Saturday, December 18, 2010

Riding Bareback, or How I Acted Like a 12yr Old

Yesterday was a horrible day. Wow. The day before wasn't so hot either. In fact, this whole week has been a little rough. I won't burden you with the details, but needless to say it hasn't been pretty overall.

On Thursday, I came out to the barn, cleaned my stalls, tacked up my horse and went into the indoor arena. I should have known better. All day the stress levels had been rising. My hands and jaw had been aching from all the clenching they had been doing. While attempting not to cry, all I could think of was going to the barn - or settling in with a whole bottle of wine. One of these things is better for me ...

Probably the wine. :)

Guinness wasn't in the best of moods, and my horrid, stressful one, was feeding his anger. Unfortunately, instead of calling the day a wash, I kept trying to work. A combo of my stiff hands and perching created a perfect storm of horse/human conflict. What I'm trying to say is that I spend the entire ride going backwards. Very rapidly. Oops. Luckily, I finally got the hint, we ended on a positive forward note and I called it a day.

Friday was much more fun. After cleaning my stalls, I really didn't feel much like riding. So, I hopped on sans saddle, bridle and everything to go for what I thought would be a quick stretching walk. Guinness, outfitted in his halter with the leadrope only attached on the bottom ring, was all business. He marched into the indoor and let me know that he wanted to do more than simply walk.

So we worked.

Trotting, cantering, transitions. All in a halter, with my horse moving off my leg and seat. Stopping was a challenge sometimes, as GP was pretty excited to just go, but feeling him move under me was such a stress relief. He was enjoying moving out so much, that I had to let go of all of my internal distress and just be. And that was worth it, or as Christian said later: "This is why we own a horse!"

The whole time I felt like a little kid, like I was channeling my inner 12 yr old barn kid. The girls at the barn are always hopping on bareback and practicing their dressage tests, something I never feel that comfortable with. Friday night, I did. I giggled the whole time too, laughing out loud when my horse would put his head down to buck for fun and calling to him to give just a little more, or push just a little harder. God it was fun!

An improved mood, and more connected view of training and riding was a great way to start the weekend and look forward to our future plans!

P.S. I'm quitting my job. Thus the stress. ;)