My last Civil War Reenactment for the season was this past weekend. Saying goodbye to my reenacting family is always hard, but I know I get to see them again in the spring. One of the reasons I love reenacting is because when I pretend to be a male soldier from 1861-1865 it teaches me something about my 2013 female self.
I have ridden my horse Diamond for 8 years and we know each other so well that I can think a command and he will do it. Riding him has become so second nature that I do not even have to think about how to do it anymore. It is as if Diamond has become an extension of myself. Which I love about him but what I learned about myself happened when I was riding someone else horse.
After the battle was over on Saturday we decided to go on a fun ride; a few of us traded horses just to try something new. As I was learning the feel of this new horse, Caleb, I realized how much I missed bonding with and training new horses. Diamond and I know each other so well that it is not a challenge for me anymore. I loved getting to know Caleb, how he moved, feeling out all of his corks and helping him move past them. I learned very quickly that has a very soft mouth, so instead of using the rains to steer I used my weight and legs. I also noticed he loves being talked to; he held both ears back to listen to me almost the whole ride. Using my weight I can speed him up and slow him down. He was such a great listener and was very eager to please.
What this ride made me realize was how much I miss training. I loved training Diamond and although there is always more training that can be done, I don’t have much left to work on with him (except his fear of cows, which I plan on tackling next spring). The challenge of riding a different horse got me excited to train again. It is not because this horse needed a lot of training, but I had so much fun getting to know him, finding out what he likes and what he doesn’t, and learning the best ways to give him directions. What this taught me about myself is I love learning about new horses and listening to what they have to say. I am hoping that soon I will have a chance to train another horse because it is truly a passion of mine to work and bond with these amazing animals.