Friday, June 29, 2012

Fear of Commitment

First of all, I am so grateful to all of you for letting me vent and for offering up such good advice.  I re-read everyone's comments two and three times and really thought about things.  Then I read my post again and thought some more.  When I got tired of thinking about it, I got my lazy butt out to the barn.

I pulled my horse out of the pasture and led her toward the arena.  The wind had picked up and the horses were feeling feisty.  Someone came out of the Porta Potty and Tessa startled, splaying all four feet out and snorting.  We made it to the arena where I let her run off some steam since she hadn't been worked yesterday.

I began brushing her.  She was her usual squirrel-y self, swishing her tail if I brushed a sensitive spot and lifting a front foot every time she was uncomfortable.  I was feeling good about selling her.  I didn't want a horse that was squirrel-y.  I brushed her front feet and glanced back at the mud encrusted fetlocks of her back feet.  Shaggy back feet because I was too chicken to get back there with the clippers.

"Nobody is going to buy a horse with shaggy back feet" was my thought as I went back and brushed her back feet thoroughly.  With no fanfare, I put her tail up in a knot and started clipping her back feet.  She napped.  Then I picked through her tail, combing it out.  She stuck her lower lip out and sighed.  I realized I wasn't nervous.  I was hanging around her back end and there were no nerves.

We rode in the jump saddle today to work on our cantering to the right.  Since I was in the jump saddle, I went ahead and put down some poles.  We warmed up, doing our usual push pull where I pushed her with my legs and pulled her with my reins and tapped her with my whip and she ignored me.  Then I just stopped.  I thought about buying a different horse, one who wouldn't fight with me.  I took the personal aspect out and just rode.  Tessa responded to my indifference by just going forward.  Now that we weren't locked in a battle, we were just riding.

We got our canter to the right after only four twenty meter circle fights.  Once she figured out that I was going to ride it in half seat, she wasn't nearly as fussy.  So now I KNOW it was my pinching, shoving, grinding seat that was blocking her.

As I was careening around, huffing and puffing in two point position at the canter, I realized I was doing something off my "Perfect Horse" list.  Remember, I wanted to just go around and work on my two point.  Oh, hey.  Look at that!  Doing it.  So we made lap after lap while I worked on two point.  I was sweating bullets in no time.

We trotted over poles and picked up the canter right afterwards.  Was it pretty?  No.  Was it fun?  Heck yeah!

When the ride was over, I kicked my feet out of my stirrups.  We trotted.  So cross that off the list too.  No stirrup work?  No problem.  I just need to DO it.

At the end of one of the funnest rides yet (uh oh, Mona Sterling who just bought a custom dressage saddle....are you going to end up in the Hunter ring?) I took Tessa to the wash stall to rinse out her tail.  Laura wandered over and asked how our ride was.  I ended up telling her about how I thought I should sell Tessa and get an older horse etc. etc.
She paused and grinned and said "Mona, I'm gonna do some horse trainer psychology right now.  Are you ready for this?"
I didn't answer, just stood next to Tessa who was cocking a leg and sighing deeply.
"You are afraid of commitment."  And with that statement and a good chuckle, she sauntered off.

I turned to my little pony who I've owned just shy of a year.  My horse who has filled out, grown up and gone from an introverted terrified filly into a spicy, smart mare.  My horse who is still a bit insecure but comes in from the pasture to greet me.  My horse who pins her ears when I brush her belly and dances when I hose her legs but who calls for me when I walk away from her.  I gave my funny little Arab sport pony a scratch on her wither and went right back to washing her tail.

I'm taking the mental For Sale sign down.  I'm committing to this horse, this experience.  I'm gonna own this shit and we're gonna DO THIS.  Next up on my list from the 'Perfect Horse'?  Jumping and trail riding.....I'm making a plan, people.  I am making. A. Plan.


  1. Words can't express how happy I am for you.

    I had a dream once too. I dreamt that one day, I would have a horse that I could lope big, lazy, slow, draped-rein circles on. I ended up with Chev, a then-2 year old with little training. And four years of work later, about a year ago, after moving to Wyoming, and a year after starting her canter work--I had my moment. One day, we were just loping along. Slow, big, lazy, draped-rein circles. I was so happy I almost cried. I did laugh out loud. Finally...riding my horse was getting fun.

    That moment when riding stops being stressful and lots of work, and starts being really enjoyable is one to cherish. I think it marks a real turning point. I'm glad you committed long enough to that little mare to have that moment with her. May there be many more to come! Go Mona!

  2. I am thrilled for you! Just know you are Not alone with the 'what if I had a different horse' thoughts. I am fortunate to have people around me cheering me on thru the naughty mare times - and those same people reminding me how far I have come. Sounds like you have that kind of friends also - and of course, all your followers in horse blog land :) Plans are good!

  3. "That moment when riding stops being stressful and lots of work, and starts being really enjoyable is one to cherish."

    You're not alone in working your way towards Chevelle's comment! And it is w-o-r-k. This post made me smile. :)