Picking up the Pieces
Yep. I’m a chicken. That ol’ fear gene has reared its head again and I am not sure I am going to work past it this time. If Black were the only horse I have… if I loved this horse so much that I couldn’t imagine NOT riding him… if I had one of those personality types that had to prove I was boss… and a handful of other “ifs”, I might work through it. But for today, for now… I’m not tempted.
I really didn’t feel afraid of him after my fall. I was more disappointed than anything as I felt I had come quite a ways with him and with my own confidence issues. My little voice said, “Heal thy ribs and thy bruises.” And most of all “Stay healthy for Cowgirl Weekend!” So he pastured while I recovered. He pastured while I went to Cowgirl Weekend. So today was the day to be reintroduced and see if I could pick up the pieces and go on.
I was disappointed to find John went to football practice with Case. I’ve ridden him in the past when no one was home, but that was “before” the incident. But I had psyched myself out for this day and decided to proceed. I’ve learned long ago I can give myself permission to quit at any time. I tucked my cell phone in my back pocket as I headed out the door.
He walked right up to me in the pasture, quietly slipping into the halter. Followed me quietly to the hitching post. His winter coat has come in and he is very black again. Soft. Pretty. Picked up his feet softly. He let me hold them one by one until I put them down. Tacked him up and took him into the round pen. He waited patiently for me to cue him forward. And gave me a nice trot. He did all the right things.
Put the bridle on and “bit him back” as Brenda taught me. Continued to work him on the ground. He was nicely collected. He looked very pretty. I whoa’d him, petted him and got him ready to mount. He stood quietly as I climbed on. Flexed both directions picked up the reins and cued him forward.
Purposely kept him from the gate. Did serpentines on the other side of the round pen, cutting it in half. He moved nicely off my leg. Seemed to be listening to me. So I let him move to the rail and attempted to go by the gate and was disappointed when he stopped there. And this is when I learned that I wasn’t where I thought I was with him. I couldn’t move him forward.
“Couldn’t”. Not in the physical sense. A better horseperson would not have had a problem moving him away from the gate. Heck, I could do it 30 days ago! But as I clucked and added leg pressure and got no results, I knew I was not brave enough to be any more assertive than that. Where one month ago I used the appropriate pressure to keep him moving beyond, I locked up today.
I dismounted & put the lunge line back on and moved him away from the gate. We worked another 5 minutes going past the gate. I even worked him with me outside the gate keeping him on the rail and not stopping by the gate. Remounted, did the same routine and ended up right back at the gate with sticky feet and a knot in my stomach.
I decided to try ground driving. Hooked up the lunge lines as Brenda had shown me with Windy. (As a side note, whenever I try something I’ve done with Windy on a different horse, it makes me appreciate how easy Windy is.) Black took issue with the driving lines – was a bit confused & skittish. I stayed with him and drove him, but he never relaxed and as a result, nor did I.
I untacked him and left him tied to the hitching post as I went and fetched Butter. I know I am not afraid to ride Windy. But I needed to know that it was Black who I was fearful of – not horses in general. I tacked Butter and took her to the arena. We trotted the rail, went around the obstacles, opened the gate & went down to the cow pasture. Whoops! I forgot the rented bull is in the cow pasture and imagine my surprise when I was riding up to what I thought was Coco the cow and “Bully” rises and gives us the look like “who are you and why are you here!” Butter and I high-tailed it back to the barn. It’s Black. Not Windy or Butter or Blue or Ginger… its Black who has scared me once again.
So…. Where do I stand with this horse? Who knows? I like him. I really do! But I’ve been down the fear road before and not sure I want to travel there again. Is conquering my fear with him worth compromising my confidence with the other horses?
Did he make you cry
Make you break down
Shatter your illusions of love
Is it over now- do you know how
Pick up the pieces and go home
To be continued….