Posts Tagged ‘natural horsemanship’

PostHeaderIcon Extreme Words of Wisdom

I’ve been formulating how to convey the learning experience I’m getting with Lucky Star. He is an extreme left brain introvert. I’ll say my piece later. This will help you understand why I have developed such a deep relationship with Lucky Star.
Words from Linda Parelli:Linda’s Blog has posted a new blog: ‘Horsenality™ Is Not An Excuse!’

The reason for this blog is that I keep hearing this comment: “People are
using Horsenality™ as an excuse!” We’ve all heard people say “I can’t ask
my horse to do this; he’s an introvert” or “She’ll always be crabby and
bitchy because she’s a Left-Brain Extrovert!’”

Let’s be clear – knowing your horse’s Horsenality is not about being able
to make excuses. It’s about bringing your full attention to this question: are
you bringing out the worst or the best in your horse? Knowing about Horsenality
means you have the inside scoop as to what it is your horse trusts and respects
in a leadership style that would bring out the most positive behaviors. And when
you know just how to approach your horse, it will help you make faster progress
and get better results.

Let’s talk about introverts:

Introverts take time to process your request, either because they can’t do it
or they don’t want to do it right away. Guess which is which!

Right-Brain Introvert – can’t do it. That’s because their emotions get in
the way so their first reaction is stress, and stress makes them clam up and
shut down until they trust you and can feel completely confident around you.
Putting it in human terms, this is the Right-Brain Introvert mother who is both
caring and effective with her children. She can think on her feet and do the
right thing in the moment. But in another setting, she is tentative and easily
intimidated. The more extroverted the situation, the more introverted the
Right-Brain Introvert becomes. These horses are often called unpredictable,
aloof, tense, and oversensitive.

Left-Brain Introvert – won’t do it. That’s because their opinion of you
gets in the way – they think you are lower than them in the pecking order!
These horses are often called stubborn, lazy, and arrogant.

When a horse is acting tense, over-reactive, stubborn, lazy, etc., that’s
because the rider is bringing out those behaviors. Rushing an introvert will do
this – not giving them time to think, and in the case of the Left-Brain
Introvert, not being provocative enough at the same time. Note that
“provocative” does not necessarily mean to do it faster!

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PostHeaderIcon Just What the Heck Is Natural Horsmanship?


For more than 6000 years, man tried to bridge the chasm between his own species, the ultimate predator, and the horse, the ultimate prey animal.  Man needed the horse to be a servant. The horse was programmed to be anything but a servant.  The man adopted his most efficient tool, brute force.  It was the basis of horsemanship practiced by the common man for millennia.

We had early natural horsemen:
Simon of Athens (400B.C.), Xenophon (430-355) and Alexander the Great are the names most well-known  by natural horsemanship students of today

The revolution in horsemanship occurred without a war, without shots fired etc.  A new theme was developed- “horses can be controlled more effectively without the use of force”. At the end of the 20th century, we no longer needed horses as servants. We invented tractor, trucks  and cars etc. Horse population plummeted.

Most of you might have heard of amazing stories of the early whisperer’s, trainers and professors. 

  • Professor Joseph Beery (1861-mid 1900′s)who started a correspondence school titled Beery School of Horsemanship.  He invented the running W to control the horse while desensitizing it. 
  • Keffery Kell (1878-1958) invented the rope with the ring on the end.  The rope with the ring is still one of the main tools of natural horsemanship methods today.
  • Monty Foreman (1915-1987) saw himself as a “research scientist for horsemanship”.  He excelled in performance rather than gentling wild horses.  He also invented the Monte Foreman Balanced Ride Saddle which is still being made today.  Not causing pain to the horse while riding certainly enhances the performance possibility of the horse.

The horse’s comeback in America started in the mid-70s.  Vietnam ended and the economy improved.  People had time for leisure activities.  Most of these people lived thru years of television (Roy Rodgers, Hopalong Cassidy, The Lone Ranger, Bonanza, Gunsmoke, Have Gun Will Travel, etc) and western movies. 

There are thousands of people (mostly girl people) born with the invisible “horse gene”.  We all wanted a horse. Horses became pets and our hobby.

By the late 1970′s a new breed of horsemanship clinic sprung up in the west to meet the increased demand for horse education.  Old nonviolent training philosophies were presented side-by-side with modern, creative horse-handling techniques. Students liked this.  It struck a chord to their hearts and minds.

