Sunday, May 25, 2008

I have a confession

A couple weeks ago, I jumped off Bar. No, I didn't fall off - I really did jump. He started bucking and I bailed, landing - much to my own amazement - on my feet.

I did tweak my left knee a little bit, though not as badly as I hurt my right knee falling in the bathtub a year ago.

So, Friday night was my first (I think) ride on Bar where it wasn't a lesson or Steve wasn't in the arena with me on Lena. Yes, I admit, I had a hurdle to get over with him.

So hard to convince him to be calm when I'm sure he can hear my heart hammering in my chest.

Steve had ridden him, I'd ridden Lena, and I'd had a couple really helpful lessons with Bar, but I hadn't gotten back on him alone, in the arena, at feeding time, since I came off the last time.

So. I knew it was time to face it with him, even if we didn't do any more than walk around the arena. I had a couple goals: stay on, push myself into pushing him past a tantrum and into doing something I asked him to - even if he didn't feel like it - and ending everything on a positive note.

I am happy to say that he and I accomplished all of those goals, and then some.

I love this horse. He has so much personality and spirit, so much going on in that big, brown head of his, without a mean bone in his body anywhere. He's stubborn and opinionated and doesn't always see the value of what we're working on in the arena. (I can't say I blame him half the time, either - I'd rather be on the trail, too, but we have things to work on.) I could feel him bunch up underneath me when he started to get frustrated, but instead of reacting to him my normal neurotic way - you know, wrapping my legs around him and leaning forward - I'd open up and lean back. It's not that he would stop fighting me necessarily, but he would give just a tiny bit. He wouldn't press his 1,200 pound, lightening-fast advantage. He cooperated.

And he knew at the end he had done well, that I was happy with him, that we had worked a little more trust back into our relationship.

Baby steps, I told him, baby steps.

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