Friday, October 20, 2017

The Painted Stranger

Mabel is still new to me, even after spending most of the summer here. I've gotten to know her pretty well and have spent time beside in the field and the saddle; but memorizing her splotch pattern and smell isn't the same as knowing how she thinks. In that way she's still a stranger.

At least compared to Merlin she is. I know Merlin like I know my dogs, friends, and favorite books. I know his every ear twitch and tail swish. I can tell 30 seconds before he has to pee - regardless if he's out in the field or on his back. but Mabel's personality, quirks, triggers, and trials are all coming out one trail ride at a time. I have no idea when she wants to pee. A surprise every time!

She is far more confident when riding with other horses. I have had three different friends ride her, Sara, Patty, and Tyler and all felt comfortable with her. I've also ridden her while others rode Merlin. She's bold and trail smart. She is PURE JOY to be on the back of at full gallop. You need to barely use the reins, just your weight and legs are all she needs to go, turn, or slow down. I have never been on a horse so well trained, actually. The Ohio Amish did something right.

She is responsive in every way AS LONG as there is another horse with her. But when I take her out alone she is much more cautious. Every rustling of the wind or scurry of a squirrel has her jerking to look. Sometimes she jumps sideways at a deer loping 30 yards away - shocked to know she wasn't the only four-legged beast in the forest. What she over Merlin in size, youth, and speed she doesn't have in confidence. Merlin will go into the woods while coyotes dance past him (happened this spring actually!). I hope she gets there, too.

Right now I can say every time I am out with her she has been getting more comfortable and willing. It's all very encouraging, the little victories. I'm so glad she is here. And the more she gets to know me matters, too. This is a relationship and if we both keep working at it, we'll work it all out.