward what you want eventually works and everyone can be happy. So glad you have Chloe- so much fun ahead!
That’s an interesting Take on it Judy. You make a good point. Maybe I need to get her out into trails in the woods. But we have to go through the pasture to get there!.
I would like to purchase some of Mary’;s poetry books. What is the price & where can I do this? I greatly enjoy your blog, & your lives with the animals. Thanks for sharing. Mary Ann
MaryAnn. I have Mary’s book Whistling Woman $16 and My Place on Earth $15. There is also a shipping charge or $5. You can email me at [email protected] if you’d like to purchase any. Thanks!
I am so happy for you and Chloe Maria! It’s so much fun! Yesterday Melody broke the leather on her quick release halter while she was outside in her turn-out. Her field is huge. But she’s a pistol!
Like you Cindy
Well, Maria…Chloe might be having some hormonal fluctuations. But the more I read about the things Chloe does it seems that she likes being with her new herd buddies, and relaxes more around them. So it could be that she is “herd bound.”
I rode a Suffolk Punch draft gelding (2004), he was very attached to another gelding. I showed the Suffolk at a state dressage show. He had to see his buddy horse, or he would be agitated. He was actually buddy sour, but the therapeutic riding center didn’t correct this behavior so while at this show the assistant instructor had to position the buddy horse so my horse could see him at all times. My mount’s behavior posed a safety issue problem for me, but I still was fine and kept him under control despite his agitation. I was really in tune with my horse, trusted him and knew he would keep me safe. I think you are forming a great partnership with Chloe. I see how happy you are with her (and your new puppy).
Maria, I get such joy and pleasure seeing how you relate to Chloe and Fate. It is just that, fate, to see your relationship building with these two wonderful animals; Fate as your adorable studio partner and Chloe as your loving, outdoor partner. Amazing, isn’t it, how humans and animals connect, how they bond and become just what the other needs? I believe that the connection is one that lasts for a lifetime.
When I read about how you felt about horses and dogs long ago and see how you have overcome any fear or trepidation you might have had in the past it makes my heart race and my emotions fill with something so full that it is difficult to explain. You are fortunate to be able to make such strong connections with not just Chloe and Fate, but all of the animals in the peaceable kingdom known as Bedlam Farm. Would that the rest of people in the world were more like you, able to open up their hearts to many animals, experiences, people, creativity and life in general. I think that what they need is the opportunity coupled with open minds and hearts. I applaud you for being you and sharing with all of us. Thank you. Hugs to you, Jon and all of the members of your peaceable kingdom.