Saturday, November 22, 2008

Alright so this is laughable...

This week I rode Danielle's horse "Busta Move" AKA Buster. He was a very good boy for me.

Today I went on a trail ride on a 2 1/2 year old mustang filly who is not exactly balanced yet and trips quite a bit. We crossed a major ROAD!!! She did green baby stuff like not know how to get off the road by going up and over a berm. I helped her along with her balance and with the berm thing.

I need to just ride my own darned horses and learn to trust them.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Woo Hoo!

Yesterday I was offered an opportunity to ride a lovely well trained 20 year old Arabian gelding. He was so balanced and easy to ride that I was cantering him around in no time at all. I don't think I was on him longer than 20 minutes total.

It was an amazing gift. My first canter in 13 years where my fear was absent. I feel that my first canter on Shazzaam is no longer a far away goal or an unrealistic dream. I CAN ride versus that wierd place where I had to actually say that "I can't ride-yet".

Today I'm filled with hope, joy, gratitude, and humility.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Why do I Procrastinate?

It's been a long time since I've blogged anything and there is probably too much to update here. I haven't stopped riding. In fact, I'm getting to the point I am confident enough to handle myself horseback under more conditions than I thought possible in so short a time. My leg is becoming solid and strong and I feel that because of this, I'm no longer operating from a position of just keeping myself alive. I still procrastinate when it comes to riding and this I simply don't understand. Every time I get on Shazaam lately, the ride ends with me feeling like I could stay on him forever and yet I still put off getting back on. The closest thing I've had to any kind of a scare was when I was riding Maximus in the arena and he decided to squirt forward. I shut him down in one stride and my butt never left the saddle. I was unsettled for a half a second but it wasn't all that scary.

In fact the more these little things happen and I stay in control and on the horse, the more my confidence grows. Or so I believe.

My biggest concern lately has been handling Maximus on the ground, not so much riding him. You see, Maximus is a bottle raised thoroughbred so he is a bold and brave horse who lacks fear. This is something of a double edged sword though. He has to be constantly reminded that I'm not a horse and not his playmate or his play toy. I've totally accepted that he cannot be allowed to sniff or put his nose on me and that he must follow all the rules for leading and longing precisely and that he has to have a job standing in the corner at feeding time until he is released with a verbal cue to eat.

When I got him last year, he had food aggression issues that I worked though. As long as I fed him and isolated him at feeding time, he showed no aggression. I got him to where I could feed him oustide an arena during lessons and as long as I stayed with him, he did not attack the horse and rider in the arena.

The most recent problem started after I moved my horses to a barn close to home. Unlike other stables here, this barn does not allow any two paddocks to share a fence. There are alleys between every pen which works great for a horse like Maximus because no other horse can put their head in his corral at feeding time. This is a self care facility and my neighbors come to feed their horses twice a day like I do. Maximus started a game with them where he would rush the fence with his ears pinned when they walked by with feed for their horses. Well, these people are newbies with 3 green mares who are always trying to kill them so guess how they thought they could get Maximus to stop making ugly faces at them? They gave him some of whatever they had when he rushed them with his ears pinned!

Less than a month later I had a bonafide monster on my hands who reared at me if I passed him without feeding him or if heaven forbid, I dare to enter his paddock without food. So I got to the bottom of what the neighbors were doing and nicely asked them to ignore my horse altogether and started my strict rules about feeding. I seriously thought about making pony BBQ... Well, not really but I was not happy about the severity of the situation or the steps I'd have to take to rectify it.

He is doing much better although he still has some ideas about trying to be dominant with me. For instance today I did a little longing with him through a ditch and when he didn't want to do as I asked (go forward) he shakes his head and shows me his hip. So we'll be working on that this week.

Funny thing though,I'm not afraid of him. Maybe should be and I'm just not smart enough to know it.

I came to a realization with my horses today: The mustangs finally trust me now that I'm much more emotionally fit with them- the calm in the storm for them so to speak. Maximus never really trusted me per se. He simply had enough self confidence coupled with no innate fear of humans that my lack of emotional fitness didn't figure into the equation for him. So I suppose the only question that remains is: can I be enough of a leader to win the respect of such a bold and fearless horse? This is a new one for me.