Word spread.  Followers became evangelists, students became teachers and it a matter of a few years this approach spread across America and to the rest of the world.  By the mid-90′s this became an international phenomenon.

One place where tractors and 4 wheelers did not replace horses was the Western cattle ranch.  Nothing could match a good horse to round up or cut cattle.  In California (the land of perpetual sunshine and no seasons and thus, no hurry) there was an especially rich heritage of horsemanship that traced back through the vaquero and “Californio” to Mexico and mother Spain.  They considered the horse a partner, a thinking and feeling creature that was as psychologically delicate as it was physically strong.  They built a relationship with their horse and took it to the highest levels of finesse. The vaquero was the link back to the great horsemen of the past.  They loved their horses, and for the sake of the horse, were willing to share what they had learned.

It was when their philosophies and methods fell into the hands of gifted teachers and entrepreneurs in the late 1980s that the revolution in natural horsemanship began in earnest.  It was then that clinics began introducing these techniques to the public and the systems of teaching that blended these techniques. Pat Parelli invented the word, “Natural Horsemanship in the mid-1980s.

We have a new language now. We no longer “break” a horse. We “start” a horse. We don’t work with our horses, we “play” with them and unlock their “play drive”.  “Game”s are preferred over exercises. “Discomfort” has replaced pain. “Joining up” or “hooking on” demonstrates the special relationship that develops between our two species. Words once used exclusively by scientists and behaviorists are used in the natural horsemanship world:  sensitization, habituation, dominance hierarchy, conditioned response and alpha behavior are a few.

Groundwork, the handling of horses from the ground is a study in itself.  Most behavior problems, even those experienced while riding, are solved by groundwork.

The most important term is “rewarding the try”.  You’ll find a lot of nice horse people in the world, but they never reward the try (release is what teaches) with an instant reward. They do not practice natural horsemanship. With patience, persistence and consistency in the asking, the horseman helps the horse find the correct answer.

Horses have become agents of change in the world that we live in.

  • Walter Farley’s Black Stallion books have turned into The Black Stallion Literacy Project and becomes the first book a child ever owns and flames the desire to read.
  • The North American Riding for the Handicapped Association has channel the healing power of the horse to empower emotionally and physically challenged disabled people of all ages.
  • America’s justice system is using horses to rehabilitate prisoners, gang members at at-risk youth. The rate of recidivism among participates is at an all-time low.
  • Corporate boardrooms are using the principles of natural horsemanship to teach the arts of gentle persuasion, benevolent leadership and nonverbal communications to produce better managers and happier employees…and a bigger profit margin.

The horse has become a reason and a vehicle of self-improvement.  A relationship with nature’s most magnificent beast, the horse, is the carrot on the stick that keeps us moving forward, striving to be better people.

Natural Horsemanship makes better horses and it makes us better people.  Find a teacher of natural horsemanship and learn the techniques.  That’s what happened to me! It has changed my life. The study of natural horsemanship is still in the process of changing my life. I want to be a vaquerro!

If you are intrigued by this concept or want to know more about the Revolution in Horsemanship buy the book of that name.  The book was written by Robert. M. Miller D.V.M. and Rick Lamb. My article is copied exclusively from 347 pages of this book. You can buy this book used on  I highly recommend this book to everyone that has an interest in horses.

The book is dedicated to Tom Dorrance, the father of this revolution in horsemanship.

PostHeaderIcon Trail Rules – Everyone has rules!

Ken, Hope and I rode a small portion of Lake Perry. Kansas, trails today.  I gave Ken my rules about trail riding. 

  • It’s gotta be 2 hours,
  • It’s got to be in the high 40′s and
  • There’s gotta be flat land on which to go fast.

He had great success with rules one and two.  We didn’t have much flat land upon which to go fast.
Oh well.  Other than the last part where we couldn’t find a trail back to our trailers and we were lost for seemingly, hours – It was a great day.

We found the trail head and it had been exactly two hours! 

Riding at Lake Perry, November 2010

Ken’s rule is that you have to ride for at least as long as the pickup/trailer drive to and from the trail. We met his rule too!

Nova’s rule is that she gets to mess with the other horses on the ride.

Velvet’s rule is that she must eat and boss everyone around.  She was forced to bring up the rear on this trail ride and there wasn’t very much green stuff in the forest.

