Sunday, April 05, 2009

Small successes

Sometimes, even when I didn't get the exact training session I wanted, I get one that turns out okay.

I had planned to work on speed control with Bar, including the canter. We managed to do a little of that, but the real lesson today was that I can stay on him, in balance, pull him out of losing his little horsey mind, and get us both back on track.

The first time he tried to take off, I lost both stirrups and started to slide. But instead of accepting the inevitable and hitting the dirt, I wrapped my legs around him and pulled his head around until he gave and stood still. Got my feet back in the stirrups in the process, too.

We did okay for a little while, and then Lena and Katie came back from their walk down the driveway and Bar decided he was done working for the day. I disagreed, he argued, and tried to take off again--using some weird noise in the back of the arena as an excuse. He even did his favorite trick of pretending to spook towards an obstacle to see what I'd do. It didn't work well, though, because he slowed himself down to carefully jump over it, completely negating the facade that he was terrified and out of control. Not that I was buying it in any case, but that just made me laugh.

Both times I stayed on, both times I pulled his head around and got him back under control. Steve heard a ruckus, then heard my triumphant "Ha! I'm still up here!" and figured I was doing okay, even if Bar was being evil.

I know I should have been mad at him, and I was, but a lot less mad since I was so proud of myself for staying on and dealing with his behavior from the saddle. I rode him until he was paying attention to me instead of trying to spook in the back corner or stop at the gates the whole time.

So I didn't do exactly what I set out to do with him today, but I'll take this day as a small success anyway. It's all part of the path I need to walk with him, and sometimes that road is a little rocky, but it's also given me a lot of opportunity to push myself to the next level and grow--both as a horsewoman and just as a human.

I could sometimes wish for an easier route, but then I look at that big, brown face and think of how far we've come, and decide this is the path I was meant to take.

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