I’m very excited about my newest purchase…a 2 year old friesan/quarter horse colt. As I’ve begun making plans for starting him, I’ve been reflecting on the bright future ahead of him, and all the responsibility that carries.
I watched him bend his neck around to scratch an itch on his butt, and pondered the naturally flexible and pliable nature of the horse. I thought about my 9 year old mare, who, being brought up braced, can hardly bend her neck around past her shoulder.
I watched him prance about the pasture, performing any and all Grand Prix movements with hind end engagement, a lifted back, and perfect lightness, right into a sliding stop and rollback. He has never been ridden in his life, but was born knowing these movements without my help, or any human help. I observed his nature was to be naturally curious, playful, and generally happy…
And then I thought about many of the horses I have started, restarted, or tuned up, who are cranky, shut down, miserable, stiff, crooked, etc. They sure aren’t born this way.
So I thought about what starting a horse really means. We like to think of it as “education,” but really, my job with this horse, and all horses, is to stay out of his way as much as possible, and let him do what he already knows how to do.
Starting is really just bringing out in him what he already has, and helping him feel OK about doing it with and for me.