The following two years I spent disciplining Maverick, as well as gaining his trust and vice versa. Through hours of hard work, excitement, and dangerous situations, our bond became tighter and tighter. I remember one winter ride I went on with Sammie Ellsworth and Audrey Shepherd. In the summer time the gravel pit would collect rain water in one particular space near the center of the pit. This large puddle was about 20 feet long and 10 feet wide. In the winter it would freeze over and was unnoticeable, making it was easy for us to completely forget that it was there. As we rode along, the frozen puddle was the least of our worries. I was the first to cross, and in the midst of trotting, Maverick slipped on the ice to quickly for me to do anything. His feet came out from under him and he fell flat on his side. I fell with him.
My legs were draped on either side of his barrel (abdomen), and my left leg should have been crushed considering that was the side he fell on. Instead, I felt nothing, and my left leg felt just as my right, intact and unharmed. Once he returned to his feet, I took a moment to contemplate what had just happened. My conclusion was this. In order for him to have completely avoided my leg, he would have to bend his body upward away from the leg in a cup shape motion. From this I deduced that he respected the fact that I was on his back and my well-being. Finally I had chipped the iceberg that was, and still is, Maverick’s hard skull. I had finally tapped into his mind, established a working relationship, and gained the trust that I so increasingly desired.