A Good Fit
I’ve owned Dharla exactly two months today. I’ve only had her home with me a little over a month and when I think about how far we’ve come and how many “firsts” we’ve experienced together I’m pretty amazed. We’ve been very busy girls! I will say one thing; having a new horse is a very good way to step out of your comfort zone. As much as I loved and miss my dear Tia, I didn’t realize how easy life had gotten with a horse who fit me like an old pair of slippers!
That said, I’m really growing attached to Dharla; her personality makes liking her easy. Dharla is affectionate, easy-going and seems to enjoy being with me. Sometimes she can be a bit willful, but for the most part she’s a team player and wants to please me. She’s got common sense and good dose of self-preservation, which in a trail horse means she isn’t prone to doing anything stupid. For example, last weekend we did our first big river crossing. Since most Arabians have an extreme dislike for water, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’ve worked very hard on getting Dharla to cross everything from small puddles and little trickles of water to medium-sized streams, but a big river crossing is a completely different animal. Having been through this before with our other Arabs I figured she could either go to great lengths to avoid crossing (anything from a hissy-fit to a mule-stubborn outright refusal), try to jump the river (another avoidance tactic) or simply give in and cross.
Some horses learn well from observation, so we followed Aldo and Bullet down to the edge of the fast-moving water and watched them calmly walk in and stand about halfway across the river. Dharla firmly planted her feet and looked around with an alarmed expression on her face as I sat and encouraged her gently with my voice. After about a minute or two of letting her access the situation I lightly squeezed her sides with my legs. I felt her start to gather herself for a leap, so I quickly checked her with my hands and she responded immediately by stepping carefully into the water. Granted, she was still nervous and not sure what to expect, but she was willing to trust my judgment and didn’t attempt to take control or make a scary situation turn into something truly dangerous! Now that’s the kind of horse sense I like!
Our trees are finally getting all their leaves, which changes our trail landscape dramatically. I’m looking forward to getting Dharla back out in the woods to see how she handles things now that it looks so different again.