Monday, November 6, 2017

Having Faith in the Horse Beneath You

This past weekend I was working on flying changes with my young gelding, Bertie. I had an introduction to them earlier this year, under the supervision of a talented clinician, and have felt a bit nervous to get to work on them. I can become so paralyzed by the fear of messing up a nice young horse, at times, so I admit I've been sticking to my comfort zone a bit. Flying changes, with grace, are still a bit of a "big kid" move, and I feel like I mentally set myself at the little kids table all too often.

Warm up went smoothly, and I felt we had really synced up for the ride so I decided this was it; it was time to really get down to business on the changes.

The first time I asked for it I expected some difficulty, as we hadn't touched them in nearly 2 months. I took him across the diagonal, felt no change, and started to do a fairly strong half halt on the outside rein as I swung my outside leg back with all the tact of a neanderthal.

Just as I committed to my ridiculously loud aides, I glanced down and my darling boy had actually switched his lead cleanly and so nicely that I hadn't even felt it. Oh. My. Gosh.

Of course by then I had committed to my barbaric aides and could not stop them. My ever-patient partner's only response was to swish his tail and lay his ears back briefly as if to say "I've already done it, dummy!" I apologized and praised and went on with my ride to get two more clean changes (and a couple of fumbles on my part) but since then I have had the phrase "YOU NEED TO HAVE MORE FAITH IN YOUR HORSE" bouncing around in my head in bold type.

Pardon the language, but Hell-Yes I need to have more faith in my horse! He's a star, as are so many horses in our lives. We just need to figure out how to stay out of their way and let them get on with being the incredible, nobel beasties they are. And so, I am going to make "have more faith in your horse" my mantra, this week and try to remember:

A good horse can handle himself, even under a fool of a rider.

--- The Mindful Rider, November 2017 ---

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