Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Unraveling Horse Time

Sometimes when things unravel you find that there is nothing there.

Other times you find what you've been looking for, buried in the pulled yarn.

Then there are the times when you stand among the strands, you only begin to realize what it s you are looking for in the first place.

Things unraveled a bit on Saturday during a very lovely trail ride. There's an absolutely gorgeous trail over streams and through the woods around our stable that I never knew existed. Adam and I joined a couple who have boarded a bit longer for the ride. They knew the way around so we were pretty excited to check it out.

I took a few pictures, none very good, but here's one:

Cibolo was the youngest horse on the four horse trip and 90% of things went just fine. But I could feel the unraveling in him, just a tiny thread at first. He wanted to dictate where to ride. Wanted to stay up and trot without permission. Tossed a few crow hops. All of which was corrected, of course, but it was tiresome.

Then on our way back he stepped in a hole or something and hopped sideways a few times, a little freaked. It felt like a buck might be coming, but I kept his head up. He was wired after that and at one point I got off because I felt him escalating and knew getting across this one tricky part was not good in his current state. I got off and lead him across.

It was the smartest thing I could have done. When I got back on he was re-engaged, sort of like that let him (and me) chill for a second and catch our breath. Did another crow hop or two a mile later, and at that point I was just irritated. We rode back to the barn and I put him up.

Then we came home and I ate asadero and french bread. I have a pretty strict diet with no cheese and no bread at all. So this was some serious comfort food for me. I could write poetry about asadero, but I'll spare you (I blame Licon Dairy in San Elizario for my addiction. They make the best asadero in the universe).

When we went back on Sunday, Adam rode him and Sierra rode Lily. I hung out with Mireya since our pony trip fell through. (I want to take her to meet ponies, she was very excited, but the place I planned on going to is having some sort of "family issues")

I had no desire to see my horse, let alone ride. I observed Lily had started to give me attitude too (which I solved by pushing back a bit). Adam had cantered on Cibolo - something I've only been able to do a few times. All I wanted to do was go home.

I woke up in the middle of the night Monday, just lost. This is still no fun, hasn't been since Conception. I couldn't sleep for hours. I felt the anxiety that I had when I even contemplated the barn, riding.

I thought back, remembered with Canyon how I loved just going to the stables and working in the round pen.

I'd spend hours alone with him in the round pen, doing very simple things. I could trot and canter bareback. I wasn't afraid to canter on him in an arena or in the round pen, his issues always were related to other horses or horse eating animals in the woods (of which there were many).

I loved being alone with my horse. I came home relaxed and willing to give everything (as is required of a working mom) to everyone else.

Now I was coming home discouraged, angry, and tired. Instead of a break, this horse time has been more of an additional burden, another insistent chore that is never, ever done.

And honestly Cibolo's issues are minor.

But mine aren't. I may be regaining respect, but something inside is unraveled, and I wasn't even sure what it revealed. But my horses could see it. Because horses don't do white lies and half truths. They are always honest in their assessment and my pushy behavior wasn't really resolving the real issue.

Truth hurts.

This is getting too long - I'll write more tomorrow about what we did today and why... And visit some blogs. I've missed everybody!


Michelle said...

First, what's asadero? Never heard of it.
Anyway, so sorry to hear that you've hit a wall. I think many of us have moments where we feel a bit unraveled - very well put by the way. I hope that you find your center again and are able to resolve your frustration.

Anonymous said...

Focus on the things you love, and spend time doing those - don't force the pace for yourself, either - be kind to yourself! If, and as, the comfort begins to come back - build out from there. (Pretend you're my Dawn, and that you're training yourself - I do that sometimes and realize that many of the issues our horses deal with are the same things we face.)

Mrs Mom said...

I'll take a few days, when I hit the wall like that, and do the minimum- feed and clean- and leave horses be. I had a mentor to fall back on too.

Don't know what to offer, aside from hang tough and listen to your gut...

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

You know, I was watching Clinton Anderson on TV last night and he was advertising his "Signature Horses". He had a program in which he trains horses and then gets to know a buyer and helps match them up with the most appropriate horse. He then devotes a day to working with the buyer and the horse together, so that they are communicating clearly with each other. I thought that was brilliant. It sure beats buying a horse from a private owner who may or may not be honest, or even buying a young one from a breeder and having it trained your way. Some horses just take advantage of their riders, while others are kind enough to help them out. Horses do a good job of reflecting whatever is going on inside of us, that's for sure. I hope you get past this feeling of unease soon and can start enjoying your horse again.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Hmmmm, what a tangled web we weave...Be gentle with yourself, ok?


Trailrider said...

I counted at least 4 crow hops from Cibolo in this story. That's some serious misbehaving, in my opinion. And on a simple trail ride with just a few horses? And it sounds like he led the way and was his own boss most of the ride.

I don't care how it's done, but SOMETHING needs to give with this horse. Get firmer, kick some ass (without beating - why does kicking ass always have to be associated with beating?, it doesn't), go to this clinic or that, WHATEVER! But this kind of behavior is just more of the same.

I'd opt for some serious round pen work and RIDING in the round pen at all speeds, INCLUDING CANTER FOR EXTENDED PERIODS, and with lots of changes in direction.

HOWEVER you do it, this horse needs to respect you and you need to be able to ride him at all speeds. This horse is a more dominant horse, and I don't think that's going to change.