It is just short of 2 years now since Scout joined me here in Australia. I took a big risk with her buying her sight unseen and investing so much in her without even knowing if we would connect. It has been a huge learning curve for me over this time, finding my way with her, learning how to communicate with her and all the differences that the Spanish Mustang breed hold.
I have had many times of despair however they are hard to even remember now that we have connected on such a deep level. Scout has taught me more than I could ever have imagined and she has done it in her characteristic patient and grounded way.
I recently sent her to a trainer to have her started to saddle. I had done some work with her prior and had ridden her a number of times but lacked a confidence in my ability so decided someone else would be better to teach Scout what I felt I couldn't. Two weeks after her arrival at the trainer I received a phone call telling me to come and pick her up as the rain hadn't stopped and they had been unable to work the horses. After two weeks at the trainers standing in a stable and small yard with no training, Scout was less than impressed with me. When I picked her up she showed me that by sniffing my hand then taking off in the other direction and glaring at me while letting out a loud snort. She forgave me very quickly which is her way and with the help of my kind friends support telling me Scout was waiting for me to just trust myself and her ,I finally stepped up to the plate and the magic started.
Nothing could have prepared me for the connection and experiences I am having with Scout now. I am commitment phobic on all levels in my life and this does include my animals. The very special and patient ones plug away at me and breakthrough but that is rare and has only ever been achieved by my horse Sienna and my dog Storm. Scout seems to have been the next one to have broken through. What a gift it is to spend time with her now that we trust each other.
Today I took her on her first trail ride. I have walked with her often through the bush but never ridden her. She was amazing. She has probably only had about 15 rides and only about 4 of them with the saddle. She has never been at all worried by me being on her back, in fact she acts like we have been together for a long time and this is nothing new. I have not taught her much about travelling in a straight line yet and when we were first on the trail she was looking around and weaving here and there to start. I opened my hands and used my legs to ask her to travel in the channel I had created. I focused forward and immediately she cottoned on to what I was asking and strode out without faltering. She crossed muddy puddles, creeks and fallen trees. She climbed effortlessly up the steep rocky hills and came down the other side without missing a beat. The terrain was varied underfoot. There were sandy sections, clay sections, mud followed by sharp shale. Some areas of the trail are fairly rocky and Scout handled this all completely barefoot without a worry in the world.
I had become so scared to ride after reading so much from Nevzerov and others about it being something that is detrimental to horses. I agree that some horses don't like being ridden. Sienna is one of them and I respect that choice and don't ride her instead offering her a safe and loving home for her life with me. Scout on the other hand seems to revel in the connection and excitement that riding brings for both of us. Never have I felt this sort of joy when riding. Never have I felt a horse so accepting and willing to take a journey with me on their back. The connection feels complete when I am riding Scout and today I got that she feels that also. Early on when I was getting disheartened by not feeling like I was making progress with Scout, Leslie, Scouts previous owner told me that often the connection comes when you start riding these horses. I struggled with that thought and I have been reluctant to really take that step back into the world of riding horses for fear of hurting the animals that I hold so dear to me. I finally took the plunge and over the past week, the change in Scout has been incredible and very visible, not only to me but to my friends who have witnessed the change as well. Scout and I communicate with each other as if we are one now and even when we have different ideas about which way to go we always meet in the middle with no conflict or worry.
For years I have researched this breed and been attracted to the stories of these sorts of deep connections that other Spanish Mustang owners have with their horses. Today was the day that I could really feel the depth of all the time Scout and I have spent getting to know each other since she got here. There is no way to put it into words really. I am in awe of this horse and her trust and love for me. Scout has never been an affectionate mare, instead choosing to see that I am around then happy to move away back to the herd. She has never been to thrilled with being petted and fussed over. She is a proud, strong horse and I respect that about her. The last couple of weeks a change has happened in both of us. It seems we are both now ready to open our hearts to each other and she now seems to crave my touch and attention. If she glimpses me walking out into the yard, she throws her head up and calls out to me. She watches my every move now and takes a genuine interest in having me with her. She even accepts touch now with delight instead of annoyance.
|Recent trip to the beach|
I realised today that for only the third time in my life, I have allowed another being into my heart and soul and welcomed her to stay with me for life. In doing so, she has returned the sentiment in her new found openness and warmth.
What a gift it is to be owned by a Spanish Mustang!