Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Dave and Mabel

Last night the farrier came by. Dave Czukrovany is a man who knows horses, and has been trimming Merlin's feet for years. Over that time I have come to value his wisdom and skills beyond measure. I have been using what he has taught me, both through demonstrations and conversations, and it's made me a better rider, owner, and human being.

His methods are gentle and based on how horses think, move, and live in herds. Yesterday was his first appointment seeing Mabel. I wanted to hear his thoughts on the new horse.

Mabel is head shy and has a tendency to pull back in her halter, throwing her head back if she feels scared. This isn't anything abnormal in a fearful horse. Moving their head out of the way is instinct and a noggin is something you want to protect, but as a working animal you wish to ride - it makes things like putting on a bridle tricky. I told Dave about some of the issues I've had with her on the ground (fear of the bit, pulling back when tied, etc) and Dave took her lead rope from my hand and started his dance moves.

He moved her in gentle circles. He was calm and present. He asked for her head and when she pulled away in fear he moved her again, circling in a way that naturally brought her large snout towards him. He would take the neck and nose and sway them, rocking them like a child that needs to be soothed. Within twenty minutes the horse was letting him touch and lead her anywhere. She had ground manners of a demo horse at a clinic.

I listen to Dave talk, train, and trim horses the way parishioners listen in pews. I have so much to learn, so so much. Dave connects with equines in ways I am just starting to understand. It is breathtaking.

I said with a sigh, "I have so much to learn. I barely know anything and I learn that more and more each year..." and he sighed too, and said, "I know nothing." and then kept working masterfully with my horse.