A couple of years ago, Jubilee and I had some problems on the trail which resulted in her throwing me and her galloping a great distance away. Jubilee had some stress and bad coping mechanism after that. She can be an opinionated tough horse that needs a steady, patient, and calm rider. I was told by a trainer that Jubilee will never be safe on the trail again and that she will never be able to ride out alone. It was a frustrating time for me, because I was trying my best to find a trainer that could help Jubilee get over her issues and also make sure Jubilee had a herd life.
I grew up on a beautiful horse farm in NY where my horses always spent the days out in pastures with friends. I do not believe in keeping horses in small pipe corrals with out giving them room to roam and socialize. When I first drove by a California riding facility with horses standing in 12 x 24 pipe corrals and no turn out, I burst out into tears. Come to find out, it’s the norm.
Jubilee’s farm burned down in the Thomas Fire resulting in her having to spend a month in a pipe corral where she got sick and was hospitalized. Then I moved her to a farm where she had great care and dressage training, but only had a couple hours out alone in a field to move freely. There is where a trainer who I hired to get Jubilee over her trail issues, told me Jubilee would never change. He told me she was dangerous and other not nice things about my girl.
I have been around animals long enough to believe that in the right environment, with the right trainer, understanding, and support, any animal can change.
It is important to not label our animals anything negative. That doing so can make a behavior stick. This can be hard because we can be so emotionally attached to our animals’ behaviors.
I believed in Jubilee. That’s when I shipped Jubilee to Oregon so Jubilee could live in a herd, get the right care, the best diet, and be around people who believe that all horses can overcome themselves. I needed someone as sensitive as me, but who had a better skill set for training. That is Katie Dixon. She has been amazing for Jubilee!
One year later, Jubilee is now heading out on the trail very easily. Such a joy! And will even walk out alone (with no other horses).
I can not thank Katie enough for her patient, calm, instinctual powers to help horses over come their issues. I am incredibly blessed. As is every horse that comes into her program.
Yesterday, Jubilee said to Katie and I, “I am feeling rich. Rich with possibilities.”
How amazing is my horse?!
Jubilee also told me that the reason she has more spots this year is because, “I met with angels in my dreams and they painted me with stars!”
I love her! She is often the spokes-horse for the horses at the ranch and will often share her observations and insights on the other horses with Katie and me. Jubee has been very helpful that way.
If you have an animal that needs your help, believe that the universe will make that happen if you are committed. The Thomas Fire (which burned Jubilee’s farm on my birthday) changed our lives for the better! After chaos comes order.
Thank you Katie for helping Jubilee realize she is rich with possibilities!
To answer the question, “Could you not just speak to her and explain?”
* Yes, with a lot of animals that works. But when there is post traumatic stress involved, similar to people animals cortisol levels get elevated and they can have a hard time calming themselves down to think clearly. We see this with dog aggression as well. Jubilee is young and she can be very opinionated. In some situations she thinks she knows better than me 🙂! I don’t have a teenager, but I was one! She is a very large horse and when she gets frightened or thinks she knows best she would use her body to throw her weight around or think that throwing off her rider to save herself is ok. Which can be extremely dangerous. Think about a chihuahua’s issues vs a German shepherds issues. I have a good eye for animal behavior and body language, but not the finesse and impeccable timing as an experienced horsewoman who works with and rides horses everyday. I needed help. Have you ever had a fear, anger or an issue that you intellectually know how to act, but just cant do it when you are stressed? Its the same thing with animals. Animal communication and can be remarkable at times and it is always helpful but I would be doing a disservice to animals if I taught that animals do not need to learn and to be stimulated by training and that we as animal caretakers shouldn’t understand their language and teach them using their body language and communication skills. Every animal professional I admire, collaborates with other animal professionals. That is how we get better and help other animals that come to us. The more I learn about being a good horsewoman and the more Katie instills the foundation for success in Jubilee the more I can help Jubilee understand what is needed of her. She already has grown so much. If we work on our consciousness and learn to be confident, we all learn with age and experience.