Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The horse nobody wanted.

There's a new girl at our stable who is friends with Trainer K. and the other day when I met her I said, "This is my horse, Toad," and she said, "I know Toad.  She was the horse nobody wanted."  I guess I could see how that would be what people think about her because her old owner never did anything with her.  Apparently, the young horse Toadie's old owner bought (who was sweet but young and green when she bought her) has become very honory and even a little dangerous because her new owner doesn't work with her, she just jumps on her back and sits there while the horse does what it wants.  That is different than riding a horse.  Sitting on a horse, and riding a horse are not the same.  Riding actually takes lessons to learn how to do it right and actually takes active communication with the horse.  I don't know why people let their kids do stuff that is potentially extremely dangerous without any oversight or coaching.  I wonder how long it will be until this current horse is deemed "dangerous" and "a project" and "not handleable" like Toadie was?

Meanwhile, I didn't get to ride Toad during training yesterday because Trainer J. was having a group lesson and there were too many horses and kids and activity in the arena and Toad was all sorts of distracted.  Trainer K. rode her and she did fine with all the people and activity, but for safety sake we decided it was best I not ride.  Today all the activity was outside the arena and Trainer K. had unfortunately taken a fall yesterday (not off a horse thankfully) and was feeling sore and not up to doing her training ride.  So, today was the first time that I lunged Toad and then hopped up on her to ride her without Trainer K. doing any of it.  She did "loom" and give me lots of instruction here and there during the lunging and she was on me the whole time riding - reminding me about posture and position.  There is soooooo much to remember about posture.  One minute I get my legs relaxed enough and have isolated just using my lower legs while relaxing my seat, when my hands go up, or my head is down, or my elbows leave me side.  Then I start *thinking* about my posture and my seat gets tense.  Aaaargh.  So much to train my body to do! 

Once we get warmed up it's like we're both completely in synch and dancing together which is so cool!  I feel like despite being so green and young that Toad is taking care of me.   I try to remain calm and look for things that would spook her and be ready to keep her attention and do what I can to keep her calm and grounded, but even then I feel like she is trying to be focused and calm for me.  She was very alert to all the activity going on outside the arena but didn't spook at any of it, even when she passed the inside wall and a horse on the other side of the wall kicked it.  If she were on the lunge line she would've scooted off to the wall and started running, but instead she just pricked up here ears and kept going.  I gave her a pat and a "good girl" for that.  I don't know why she's so good for me or why we have such great chemistry together.  I'm just very glad we do.  And it is always so hard for me to get off her back at the end of a lesson.  Even more so today because I only had twenty minutes to ride. She is such a good girl!  I still just can't believe what a good horse she is.

I was telling Trainer K. that I feel like Toad takes care of me and then I snuggled Toad on the nose and said, "Are you scared I'll give you back to your old owner?" and Trainer K. muttered, "Oh god no!"  I'm so glad Toadie has a chance to show her true colors - which is that she's a very sweet horse who tries very hard.  She's still a Thoroughbred and she'll still have "Thoroughbred moments" where she gets overwhelmed and it fries her brain, and she is still going to stay sensitive to lots of new stimuli, but despite that she is a sweet, sweet girl who tries very hard and that is so important to me.  It reminds me of myself - I'm not the most emotionally stable and I get anxious and easily overwhelmed, so I feel like I can't fault my horse for being just like me!

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