“You know, every now and then I think you might like to hear something from us nice and easy, but there’s just one thing. You see, we never ever do nothing nice and easy. We always do it nice and rough,” Tina Turner in her intro to Proud Mary.
From the moment I hit the saddle, Zeus is ready to go. And the hotter he is, the rougher he is.
On our usual Sunday morning ride he was ready. He is feeling good, the grain and pasture at Pleasant Hill are agreeing with him. He is filling out and his coat has a high sheen.
After a couple of sideways passes around the ring in front of our barn, Dad and I headed towards our neighbor’s farm. As Zeus’ go button was pushed, we opened up some space between us and Dad and his horse, Pete. While I waited for them and Zeus pranced, I had a talk with him. I explained to him that we were going to be spending a lot of time together and he had two choices. He could go along nice and easy or he could be a jerk. Now that we are getting to know each other, I am tired of fighting him over trotting and racing back to the barn. As he a Tennessee Walking Horse, the gait options I approve of are a dog walk (flat walk), running walk or rack. If I wanted a trotting horse, I would have gotten one.
Dad and Pete soon joined us and off we went down the farm road. Every time he trotted, I brought him back to a dog walk while verbally telling him to walk. Every time he picked up speed to go up hill, I brought him back to dog walk while talking to him. When to stopped to wait on Dad and Peter and he started to dance around, I told him not to be a jerk. Then I noticed change. I don’t know if it was my voice or if using my voice changed my something in my body, but Zeus began to respond to my voice.
I’m not sure what happened on that ride, but something has changed. Zeus and I have taken a step forward. It feels really, really good.