Hope has a wish-rule about flush toilets.  The park didn’t meet her rule and even lacked pit toilets at the trailhead. But Hope had a great time too.

PostHeaderIcon Powder’s Progress – Two Years Old Today!


Powder - October 2008

She was born two years ago.  Her birthday is today!  But hold on! She’s going to be two again in 2011…for showing purposes!  Powder is two, she’ll have two birthdays.   Isn’t that two cool!

Powder was born in October and the rule is…Oct. thru December babies are deemed to attain their age in the following year.

In this past few weeks, I’m determined that Powder will have the best horse development ever.  I’ve been playing with her at home and taking her to Pine Dell.

Taking Powder to Pine Dell is totally cool. We have to get into the trailer.  At Pine Dell, we have two indoor arenas and two outdoor arenas in which to play. We also have a covered round pen.  Life is good for us.

A couple of days ago, I decided that we would play in the small outdoor arena by the road. We don’t have a busy road at home.  But next to the smaller outdoor arena, cars and trucks and bigger trucks zip up and down that road.  We even had a motorcycle zip by and put on the big ZZZZZZZooom for us.  You know that big load snort horses have for big danger warning?   I’d forgotten about that snort until it went off in my ear.  Powder did the Big Exhale Snort right into my ear.  It made me yell.  Ouch

Tonight we played in the small arena.  There were little sounds in the rafters…like little feet pattering above Powder’s body. SNORT!!!  Whoo WEE!

Later we had another horse come into the arena.  He was having some fun on his lunge line..bucking and carrying on.  Then we had the rumble snorting from Powder.  I got to see Powder with her tail straight up running around for a while.  But when she hit the end of the rope, she softened and came right back into softness.  Love that horse!

After we get done with all these new experiences…maybe this could be called seasoning, we have to get back into the trailer.  This isn’t our favorite thing in the world. Tonight we had horses all over the place and a tractor.  Powder got in the trailer and ran out several times.  We waited until she was semi calm in the trailer before I threw the lead rope over her back and let her stay in.

It’s a short ride home..perfect for trailer “seasoning”.  She was really upset when we got home.  I opened the door. She came out with her front feet and started eating grass.  Her back feet were forgotten as they stayed in the trailer for a time.  Yep, the trailer is a big deal!

Powder - October 2010
Powder- October 2010
12′ lead rope around her neck
22′ rope is how we play!

PostHeaderIcon Powder’s Progress- Liberty Game

Powder Leading the Liberty Herd

It’s a game we love to play. We turn the horses loose in the arena and wait for them to want to come back to us. The rules for the horses are trot or canter, maintain the same direction and don’t cut thru the middle.That last rule is important because that’s where the humans stand.  Tony called her “sassy”!  Sassy she was indeedy.  In the above picture, her goal was to be the leading horse. She cut the corner to pass Spike and JR.

Not only did Powder cut thru the middle and change direction, but she bluffed me out as well.  My “suggestion” that she change direction was met with total ignore.  It was a game of chicken and I stepped out of her way.

We did three horses at a time in the liberty game and Powder was lucky to get two geldings.  She got JR, who has long learned the rules of the game and Spike who was new to the game, but decided to follow JR.

Powder in the Game!

Powder’s game was to become the leader of the herd!  She broke all the rules to do it too! In the above picture, she is breaking the “go the same direction” rule. She’s out to have a meaningful meeting with JR!

Herd Control!

Powder’s job is to control the herd.  Making them back off and even stop is her desire.  JR got a little to close to Powder and she’s in the process of letting him know!

Powder had a great time at this game and was revved up for quite a while after the game wanting to do it again!

Powder Leading the Herd!

We all suggested that this might be the opportunity to have Tony ride Powder, but he graciously declined.

At the end, JR came into Lynne.  I looked at Powder and gestured her to come to me…and she did. Spike ran around a bit longer and Powder stayed with me for quite a while. Finally, she couldn’t stand it anymore and went out to lead Spike around the arena a few more time.  When Spike decided the best place for him was with his human, Powder came right back to me.

What a glorius game it is when your horse comes to you at liberty.  Liberty is the Truth.

PostHeaderIcon Sue – How Do You Do Plateau?

Yep, we’ve plateau’d. Of course that’s not a real word.
Sue has spent her first week at the boarding stable, called “For the Horse” Ranch. A small amount of her fear came back and I spent two riding nights with her completely on the ground. I managed to ride her the third night. After a couple laps around the arena, we stopped and I breathed again. That fear is there waiting….

