Having Calabar has been an amazing, life-changing experience for me, but it has not been without moments of doubt and sometimes sheer panic. There have been times when it was all I could do to slow my breathing enough to just get up on him and walk.
But I did. And when I wasn't hyperventilating in the arena, I was trail riding with him and introducing him to cows.
Maybe I'm just crazy. Or stubborn. Or both.
Mostly I just keep plugging away, not thinking about too much except how to improve us both, but today Lynn Reardon of LOPE fame reminded me to keep pushing on the boundaries. How did she remind me? With the questions at the bottom of this post. When I read through them, a few bells went off -- yes, people have told me they worry I'll get hurt; yes, there have been times I've done more ground work than riding. But I haven't heard the first one in a long time and I'm riding more, though I do still use ground work as part of our routine.
Routine is the operative word, here. Both Calabar and I are in a very safe zone. I push him a little here and there, but Lynn's post tells me it's time for us to do a little more. He is physically ready for sure--our vet says he looks the best she's ever seen him--and I think he's mentally ready, too. As for me, it's highly likely he is in better shape than I am, but my fitness level isn't too shabby and my confidence has actually been boosted a peg of late, too. The latter may have to do with my stubborn refusal to fall off again leading to, well, not falling off again, but hey. It works, right?
A thank you to Lynn for that bit of thought provocation--it poked me to recommit to this horse, my horse. My horse who, even after all our trials and tribulations, still meets me at his gate ready to work. Not only that, but he loads into a trailer and takes me up and down trails, chases mechanical cows and has even eyeballed a few real cows like he was ready to put them where they needed to go. He would probably even compete with me if I had the desire and could pick an event.
It's unlikely that I will pick one event, let alone compete, but I can do more with him and he can do more with me. Consider this a late New Year's resolution for us and we'll keep you all posted.