Friday, January 21, 2011


You seem to know a lot about my girl Rosie but, let me tell you something about my boy Clyde.

Clyde was once a cattle horse, turned jumper, turned therapeutic riding program steed. When I first met Clyde he belonged to someone who just never bonded with him. In the years before I met him, Clyde never had his own "person." It was a natural conclusion that I would ride Clyde. I was an inexperienced rider, he was a super experienced horse. We went for miles cantering up hills and meandering the fields. But I admit, I wasn't connected to him. I didn't think he was connected to me. Then my little accident with Rosie. After coming off of her, for the first time in my life, I was developing some very real fears about horses... projecting on all horses, one bad experience.
Every time I rode Clyde after that, I was nervous. Then I noticed Clyde was nervous too. I wondered if I hadn't been paying attention before. At every imagined "scarey" Clyde would jig and dance and shake...
I wondered what the heck was wrong with him!
So, I had taken Rosie on and decided I needed some help with my riding skills... for her... she was a handful after all...
I learned about my seat, and relaxation and breathing on some nicely broke schooling horses. I kinda forgot about Clyde. But my son, who was also taking lessons hadn't forgotten him at all. He was determined to be Clyde's riding buddy and I was okay with that. I knew Clyde had his moments and I warned my son about them... but he was trained and ready for a horse of his own.
Later, Clyde's owner decided to give him to my son.
I rode Rosie lots. And my son, typical boy that he is, wanted to ride a horse with a little more pep than old Clyde. So we swapped. I knew Clyde pretty well after all. But a funny thing happened. Without a word or a sound, I had learned to control my anxiety. And I noticed that when I relaxed, so did Clyde. Then I noticed, that without a word, I could just think about cantering, or trotting and behold... Clyde would do it. I was, once again, wrong about my horse.

In the book, "Whole Heart, Whole Horse" by Mark Rashid, I learned that consistency builds trust and trust builds softness. This is supposed to be from rider to horse. Yet, in my case it was horse to rider. He taught me, through his wisdom and his strength and his trust. Not, that I deserved it.
I believe Clyde was desperate for his own person. Someone to forever claim Clyde and say he's mine and I'm his. And he was patient with me. And now I can yield softness to him. And now he has his person... for the rest of his life.


  1. I'll have to look up a saying to get it exact, but I remember reading somewhere that "A good rider can make a horse, but a good horse can make a rider."

    We are glad Clyde has a good friend!


  2. Awww! That gives me such hope. My dear horse, Bobbie, is super experienced and I am not. She's a little stuck up and doesn't need me. But as we are going through our natural horsemanship training, I am finding confidence in her strength. And she is starting to seek affection from me. I think we will end up being a good pair. Thanks for sharing about Clyde.


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