Monday, June 12, 2006

In Praise of Persistence

Yesterday I helped my friend CK work with her two horses. She has a three year old gelding and a 4 year old mare. Both were PMU foals. She's had them for three years.

She'd like to be riding both by the end of the summer. Yesterday we focused on groundwork.

The gelding I had worked with before -- about a year ago. He's big and strong, and he knows it. He's dragged her repeatedly, run through fences, and been a general pain in the butt. I think he's quite smart. But he's also got a crafty, sly side to him, and he's not convinced that humans are worth paying much attention to.

If he were mine, I'd have put him in a hole long ago. Life is too short to own a horse that could kill you. (Yes, I know, any horse could. But few would make a point of offing you. This one might enjoy such a thing.)

But my friend, being of infinitely softer heart than I, has stuck with him (and has the bruises to prove it). Yesterday, she was showing me how she worked him in the round pen at liberty and online, and I have to admit, she's done a LOT of work with him. He behaved himself quite well.

By the end of the session, she was working him outside of the round pen, in a large field. He was exploring new things and learning to handle being new places while still paying attention to the human at the end of the line. Her persistence is paying off.

Not much credence is given to persistence these days, but there's much to be said for sticking with a thing you believe is worthwhile and seeing it through. Today is my husband's and my 18th wedding anniversary. How time does fly!

Of course there have been ups and downs, but I've enjoyed every minute of it. I might have chosen to have some things in our lives work out differently, but I wouldn't have wanted to go through life with anyone else.

Persistence. If you're working on a big project, training an animal, raising a child, or writing a book, persistence is a must. All good things take time.