On the steep learning curve

October 29, 2010

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to attend a horseback riding clinic in Santa Fe with author, horse trainer, aikido black belt, and musician, Mark Rashid. I probably missed several other monikers. Those are just the ones I know about. Mr. Rashid is an extremely talented individual who has great skill in working with both people and horses.

It would have been most excellent had I been able to take my horse, Oscar, there with me. Alas, that wasn’t an easy option. Even if I still had a horse trailer, there is no way the Aveo could have pulled it from the Valley to New Mexico. I think it would be fair to say, “mistakes were made” in the selling of the horse trailer, the 1962 Airstream and various other items. That’s water under the bridge now. C’est la vie.

I was able to rent a horse for the clinic, which, although not the most desirable of circumstances, did allow me the opportunity to work on me and my horse handling skills — such as they are. It’s clear that I am on the steep part of the learning curve when it comes to horses.

Fortunately Oscar, a forgiving and trusting soul, has never let my ignorance become too big of an issue between us. He still doesn’t have any serious handling or riding concerns even after being under my care for seven years. He’s a very easy-going sort of a horse. Kind. Intelligent. Willing. I may be biased, but I’m absolutely positive I could not have found a better horse any where at any cost. As long as I keep my hands low and quiet and don’t flop around too much, he and I get along pretty well.

However, after 15 months off, I was a little apprehensive about starting up with him again. I saw taking this class as a way to get off on the right foot, maybe doing things better than I did before. Certainly, after his Very Bad Year, he deserves the best I can do for him. I’m not going to talk about the Very Bad Year. I get all sad and teary-eyed just thinking about it. I owe Oscar. Big time. So, I’m going to put the Very Bad Year behind us and we are both going to move forward into a series of very good years. At least that’s what I am doing my best to manifest for him.

In my characteristically bumbling way, I am sure I inadvertently insulted Mr. Rashid on day 1 of the clinic. I knew he lived somewhere in Colorado; but, I could not remember where. I asked and mentioned Paonia, which perhaps, is the home of another horse trainer of some renown. Maybe not. I don’t really know. I just thought I read some displeasure into the “Look” I got as Mr. Rashid said, “No.”

Mr. Rashid is from Estes Park, in case you are wondering.

None-the-less, in spite of perhaps what could have been construed as an insult, Mr. Rashid was kind and instructive and gave me some excellent advice on how to move forward in a more positive way with Oscar. I have purchased Kindle editions of three of his books as well as three DVD’s to keep me moving forward on that learning curve.

I can’t wait to get Oscar home and to start working with him. I am hopeful, that finally, everything will fall into place next week.

At the clinic, Mr. Rashid’s wife, Crissi, mentioned that she may be traveling through the state giving lessons starting next spring. It’s just a matter of finding a few others who are interested in signing on for lessons and seeking out a quality venue for her to teach in. I am very much looking forward to the possibility of working with Crissi. She’s also an excellent instructor. I found her approach to be very gentle and effective.

I can’t wait.


Mark Rashid working with one of the other riders who participated in the Santa Fe clinic.

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One Response to “On the steep learning curve”

  1. Chris Says:

    I think it’s a great approach to concentrate on the Very GOOD Years now, investing in a clinic, buying high quality horse food, even considering the effort of organizing clinics with Crissi (so funny, since my Ravelry name is spelled almost the same) is a state of commitment. I am sure the universe will yield to that. Maybe not in the way you expect it but surely in a way that’s beneficial to you and Oscar. And I think with a soul like him, you cannot be biased enough. ;-))) So glad you have him. But also I must say that it’s only natural that you attracted such wonderful pets, Oscar, Opal, Jakob and Smokey. You put out the right vibration for them to be attracted.
    Crossing my fingers for Oscars speedy return ….


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