I had a wonderful opportunity to witness horse and trainer work together toward an important goal of trust. The horse is a beautiful French Warm-blood named Ginger and her trainer is a vibrant and dynamic young woman – Madison Walder. I think Madison belongs up in the echelon of the all time greats as far as horse training is concerned and that is an understatement. She is a phenomenal Grand Prix rider and her talent is splendid. But the day I saw her train Ginger will forever be en-grained in my memory.
When I arrived, Madison was already on board her steed and they were circling this water puddle in the training arena. Her father, Dr. Jeff Walder was also in the arena as there was also a lesson in progress with another client. Initially, I did not think too much of what was unfolding as it seemed pretty normal, not out of routine and I was there to take a few pictures and drop off carrots for Bluemooon, another horse in the barn that I just adore so much!
Madison was confidently encouraging Ginger to go through the water. Ginger was not having anything to do with that. Around they went and around again. Madison still never lost her resolve and instead Madison just seemed to really dig in and become more resolute that Ginger was going to overcome her fear of the water. Around they went for a few more minutes, but still Ginger persisted in her unwillingness to accept the water route! I thought it may not be tonight for Ginger, but I kept watching Madison and it was apparent to me that Madison was not about to give up!! Ginger tapped around the water and was so intent on staying clear.
Dr. Jeff Walder came over to them and he tried to coax the horse but even his efforts would not convince the horse. They tried together for a bit longer. Madison still so focused and I felt that she had a big job there. How would Madison engage Ginger to accept the water!!
Madison hopped off Ginger and then tried on foot to do it, but still Ginger was saying no with everything she had. Madison was not giving up. About 10 minutes passed and then Madison tried still another technique. She continued to talk to her horse and encouraged Ginger to keep going. They stopped and Madison stood firmly in front of Ginger after she had positioned her back legs to the water. Madison pushed for backward movement all the time encouraging Ginger to keep going. Pushing firmly.
Ginger backed into the water. Mission accomplished!! Ginger looked down at Madison and they connected. That connection was a privilege to witness. I’ll never forget it. From that point on I knew that Ginger had been transformed and her strength was redeemed from within. This was not submission I witnessed, but a calm acceptance that grew into trust. I felt that from the distance I was. Madison rewarded Ginger with passion and love for the horse. I looked at them both and it was if they were in a world of their own and we were the outsiders looking in. It was a most beautiful thing to see and I’ll be lucky to see it again. It’s a powerful claim to have with a horse. The bond that they now share will only continue to grow and Ginger will continue her journey her star will grow and become even more brilliant!
In my estimation, that is not the only star in the ring whose brilliance will be known by many.
Thank you both for the beauty of what is and yet to come..