Sunday, August 14, 2011

WTC for Smokey, Back up to Speed on Lily

The birthday marathon season is almost over and I managed to put in three solid day s on the horses - after two weeks off.

It started predictably - Lily acting as if she's never been out of a barn in her life, Smokey acking like a 900 pound toddler. Fortunately I recognize these things as part of who they are, not some sort of alarming trend.

It made me think of what it is our horses need from us and how it can be so different with each horse.

Lily, for example, as solid as she is, has a thing with worry. She tries to please but if you start to worry, she takes it and runs with it. She needs assurance, emotional assurance, from her rider. I can canter her around an arena, but when a young girl gets on her Lily feels the girl's worry and progressively gets chargy.

I get back on her and she exhales. And we go into a gentle lope, no problem.

Smokey, on the other hand, needs me to be focused and pretty stern. He is like a butterfly, wanting to flit from thing to thing. Our Sunday session fell apart a bit, and while I cobbled it back together, I realized that I need to remember to work on one thing at a time. And if it's not the day to work on it (when he gets frustrated) to refocus myself and work on plan B with the same strict attention to detail.

It's no accident that I have two horses that are so soft to the touch that I need to pay attention to details. This is exactly the kind of sense of humor God has always had with me. I had said I didn't mind waiting to have our second baby, but I didn't want to be changing diapers on my 40th birthday.

Mireya, our second child was born two months before my 40th birthday. Because SOMEBODY apparently finds these things funny.


So challenging Ms. Big Picture with two horses that are all about details?

Funny. REAL funny.

Cody, he's a horse you could ride all day and basically get away with kick to go, pull to stop. Your legs could flop all over and he'd just go with it. You need no attention to detail with that horse, just a general sense of direction.

But of course I can't have that kind of horse. No, no, no.
Because how would that help me grow?

On another note the trainer asked me to head out for a trail ride. I opted out. There is no way I'm ready after two weeks off. I need some desensitization. Some reintegration time. I finally asked her how long it had been since she'd been on a horse that bolted on a trail with her. She was silent for a minute and admitted it had been a while. It's been a while for me too. but right now, I'm going to do what I can and build my confidence. I'm simply not in a place to dive in. I'm sure she sees a horse that could be doing so much more.

But for me, I just want to work up to it. Maybe in September.


Shirley said...

No sense pushing things- you'll know when the time is right. It's wonderful how much our horses teach us about ourselves... if we listen.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

You gotta do what's right for you. And only you know what that is.

For me it took a year to get back in the saddle after Apache kicked me. It just felt like it was time. Plus I had the motivation of wanting to ride in a local ACTHA CTC, just 4 miles from my house. And I sought out help from a fellow ACTHA rider and she just so happened to be going to a group lesson that same weekend. It was fate.
And the next weekend, it was time to challenge myself to ride in the ACTHA ride, mostly all by myself on my horse.
I even thought I was a little crazy after not riding my horse for a year, just getting on her back for a group lesson and then the following weekend, riding a 7 mile Competitive Trail Challenge.
But it felt right...

You'll know when it's right, too.


aurora said...

Good for you, no reason to rush things. You will know when you are ready.

Maia said...

As far as I'm concerned, you're doing everything right with both of your horses. You're taking the necessary baby steps to get them where they need to be.

Until you've descensitized (sp?) Smokey a bit more, I wouldn't take him out on the trail. It's not worth it. You'll know when it's right and don't let anyone bully you into going before both of you are ready.

Cara said...

Professional horseman are very interested in making forward progress. That is how they and their industry measure effectiveness. They can easily forget that amy owners do not have as pressing a need for this.

Allenspark Lodge said...

I have an old cowboy friend that says "The stars all have to be aligned before you climb on a horse, and only you know when they are. But then RIDE!"


Cheyenne said...

You will know when the time is right.

Grey Horse Matters said...

There's no sense in doing what you don't feel safe and confident doing. If it was me I'd probably wait until I had a few more rides under my belt too. Time and consistency is always the way to go for the horses and me. If I don't feel they are up to it or I'm not then we go back a step where we are both comfortable.

Fetlock said...

Your trainer seems to be awfully set on pushing you....jeez, it's a good thing that you're an assertive person--I'm the type who would probably cave and go, even if I was worried, because I'd assume that the trainer knew more than I did.

There are many times I wish I had a horse like Cody, too--but as you say, I wouldn't be learning nearly so much! Great post.

Trailrider said...

Experiencing different horses is very good for us. It shows us many different ways to get to the same goal. And that can only make us better. It also means that we won't always NEED a "Cody". As a better horseman, most ANY horse will fit the bill, because we will have the skills to handle the challenge.