Why is it that we are expected to find the perfect horse partner right away? I'm not talking about how long you 'look' at horses to buy, I'm talking about after you buy them. It seems to me that the horse world has decided that once you pick out the horse, unless there is something catastrophically wrong with it, that you stick with that horse.
If I had done this with boyfriends, I would be the most unhappily married person ever. However, I find myself thinking that with horses.
Here's the thing. I like Licorice. He likes me. But he's more sensitive guy than stalwart companion. If I'm anxious, Licorice is anxious. And now that we're outside our comfort zone, I'm definitely anxious. And so Licorice is more anxious.
Yet when I think of selling him, I think about being a failure and having had two horses in the last five years. And then I think I'm just going to keep buying horses and ingraining them with my anxiety and no matter what horse I get, I will make them a hot mess.
Only....in my heart of hearts, I know that's not true. I know that I can find a teacher in a horse who will tolerate or ignore my anxiety without escalating.
It feels very depressing right now because I don't want 'give up', but I'm not having fun. I force myself to go out and to ride and at the end of a ride I do feel successful and happy but I have to give myself a pep talk EVERY TIME.
I actually got a Groupon for a Western barn (gasp! the Dark Side! Yes!) and went and took a lesson there this morning. The trainer said "You are a beautiful rider. No matter what discipline you choose, you'll be successful. Your body position is great."
I told her I had confidence issues and she shrugged and said "We have quiet horses. We have horses for lease if you wanted to lease one for a while. These are pleasure bred Quarter Horses and they're meant to be quiet."
Sure enough, my little pleasure mare I rode on was quiet. And despite being a new horse, in a new arena in Western tack, I had no anxiety. None at all. Hmmmm. Thinking. Thinking. Thinking.
So, that's where I'm really at and it sucks. It sucks to waffle and hem and haw and to feel overwhelmingly guilty and stupid and to re-hash every moment. I'm trying hard not to do that to myself but to simply decide to move forward and see what happens. And I'm totally going back and taking another Western riding lesson on a dead quiet horse.