I have very seriously enjoyed every facet of owning a horse.
Sue has his own silly little personality. Like any young creature, he likes to test his boundaries… everything from nibbling on my arms to pushing on me with his nose. He tries it in the arena (“You want me to run? I’ll show you run!”). For me it’s been a learning lesson because I’ve had to learn the basics about horses and their behavior as well as the ins and outs of riding. My trainer is one of the coolest people ever, but she challenges me. A lot. I love that, even though it’s hard and sometimes uncomfortable. Dana gets me and helps make me a better rider, even on the days we don’t ride and just do groundwork.
A couple weekends ago I had a ride that started off rough and then felt like everything that could go wrong did. When I tried to mount up, Sue started a little bit of bucking, which scared the daylights out of me. Lesson 1 of the day: pay attention to your horse when walking to the arena… if the cinch (the strap that goes around their belly) is pinching at all, climbing up in the saddle can hurt them, causing bucking. After that, I lost a bit of confidence and by God, that horse knew it. He tested me at every chance (didn’t lope when I asked, stopped when I didn’t ask, etc), but we made it through. I went home feeling like the worst rider in the world.
I went back for a trail ride the next day and everything fell back into place. Over the last two lessons, things have just clicked. I feel like Sue understands what I’m asking him and actually wants to do it. We had one of the most wonderful lopes around the arena that I’ve ever had with him – we made it four or five times around before I asked him to walk. It was just one of those blissfully good rides.
I still find a lot of solace at the barn… when I’m there I don’t worry about other things in life. I don’t think about what’s for dinner or that email I have to send when I get home. It’s just me and Sue. I’m learning to be the alpha with him and it’s been really fun. His stall is right next to his mama’s (her name is Banshee) and she neighs every time I take Sue out or bring him back in. I sneak her treats for being a good mama.
Life is so darned good!