With time and pa­tience

EQUUS - - Letters -

“Mu­tual Ben­e­fits” (True Tale, EQUUS 492) means a lot to me. I’ve had a new Ten­nessee Walker for five months now who is strug­gling with spook­i­ness. I guess we both are. He was de­scribed as an “ex­pe­ri­enced trail horse” when I bought him, and he is mostly as ad­ver­tised: 9 years old, cute, funny and good with all of the han­dling ba­sics.

I as­sumed that an ex­pe­ri­enced trail horse would not be spooky. Yet ev­ery time I ride him around our pas­tures and prop­erty, he spooks at least once. It’s not a bad spook---usu­ally a lit­tle jump, or run­ning just a few steps. Still, I’m 68, and I’m get­ting too old to have to en­dure spook­ing. I’ve been do­ing ground­work with him but still feel­ing dis­cour­aged. I know he needs to learn to trust me, and that takes time, but I’ve been feel­ing like a fail­ure. I made up my mind to keep try­ing with him, but I felt less than con­fi­dent---un­til I read this ar­ti­cle. It re­ally re­newed my de­ter­mi­na­tion, and, I hope, my pa­tience.

The ex­pe­ri­ences Vir­ginia Slach­man de­scribes with her horse Do­rian sound a lot like mine with Sun­dance. I may be get­ting old, but I have time, and some­day he’ll be the trail horse I need. Ann Travers Odell, Illi­nois names for horses, coat col­ors and vary­ing tack are all fa­mil­iar to me. I re­ally love see­ing how some of the words have evolved into ev­ery­day English.

Ben­nett’s re­search and pho­to­graphs have been su­perb, and her won­der­ful use of maps, time­lines and those in­cred­i­ble pho­to­graphs have held me in deep fo­cus and great de­light. Many thanks for mak­ing this his­tory avail­able to us in­ter­ested horsepeo­ple. Suzana Oei Fox Feather Farm Cal­i­fon, New Jersey

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