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Dreams are Worth Dreaming

Published: 1/19/2010
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From Maine to Oregon

A series of articles on one woman's evolution, education, and adventures with horses

By Kim Stone

   In October of 2008, with encouragement of a good friend, I decided to attend a Martin Black clinic at Footloose Farm in Brownfield, Maine.   My friend, Candy, suggested this clinic would be good for me and my mare, Indy. Candy felt that if anyone could help us it would be Martin Black.  

You see, Indy is a high-anxiety, nervous, edgy, highly-opinionated, strong willed, determined, throw-a-hissy-fit, rearing, duck and spin, pack of sheer energy kind-a-horse.  

I decided to attend the clinic. Indeed, I committed to jumping with both feet – not only did I sign Indy up for the Martin Black experience, I signed up my colt, Shinan, too.

The first day of the clinic was a mess; or rather I was a mess. During the morning session, I watched as my colt bucked for what seemed like an eternity as she struggled to sort out the foreign object on her back, yes, that would be the saddle.  

Martin worked several colts together in the round corral – working them in and out of their own comfort zones, having little regard for those of us watching, or maybe I should say those of us that were supposed to be mounting these colts within the next few minutes.  

My nerves were twitching.   I thought, I am supposed to ride that without a bridal? No b it? Just a halter and go with her?   You’ve got to be kidding, right?  

Wrong.   There was no kidding, that is what we were going to be doing.   Little did I know, or understand, that Martin was preparing these colts for their first ride, for a good experience for both colt and rider.   

The afternoon session would have to be less dramatic, I thought.  

Wrong again. 

Indy pulled out all the stops!   She spent a significant amount of time showing her best “I-don’t-want-to-and-you-can’t-make-me" temper tantrums.

How embarrassing.  

I didn’t want anyone to know how long I had been “working” with her.   I decided to laugh it off, and comment that maybe I should’ve had Indy in the colt-starting session.  

Martin began asking me to do different exercises with Indy.   With each new exercise there was a new issue. Talk about discouraging!  

At the first day's end of this four-day clinic, I was beginning to think that I had gotten myself in way over my head.  

What was I thinking?  

I hadn’t been able to do any of the exercises without an argument from my horse.   She was as determined not to do them as I was determined that she would do them.  

Feeling frustrated, tired, and overwhelmed I retreated for the day.

As the clinic unfolded I became very aware of myself.  Aware of my hands, my legs, my body in relation to my horse’s mouth, hooves and movement.  

Then the questions began…..

“Well, how do you know?”  

“When do you ask?”

“How do you feel that ?”  

The more questions I began asking, the more I discovered that I was reacting to my horse’s behavior.   I needed to take more time and feel  her and stop a behavior before I had to react to it.  

A s you can guess, my horse’s issues were my issues.   Yes, me. All me.  

In coming to this clinic, I had two options; I could either learn from Martin, or I could get discouraged and say this just isn’t for me.   I chose to be open.  

Martin began asking us questions and making suggestions….

“What caused your horse to become like this?”  

“How did you get to this point?”

“What are you doing to change the behavior?”

 “Instead of trying to find a solution to the ‘problem’, let’s figure out how you got here.”

 “If you don’t like what is happening; Change something – anything.”

PHOTOS: (top to bottom) Shinan, gets used to her saddle; Martin Black works with Indy; Kim rides Indy.

To be continued...


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1/21/2010 debora
1/21/2010 Kathy Brooks
Kim ... I am so excited to read of your journey. Keep it coming!

"There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man." - Winston Churchill