We had two clinics on Saturday. One was with Jenny Vaught in the am and the other one was with Tony Vaught in the PM.

Sue’s forward bolts are now only two steps before she stops. Jenny pointed out to me that I lean forward at the start of the bolt instead of staying on my balance point. I still grab at the reins. I am a miserable human being.

In the afternoon, I repeated my plight about not being a strong enough leader that Sue trusts me…especially on her back.

Tony figured out an amazing exercise for us. The principle is to bring the horse right up to the emotional part of fear and then stop doing whatever causes the fear. (FEAR! / RELAX) That way the horse learns that he/she can deal with fear and maybe fear isn’t necessary.

It’s just magic. I’ve heard Tony tell this to auditors at Difficult Horse Clinics, but of course it never registered for my own personal journey with horse.

So, my task was to ask Sue to do something, then ask her to do it faster. When I asked her to do the task faster, that brought up her fear. Then we were to slow down and quit when she was light and relaxed. We did this backing, hindquarter disengagements, front quarter disengagements and sidepassing. We had long periods in between of dwelling.

After about an hour of this, Tony told me to do more than one thing–transition from backing to sidepassing etc. We spent a while at this too. Transitions take a while. She might get emotional during the transitional tasks and I couldn’t stop until she was relaxed.

Here’s what I learned. Sue had gotten used to me asking her for 3-4 steps. She assumed and stopped. That was when the stick ran into her. Then she did hurry and move. I had to keep going until her panic abated and she would slow down and relax. Then we quit.

After she stopped making the assumption of the 3-4 steps, I was able to go slow, speed up and then go slow again and quit. Just think how many transitions from fear to relaxation that Sue did in an hour.

I asked permission to ride for the last hour. Sue was the most relaxed that I’ve ever seen her. We had a few wondrous laps around the arena. It was so wondrous that I got off and quit for the day.

I rode her again Sunday. We practiced our slow and fast games. We practiced cantering at liberty in the round pen. She can canter; she can’t sustain a canter-yet.

Then we rode. We rode for a while until we had one lap without breaking gait. I got off and we walked down the long end of the arena to get a Winnie’s Cookie. Sue was very impressed.

I got back on and we did some laps the other way until she did a perfect lap without breaking gait.

My new mandate is to ride with one hand on the horn holding the loose rein in the crook of a finger. When something goes wrong, the reins aren’t in a position where my “jerk the reins back” response works right away. By the time my hands find both reins, the bolt has stopped.

So we did all these laps with perfectly loose reins. She did speed up in the semi bolt now and then. I managed to stay quiet and not grab the reins. We stood for a lot of rubbing after this.

Then I decided it was carry the carrot stick time. She didn’t flinch when I picked up the stick. She did start the bolt when I had the stick in my hand sideways. The stick scared her and the bolt started in slow motion. Her head comes up and her muscles tense. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to hold only one rein to stop. My hands grabbed both reins. Sue stopped in 2-3 steps. We did a lot of rubbing then and she was fine with the stick.

I did pick the stick up and let the string go from side to side. It just slid across her mane. That’s all that my courage was able to do at this point. So we rode with the stick.

After a few laps, my courage failed me again and we put the stick down. We did a couple more laps without breaking gait and quit for the day.

I’m very proud of her progress.

I think there is hope for me too!

PostHeaderIcon Sue – How Do YOu Do with an Uncoordinated Clod of a Rider?

My personal life got in the way again of riding and time has passed.
I also haven’t reported on the great rides Sue and I’ve had in the Monday nite lessons…She knows the other horses now and is very relaxed.

So, I’ve taken off work and riding during the day all this week (except, I got interupted again by my personal life).
Anyway. There are three horses being rode in the arena. One of them is standing still. The other one is zipping around.

I decide today is the new day of the carrot stick. We’ve done our friendly game on the ground. I’ve thrown the carrot stick up in the air over Sue and kept at it until she stopped flinching. OK, once I didn’t catch it and it clattered on the saddle…but she was used to it by then.

Back to riding. I’ve picked up my carrot stick from the ground several times. The first time she shuddered. I put it down and picked it back up…No reaction.

I tap on the fence with the carrot stick…no reaction from the brave Sue.

I’m riding with the carrot stick having a fine time. Sue is fairly relaxed.

