Learning to canter from a walk

Yesterday I made it my mission to teach an old horse new tricks.

This is not a bad mare, but I’d definitely call her a lazy one. She’s 23, I think… and has made it her mission in daily life to make it back to the barn as quickly as humanely -or horsely- possible. She belongs to a young girl who tends to let her get away with bad habits.

So when I took her out to exercise her, I made it my goal to give her a good workout. On a previous ride, I was told that she won’t canter unless the horse with which she’s in the ring is also cantering. Balderdash, thought I. It helps that I’m an adult who has spent a fair amount of time riding and can spot those telltale signs leading up to full on misbehaving. It also helps that I weigh more than a 10 year old and can ancor myself into my saddle after smacking a horse to teach it a lesson.

So I grabbed a crop and worked that poor horse until she finally realized she wasn’t cutting corners and smoothly agreed to transition from walk to canter.

So you can teach an old horse new tricks… who knows, maybe she knew the tricks but conveniently forgot them once she hit 20 and her owner became a young girl. Either way, I can’t help but compare myself to good old Penelope (that would be the old mare). Like poor Penny, I had become accustomed to a certain pace and style of life… and like Penny, I went from walk straight to canter. No time to ease into things: my first week on the farm I was performing surgical procedures on piglets!

Just when life gets to be rather tiresome, some crazy new experience comes along to shake things up. For Penny, I was quite the new experience. For me, I’d say moving across the country to take up life on a working livestock and organic produce farm satisfies the “new experience” criterion.

That said, I will be posting weekly in various categories (TBA). I intend to come up with set categories that will be easier for me to update, because so much has already happened, I need to compartmentalize!

For now, thanks go out to Penelope for reminding me that you can always learn new tricks. I desperately needed the reminder.


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