Sunday, November 8, 2009

RIding alone

One thing I think I need to do more of is ride alone.

One, I need to do it to get through my own issues. It's amazing how you'll lean on someone if they are there and how much you'll accomplish on your own.

I learned this when I was rock climbing. If you climb with someone who is really good, you tend to have them string up climbs for you and then you just follow. But if you are climbing with beginners or with people at your same level with different strengths, you have to carry your own weight. They are looking to you for leadership, in a way.

In that situation, you have to work through your fears, whatever they may be. In climbing, it was about overhangs, a challenge for me since my upper body strength was not that great. My skill in climbing was really in balancey moves, or anything that required leg strength and flexibility.

But sometimes, there's an overhang. And you have to climb it.

I had a break on Saturday and went out with Cibolo on my own. I was actually in a bad mood due to some non horse related issues, but I had to go out to feed and so there I was surrounded by horses who were sated with grain.

I initially went to Lily, but I knew that was a cop out. I need to work with Cibolo. Period. Lily has been ridden lately and Cibolo had some days off - on top of the fact that I need to build on things with him.

But I was crabby. So I called on my inner Annie Oakley (to go from crabby to firm) and off we went. For some reason the test administered by Cibolo on Saturday was about the bit.

Off we go in circles, off we go in backing up, off we go in general. Then in goes the bit.

Then we trotted up and down the road. Because I knew I didn't have him yet. But we worked it out after four trips up and down the road. Then he was there. I don't know how I knew. He was giving, willing, carrying his head lower. Quiet. So off we went into the trees. We did some backing and circling to focus when the bushes rustled with the deer in hiding from the hunters.

(which always reminds me of this song)

By the end of the ride my bad mood had lifted and we were going it alone up steep embankments without hesitation. Off the trail. Through trees. Over rock outcroppings.

Two, I need to ride alone so my horse sees me as leader. There is no better climber, no stronger voice. And we get through it in a trusting, positive way. There is only us, and everything is simple.

I used to be afraid to ride alone. It was not exactly safe on Canyon. But I'm getting closer to feeling solid to ride alone anywhere.

Closer. Not there yet. But that's okay. Horses take things slow. And so do I.

Then, because I thought it was time, I decided to load him in the trailer. Just to see if we could. We haven't in weeks.

One circle outside. Then one hop in to see if there was grain in the bucket, then out. Take a breath. Then in with a pause and out again.

Patience. Stand outside for a second. Then in calmly and stand and be secured in place.

Given where we started a few months ago, I'd say this was darn impressive.


Gail said...

Impressive! I have four horses, two trained. First my excuse was I had no round pen, now I find another excuse not to ride.

I think it may be fear.

Cactus Jack Splash said...

Good job. I will ride by myself but only in the arena...Jack is still too green to go out along

Breathe said...


Fear is a tough thing. The justifications you go through are amazing and convincing. I honestly don't know if I'd do this if I didn't have to set an example for my kids.

FlyingHorse2 said...

Fantastic progress from a crabby start. Horses are the best therapists in the world and they cost as much as the ones with a Ph.D or M.D.! LOL!

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

I'm impressed! Good for you. You are making steps.


Veronica said...

Definitely impressive!

Paint Girl said...

That is so great! I love hearing about your progress with Cibolo.

Michelle said...

Sounds like you're making great strides! Congratulations!

Kate said...

Good job working through your crabbiness!

I actually prefer riding alone - my Maisie tends to be calmer when it's just us and sometimes the other riders are distracting - it's hard for me to keep riding when I'm talking to someone.

Once Upon an Equine said...

I think you are right; there are lessons for horse and rider to learn when it is just the two of us. (On the other hand, its nice to have someone along to call 911 if needbe :-). I rode alone last Friday but am still at the stage where I have to talk myself into it and when I dimount I breath a sigh of relief. But if I don't ride alone, even if it is just riding circles around my house, then it could be weeks & weeks (sometimes months) before arranging to ride with a buddy.