From Maine to Oregon
By Kim Stone
of 2008, with encouragement of a good friend, I decided to attend a Martin
Black clinic at Footloose Farm in Brownfield, Maine.
My friend, Candy, suggested this clinic
would be good for me and my mare, Indy. Candy felt that if anyone could help
us it would be Martin Black.
see, Indy is a high-anxiety, nervous, edgy, highly-opinionated, strong willed,
determined, throw-a-hissy-fit, rearing, duck and spin, pack of sheer energy
decided to attend the clinic. Indeed, I committed to jumping with both feet – not only
did I sign Indy up for the Martin Black experience, I signed up my colt, Shinan, too.
day of the clinic was a mess; or rather I was a mess. During the morning
session, I watched as my colt bucked for what seemed like an eternity as she
struggled to sort out the foreign object on her back, yes, that would be the
worked several colts together in the round corral – working them in and out of
their own comfort zones, having little regard for those of us watching, or
maybe I should say those of us that were supposed to be mounting these colts
within the next few minutes.
nerves were twitching.
I am supposed to ride
without a bridal? No b
it? Just a halter and go with
You’ve got to be kidding,
There was no kidding, that is what we
were going to be doing.
I know, or understand, that Martin was preparing these colts for their first
ride, for a good experience for both colt and rider.
afternoon session would have to be less dramatic, I thought.
Indy pulled out all the stops!
She spent a significant amount of time showing her best
“I-don’t-want-to-and-you-can’t-make-me" temper tantrums.
didn’t want anyone to know how long I had been “working” with her.
I decided to laugh it off, and comment
that maybe I should’ve had Indy in the colt-starting session.
began asking me to do different exercises with Indy.
With each new exercise there was a new issue. Talk about
At the first day's end of this four-day clinic, I was beginning to think that I had gotten
myself in way over my head.
was I thinking?
hadn’t been able to do any of the exercises without an argument from my
She was as determined not
to do them as I was determined that she would do them.
frustrated, tired, and overwhelmed I retreated for the day.
clinic unfolded I became very aware of myself.
Aware of my hands, my legs, my body in relation to my
horse’s mouth, hooves and movement.
the questions began…..
how do you know?”
do you ask?”
more questions I began asking, the more I discovered that I was reacting to my
I needed to take
more time and feel her and stop a behavior before I had to react to it.
can guess, my horse’s issues were my issues.
Yes, me. All me.
coming to this clinic, I had two options; I could either learn from Martin, or
I could get discouraged and say this just isn’t for me.
I chose to be open.
Martin began asking us questions and making
caused your horse to become like this?”
did you get to this point?”
are you doing to change the behavior?”
“Instead of trying to find a solution to
the ‘problem’, let’s figure out how you got here.”
“If you don’t like what is happening;
Change something – anything.”
PHOTOS: (top to bottom) Shinan, gets used to her saddle; Martin Black works with Indy; Kim rides Indy.
To be continued...
CLICK HERE FOR PART TWO