Wednesday 6 April 2016

Going with the Flow

On the weekend, I had made plans to go on a trail ride with a barn friend. Halfway down the driveway we passed the owner's horse making a complete racket inside a parked trailer, and both of our horses understandably got a little tense and quick. This was going to be the first outdoor ride of the year for my friend on her horse, and this rocky start did not help her confidence. We tried circling and then continuing on, but that self-perpetuating cycle of nervous energy being transmitted between horse and rider had been activated and wasn't going to go away. Kachina and I were able to get it together pretty quickly, but I totally know from experience what my friend was feeling and it's a tough cycle to break. We decided to head back and do an arena ride instead.

Even though it wasn't the original plan, it ended up being a great arena ride for both of us. We both did lots of walk figures and worked on relaxation, but I also did some serious work. Kachina and I did 20m circles and diagonals in a lovely trot that wasn't rushing. I was able to have a conversation with her about how inside leg means bend instead of speed. We cantered both directions and it wasn't terrible (hey, sometimes that's an accomplishment ;) ). I was also so so proud of my friend for staying in the saddle and working through it.

Good pony! (Sorry, no new media)

Today, my showing friend (different person) texted me about showing both days of an upcoming schooling show, instead of just the Saturday as we had originally planned. I said sure.

What's my point? Do I even have a point? Yes, actually I do. My point is that I feel comfortable just going with the flow and changing plans with Kachina, and that's an awesome feeling. For a number of years in my riding lifetime, I was a rider who lacked confidence on a very high strung horse. Despite how fiercely independent I tried to be, I was the one who sometimes needed other people to change what they were doing to accommodate me and my horse. Or, at the very least, I had my hands entirely full with my own horse problems and couldn't be much help to anyone else. Now that the tables have turned, I so appreciate that I can be the accommodating one to other riders and their horses, and I don't mind doing it in the slightest.

This is not to say that Kachina and I are perfect at tackling everything, far from it. But I know we can keep ourselves in control and not add fuel to the crazy horse fire. We can change where we're riding, or our show plans last minute and be okay. I'm really proud of how much confidence I have gained in Kachina since even last fall. This kind of trust in a horse isn't something that comes easily to me and I've put in a lot of rides and work to get here. I hope we can continue to build on this trust bank through the year ahead.


  1. The trust bank is pretty awesome when it is in the green.

    1. It sure is!

      I love the analogy of trust being like a bank account. A couple big withdrawals put us in the red last summer but we've been steadily building back our balance for the last few months and things are good right now :-)