I don’t know if I will be able to put into words how pleased I am with the work Joel Conner did with Anderson. Anderson and I had hit a pretty hard spot in our training this last summer and while I loved working with him, I knew that he needed a better hand to get him through this rough patch. He was still very scared of saddling and had extreme reactions to leg aids and going forward. This resulted in a few accidents where I got to test gravity and one major fall that left me laid up for a few weeks. Stubborn or stupidity might have played a role in waiting as long as I did to ask Joel to take him into training, but in the end it saved us both.
During the three months Anderson was in training with Joel, I had the opportunity to take several day trips over to see his progress and ride. While Anderson had several issues to work out himself, there was a tremendous amount of growth I needed to do as well, including getting over my fear of falling from this horse. There are times you have to trust, to let go of old fears and let the teacher take the reins, as it were, and show you a better way. I am truly grateful for Joel’s help.
I was listening to a video of a theologian talking online the other day. He had an interesting analogy about growth. He explained that when we are at a point that we need to change we experience an uncomfortable feeling. He used the comparison of a lobster. As the lobster gets bigger, he becomes too small for his shell. Finally he becomes so uncomfortable that he has to shed his current shell and grow a new one, making him very vulnerable during this process. Pain, being uncomfortable, and vulnerability are all symptoms of growth. Let me tell you, Anderson and I both had a lot of growing to do over the past three months!
It’s amazing how horses can get us to stretch and push beyond ourselves. Rescue horses add another layer to this as they have to work through troubles that other horses often don’t face. I know I shouldn’t be proud but I can’t help smiling and being pleased with all the changes this horse has gone through since we picked him up. He is still growing and learning to be a gentle riding partner but now he has a great foundation to work with as we progress in our work together. He is suited for a confident rider who has experience with green horses, preferably someone who has worked with late cut stallions. I know his match is out there and they are going to have one amazing horse to partner up with!