Lisa and Whiskey – In the Beginning

Lisa Beaman is no novice when it comes to horse riding. She grew up in Rockhampton with horses and a rough and tumble country lifestyle. Her Uncle was a ‘Bushie’ who regularly bought horses from the saleyards and Lisa was well used to falling over the ears, as she puts it and landing at the feet of her mount. “We had no fear in those days,” says Lisa as she recalls her childhood spent largely on the back of a horse.

It would be twenty-five years between rides for Lisa, before finally giving in to the long held wish to get back in the saddle. She found the horse of her dreams at a horse sale; a handsome Standard Bred gelding called Whiskey. He was tall, dark and handsome but as Lisa was about to find out, he had been trained in fear and it would take an inordinate amount of patience and understanding to turn him around.

“I remember I used to just drop his feed and run,” she says. “He showed me his backside and I knew he would kick, he nipped me with his teeth. Saddling him up, handling him in any way was a nightmare.”

It started with intimidation. Whiskey was well over 16 hands and used his teeth, his hooves and his size to strike fear in Lisa. “I remember I used to just drop his feed and run,” she says. “He showed me his backside and I knew he would kick, he nipped me with his teeth. Saddling him up, handling him in any way was a nightmare. I actually felt safer when I was up on his back, but being around him caused me so much anxiety. I got to the stage where I could feel my heart pounding and my mouth go dry with fear every time I went near him.

So for Lisa, the dream of owning a horse and reliving the enjoyable rides of her childhood came crashing down. The more fearful she became the less she rode Whiskey. Making excuses for not riding became the norm and even though she knew this horse had been badly treated at some stage, there was no emotional attachment between horse and rider. “I began to think of him as evil. I did everything for him and he just treated me with distain.

Lisa almost gave up on Whiskey; she could not change his behaviour despite the number of treats, the kind words or the care she gave him. Nor could she inflict a horse like this on anyone else. After two years of fear and intimidation Lisa had had enough. When she first mentioned sending Whiskey to the ‘doggers’ her husband Ray was shocked. “It was Ray who first mentioned finding a trainer for him. I thank Ray every day that I didn’t give up on this horse,” Lisa says.

Read Part 2 of Lisa’s Story: ‘Forging a Friendship’

Watch Lisa’s Video: “I was terrified of my horse”

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