Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Epiphanies. And Why I Hate them Part 2

The man laughed awkwardly. "I've been told I'm someone who likes to be in control."

"You can't control your horse until you can control yourself."

Mark was still talking to the gentleman on the buckskin Andalusian. The man was an excellent rider, from what I could tell, but after noting the things Mark had pointed out I could tell what he was talking about. Years of instruction about leaning back to stop your horse, pushing out your stirrups, all of it was muscle memory for this guy. Hell, it was muscle memory for me, until that clinic in Sante Fe a year and a half ago. And still I would find myself doing the same thing - leaning back if my horse didn't stop, pushing into my stirrups as if they were brakes.

I wondered at the first horse who learned to stop when the human on him instinctively "applied the brakes", leaning deep into the small of the horse's back. That horse must have thought "Okay, I *think* he means to stop despite the fact that he's doing all this leaning thing" and managed to fight against his own balance and stopped. And was quite relieved when the leaning and pressure stopped.

Darn that willing and forgiving horse. He taught that human that you could overcome a horse's sensibilities. You could teach it to overcome our odd leanings, and stop.

But it would be tough. Tough on the horse.

Slowly the man gained control, but he realized this would be a longer journey, not something he could get done in 45 minutes.

I thought about Smokey and I. I've been troubled about my reluctance to take certain leaps with him. Sure, I'm not leaning back any more, but there are certain areas I just can't seem to move forward either.

It had been a year and a half since I rode in a clinic with Mark. We had fixed our brakes, come a long way. He is a fine horse.

But I've been at the limit of what I could do with him for some time. I've not been able to overcome my reluctance to go out on trail. To get out of a very very small box with him. How much longer was I going to go this way, standing in the way?

He's almost six. This is when he should be... doing a hell of a lot more.

"You need to get out of the way of your horse," Mark was saying. "It's like we yell at them in German. Sure, they don't speak German, but we think just by getting louder..."

We all laughed. I knew for me I wasn't yelling in German. But I wasn't keeping a conversation going either. Instead we were trodding over the same ground, over and over.

And not getting anywhere.

Maybe this just isn't a time of my life to get anywhere. Maybe, with everything, this is a time in my life to be still.

What does that mean for me?

And for Smokey?


Anonymous said...

It all depends . . . but thinking about it - and feeling about it - are all very good.

cheyenne jones said...

I do get what you mean, about being still.
Epiphanies are what they are, enlightenment. I would never call myself a horseman, more like a man who rides horses!Lol.

I was taught to ride the English way, as you would expect! But my epiphany came when I realised, that I should be riding for me, not anyone else. So now I ride for me, and with the horse. I`m not perfect, I have some faults!(a lot!)
But I really enjoy Trail riding, with my horse, we dont fight, argue or even discuss. We seem to, well, partner up ok.

Shirley said...

Our expectations,emotions and fears often get in the way, that's what's holding me up with Chickory. With Beamer, however, can just ride in the moment, and it's almost like I think=he does.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Sometimes we think too damn much and we just need to do.

Now...cut it out with the cliff hangers already. lol!


John and Regina Zdravich said...

I think you know what it means, and what you need to do. Try the trail.

Grey Horse Matters said...

I've never understood the whole putting your feet on the dashboard for brakes, wonder how the horses ever figured out it meant stop.

Seems to me our minds always get in the way of good riding. I'll bet once you stop thinking and just go ahead and do it you'll be one hell of a trail rider.

Laura Crum said...

Breathe--I thought about your post all day. I agree with what Kate said. I think I would add that I wouldn't get too worried about what you "should" be doing with Smokey in terms of progressing. There are many ways to get a horse solid, and I do believe that if you keep steadily working with him and staying within your comfort zone, you will progress--and you will eventually find your comfort zone expands. As long as you are comfortable with Smokey and he does what you ask, you ARE making progress in creating a solid horse. Just my thoughts.