Mindy Smith saved my Rocky Experience. I wanted to try a gaited horse after a life time of riding Arabians. I picked the Rocky breed because of their brains and way of going. My husband bought me a 12 year old Rocky mare who was broke, but was being sold as a broodmare since she was spooky. We felt I would have no problem working with her since I had been riding/training my Arabs for 40 years. Well ….. It was a learning experience. After the first three rides, I had determined two things: 1) the Rocky gait was heaven on earth, and 2) this mare needed a lot of ground work to overcome her distrust of people to make her safe just to mount and dismount. I spent the next 1 1/2 years working with her on the ground, but while we made significant progress, I never felt safe to mount her. I finally conceded defeat and decided I needed to sell her as a broodmare to someone more knowledgeable.
This is where Mindy comes in …In response to my email Mindy invited my family to her ranch to experience her Rockies and talk to her. My husband, son, and I rode her horses and I felt that this was what I had been looking for in a gaited horse. We agreed to return with our mare for Mindy to evaluate. When we returned with our mare, Indy, Mindy offered to work with me and my mare for 3 days, then we would decide our future. After watching Mindy work with Indy on the ground, learning some of her quarks and what headgear to use with her, Mindy had me saddle one of her horses, and we went on a trail ride. (Mindy riding my mare who hadn’t been ridden in two years). We rode the trails for a couple of hours and I was very impressed with how she handled Indy. That night my husband and I decided to ask Mindy if she could train the mare for month to make her safe for me to mount, dismount, and move off. The next day we let Mindy know our thoughts and she agreed to train Indy. We took another trail ride and I could already see improvements in my mare.
Five weeks later I returned eager to see how Indy was doing. I was impressed as Indy stood quietly ground tied to be groomed and saddled. Mindy mounted and showed me how to handle her and took her through the obstacle course. Then it was my turn, I mounted (admittedly a little nervous). Indy stood perfectly still and then under Mindy’s direction I quickly learned how handle her. I played in the obstacle course while Mindy saddled another horse, then we hit the trails. That day and the next I rode the trails with Mindy learning my mare’s idiosyncrasies and how to handle them. I took Indy home, thrilled with how much Mindy had accomplished in 30 days. Now we have been home for a month and we have successfully ridden many miles/trails. Indy is not a finished horse after 30 days, but Mindy put enough controls on her for us to be safe. Any time Indy becomes agitated I can use the techniques that Mindy taught me and Indy responds in a positive manner.
Indy and I have a long way to go, but without Mindy’s help I would have given up and tried to ‘re-home’ her. Now I have an eager partner who meets me at the gate ready to travel some miles together. She is my “30 day miracle”!!
Thank you Mindy!
Kathy Higdon and Indy (aka Chiefs Blue)