Different horse. Different opportunities.
It has always been a dream of mine to have more than one horse. Therefore back when I found Torrin I was in total awe that having 2 horses was now possible. Two different horses. Horses with different strengths and personalities. Yet when I finally got Torrin I suddenly had this idea that everything I had previously been doing with Alvaro I would also be able to do with Torrin. Of course this was not the reality and actually I still need to remind myself of this now and then. Sometimes I completely tend to forget and then it hits me like a bat in the face when Torrin says “no” to whatever I am asking him to do. I do think though that parts of his behaviour most likely have something to do with his young age and that some of his attitude will soften as he grows older. Isn’t it most often the same way with kids who are a little “uncontrollable” or has a strong opinion of their own? It was that way with my younger brother at least and after all he is a pretty decent young man by now! Since he is so much like Torrin in many ways I chose to believe that the story will repeat itself with my little man…
At this given moment Torrin is a huge challenge to work with sometimes. He has a LOT of opinion. He has a lot of will and it shows both when he wants something and when he doesn’t. He is very direct in his communication which is not always preferred in the sense of safety. He is filled up with enthusiasm and therefore he often forgets to show when he has the mental capacity to work and when he needs a break. Instead he suddenly has suppressed his own limits for so long that he explodes or says NO loud enough for everybody to hear it. Yet he is also so kind and he really loves humans. He loves to work and he loves to be a good boy. He wants way too much compared to how much he is actually capable of due to his mind and body at this young age.
Usually when I reach a point in which I think it is totally hopeless to ever reach the same kind of things with Torrin as with Alvaro I have to remind myself that they are not the same horse. Their minds and personalities are different. So are their bodies. I might not be able to do the same kind of powerful liberty training with Torrin at this point as he can’t handle it mentally, but instead I can easily load him and take him to new places for a walk. I might not always be able to chill with him in the same way as with Alvaro because he thinks standing still is really overrated right now. Instead I can easily introduce him to things that most horses finds to be terrifying and Torrin will not give a damn about it. Most importantly of all I need to remind myself that he is only 3 years old by now. Just because Alvaro never reached a ‘teenage state’ as many young horses usually do at some point, it doesn’t mean that Torrin will not do so either. He is a pony after all – ha ha!
It is so easy to become frustrated when you are with one of your horses and the things you are used to being able to do suddenly doesn’t work with the other one. I tell you I have been in this situation with Torrin more than once (and more than twenty times too). What causes the issue or the limitation is not always visible to the eye and that makes it even more annoying when you just expect things to work. Especially if it seems to be caused by “Let’s see who is in charge here. I bet I am stronger than you. I bet I can walk all over you. I don’t want to move when you ask me nicely” kind of things. It is not easy being 3 years old and having to live up to a well behaved older brother who forgot his teenage episode! At the same time it would be very unfair to only judge him from these moments as he also has millions of moments being the most amazing little fluffy bear in the world! I just need a little more patience, but I bet it never hurt anybody to get an expansion on patience part.
Well my point is that you need to be realistic and fair to your horse. Do not compare him to your other horse(s) or your former horse. He is a horse of his own which means that he doesn’t necessarily will be good for the same things as other horses you have worked with. Just as with humans we all have our own abilities and strengths which is why we also can’t be expected to perform or be good at the same things as everybody else. You might need to let go of some plans or at least postpone them to see if your horse becomes ready to fulfil your dreams someday. If the ability you wish for doesn’t evolve in time then you will simply have to accept that he is most likely exceptional at something else that could also be great to work with. From personal experience it is not a good idea to try and force it through if your horse clearly shows you that it is too much or not something for him. Wouldn’t you appreciate it yourself if your parents accepted when you said “No, I don’t want to attend ballet classes” instead of forcing you to go every week because THEY wanted it?
That is what it is all about when you work with or have more horses. Different horses means different opportunities. Isn’t that pretty much the funny thing about having more than one horse to play with? That you get to experience something else or learn something new depending on which horse you are spending time with?
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