Homeschooling Teen

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Improvement is Sweet

By Katie Dodd  

The title says it all. Some may have heard about my mule Jake and how slow progress is with him. Most of the time it doesn’t look like we’re getting any improvement, but two days ago something changed – I brushed him! Having a fear of any object in your hand unless food, he has always shied away or completely went haywire over seeing the brushes or halter. He’s still very iffy about the halter, but now seems more relaxed around the brush and allows me to brush him head to hoof, even partly on his blind side. Also, instead of walking away from us he’s been standing still when we come up to him and sometimes refuses to budge, which could turn into bad behavior, but we’ll deal with everything in stride. If this is how to make him accepting at first then so be it, we can work out the kinks later.

Jolene is doing well. I’ve been putting the saddle on her trying to distinguish one that fits her best. I was told she isn’t broken, but I’m thinking we missed something. She lets me lay across her back and I’ve put weight on the stirrups to see how she would react to me mounting and she just stood there, not in a “get ready to bolt” stance but an “almost done with me yet” stance. So maybe someone has got on her back and it’s just the people I know who don’t know, or else I got the most well-tempered horse in the world.

It finally dried up and the weather’s warm, so I tried lunging her. I don’t have a round pen so it’s been difficult, still trying to find a way to get her to understand, at the moment she’s just a no go horse. Part stubborn and part not understanding what I’m asking yet, I just have to find the right way to tell her what I want.

I’ve also been using her as my doll, feeling almost ashamed. I’ve always been that person who sees dogs dressed up and think along the line “they’re not your Barbie dolls.” But I got a horse and that changed everything. I’ve put a bow on her, painted her, did her hair, etc. Funny how fast my opinion changed! I never leave the stuff on her for long and she’s always patient, and likes the attention.

I’m still waiting for her bit to come in. I ordered a D ring, French link bit. The link is copper because she’s very mouthy with her bits, so it’ll keep her happy.

Graduating in April, I can’t wait for free time till I start college next fall. I can worry just about Jolene and Jake, working with them so hopefully in the fall I’ll have major areas done and won’t have to worry about any serious training. It’s hard to be patient when all I want is to know I can go saddle my horse and ride, let her be my escape. It’ll be worth it in the long run, but I’m still impatient.

Guess that’s all the news I have. My progress has been slow, especially when it was freezing, but the warm weather’s back at least!

~Katie Dodd  

About the Author:My name is Katie Dodd I’m 17 years old, and live in Clifton, Tennessee. My hobbies are reading, writing, walking, occasionally riding horses, and a lot of other activities. My passions are animals first and then comes writing. I love making random stories up or writing poetry to express feelings. I have a lot of goals in life like finishing college, and opening my own vet clinic and animal shelter. I also want to get one of my stories published. I can get very passionate about things like the government and my beliefs. I like debating, and just sharing what I know. Out of all the subjects in school I’d say History is my favorite, it may be the past but it’s what shaped the world and changed a lot of things.”

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