Green horses are not for the faint of heart. Often, my heart is faint. So, is the joke on me?
Tuesday I went out to hack, and my horse was just in a god awful mood. He was bad for the farrier. I pulled him out before feeding time (when I get there after work happens to always be feeding time), and gave him a snack of his dinner in the crossties. Usually that makes him happy because he feels like he got dinner, and then we can have a nice working session without me worrying about stressing his tummy out full of grain. But on Tuesday, Po was not to be fooled. He danced around so much in the crossties that I could barely get the saddle on. I had to growl at him the entire time.
I went to lunge (of course I lunged, I’m not stupid) and he kicked out at me first thing… which has never happened. There was some leaping and he tried to run away once, but I got him back down to civil levels and I hopped on to ride. At first, the ride was fine. A bit electric, but fine, but when we cantered he pretended to spook at the cows and took off dolphin leaping towards the in-gate. I was never in any danger of getting bucked off, but when I realized he was trying to run back to the barn I saw my death in my future with him splaying out on the gravel walk back to the barn and yanked my inside rein (felt like trainer would approve of its usage this time) to one-hand stop him.
To be blunt, it pissed me off. The rest of the ride we marched around the ring angry at each other. We ended on a good note, but I was rattled.
Trainer rode him the next day, and said he started reactive (that’s probably my fault) but ended well. She also did a light ride on him yesterday, and I had a lesson last night. When I got to the barn, I let him eat 1/2 his dinner in his stall, told myself I was not to harbor any feelings of resentment from the other day, and faked a good attitude to my horse. He was excellent, though tired, in our lesson. I continued to try and not use my inside rein, with an added bonus of hearing that I need to keep more weight in my outside leg at the canter…. a struggle going left, where I am apt to protect my bum right knee (the surgery knee that has never been the same). But it was a good lesson. My horse was good. I tried. I’m slowly getting more fit (so, so slowly). I’m trying to adjust to the new instruction and fix the many, many issues with my equitation.
So why am I a little down?
It’s not a rational feeling. It’ll pass. But I miss doing all the things.
I literally had a horse show nightmare last night where all of my friends were showing and doing great things on great horses, and I watched on the sidelines because my horse is still trotting at home. In the dream, someone lent me a loaner horse that got hurt at the last minute so I ran around the show asking if I could pay anyone to ride something for one 2’6″ division. No takers.
I woke up feeling bummed and disappointed, because it’s pretty much reality right now for me. Minus the begging for rides or money to lease. I won’t beg, and I can’t afford to lease something going while Po and I get trained together. Man, I wish I could! Alas, I’m fortunate to have the horse I have… grateful… blah blah blah.
Forgive me for sounding entitled and whiney. I’m being both. The truth is, I’ve had my horse for two years and I thought we’d be doing the things by now. We’re not for a variety of reasons. Some I had control over, many I didn’t at all. The fact is he needs what he’s getting now (we both do), and this is the correct path for a better longterm future. So I’m not upset about all the nuances of flatwork and careful training and re-training. I actually geek out on that stuff, and I already see the difference.
But I feel like I am stuck on an evergreen. Showing (and by showing, I mean me showing in an actual division not doing a hack class or going for exposure) feels just as far away as it did when I first bought him two years ago. Logically, I know this isn’t true. Logically, I know the slow path is the better path. If we skip things now, they will bite us in the future. Everything is happening as it should.
But I miss when I used to do things. I miss trying to win stuff. I miss cruising around a 2’6″ course confidently. I miss Simon. I miss, I miss, I miss.
This will pass. I know it will. But I’m going to pause, recognize the feeling. It is very hard to go from showing your heart horse successfully to a young baby that doesn’t know how to steer. And it’s a long and tiring process to try and get back to that place. Longer and harder than I thought it would be.
Now time to get back to fixing my inside rein dependencies.