Monday, October 19, 2009

A good day?

Galahad worked very hard today. He's a smart horse, a willing horse. What's more, he has heart. This horse is one of those who would do whatever you asked of him, to the very best of his ability, until he dropped from exhaustion. These kinds of horses are all too easy to take advantage of.

I think that's what happened today. We were so excited about all the new skills he was learning--tucking his head, jumping barrels, learning to allow a rider on his back--that we forgot he's just a youngster. We forgot that he's never been asked to do more than stand around in his stall except for the three times a week he got to go run around in a pasture with his buddies and eat grass. This is not yet an athlete.

The fault is mainly mine. I saw how tired he was getting, and I hinted at it to my trainer friend. "Say, how do you know when a horse is getting tired?" Later, I pointed out how his lower lip was starting to sag from fatigue. Yes--but did I say, "Hey. Let's stop now--he needs some rest"? Nope. I deferred to my friend, who is 1) male and 2) in a position of "authority" because he's a trainer. I forgot that he's also 1) a man (which, through no fault of his, automatically makes it more difficult for me to speak what I know), and 2) tremendously excited about the prospect of working with such an intelligent and willing horse. My friend would never do anything to harm this or any horse, but he might, in his excitement, overlook the signs, or ask more than might be best for Galahad himself.

It's my responsibility to speak for my horse. I won't forget that again. No harm done--our guy will be a little stiff tomorrow, but he'll be just fine. But it's a lesson for me.

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