Blog by: Patti Marcotte
I did not want to ride tonight. I did not want to go outside. I did not want to tack up my horse. I did not want to longe him. I did not want to climb on. I did not want to ride.
I went outside anyway. I gave him extra love while I tacked him up. I said nice things to him while he warmed up on the longe line. I told him he was a good boy while I swung my butt up into the saddle.
I reminded myself that it is progress and not perfection that I wanted to achieve during our ride. I payed attention to my body and what it was doing. I reminded myself that my hands can make him calm and relaxed, or tense and obstinate, and I reminded myself to use them appropriately.
I asked for a trot and tried with everything in me to be soft in my posting and not to lean on the reins. I failed. I bounced and leaned…I stopped. I walked. Then, I asked for a trot again…post softly, relax your shoulders, give him his head, focus on being a good passenger before you worry about being on a good horse. The two are connected. I failed. I bounced and leaned. I walked again.
Another attempt at the trot, a soft post, soft hands, moments of brilliance. Walk to reward him for putting up with my very slow ability to learn this. Ask for a trot again, even longer with rhythm, softness, relaxation….walk again. Another moment of brilliance.
We’re both very slow learners. We’re both trying the best we can within the confines of our very dysfunctional relationship. A green horse and a green rider is a recipe for disaster. We make progress every time, no matter how small.
We survived my husband randomly popping up out of nowhere and sending him out of his hair. We survived.
I learned that his getting stuck in reverse always starts with swinging his butt out when we stop. He learned that behavior like that results in a quick reminder with a spur in the side to show him that he’s perfectly capable of stopping straight and walking off like a gentleman. He learned that I know when he’s ready to be done, but ultimately I decide when we’re done.
Yes, I didn’t want to ride tonight, but I did…
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