Chapter 3: Learning the Ropes
A week has passed and the wildies that Amy and Ty treated for wounds, and that the boys had picked out for their horses are ready to begin the process of gentling. Amy promised the boys that she would allow them to gentle their own horses if they would let her and Lyndi oversee the process. The boys have named the horses Paint and Pegasus.
Amy, "Guys, the first thing you must do to begin the process of gentling your horse is to build a relationship with him. We do that using a process we call join-up. Can you tell me how that process works?"
TJ, "Mom, we see you and Lyndi do this all the time. You run the horse around in circles then after a while you turn away and see if the horse will come to you."
Amy, "You are mostly correct, however, it is not just running the horse around in circles. There is a strategy that you need to use. Lyndi, do you want to explain that to them?"
Lyndi, "Sure, mom! You see, to build a relationship with a horse, you need to apply pressure then release the pressure so that the horse understands his part of the relationship. He should respond positively once you release him from the pressure you exert on him as he is running around!"
Tyson, "Why do you change directions?"
Amy, "When you change direction you are letting the horse know that you are directing the pressure. And if he responds correctly, you release the pressure. Sort of like giving him a treat!"
TJ, "Wow, this might be harder than we think!"
Tyson, "I just thought you ran the horse around in circles. Didn't know that there was a purpose to all of that!"
Lyndi, "There is! And that is why you have to follow our instructions!"
Amy, "So let's try this out, who goes first? "
Tyson, "Me, Me!"
Amy, "Ok Tyson, go get Pegasus and Let's get started. Lyndi, can you start the process, then let Tyson take over!"
Tyson goes to the barn and returns with Pegasus. While the horses were recuperating, Amy had the twins work with getting them haltered and giving them walks. Each horse responded positively and the boys were able to walk the horses by themselves.
Amy, "Looks like Pegasus is coming along with you Tyson. He seems to be accepting your haltering and lead. Let's get him into the pin and have Lyndi start the exercise."
Tyson, "Ok, Mom. Let's go boy, into the pin, we are going to have some fun!"
Lyndi begins to have Pegasus run around the pin clockwise and then reverses his motion after a few laps around the pin.
Lyndi, "You see Tyson how I am doing this. Now it is your turn. Take the lunge rope here and get him going around in the circle, then I want you to change his direction. Got it?"
Tyson, "Got, It! Let's go Pegasus, Let's go!"
Pegasus is responding positively and following Tyson's cue to change direction. He continues adding and releasing pressure as Amy told him.
Tyson, "Mom, look, Pegasus is following my lead!"
Amy, "That is good Tyson, in a few minutes, I want you to drop the line and turn away from him to see what he does, ok?"
After a few more laps Tyson drops the lunge line and turns away.
Lyndi, "Tyson, don't look back, let him come to you. Turn away, now!"
Tyson, "I am, I am, but he is not coming!"
Amy, "You have to be patient Tyson, it can take some time before he understands fully what you are asking him to do. Let's leave it today and have TJ work his horse. TJ, go get Paint."
TJ goes to the barn to retrieve Paint and brings him to the pin. Paint is a much more spirited horse, but has for some reason latched on to TJ as a buddy. As they put the Lunge line on him, he gets excited and starts to really buck around. Lyndi backs off, and TJ goes and grabs the line.
Amy, "TJ, get away from Paint. He is not cooperating and I don't want you to get hurt! Get out of the pin!"
TJ, "Mom, I got this, he just wants me to work with him!"
Lyndi, "TJ, listen for once! Get out of the pin!"
TJ, "Chill guys, I got this!" TJ grabs the lunge rope and calmly speaks out the Paint. "Good boy. Good boy. I am not going to hurt you. This is going to be fun. Just you and me!" It was as if Paint understood every word TJ was saying and settled down.
TJ, "Now, let's get around this pin, come on! Giddy up!"
Paint starts running around the pin in a clockwise rotation, then TJ stops and tells him, "Ok boy let's go the other way!" Paint responds in kind and begins to go the other way.
Amy to Lyndi, "Wow! Would you look at that! Paint and TJ have a real connection. Look how he responds to his verbal commands."
Amy, "TJ, now drop the lunge line and turn around. Just like we showed Tyson."
About that time Tyson and Jack are coming out of the barn as TJ is trying to have Paint join up with him. As he turns around, Paint immediately responds and walks over to TJ and bumps his head. TJ is ecstatic. "Mom, Lyndi, guys, did you see that? He did it! He did it! Good boy, Paint, good boy!" TJ is rubbing Paint's neck as Paint is responding in kind!
