by Laura Schuman
2017 Brings me my third year of having the honor of being on the ROTH team for the Expo. Fortunately, I had discovered that the expo occurs on my Spring Break, and since Boulder is my home, I am able to slip in a quick visit with my mother before heading for the several day event of long hard hours of lots and lots of work, plus horses galore! We all love to grumble, the days get intensely long, but I rather doubt any of us on the team don’t on some level love what we are doing…based on our firm belief in, faith, and absolute loyalty to Anna Twinney and her nonstop authenticity for the horses (and their people). And of course, Vin. I would be remiss to not mention Vin’s undying leadership (ahem) and assignment of tasks. He likes that booth a ‘certain way’…often not at all the same as Anna…..and on we go!
Three years ago I was a top seller in the booth. But with Joseph’s charm and social abilities, by my second year he took over as the top salesman on the floor and I moved (up?) into the position of groom and horse handler for whichever horses Anna needed to bring. Last year it was Excalibur and my beloved Aria. Ex doesn’t mind coming….Aria hated it, and in reflection, we almost wonder if she didn’t blame me for her having to attend …
After an exciting session of Aria in the round-pen with Elaine in tow with the long lines, it was quite clear she was making her voice heard. I was then in discussion with Anna by her stall; Aria stared at me, squarely and clearly, to catch my attention. As Anna and I both stopped speaking and looked, she kept an eye on me as she grabbed and flipped her water bucket several times, slamming it against the stall wall. She the stared again at me, to be sure I was paying attention. It was clear in her eyes she was shouting at me, “hey, water girl, go get me some water. NOW.”
With clear communication and eliciting a laugh, I quickly retrieved her water. The rest of the time spent was mostly uneventful, but it was clear as Aria turned her bum to me often she was displeased with my ‘service’ and quite unhappy to be there.
2017 RMHE and I am in charge of the foals. We load and take them today for their first time; Hermes and Sabre. We did a test load the other day, all went well …but who is to say what is to happen today?
And so, how will they be? This is their first experience of this kind? Anna’s demo with them today is bold. While other clinicians pick and choose and show finished products…Anna steps up to truly teach a lesson, show authenticity in action, like no other.
I am a type A, over achiever-concerned with doing it ‘right’. And that used to mean ‘correct’: I lead in properly, I stepped up, I … and I now understand. It’s not about I. Doing it right has a new definition. Doing it right means; do they feel safe, have we trailer loaded them gently and with calm patience, providing the voice, are they ok at the expo, safe in the stall and am I doing everything to help that?
And so we see. But my gut says it will be just fine. And with this ROTH team, and Anna in the lead … it will all be a great learning experience and again the opportunity to be all for the horse.