Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Mood Swing

I finally sucked it up, stretched out my leg and went to the barn today.  I didn't want to.  I had so many excuses.  Too much work.  Too cold.  Too tired.  I might hurt my leg again.  But the real reason was that the pony had a week and a half off and I was afraid.

It's funny how irrational fear is.  I couldn't tell you what I'm afraid of.  Falling off?  Embarrassing myself?  My brain can tell you that I have never come close to falling off, even when she bucks, kicks or spooks.  I've never been out of control on her.  Yet, my gut and my heart tell me I'm one second away from dying.  Funny thing about anxiety is you have to NOT trust your instinct because your instinct will tell you that you're going to die.  You just have to look at the situation very clinically.  Are the things I'm attempting to do things I could reasonably do?  Yes.  Is it likely that I will die?  No.  And so I went to the barn, attempting positive visualization while my gut tried to show me movies of horrible accidents.

Once out at the barn, I got the pony tacked up without incident.  We're back in the jump saddle until next week when the saddle fitter will bring out another round of saddles to try.  We go to lunge and the Princess begins her usual spin, face me, rear and stop.  She knows that I will then have to walk around behind her and start over again.  Every five steps she does this.  Sometimes she throws in giant leaps into the air.  Sometimes when she gets back to work she throws a huge buck and a double barrel kick out.  She's never anywhere near close to me and she does not do this with any malice.  About halfway through this, I'm sweating (in 40 degree weather) and starting to curse under my breath.  What the hell am I doing here?  She rears up again and hops like a bunny before spinning to face me, ears pricked.  I hate this horse.  I hate her.  I hate that it's only been a week and she's a raving idiot.  She takes this moment to launch forward before spooking frantically at nothing and kicking out again.  Ten minutes later and she's finally settled into the idea of just going forward and changing directions calmly.  This means we have to change sides.  I send up a quick prayer that we won't have to repeat because of the change of direction.  Yeah, right.  She spins, she rears, she stops.  I am selling her.  This is it.  I refuse to do this.  I do NOT have to put up with this.  I am getting a horse that isn't trying to get control all. the. time.  I want Snoopy, not Lucy.  This is too much.  I'm scared and I'm angry and I'm not having fun.

Then it hits me.  My horse is not trying to get control.  Not once has she pinned her ears or swished her tail.  She has not stared me down when she stops.  She has waited, her ears pricked and her eyes soft until I got back around her and without any whip, she has gone back to trotting.  She's just fresh and young and wishing I was another horse she could play with.  I'm not saying her behavior is okay (so NOT okay) but it's not a horse who wants to dominate me and stomp on me, it's a baby who wants to play because we haven't done anything for a week and a half.  I don't stop to contemplate this very long because I've got to suck it up and ride.

She stands like a rock while I get on.  Good girl.  She walks.  She trots.  She doesn't buck.  Not even once.     It wasn't a perfect ride but there was minimal fussing and no spooking.  Sure, I lost her attention some and she wasn't in super forward mode, but it was a great ride over all.

By the time I was done, the pony was off the market again and out of danger.  We will live to see another day together, another lesson and another step towards the relationship we both crave with each other.


  1. Glad you worked it through and that things came right for you and the pony.

  2. It's good to hear you had a bit of a break through Mona - one step at a time! :D You'll get there! :D

    bonita of A Riding Habit

  3. Good for both of you! I was glad that this blog post did not end where I thought it would.

  4. I love your pony because true to the cocky crazy arab nature she will teach you/ you will learn more from her than any other horse. How do I know? Cause I learned from my cocky crazy princess Arab. I might not have the best upper body form ( but my lower form is picture perfect) or we might not have the steadiest collection, but I have a damn good seat and am in tune with my horse better than most riders I know. Keep it up. It'll all work out.

    Have you tried ground driving? Not seriously, but if you had another line on her "outside" you could maybe keep her from spinning. Or maybe a firm side rein?
    Just a thought!

  5. another trick is to keep the longe on a smaller circle, so your lunge whip is behind the horse and she can not turn in.

    Have you ever read Lyons on Horses? You may benefit from the round pen/lunging exercises he outlines. I used his method to re-back my young horse and it worked wonders.

  6. Those Arabs teach us to ride and listen don't they! When you loose your patience, temper, etc - what is your body language telling Princess? Because in reading this, it sounds like once you got to that point she settled down.