Sunday, January 13, 2013

No Fear

My husband is not a horse person. In truth, he is afraid of horses and thinks they are all trying to eat his soul or something. He married a horse-loving woman, with one horse-nutty daughter, and then had another horse-crazy daughter. Now our son is showing signs of the horse-crazy, too.

When Wren started riding in March of last year, Travis was not all that comfortable in the barn or around the school horses. But, to his credit, he knew that with Wren being in the barn at least once a week, and then with Kira and I both starting to ride again, he had to get a *little* more comfortable around the equines.

Over time, he slowly got to the point where he could pet the horses' necks and heads without looking terrified. He could walk around a cross-tied horse without having to go into the neighboring county to avoid the hindquarters, and he started to be able to recognize the equipment, and know what was needed for grooming, for riding, and for general horse and barn care.

The barn we ride at is also a boarding barn, and one of the residents is a beautiful Clydesdale gelding named Turk. Everyone calls him Turkey, though. This horse is a sweetheart, owned by a local cardiologist who does not ride much at all anymore, so my trainer uses him for vaulting lessons for the kids, and occasionally he will get ridden by an adult beginner. Travis has taken a liking to him recently, mostly because he is a huge guy, quiet, and doesn't get a whole lot of attention. He seems to like Travis.

Today, after Wren got Lilly tacked up and was on her way up to the ring for her lesson, I took Travis out to the back pasture and taught him how to catch and lead a horse.

And then I showed Travis how to use the grooming tools and where to stand and how to move around Turkey without startling him (not that this big guy is easily startled).

We gave Turkey lots of treats, and I braided his prolific and thick forelock to keep it out of his face. Then, Travis led him back out to the pasture, and gave him some more treats and extra love.

I'm so proud of Travis for this. It's a big thing, if you aren't already comfortable around these large animals, and it means so much to me that he would make the effort to overcome fear and uncertainty to participate even a little in what might be a large part of our future life. One of my most favorite things about my husband is his positive attitude and his willingness to try new things.

He's even made some comments about maybe riding Turkey one of these days.

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