Alligator Ankles

Training outside horse for the public gives a trainer a constant opportunity to grow in their knowledge and skills.  The reason for this is that you are constantly presented with new training problems that require thinking through what you can do to futher a horse along in its training.  A good deal of the time, the person has already gotten into a problem with the horse before they put it in training.  There would be no need for professional horse trainers if everyone could train their horses themselves.  I am always excited when a new horse and owner comes into our barn, because each horse is such an individual and they all have different needs.  It is up to me as a trainer to discern what the horse needs to advance them in their training.  In fact, you are presented with two challenges - taking the horse ahead and helping the owner to be realistic in what the horse is or is not capable of becoming.  So, each horse that is brought here gives me an opportunity to expand my training skills and people skills. 

This month I got a mare that has been a challenge.  She is made beautifully, bred to fly, and has a tremendous amount of ability.  She has a beautiful left circle, but when I try to canter a right circle, she wants to push her left side to the outside and lope off sideways.  She wants her left hip to the outside of the circle and her right shoulder down inside the circle.  She has learned to travel crooked.  This presents a big problem getting to and around the right first barrel.  She is very light, nervous, quick and has no confidence going to the right.  I began circling exercises both directions until I could trot a right circle holding her in the circle with my left aides.  She threw her head up and down, snorted, coughed, and did everything she could to let me know that that was NOT the way that she was used to doing it.  But, I continued to make her travel in a right large circle with her hind feet following her front tracks.  She finally got so flustered that she stopped and bit herself in the chest.  In all my years of training horses, I have never seen a horse do that.  As I continue to ride this mare, I can see that she has a great amount of potential.  If I can aim her frustrations in the right direction, I feel that she is a winner.  God has shown me many lessons already through this mare.

I have days when nothing seems to go right.  I had one such a day recently when the whole day was frustrating.  I found out that a dear friend who has been very influential in helping my son through some rough times, was going to have his leg removed from a diabetes related sore that would not heal on his leg.  The same day, I found out that a very good friend had cancer come back into her back after she had beat it once.  It went from there to continuing things that were frustrating and depressing.  The builder that is working on turning our old milking barn into an apartment sent me after supplies. That turned out to be a wild goose chase looking for an item that no one seemed to have.  My daughter called to say both kids were sick and she needed help.  I had several horses left to ride and I was trying real hard to get everything done when I smashed my finger in the gate.  All kinds of things happened that day.  I felt like I was up to my ankles in alligators and they were all trying to bite me.  I felt like the mare that just got so flustered that she bit herself.  I wanted to scream!  This world can be a very frustrating place at times!

It is times like these when I am thankful that I have hidden the Word of God down in my heart.  The scripture that Paul wrote to the Corinthians came up into my spirit.  He said, "we are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair, persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed."  He goes on to say that we faint not even though out outward man is getting older, the inward man is renewed day by day, for our light troubles which are but for a moment, works in us a far greater eternal glory that outweighs all the troubles.(2 Cor. 4)  God is working on me (us) the same way that I am working on that sorrel mare.  He wants me to travel in this life in the way that He teaches.  He wants me to cast my cares upon Him and not let the stresses of this life get to me.  2 Peter 5:7   He will use the stresses of the world to teach me to turn to Him and let Him handle the events of the day while I walk in peace.  I have days like this often because I have not yet learned that lesson.  I am like the sorrel mare.  I will be put back into that circle until I get it right.  One day, if I remain patient and continue to show her how to circle right correctly, I am confident that she will yield and relax.  Then she will have learned that lesson.  I hope it doesn't take me much longer to learn to yield everything to God and relax.   I am thankful that God never quits training on his children.  I am thankful that no one is beyond His abilities and skills to perfect.  When the alligators are biting - let go and let God!  

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Copyright 2004 - 2011 Joyce Loomis-Kernek
Last modified: January 05, 2014