In Julie Goodnight’s “Sit the Spook” ( Ride Right with Julie Goodnight, September/October ’14), that’s my little red mare, Tika, the star of the magazine. Of course, I loved seeing her photos!
I’ve been following this advice of Julie’s for two years now. It’s so incredible. It’s very cumulative and builds confidence continually.
At one time, Tika would spook just like that with me; she really doesn’t anymore. If there’s a question about anything, we go and touch it, just as Julie recommends.
Last summer, Tika touched running dirt bikes, bicycles, and a scary backpacker. Once, she started rooting through a dude’s all-terrain-vehicle pack while the flap was blowing in the wind. She’ll occasionally even reach out and touch something as we go by.
This tip, which is really easy to execute, has paid off bigger than any other training item in our day-to-day life.
Recently, a flock of pheasants flushed out from beneath us, sounding like helicopters. Tika really didn’t react at all. That, to me, is success built off this practice.
Thank-you, Julie Goodnight! And thankyou, Heidi Melocco, for the amazing photos! Ellen Mesaros Salida, Colorado
My most recent spooking experience happened before the issue arrived. Still, the article was instructive. Although my execution wasn’t quite as Julie details, the ride ended well. I was able to turn my mare into a circle. After a few spins, I was able to pull her up to a stop, facing the scary object (a moving train about 50 yards away). From there, I was able to gently ask her to walk toward it, telling her “good job,” before calmly heading back home. (Some scary objects just aren’t worth getting too close to.)
Julie’s technique is definitely less dizzying than mine. Great article! Deb Rarig Montandon, Pennsylvania
“Sit the Spook” was comprehensive and helpful for me. I really like The Trail Rider’s educational articles, in particular those by Julie Goodnight.
In “Sit the Spook,” the photos were great, and I really appreciated the advice. I must admit, I don’t think I look quite as graceful as Julie Goodnight when my horse spooks like that!
Kimberly Perry Elkins
“Sit the Spook” was a good reminder of what can happen out on the trail and how to handle it. Thank-you, Julie Goodnight. Lori Horning
Parents say, “We’ve tried dance/skate/ karate/gymnastics, but all she wants is a horse.”
The child is trying to say, “I don’t want to compete with, or perform for, other people. I want a relationship.”
At the American Association of Riding Schools, we encourage noncompetitive riding. Go to www.ucanride.com, and download a copy of “HORSES ~ The Hobby You Can Hug!”
If more noncompetitive trail enthusiasts opened riding programs, I think we would see more families growing into horse ownership, instead of leaving lessons/shows saying, “Horses aren’t what we thought they were.” Colleen Pace, Owner American Association of Riding
Schools, Inc. Flint, Michigan
HEIDI MELOCCO PHOTO Julie Goodnight aboard Tika, a once-spooky mare. Read on for the horse owner’s comments.
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