Monday, April 30, 2012

11 - Not wanting to learn the lessons we need.

I haven't posted lately, because my confidence was a bit shaken by my sweet, predictable mare.  Looking back, I should have known we were going to have a bad day.  She CLEARLY told me that she wanted nothing to do with riding, work, lunging, her pasture mate, pretty much everything.  I've had those days.  I just didn't know SHE had those days.  I've owned her for some time, and, I guess I've just been REALLY lucky that we've not spent any time together on THOSE days.

So, the long story later.  But, the short of it is, there was bucking.  I've never had a horse with a bucking problem.  I've prided myself with starting horses the 'right' way, so that there IS no bucking problem.  And, I've started a handful of horses, so, I thought I had a pretty good thing going.

Bluebird on the fence.
But, just because I don't cause problems, doesn't mean I shouldn't be prepared to handle them.  And, I only had a few tricks in my bag.  I've ridden through bucks enough times that I had no reason for concern.   "Pull their head up, and push them on", has been sufficient.

The last time I can remember being nervous (the kind of nervous, where you wonder if you are going to fall off, not the kind of nervous where you really want to win the class), was when I was just learning to ride.  I was at a very nice hunter jumper barn called Storybook Farms, in Hudson.  I was probably about 8 years old.  I remember riding a little flea-bitten grey horse named Mouse.  Mouse kept spooking in the one corner of the outdoor ring, because there were chickens wandering around in the leaves and trees by that corner.  Every time we went in that corner, Mouse would spook.  I didn't fall, but I lost my stirrups repeatedly, and nearly came off, almost every time.  I remember being scared.  My instructor kept making me go back, over, and over again.  I did NOT like that riding lesson.  I've fallen off more than a dozen times, but, thankfully, there hasn't been that KNOWING that something bad is about to happen.  All my falls have just happened, unexpectedly, pretty much.  I didn't fall off of Mouse that day, and my sweet mare Dottie, did not buck me off.  But, they both succeeded in giving me the least enjoyable rides of my life.  It's all about the KNOWING that something is going to happen that causes fear.

I've had some time to reflect, and I can now thank my sweet mare for her nasty day; she gave me the opportunity to learn.  To become a better trainer.  I can appreciate that now, but, a week of nervousness and anticipation of what might happen on our next ride, was unfamiliar territory for me.  How else can we become better riders, unless we are challenged by our horses from time to time?  Thank you Dottie.  Let's not do it again, though.  I've learned my lesson.


  1. Very true. Great post.

    What you wrote about "knowing" being the worst part is the reason that I always try to imagine my horse exactly how I want him to go. I try to keep anything that I do not want out of my mind. This does not mean that I never get rambunctious behavior, but at least I am not tense in anticipation. A flat ball doesn't bounce like a well-inflated ball. That theory has kept me in the saddle on more than one occasion!

  2. Thank you! I actually visualized how I would handle her buck, for our next ride. But, that isn't exactly visualizing how I want her to go. I wonder if my ball was flat or well inflated....! Ha! I love the analogy!


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