Yesterday I braved the cold and went to the barn after work. I actually have to go every day after work to feed George. My barn is kind of a self-service place…you get a stall but you clean it yourself and buy your own shavings. If your horse needs grain, you must feed him yourself. It is good in the sense that it MAKES you get out there and spend time with your horse. Especially if your horse is, say, high maintenance. Ahem.
Anyway, yesterday George was kept inside all day because the temps were in the teens and he does not have much of a winter coat. I had actually found a quilted winter coat to put on him so he can go out in this weather so my plan was to fit the coat in addition to giving him a good run in the indoor arena. Good plan!
As so often is the case, my plan did not go as planned. As I was leading George to the arena, he got very excited about the prospect of running. So excited in fact, he began hopping and bucking while still on the lead rope. After a few Hey!’s and Woah!’s, I was able to get his halter off and set him free. As this is the first time any horse, much less my own halter-trained horse, has done this while I have been leading, I was rather startled and, quite frankly, afraid. I hollered for a fellow boarder, Ned, who just happened to have stopped by the barn to feed his horse. As Ned came to my rescue, I did what every good horseperson does. I started to cry.
How is it that I can want something so bad (a horse of my very own) and be so afraid and un-confident at times (like when said horse is leaping up and down at the end of his lead rope)? It is a maddening addiction, I have decided.
In my constant effort to scrutinize and dissect what exactly happened, I know that George was just being a horse. A horse that had been inside on a brisk, bright day with no buddies to play with and no friends to run with. Ok. Logical enough. George is also still getting used to his herd and the whole pecking order that presents so he is acting out as a result of his confusion and frustration as to where he is. Ok. Logical enough. It is ok to be afraid at times during the learning curve…that’s how you learn. RescueSquadNed assured me last evening that I am doing everything right. I am mixing groundwork with my riding, I am giving George days off, I am correcting his behavior when needed. George is a tough cookie and soon enough he will settle into this barn and environment and new rider thing. I have to be patient and consistent and ask for help when I need it and that is ok.
What I don’t need to do is fall apart when things don’t go quite as planned. Don’t be so damned emotional. Easier said than done…we’ll see what this evening brings.