Monday, May 18, 2009

Stone Dragon

I have the the privilege of living with a large herd of horses most of whom are big black percherons. The mighty Normandy horses of old over 17 hands high with great intellect and gentleness. I have often said that Percherons are related to dragons. When distressed they snort and stomp and I swear I have seen fire coming from their nostrils on occasion. The eyes flash - the head turns to arch the neck. The beautiful black dragon lives.

Enter the Stone Dragon. Image came to us as a 4 year old - in foal with great bloodlines from the breeder we like so much. She could ride and drive - was excellent for beginners - perfect. We went to Iowa to pick her up- she was very easy and compliant never spooked.. in fact - never even looked me in the eye.. enter the stone dragon.

Image had been trained by the Amish not how I train my horses. As I got to know her.. she was so introverted that I could not reach her. Her eyes were glassy and she never blinked. I rode Image and I was surprised by two things. She was compliant and did what I asked but sitting on her what like sitting on a brick wall. I don't know how to explain it... I could not feel the life in her when I was sitting on her.... still..... no emotion at all... when we were finished I scratched her and patted her..... but she stared off into space.

The only time there was any response was a dinner time. Very Introverted. No amount of scratching or touching could get a response. She had her foal - and was even fairly disconnected from him. A strange sight -

It was like she was always looking for something. Hollow inside.....She started to walk up to me but would not respond only stare straight ahead...So I decided to start from Scratch....

Fast forward to 9 months later... I had asked for very little from her... worked on the basics of respect and dignity... and then one day when I was playing with her - it happened... she spooked!!!! WOHOOO - I was so excited that she showed me her true feelings......then again when I went to a 3 hour clinic with her-- she spooked BIG TIME and galloped off down the arena --- in all of her dragon splendor... WOHOOOO - I was so excited... she was giving me the privilege to see who she REALLY WAS..( a good reminder that drafts can be VERY VERY fast!!) fast forward again...

Colt start... my dear friend and mentor Susan volunteered for the task of working with IMAGE for 3 days to restart her... reaffirm to her that she was indeed special and worth taking the time it takes...It was a wonderful time and so sweet to see my small and mighty friend - in the shadow of the dragon....they played the 7 games... lots of dwell time and affection.and treats.. perfect for my introvert..... lots of repetition -- attention and did I say treats??? She followed Susan round like a Puppy -- and tried very hard to do as she asked....and grew and grew and grew..

Then it happened I looked over my shoulder...and what did I see but Susan scratching Image and Immy stretched in appreciation....NEVER -- no NEVER had she responded to that before - I cried quiet tears as I watched them... then told Susan that she had NEVER responded to scratching before today......I think she had a tear in her eye the stone dragon had shed her gruff exterior... and never did I see that Glassy inanimate look nor have I since....

What I did get to see was a changed horse- 9 months of rest and love and leadership--blooming into an interactive partner. I saw her ridden and trot - all without retreating inward. And she is SOOOO SMART....Then I got to ride her and well-- it was a teeny bit scary -- because I could feel the horse beneath me.. and she was powerful!! and she had her own mind....and she was looking for me to be the leader....

There are so many wonderful events that I will remember from that day - but my favorite was seeing Susan scratching Immy the wonder horse and seeing just how high she could reach as Immy stretched out.

The other is how SMALL and Petite one looks riding a Black Dragon!
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