The other day, I was discouraged about some things going on in my life, and I called my sister. My teenaged niece Sam picked up the phone, and I shared my woes with her.
“I never thought of that,” I said.
“Most people don’t,” she said.
Sometimes, things just don’t work the way we want them to, in life, or with our horses. When it happens while I’m schooling a horse, it could be soreness or illness or boredom or the schedule might need adjusting (too many workdays or not enough). Or the horse might just be having a bad day. They have them, just the way we do.
On those rare occasions when it’s not working with a horse when I think it should, I don’t push it. I find something — the littlest something — to ask for, and when I get it, I reward and end the session. Sometimes, if it’s an older horse, I think I see relief — and surprise — in the horse’s eye. Because I understand that sometimes, people and animals are just having a bad day. Usually the next day, the horse comes out fresh.
At the moment when your horse is resisting, pushing on is a piece of cake. But it might be better to follow my niece’s advice and have a piece of toast.