Cate Lamm, an avid horsewoman, has been a part of Colorado Horse Rescue (www.chr.org) for 10 years. There, she’s served as head of the adoption committee, has acted as general manager and now works as a rehabilitation trainer. Lamm has owned a number of her own rescue horses and has 20 years of equine experience. Based in Longmont, Colorado, she’s also the editorial assistant of The Trail Rider (www.trailridermag.com), sister publication of MyHorseDaily.com.
Both my new “rescue” horses and I were all settled in to our new boarding facility. Banjo, the “dangerous” horse, was learning to trust me, and had become easy to catch. (Good thing, because his pasture was 20 acres!) Opal, my unexpected addition, seemed totally content in her semi-retirement pasture.
Banjo was working beautifully on the ground. Our biggest challenge now was mounting. He wouldn’t stand still. In fact, this was one of the reasons he’d been deemed dangerous – he’d rear and buck or spin away when being mounted.
This was an area I needed work on, too. I didn’t realize I had some fear issues around mounting until I began trying to get on my new horse. When I thought about mounting, I’d picture myself unexpectedly flying through the air.
A few years before, I’d been thrown by a horse just as I sat in the saddle. No warning. As soon as I sat down, he bucked like crazy! I was thrown sky high. I hurt my shoulder and couldn’t ride for several weeks.
This horse of mine sure had a knack for putting me in situations that caused me to face my fears.
Before working with Banjo, I had to center and ground myself, and constantly take deep breaths. I had to focus and stay very present, not letting my thoughts of what could happen get in the way of what was actually happening.
With Banjo, I’d first put my foot in the stirrup. If he offered any resistance, I’d ask him to work around me in a circle for a few minutes. When he relaxed, I’d ask him to come back.
Then I put my foot in the stirrup and asked him to flex his head and neck toward me. When he relaxed, I’d pull myself up. It was a long way up, too — 16 hands! I waited to put my leg over his back until he was totally still and at ease.
We did this time and time again. Finally, Banjo was so bored with the whole thing, he’d almost nod off.
As Banjo and I starting building a beautiful trust together, I felt my own fears slipping away. Our agreement was, “You stay with me, and I will stay with you, no matter what!”
If you want more information on rescue horses or you want to locate a rescue near you, please check out AHomeForEveryHorse.com.
Equine.com and the Active Interest Media Equine Network have joined forces with the American Horse Council’s Unwanted Horse Coalition to launch A Home for Every Horse Project. This project helps find homes for America’s 170,000 to 200,000 horses in need of care and shelter.
Here’s how it works:
• Begin the search for your next equine partner at AHomeForEveryHorse.com. You can search horses waiting for homes at nonprofit shelters across the country. Browse by rescue horse, or find rescue organizations in your area.
• Visit the site’s “Services” section to learn about your local rescue organizations. Find out how you can volunteer, donate, or simply spread the word.
• Look for upcoming stories on EquiSearch.com related to horse rescue.
If your 501(c)(3) rescue organization would like to join the Home For Every Horse Project, call (866) 467-7323, ext. 100. Equine.com is a part of Active Interest Media Equine Network.