Look after the pennies....
After my gaffes yesterday, I was keen to have a smooth day at the yard. When I walk up to the field to get Bronson by myself, I make a point of ensuring my headcollar and rope are such that they are not in a tangle and I can seamlessly put Bronson's headcollar on. Pip came up with me to bring Henry down and we were chatting as we walked across the field. I went to put Bronson’s head collar on and he was standing perfectly waiting for me. At that moment I realised that the leadrope was looped through the noseband and in pulling it out, I managed to smack him on the neck with it. Suffice to say he was not impressed, I don’t blame him, and he walked off. Given how he has been coming in so beautifully for such a long time I was so annoyed with myself at my mistake.
Knowing now as I do that feeling bad just makes things worse, I acknowledged my mistake, apologised and then asked him to stand. Thankfully he was happy that he’d made his point and he stood still for me. I popped his headcollar on and off we went. It just goes to show it’s not necessarily the big things, the new things or the difficult things that matter when we are with our horses. Each and every thing that we do and how we do it counts. As Pip said to me afterward, “At least you noticed what you had done and knew why it had happened. Because you take notice of the little issues you don’t end up with big issues”. It’s like the age old saying “look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves”. This is true of our horsemanship. By tending to every detail of what we do we can avoid reaching the point where our horses are engaging in big behaviour to try and communicate their dissatisfaction.
The horses on Pip’s yard bear testimony to this approach. When I consider what a fruit and nut cake Bronson was when he first came back, living on his nerves, neurotic and lacking any self confidence whatsoever compared to the calm, contented horse he now is, it’s truly amazing to think he is the same horse! And he is only one of the many horses here who came to Pippsway because their behaviour had reached a point where they were dangerous. Pip’s approach of leadership, awareness and paying attention to every detail pays dividends and that’s for sure.