But the other horse is doing something and we do our half-bolt. I can think when she does a half-bolt. She’s not stopping and I decide that it’s the carrot stick that is now causing her to stay right-brained.

NOTE: For years I’ve heard Jenny tell stories of people who pick up things that scare their horse. The horse spooks or leaps around and the person’s grip on the scary thing gets tighter and tighter. It’s a chain reaction and it goes Western. Jenny sez, let go of the scary thing -DROP IT! I’ve vowed over the years that when this happens to me, that I will be able to drop the scary thing.
back to the story…

My brain hears Jenny tell the story, “just drop the scary thing.”

I drop the carrot stick.

Unfortunately, I didn’t hold the carrot stick out to the side. I am holding it so it rests on my shoulder.

I raise my hand somewhat and let go of the carrot stick.

I dropped the carrot stick on Sue’s rear end!!!! It bounced off her rear end behind her.

Now what is the worst POSSIBLE THING that I could have done with a horse that is afraid to have anything touch her rear end (especially when she is in semi-bolt right brain) and is afraid of objects moving behind her.

Yep…exactly what I did…the worst possible thing.

I got Sue stopped in about 10 more steps. If this had happened a couple of months ago, they would probably still be picking up pieces of me in the rafters, the sand, the walls etc….


PostHeaderIcon Sue – How Do You Do in Arena Chaos?

The arena was filled with horses. One horse and “new to us” rider  didn’t even know we were fearful. She was new.

We rode in an organized chaos. We all rode in a straight line somewhere and first stopped and did hindquarter perfect turns. Then we trotted, stopped and did our hindquarter perfect turns. After we did that for a while, we started at the walk again and did perfect forequarter turns…and then again at a trot. How do you think Sue did with horses going every which way?
She was on the lookout, but did GREAT!

Then we rode on the rail. But this wasn’t just any plain Jane riding on the rail. Some of us rode clockwise and some of us rode counterclockwise. Us counterclockwise people rode on the inside and the clockwise people rode on the rail.
How about Sue meeting horse after horse in the arena.
No Problem! She was aware, but fine.

In fact, we even trotted. She relaxed enough to get a trot going and she kept it up for maybe one length of the arena. She was relaxed.

Then we all came into the middle of the arena. Jenny picked various horse and rider combos to go out on the rail and canter. She told my very best friend, Kari, to cut through the middle and do a flying lead change. I didn’t react very fast. I was sitting on Sue with my sore leg out of the stirrup. Kari came racing by very close to the group of horses…and Sue’s rear end. You know what that means. We spurted forward a step or two. I managed to hold my curse word to a whisper. No one heard me. I was alive and proud of my restraint.

The next horse cut through the center and I was ready. That horse dislodged a dirt clod which spooked Sue. We spurted forward a step or two. This time I didn’t even think of swearing. I was fine.

At the end we went on the rail. We were to ride collected. My new goal is to get Sue to give to the bit and become soft. She pushes on the bit like she has been taught.

Sue relaxed and started trotting. She trotted for a while and then went back into a fox trot or running walk. Then she would occasionally break into a pace. It was great.

We stopped near the middle as someone was in our way. It was nearly 8:45pm and my knee lasted all this time. Well, I told Sue to get her speed back up and she refused to move. She was tired. I reached back and touched her rear end with my hand and there was zero reaction and no movement forward. I touched her again with the same nothingness. I smacked her a little firmer with my hand and was still ignored. I ended up smacking that sensitive right rear end about 6 times before she would take a step forward.

What an amazing evening it was! We ended with my gracefull dismount from the fence. She followed me all over the arena while I collected my discared stuff.

Sue got a lot of treats at the end of this ride.

It just keeps getting better and better!


PostHeaderIcon Sue – How Do You Spell Progress?

This was a three hour group lesson in brutal heat. We started at 9:00 am and by noon everyone was very willing to STOP.

Last night I had watched the latest Parelli pod cast. It was about horses that are scared to have horses behind them or meet other horses. Talk about right on time Pod Cast!

Pat rode his pretend fearful horse, Cash, in the round pen. Linda’s job was to canter around the outside of the round pen. Cash rode on the rail inside and when she got too nervous, Pat just took her off the rail and went into and out of the middle. It’s approach and retreat. He did that for a while. Then he and Cash rode with Linda..side by side separated by the round pen fence. After that went well, he went the other way and met Linda and she cantered towards him.

