• Yahel Applbaum

Black and White Chico

Hey ya’ll,

So like said in the previous post, my motto is All Around the Rider, All About the Horse.

I have started talking about the rider’s part, but today I’m going to make it All About the Horse, and this will probably be the first of many posts.

I want to share with you what drove me to horsemanship, and made me re-consider many things and become more aware of my horse’s needs.

It was more than 6 years ago, and I got a call from my dad,asking me to come ride a horse at the ranch we boarded our horse at, and both me and my brother were riding and volunteering there. I was nearby with a friend and it took a few minutes to convince me it is worth giving up my plans and that horse is not as "crazy" as the others say. I ended up at the ranch less than 30 minutes later, ready to ride- so was the horse in question.

He was (still is- by the way) a big bright palomino quarter horse, very impressive to look at. My brother and father had already tacked him up, and I went on to the arena- it took a few steps till he started acting out, and was very anxious all the way to the arena. When I got up on him he was very tempered and still impatient.

I rode him, and to be honest it was a bit scary, on one hand- he was so well trained to do many reining maneuvers, but on the other hand- it felt like riding a ticking bomb- one wrong move would set him off, and send me to the dirt. I kept on riding, while my father was waiting for me to finish and listen to what I have to say. It took me a few more circles to ubderstand- he was affraid (the horse, not my dad)- bit not from anything outside, he was affraid of me- the rider.

"I want that horse- I need to help him." -Was the only thing I could say, and we ended up buying him, his name is Cisco (by nrha Black and White Chico). So yeah, my brother felt sorry for him, and fed him for a week before that day- he was in a corner stall and nobody cared for him because he was aggressive and the girl who was supposed to buy him decided to pass- so Cisco was there, and my brother had a big enough heart to take care of him. Needless to say that from that day I rode him he was loved, and became best friends with Tzuk, our horse, that we got earlier that year.

That was not the end of it, Cisco was an angry horse- biting, kicking, attacking and really hard to be around, let along ride. He was some-what traumatized. Till’ this day, I don’t know the true story of what he had been through, and what caused him to be so bad around people, but it drew me to him.

I had to find a better way, so I started looking for new ways to get to him, watching every video on YouTube I could find regarding horsemanship, following Buck, Ray Hunt, Chris Cox, Mark Rashid etc. and trying everything on Cisco, the whole process was hard, and I got tons of help from some people I knew at the time, it took a year, but he got better- and so did I, he helped me overcome some of my own problems (but that is a whole different story).

We ended up winning 3rd place at a Reining show, that was a great validation of everything we had achieved.

He is still with me, both him and Tzuk. They are a part of the family.

Cisco’s past made me change my approach and outlook on things, find a way to suit things to him, and his needs- No, I’m not saying giving up boundaries, but I am saying- listen to your horse. Physical symptoms can be caused by mental stress, and low performance can be caused by the wrong choice of discipline or unfit program. Yes, horses can be bored as much as they can be overwhelmed, you can have a general check list of steps and a well proven program, but some horses will get there at different speeds, and some will make you throw it all away and try something completely different, all I’m saying, is make sure to listen- to yourself, and your horse.

If I hadn't listened to my horse, I would have probably still be riding them all the same, not making true connection with horses, and I guess, I wouldn't be half the horse-woman I am today, with that said, I also have tons to learn (and that is the fun part).

Horsemanship is not about ego and out-smart the horse, but about team work, communication and being able to think outside the box, and most of all- learning.

We all have a past, but it souldn't stop us from improving our future.


Cisco, Tzuk and YahelYa!