Over the weekend, I rode in an amazing clinic with Kirsten Nelsen. At the beginning, I had explained that Drifter is generally a pretty stoic guy, not super emotional or anxious. He tries very hard, and he’s a thinker. He sometimes needs to take a little extra time to think over difficult concepts; there have often been times when we struggle with something during one ride, I’ll put him out for the night and when we come back to it in a day or so, he has can do that thing much more easily. He just needs time to think about it.
Kirsten took all of this into consideration, and was clearly keeping it in mind during our lesson. It turned out that Drifter took very well to the concepts and really worked hard for me. At the end, she had really lovely things to say about him, and then she gave me the best compliment ever:
He really trusts you.
And I was like
Seriously, it was very meaningful. Drifter is a friendly horse but he doesn’t get attached to people quickly. It was at least six months of working with him before I felt we were starting to “click.” Only in the past several months have I started to feel like he is happy that it is me working with him versus any other person. He is more expressive and the goofy side of his personality is coming out. He enjoys having his face rubbed now, whereas a year ago he’d tolerate me touching his face but didn’t seem to like it. He nickers every single time I dismount.
So you can see why it was such a wonderful compliment. I’ve worked hard to build that relationship with Drifter, and for a person to come in from an outside perspective and see that, in just one hour, was so wonderful.