HOW COOL! And we have a round pen set up in our large arena at Pine Dell.
This morning I was asked what I wanted to work on and I explained the concept to Jenny. Her eyes lit up with glee. We had a lot of horses that needed to go around the outside of the round pen throughout the lesson.

Everyone did liberty on the ground in the round pen and then it was my turn to ride in the round pen. Certain people throughout the morning were assigned to ride outside the round pen. Some were trotting. Some were cantering. The final person, friend Barb and Cocoa, walked bridleless!

Sue and I rode in front of the horses…with the horse coming up and passing us. We rode besides the horses. We turned and met the horses. It was GREAT!

Sue and I have never rode with the carrot stick. It’s a stick! We have been playing the friendly extreme game with the carrot stick when I first bought her and she is doing great. I’ve been afraid to ride with the carrot stick.

Here’s the other problem I was having with Sue. Don’t change gaits…Sue sometimes drags herself from stop to a go. Sometimes we are going along at a nice speed and she drops to a walk…she occasionally doesn’t respond to my squeezing of my legs to get her to speed up.

She still is terrified of something that appears to want to hit her. I have been using a very small slap of my hand on my thigh to make a very small clap noise. The smallest clap noise makes her startle and speed up. I hate the startle part. Other times she ignores my clap noise and just remains in the slower speed.

In the round pen to get her to speed up, I started clapping my hand on my thigh. When she ignored that, I put my hand behind her. She ignored that and I was able to touch her with my hand. She startled and sped up. We did that for a while until she quit the startle movement. WOW!

Then I asked Jenny to hand me the carrot stick. The exchange went well and I was holding the carrot stick and was still alive. Sue didn’t move.

I played the friendly game with the carrot stick. I rubbed her front part. We moved to the middle of the round pen and resumed the friendly game. I actually touched her belly and then came the time to touch her rear end. This was a scary part. The carrot stick touched her rear and and she didn’t even flinch! Wild Applause!

We started moving around the round pen. When she dropped into a trot, I managed to touch her rear end with the carrot stick…and we TOOK OFF! But it wasn’t that wild power surge. It was a medium power surge. After a moment or two, I was able to get her slowed down.

So this went on for a while. I learned that if I had the reins picked up with feel on her mouth, that my hands automatically pulled back when she surged forward. I started riding in the push passenger mode. I let the reins go slack, pushed against the saddle horn and let her go where she wanted. All I wanted was to keep at a trot-like gait. When I touched her with the carrot stick, my hands didn’t automatically tighten. I actually rode out some of the power surges without pulling on her mouth. Wild Applause here!

Near the end, she was getting mighty tired and started slowing down a lot. I had plenty of opportunities to touch her rear with the carrot stick. Occasionally I tapped her twice before I got a response. As we were going at the desired speed, my body told her to stop and we were very successful.

I also got to feed her treats while seated on her back. I tried to do that last Monday and she got scared of my leg when she bent around to take the treat!

We got out of the arena and zipped around on the wall. We had a horse pass and meet us and didn’t flinch!

I took her to the front, sidepassed to the deck fence and got off on the fence…another first. I have to lean over and slide down her side until my foot hits an opening in the wood. She didn’t move. I was grateful to live through this too.

It all was a HUGE DAY!

PostHeaderIcon Sue – How Do You Do with your Pathetic Rider?

Monday nite lesson. Here was another riding experience when I was more scared than Sue!
Of course you know that Sue doesn’t like other horses too close to her and certainly not Behind Her!At the Monday nite lesson, someone rode too close behind her. Sue tightened up. I tried to zip around the arena, cut through the middle etc and lose the horse, BUT NO! The horse stayed right on Sue’s tail.

I asked the rider not to ride that close to us, but nothing happened. I was pretty desparate when Jenny asked that rider to go ride on the rail and not leave it. Whew! We escaped.

Sue was tight, but not yet ready to bolt out from under me. Perhaps we could have stuck it out and just kept the horse close on our tail and managed just fine.

But, again, I was reduced to a low “yelling” at the other rider to Stay Back.
Once again, I broke my vow of No Yelling!  At least it was low yelling.

My confidence plummeted about riding on a trail ride.

Good GAD! We might meet other horses or be passed by other horses! That was a concept I had not thought of. I cancelled Sue’s “coming out” trail ride …it was going to be too hot anyway!