Lynne Orloff and "Sassy"

A sudden and unexpected jostling to the side startled me, followed by a lost stirrup and the sensation of my body lifting higher and higher off the leather. The realization that each pulse was setting me up for a dangerous and obvious conclusion of a bone-threatening over-the-head toss, urged me to choose to "fly" off the side. I don't remember the "flight", but I do remember the landing! At sixty years old, I don't need to experience many of those "lumps" in life.

That was the impetus to take Sassy, our newly acquired Quarter Horse to Steve and Carolyn Bauhr's Ranch of Horsemanship. I thought my past three years of riding and training had prepared me (somewhat) to be a horse owner and rider. I didn't even know what I didn't know until Steve evaluated Sassy in a three-hour session prior to taking her on as a horse-in-training a month later. With each test of her knowledge, respect, and sensitivities, I knew then that both she and I had major holes in our foundation training.

For the next three months, despite rain and intermittent snow, Sassy and I underwent a conversion. With the consistent and concentrated effort of Steve's training, Carolyn's encouragement and support, we both learned to be "better horses". When we arrived there, Sassy was admittedly the Alpha, and I, the Omega. We didn't even know how to properly lead and be led. Sassy was spooked by everything, as was I. Scared of every nuance in her look, flick of her tail, twist of her ear, I projected each into a threat of a bite or kick. I couldn't even brush her. She now walks over "silly bridges" and through water, hardly notes the loud truck "Jake brakes" on J59, and handles tarps with ease. Ropes on any part of her body are as expected as her daily supplements. She falls asleep at the end of her line or at the tying post. She accepts humans touching, brushing and handling her. I, on the other hand, have learned to be the Alpha, to relate to her specifically, and to horses in general. I now know how to round-pen her, to ascertain her readiness to be ridden. I can handle any part of her body, including picking her feet from the opposite side, and send her over any obstacle, having control of her, front and rear.

The Bauhr's knowledge, work ethic, and integrity have been noted in my frequent visits to participate in her training. Each of these qualities has shown in the success I have personally witnessed with my horse, as well as the other horses in training there. Every single visit I watched a horse that could not tie, keep her feet still, bridle, or tolerate her saddle (or people), turn into a horse that is at peace with her self. She's not perfect; she's still grouchy, but now I know not take it personally or make a fight of it. I have been taught the tools I need to tune her skills, as required. I and Sassy have gained confidence in each other. She was headed for the sale block when she arrived at the ranch, and now we can see her potential and that proverbial "light at the end of the tunnel".

Would I recommend the Bauhr's to others? You bet! In fact, I have every intention of purchasing a second horse (for my husband), having Steve evaluate, and if necessary, train it. My husband currently has two rides on a horse; I would have Steve and Carolyn teach him to ride that new horse with the certain knowledge that he would become a good (and safe) horseman as well as a rider.

Happy Trails! Lynne Orloff

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