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I couldn’t help but take advantage of the decent weather today and go riding.  I pulled out my tack and saddled Stoney up, like I always do.  He’s my go-to guy and in his older age, we just putt around together, not expecting to accomplish too much.  He still knows most of his training though he’s as not as supple as he once was and he’s fairly complacent as long as he’s eaten first.
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I rode with a young friend of mine and her fiery mare for about an hour and decided that I had a few more minutes for my little filly Dancer.

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She’s been trained with a halter and lead line days since a few days after we bought her and is used to being groomed, bathed and having her feet trimmed.  What makes her stand out among others is that not much bothers her.  When her other pasture mates are snorting and running wild with their tails up, she’s generally standing and staring, studying whatever is bewildering her.  The most I’ve seen her do is jump slightly when startled.  I suppose the only exception is when the vet pays us a visit.  She tends to put up quite a fight then but who can blame her for not wanting to be poked?  She’s no worse than a typical toddler.  She just has a few hundred pounds to swing around.
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I’m no Buck Brannamam or Monty Roberts, but I do subscribe to some of their philosophies when it comes to starting horses, rather than breaking them.  Breaking implies harsh and brutal methods used to break the horse’s spirit, causing them to be submissive by force.  Starting uses methods to work with the horse, encouraging trust between the rider and mount so there is harmony between the pair.

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True to her nature, I saddled Dancer and strapped a lunge line to her and she just stood there.  It was a test of patience and will between us.  I don’t think there was really a clear winner but it was only our first day.

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 After a half hour of working on the lunge line, I figured I might as well take her for a spin.  I climbed aboard and guess what?

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She just stood there.
I would say that today was a successful training day at my house.  No one got kicked or bucked off and Dancer handled her work without being overwhelmed.  Of course, it will take several years of training to get Dancer to where Stoney was in his prime but being able to sit on her back was a big achievement.  We are, after all, just getting started.
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True stories of raising children, remodeling, braving the elements and plotting out life, all while living on a humble acreage in central Indiana.

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