No real rhyme or reason to it…

I commented briefly before that I can’t figure myself and my fear issues out. I really can’t. It’s like there are some horses I’m fine on even if they do misbehave and others, forget it. I want off. NOW.

The SAFE show was a prime example of this. The vet put the kibosh on showing Honey (who I was very comfortable on) so a friend brought a sale Thoroughbred for me to show. He was just lovely. Dapple gray, elegant looking, pretty mover. Well, I got on him and after one circuit of the warm up ring at the walk, he dove for the out gate. I wasn’t expecting it and we nearly took out a pony. I got off and I said, uh-uh, not going to do this.

Half my brain was telling me I should have fought it out, but the other half provided the convenient (and actually accurate) justification that the warm up ring is not the place to have a battle with a horse you don’t know and that it is unfair to jeopardize other people’s safety with a horse you may not be in control of. (Especially when the horse has scared the crap out of you and you are all weak in the knees like you narrowly avoided a car accident) So I took him back to the trailer and one of the other girls from the barn said “oh yeah, he dove out the gate with me at home, too.” Well, okay then…

By then the Cowgirl Spirit trailer had pulled in and I figured I would try to commandeer Class, a Quarter pony I’d worked with a little earlier in the year, for a class or two. Instead, Juliane suggested I ride Prince Caspian, the rescue’s newest project, in the 40+ walk trot.

“Is he broke?” I asked. I knew he hadn’t been just two weeks ago.

“Yeah, he’s great! I’ve ridden him four or five times now.”

Four or five times. Juliane being Juliane, she had already fearlessly trail ridden him, taken him into the river, etc. I looked at him. He looked really calm. So I got on him and he just plain felt calm. He felt solid. I felt solid. So even though he was dead green and he went sideways all the way down one side of the arena when he saw the flapping banners on the fence, I never felt unsafe or unconfident or like I wanted to get off. I felt like I was in control. We were good to go. I enjoyed the challenge of trying to keep him straight and focused. (He got adopted very shortly after the show, by the way!)


So why was I okay on one and not the other? I’d love to analyze it out. Well, I do truly hate gate darters. I have this vivid memory of a horse that my friend was on darting into the barn from the arena and sliding right onto his side when he hit the slippery wood floor. That was over 20 years ago but certain things stick in your mind, and that stuck in mine. Still, that’s not all of it. I just can’t explain it. Green Arabian, normally a breed I’m wary of, no problem. OTTB, normally my comfort zone, I just wanted to get off.

I hear this from a lot of you though. You’ve had the same thing happen. Allegedly “easy” horses scare you, whereas you effortlessly deal with “difficult” ones. There are certain horses you’ll fearlessly bomb around bareback on, and other horses you feel nervous walking around the round pen. Why? Why? Why? Wouldn’t it be great if we could just figure it out?

When I was younger, I used to psych myself up to ride the really nutty greenies by visualizing that I was on one of our old school horses who was in a mood and needed to be sorted out. It worked really well. I’ve tried to do that now, and it works inconsistently. Some horses, I just want to get the hell off of. This drove me crazy at first, and now I’ve decided, eh, it’s okay. I’m not training for a living or anything. It’s fine if I don’t want to ride something. I used to worry that – especially if I backed down and got off the ones that scared me – the fear would keep growing like some kind of fungus until it took over and I was afraid to ride everything but the 25 year olds, but that hasn’t happened. I just can’t make total sense of what has happened, and for a super logical, must-analyze-everything person like me, it annoys me.

Ah well, that’s my SAFE show report amid lots of rambling. I lost my girth at the SAFE show and as a result of that and just lack of time, the VLC has been on vacation. I started longeing him again the past two days and I think I’m going to finally ride him again tomorrow. He’s so easy to longe that if I wait til the end of the evening, that’s all I do because I can almost fall asleep standing there holding the line. I need to make my own horse a priority again, instead of letting him wait until after I’ve ridden the horses I’m riding for other people!

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Published in: on September 3, 2008 at 6:02 am  Leave a Comment  

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