2006 bay colt by Horse Of The Year Holy Bull out of Multiple Stakes Winner Perfect Moment

Run with The Bull

Ride along as we journey towards that perfect moment
when victory is caught in the final stride at the wire.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Surviving Recess

There I was, minding my own business. Frolicking with my pals in the paddock then all of a sudden, sudden being a two day trailer ride, I was on the Texas-Mexico border. While I don’t know the socio-economic intricacies of NAFTA, I do know that I never harbored a desire to pull a taco cart through Tijuana. Wasn’t long before I realized what was happening. I had arrived at El Primero Training Center, located just west of Laredo, to begin my formal education. Bell rang. Schools in session.

Your studies were probably delivered in hour long courses over the better part of a day with a smattering of breaks and lunch time. That’s fine for you. You also have the luxury of sleeping eight hours straight every night. Not so if other things often refer to you as a meal. Herd animals have decidedly different forms of learning and recuperation. Never know when the wolves will arrive, and be assured, they’re out there.

When you meat-eaters see something new, you tend to poke at it, just in case in might be tasty. When we find something new, the discovery could be lethal. Hence our hesitation. For perspective, let me explain how things used to be done in the Old West.

Back then an unsuspecting horse would be lead into a corral. Nothing terribly unusual about that. Then out of nowhere, without warning, and for the first time, someone ties a length of rope to you and the other end to an old stump in the center of the enclosure. Now lacking thumbs, about all you can do is buck and kick until that gets tiring. Just then something, turns out to be a saddle, is tied over your back and cinched around your lungs. This is done while you’re still trying to catch your breath. Still not having thumbs to untie it, you resort to more bucking and kicking. That runs its course and then someone climbs on your back, much like a cougar. This is the process those sneaky tough guys in the ten-gallon hats call ‘breaking’. Geneva should reconvene and write another chapter.

The curriculum is taught much differently today. When something new is entered into the equation, whether it be an article of tack (horse equipment) or actual lesson (grooming, groundwork, etc), its offered just a few minutes at a time. That’s it for the day. Recess time. When the same thing is encountered the following day, its likely to be more readily accepted. It has nothing to do with the subject matter itself. What’s important is learning there’s nothing to fear. Its not the two minute lesson, it’s the recess that tells us we’ll survive. Class adjorned.