Here we go again, I thought as she walked towards me with that dreaded green halter. Not only did that piece of nylon mean that I was going to be getting food, but it meant that I was going to be worked, which meant I was probably going to disappoint her again. I wasn’t sure I could bear to do that and if she wouldn’t have given my food to Sundance, I totally would have run away at that very moment. But instead I just stood still while she slipped the halter over my head and fastened that copper colored buckle. As we walked across the pasture towards the barn, she told me the training plans for the day. First I would get to eat while she tacked me up. Then we would go to the arena. That’s when my ears pricked and I stopped listening to her. I was lost in my own thoughts. “The arena???” I thought. That meant we were going to be working on barrels. Now don’t get me wrong. This would have been a great idea if I were Sundance “the amazing barrel horse”. But I’m not, Im just some silly Westernaire horse. I can’t do barrels to save my life (now is when you smile and nod and agree that my girl is nuts). Anyways I went along with her to the barn so I could get my food (apparently I was quite hungry that day). As I ate she put on my saddle and my sport boots and as soon as I was done eating she gave me a treat and slipped that oh so familiar bit in my mouth. Next thing I knew we were off to the arena. Just as I had expected the barrels were set up, perfectly spaced 90 feet between the first and second barrel and 105 feet from the first and second barrel to the third barrel. “Great”, I thought, “she’s going to expect me to run a 17 second barrel run just like Sundance and when I don’t deliver she’s going to be so disappointed.” The first thing we did was warm up. She trotted me around the arena a couple of times before she let me break out into a lope. After a few times around we changed directions and did the same thing again. Then after a few more times around she brought me to a halt and got off to stretch my legs. This part of the work out is almost better than getting food. It feels soo good! When she had finished, she got back on and walked me towards the start of the barrels. We just sat there for a little bit. Just staring those oversized cans down. All the while she took big deep relaxing breaths and it’s weird but her doing that actually relaxed me. Next thing I knew she had picked up the reins and was gently pushing me towards the first barrel. We were going pretty slowly but she seemed to be ok with it. When we got to the first barrel I hugged it just as I had seen Sundance do so many times before all the while her expert hands were guiding me. We did the same thing at the next two barrels and before I knew it I was at the gate. She gave me a pat on my neck and told me what a good job I did and how proud of me she was. I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t disappoint her and she was actually proud of me!! Well now I was so excited, I wanted to go again. I wanted to show her how much better than that I could do. So I pranced around a little bit and she giggled and said that we could go again. Right after the deep breaths and right when I felt her urge me forward, I took off. I could feel the dirt fly under my hooves as I ran as fast as I could through that barrel pattern. When we crossed that finish line, she looked at the time on her brothers stop watch. Then suddenly she jumped off of me. I guess it must have been good because she gave me a huge hug and kissed my nose. Then she whispered our time in my ear.
December 4, 2007