Me and my Shoshoshosh, aka Txoko... In the video at the end of this post, you will see us as tiny specks in the distance at first...But, hang in there, there is much more to our "speckiness" than can be appreciated in one glance...Yes, we are specks, but there is a lot of substance behind this video of us.
This was back in November, on a spectacular fall day. The first time ever that
I galloped on him around the practice polo field. Full blast. No holds barred. And not one misstep or jig or wriggle was felt under me--he and I had a mutually joyful run like never before. My boy was a dreamboat!
Now for the substance part! This lovely gallop was not an overnight experiment or test run. It was the end result of hours upon hours of dedication, understanding, and the building of our relationship.
Here, let me break it down better...
Let me explain why I consider that Txoko was a total dreamboat that day. There are several reasons (I will explain 3) that substantiate my claim:
1) it was his first time galloping:
a) alone (no other horses with us as we rode, but they had come with us in the trailer and were left behind, tied to it as we rode)
b) in a huge open space, where you'd think he might lose his mind and bolt, yet he never once left me mentally or physically; we galloped on a loose rein and he was always connected to my requests to slow down/speed up;
2) We rode away from his herd (Patxi and Maia were tied to the trailer far from this field) and he didn't let that affect his movement or ability to listen to me (it had him mouthing the bit, but what can you expect? he's a clever, curious horse in a new environment and situation!). Even on the way back to the trailer he didn't take a weird step or make a change of speed. He had the same expression of enjoyment and engagement in any direction and every gait!
3) we shared a mutual exhilaration and appreciation of the moment (at least, I sure felt like it!!).
How did we do this? Oh, boy, where to start? Well, my posts here and on Facebook will definitely give you lots of information. But, let me delineate the key actions we took to get to this lovely place in our relationship:
--letting go of any specific goal or timeline and just working with the horse I had in front of me every day (making sure the horse felt better after each engagement with me);
--working on the fundamentals (and not speeding up until the fundamentals were good at each lower gait);
--studying and understanding the principles of training and horse behavior;
--using this knowledge and my own instincts and personality to build a strong relationship in which communication (each way) is clear and heard; and being a fair, trustworthy leader...
Gotta love me my Appy dreamboat, the reason I began this fascinating journey of enlightenment and continue to enjoy learning every day...
Enjoy this video now, of us as specks!