Tyson growls, "TJ, that is no big deal. Pegasus just didn't want to do it today."
TJ, "You're jealous that my horse is smarter than yours! Ha, ha!
Tyson starts to jump the fence and go after TJ when Jack grabs Tyson by the pant loop. Jack, "You aren't going anywhere son! You guys need to get along. TJ, you need to come over here and apologize. I am getting tired of you two competing with everything. This is a process to gentle a horse and no horse is the same so cut the crap and quit making this a competition."
Amy is leaving the scolding to Jack. Lyndi looks at Amy and her eyebrows go up. Amy, "Guys, GG is right. I don't know why everything is such a competition. You guys need to work together and help each other gentle these horses. This is not a game! That is why I told you that Lyndi and I had to supervise. Gentling a horse is part of the animal's life, just like you guys learning something new. You are teaching them to accept a new way of life so some will come willingly, others need more work. Why Paint was more ready than Pegasus is just a matter of life for these horses. You guys need to accept that you might not be able to gentle them at all. They might never accept the gentling. Do you understand what I am saying?'
TJ and Tyson together, "Yes, Ma'am!"
Amy, "OK then, TJ go put Paint in his stall and let's get ready for lunch."
TJ and Tyson bring Paint into the stall and Lyndi, Jack, and Amy head to the house to prepare lunch.
As Amy and Jack are preparing lunch, Jake says, "Amy, I think what you told the boys out there was spot on. They need to realize that gentling horses is a very important part of their growing up and they should respect it for what it is!"
Amy, "Those two are so competitive. I am so glad we were able to cross that bridge today."
Lyndi, "I think they get the picture now. Horses and horse training is who we are and what we do and it is not to be taken lightly."
Amy, as she is reaching over to hug Lyndi, "Lyndi, wow! When did you get so smart!"
Lyndi, laughing, "You taught me that, mom. You and Dad taught me that!"
That afternoon as Ty was coming to the house from work, the twins were sitting on the porch. Ty, "How goes it here, guys? Anything exciting happen today in your worlds?"
TJ, "Mom and Lyndi showed me and Tyson how a join up works with our horses. It looks like Pegasus seems to be a bit more stubborn than Paint, but we feel both of the horses will eventually come around and become great horses for us!"
Ty, knowing about the talk they had with Amy, said, "Well, sounds like you guys are becoming real horse folks, like the rest of us!"
TJ, "I guess so!"
Ty, "Well, keep up the good work!"
For the next few days, every morning the boys would wake up early with Lyndi and go through their join up process together. Once Pegasus saw how Paint would respond, it was just a matter of time before he, too, would join up to Tyson. Both of the boys were excited over the progress and were eager to move forward in the gentling process.
Tyson to Lyndi, "OK, so it looks like the join up is working. What is next?"
Lyndi, "We need to get them ready for saddles. We will need to work both sides of the horse so whatever we do on one side we need to do on the other. First, we will get the saddle pads and put them on the horses backs, from both sides. Once they get used to that, we will introduce the saddle. For this we will need one of the grow ups to help us with the saddles."
That evening at supper Tyson asks, "Dad, we are at the point that we need to saddle up the horses. We need you to come and help us with that. Can you, Dad?"
Ty, "I can free up some time tomorrow and this weekend and we can do that. How about we make this a family effort and we can all help get those horses to accept the saddle. Once that is done, we can begin to break them for riding. I think I will call Caleb over to help us with that. What do you guys think?"
Amy, "I think that is a great idea, but not so sure we will need Caleb. Don't you remember, I won the gentling competition Ring of Fire and toured with them over the winter. I think I can handle gentling these guys!"
Ty, laughing, "Oh, I remember. But are you sure you still can handle this, momma!"
Amy, "I may be older, but I have been gentling horses most of my teenage and adult life. I think I can handle this! And didn't you gentle Harley? So here is a proposition. You take Paint and I will take Pegasus and let's see who can saddle and ride them first!"
Ty, "Well excuse me! So guys, it looks like your mom and I have a bit of a competition here."
Tyson, "But mom, you told us that gentling horses was not a competition. What gives?"
Amy, thinking how to respond, "Well, this really isn't competing. It is to find who is the better at doing this job?"
