WE ARE PUBLISHED!
They did edit the story in order for it to fit, but that’s OK by me! Yay! We love you Horse and Rider!
If you don’t get the magazine, and haven’t already read the story, here is the original link for, “THE HARDEST FIX”.
THAT SINKING FEELING
Knife through the heart.
I’m in that phase with BG, who is new to trail riding, where she turns tail and vanishes if I have a halter in my hand and the truck is running…
Now, that might not seem so bad to you all, but it devastated me. She used to looove to see me. She’d wait at the gate with her big bro, Finn, and be so eager for me to put the halter on HER instead of Finn. OOOOhhh, pick me, pick ME!
But now, if I start the truck and then indicate that she is the one who is going in the trailer with me… she runs. She runs fast. I’m lucky if I see anything of her besides a huge dust plume in her wake. Big Brother Finn just stands there chuckling like Muttley. Heh Heh Heh.
And I know this always happens. The newbie green trail horse always goes through this “I’m not gonna” phase. It happened with Aladdin and Gwen and Tess and Damien and Finn. They all do it.
Still, every time, it breaks my heart.
HOW I SEE IT
It always happens the same way. First, the brand new riding horse is eager to go into the trailer for his first, new adventure! Exciting! Then, when he arrives, he is excited and is looking forward to whatever happens. You saddle him up and make him work. Wha? Huh? “I have to lead?!” And, it goes downhill from there…
Any other horse they see, they call out and try to join. Any person, any dog, any living entity — rabbit, squirrel, is better than having to walk, alone, down a trail with Mom on your back… She’s so heavy. He knows a lion is sure to get him with so much weight on his back… And then, the bikers and strollers! Oh My! Trail Riding is a lot more fun in theory than in practice for a new horse. He has to do so much thinking! And then, when his little horsey mind is so tired that he just wants to stick his nose into someone else’s tail, you ask him to cross water! After that gauntlet, you hose him down – yikes – and then put him back into the bouncy trailer on jelly legs.
And so it goes with the newbie green trail horse. They see you coming; they run.
So, when I started the truck this morning and meandered over to her pasture calling her name, you can guess what I found. Nothing. Yup, she was GONE. I could see the dust, however… and Finn was doing his Muttley impression.
I felt like a horrible monster. HERE I COME LITTLE HORSEY… (the music looms) dum de dumdum And my little mare says, “Eeeeeeee, she’s coming for me!! I’m gonna die. She’s gonna hurt me! Hide me, little tree, hide me. (The little bush is obviously too small, even to her… so she runs to Finn) Ohhhhh, hide me Big Brother, hide me! (Finn looks at her and smiles and laughs, No Way Little Sis!) Ahhh gasp! dum de dumdum…
I’m not a monster. I treat her really well. I know that her tack fits and I know she has a good life.
I also know that they all do this when playtime starts becoming worktime. I know this.
But, even though I know this is a phase, and, even though I know they all get over it, and even though I know that I do everything I can to make sure they are comfortable and happy, it crushes me.
HER POINT OF VIEW
Of course I have no idea what she is really thinking… I just try to surmise what she is thinking as I walk away, lip quivering. And to me, it is something like this… My little filly is growing up and I’m asking her to think/lead for herself. No herd. No Mommy. Snort! What? No Leader? How can I follow YOU when you are sitting on me?
She looks right at me and I can hear her little fuzzy voice, “This is too hard, you are stoopid and I’m not going to do it.” Sound familiar?
For those of you with 12-13 year old humans in your household, you know EXACTLY what I mean. This is the time in their lives where they become sullen, incredibly forgetful and “I don’t know” is their mantra. “What happened to the cat?” I don’t know. “Why didn’t you do your chores/dishes/brush your hair?” I don’t know. “How do you expect to collect on your allowance?” I don’t know, but I need money. “For what?” I don’t know.
And, it continues…
Truly, in my mind, this is the pattern of a young person who thinks they are rebelling against you but actually, they are rebelling against growing up. They want to have all the powers of the leader without having to actually lead.
Oy. Obviously I have a teenage horse standing in her pasture, checking her email and totally ignoring me while she visits the chatrooms of her mind… hoping I will continue to give her treats but not make her do anything responsible.
OUT OF THE COMFORT ZONE AND INTO THE FIRE
Now, part of me can understand her reluctance. She did come with me on the last three trial runs. And, she didn’t have the best time. We had a few trailer rides, we met lots of other horses, she had to lead, she met inconsiderate biker people (which I wrote about previously), she had to cross water, go around boogeyman corners, remember her gaits, walk uphills and downhills slowly and remember to breathe. And worst of all, she had to eat a Granola bar when everyone knows that her favorite treat is an apple.
Ugh. Hard work. No thank you. I’d rather not.
So she runs away when I, who used to be her hero, comes into the field with a halter and the truck running.
I knew I couldn’t just let this go. I knew I had to go back out there and try again. No matter how hot it was outside or how much my feelings were hurt, I knew I had to break through this temporary phase.
So, I walked to her pasture with just the halter and no truck running. Yup. She ran over to me. BG was her same lovely, teenage self. As I rubbed her I spoke softly and told her that we had to do this. We had to build our bond and it would mean a lot to me if she enjoyed trail riding as much as I did. And, I told her we were going to go out first thing tomorrow morning, no matter what form of trickery I had to use to catch her… She was listening and nodding earnestly.
Then I told her how hurt I was and asked her why she ran away from me this morning…
She turned her soulful brown eyes onto me and with the very familiar expression of my 13 year old daughter, she sighed, “I don’t know.”
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