Friday, June 24, 2022

And Just Like That, It Became Fun

And just like that, my Sweet Tea became fun, fun, fun! He has conquered the bridge, and he is keeping his lope. He's opening and closing gates, and standing ground tied for saddling and unsaddling. He's not frightened at the park, and he's super tuned in to the partnership.  We're ready for the trails.

I was right about all that work I did with the bridge, and how it isn't about the bridge, but something much bigger. It's, Am I going to trust you and follow your lead? That's everything in a nutshell. 

We started today with bridge work, and I came ready for success, flag in hand. It was all about the yes, no, and maybe, small increments, rest, and making the wrong choice hard. Voila. It really does work, but not always on our timeline.

When it clicks, it clicks in lots of other areas. The Tweed who came home from training had disconnected from me. The Sweet Tea I have now is tuned in and connected.

I tried to get some decent video, but my phone overheated and turned itself off. It only caught a small part of our session, the first lope. The lope got much better with time, but I can see that the saddle stirrups still need some adjustment (my husband fixed my saddle yesterday. He's pretty awesome.)

Here are some video, if you'd like to get a little glimpse of the work.

Tweed's trainer is well known for giving you blunt, honest assessments so that you know what you might encounter when you go home. That's a big might, because you never know how they will blossom with their owner. Sweet Tea has been my baby since a week after he was born, and all that time together counts for something. Since T has been home, he has surpassed my expectations, and I can see a bright, bright future. And lots of FUN!!

This is the long version, sped up, if you want to see what it took to get him on the bridge.


  1. I am so happy you are having fun! You deserve it & have done all the right things for success. I watched both videos of you working with T on that bridge. You are very patient and really know how to put that flag to work!

    1. Ha! That flag is great. It can be quite the balance between hands, closing off his escape routes. I let him slip through to the left way too many times, but finally shut the door. Taking him over the bridge on the other side is something I had tried before, with no obvious success. Yesterday, it was the compromise he was willing to make for the win-win. You win. I win, moment. And once the stubborn refusal was gone, he went over on both sides.

      This bridge is such an interesting example of real partnership. He went over it since he was a baby. Stood on it. Backed onto it. It was the easiest of all obstacles, UNTIL the seesaw bridge. The seesaw bridge was new last year, and he thought it was like any other bridge, and jumped right on. When he saw it move, he jumped off and wouldn't go again. He extended the mistrust to the bridge in this video. The lesson for me: there are things they are just willing to do--their reflex "yes". The test comes when they encounter things they do not want to do, their reflex "no" spots. And, sadly, those can change from day to day, month to month, and year to year, but they are, at their core, a test of the depth of your partnership.

      That said, and I do believe it, Cowboy and I had an awesome partnership, but there were some things I did not do with him. We had a bit of an agreement in our partnership--what was important, what wasn't. A compromise. Personally, I think that's okay, too, even though I was told by some people that it wasn't okay. To each their own.

      Anyway, I feel like I have a horse to ride again! It's a great feeling, and I can't wait to hit the trails today.


Please feel welcome to join our discussion by telling us about your own thoughts and experiences.