Lyndi, "Mom, please! This is a competition. Plain and Simple!"
Ty, "Guys, you see, parents have the right to choose when something is a competition and when it is not. And since we are your parents, this is NOT a competition. Right Amy?"
Amy, "You are exactly correct! Matter of fact, this is more like a wager. Because whoever loses has to do dishes for 1 month. Right Dad!"
Ty, "And they have to clean the house and do the laundry, too. Right mom!"
Amy, "You are so on Ty Borden, you are so on! Remember, you have to include Tyson and I have TJ in this so they will be a part of it. I promised them they would participate in the gentling so you have to include them."
Lyndi, "I will be the referee.!"
Ty, "No, Lyndi, you are on our team. You and mom do this all the time so we need to even the teams. Ok, so we start tomorrow."
Amy, "I guess that is fair!"
TJ, "Awesome, we surely are going to win now!"
That evening as Ty and Amy laid down for the night, Ty rolled over and grabbed Amy. "As I recall, Miss Ring of Fire, you and that Chase fellow got pretty friendly during your Ring of Fire tour! "
Amy, "And as I recall, you left me to go on a "Road Trip" and you found a little friend that you brought home that broke us up!"
Ty, wrapping his arms around Amy, "Yeah, let's not go there! Bad memories!"
Amy, begins to passionately kiss Ty's neck, "Tyson and I are going to kick your team's butt. Just think, I won't have to do dishes, wash, or clean the house for a whole month!"
Ty, responding in kind, "I wouldn't get ahead of yourself, missy. Don't underestimate my skills when it comes to gentling horses. I had Harley eating out of my hands within days! And I have the secret weapon. Lyndi!"
Amy stops and looks Ty straight into his eyes with a big smile, "Have you forgotten who the "Miracle Girl" is?
Ty, rolling Amy on her back, "You might need to remind me! I could use a miracle right about now!"
Amy, "Tyler Borden!"
Over the next several days, Ty and Amy worked with the kids to saddle break Paint and Pegasus. Each horse responded differently to the various methods applied to get them to accept the saddle, and a rider. Once they got to the point of riding Ty and Amy took over since the boys were so young. Tyson and TJ, were both very upset that they could not do the initial ride of their horses.
Tyson, very upset, "Mom, Dad, we are old enough to do this. Our horses know us and we want to break them for riding. That is why we asked you to let us do this!"
TJ, "Dad, we can do this. I can get on Paint and Lay across his back. I know how to handle a bucking horse, too!
Amy, "What do you think, Dad? Take off the bubble wrap. These guys are pretty tough."
Ty, "Well, your gentling methods are much less radical than saddle breaking, so if we did our jobs correctly, they shouldn't put up much of a fight."
Amy, "Ok boys, but if they don't accept your riding, your dad and I will take over, ok?"
Both Tyson and TJ, "Deal, Mom!"
First it was TJ's turn with Paint. As they put the saddle on him, he started getting a bit restless and moving around. TJ got in front of him and grabbed him by the bridle. Paint, you know you want to let me ride you. Think of all the fun we can have going around the ranch, exploring all the rivers. So come on, settle down so I can get in the saddle." It seemed like Paint consumed every word and immediately allowed TJ to mount him. Once TJ was positioned, he slowly squeezed his legs and said, let's go Paint. Paint responded by spinning around and started lightly bucking, but TJ pulled the rein hard right to get him settled. After a few minutes Paint settled down and accepted TJ in the saddle.
Ty, "Well, would you look at that! Great work TJ. I think you got him trained!"
Lyndi, "Great Job buddy!"
Tyson, "Great Job, TJ. I hope Pegasus is that easy!"
Amy, "Ok, Tyson your turn let's get Pegasus ready."
Tyson takes Pegasus into the pin and they saddle him up. Pegasus has really gentled a lot and he accepted the saddle without any fidgeting. Tyson, put the ladder by his side as Amy held on to the reins. He jumped up onto Pegasus and grabbed the rein from Amy. "Let's go Pegasus!" Pegasus responded without any hesitation and started around the pin. Everyone was shocked to see that he accepted his gentling so graciously. Amy, "Tyson, Wow. I guess we won the bet! Your horse was so willing to be ridden.
Ty, "I don't think so, we were the first!"
Lyndi, "I think we should just forget about the bet and be happy that we were able to get the boys the horses they wanted from the wildies."
Amy, laughing "Why do you have to be so right? I was looking forward to not