I’m sure every one of those ladies I met today are all sitting around together dissecting what I was doing wrong with my horse and all the ways I could have ridden my horse better.
OK, maybe I’m paranoid but haven’t you done the same thing? After a bad ride, you get on the phone with your buddy and discuss how soandso should have done thisnthat…
OY. They were probably all burning up the phone lines chatting about ME. -Maybe not but I know they discussed it as soon as I left.
THAT PERSON WHO RUINS THE RIDE.
Haven’t you ever had that one person who is either rattling their horse or their horse is rattling them? And it kinda irritates everyone and ruins the ride for you…
Yup. That person was ME.
I’m still cringing. Thank gawd I peeled off and quit the ‘group ride’ after only 45 painful minutes. I think I would have melted if I had to endure the shame any longer.
WE WERE NOT PREPARED
I cannot blame Finn.
I rarely ride him with more than 1 or 2 other people. It isn’t that I shield him, it is just that I rarely have enough planning time to get more than 1 or 2 people together at one time. So, he has been kinda sheltered. That is, except for when he rode on a drill team. But for some reason, riding in an arena with lots of other horses in a pattern doesn’t seem to excite him (or me). Perhaps the patterns keep my mind busy…
Whatever… you know where I’m going with this.
Yup. I thought we were riding with 1 or 2 other people and instead we were in a (gasp) group.
TO FINN, A GROUP MEANS:
To Finn, a group mean…
More horses to: show up, compete with, mouth off to, crowd, pinny ear, stink eye, amp up, go faster than, pass, intimidate and generally mess with while Mom does everything she can to act like none of this is happening while clenching and cueing with every appendage and device possible.
To say that I was tense would have been an understatement.
To say it was his fault would be unfair.
IF HE WAS TRAINED BETTER…
Yes. It is true. If he was trained better, this would not have happened.
The thing is, I ride him alone or with 1-2 other people all the time and this doesn’t happen. In fact, if we are alone on the trail, he usually wants to buddy up with another horse.
So, I didn’t know he wasn’t trained well… except maybe a little I knew – maybe.
And, I must admit, I don’t actively train Finn because he is my ‘go to’ horse. He is the one I take when I just want a nice ride.
Finn and I ride the most… (just not with more than 1 or 2 others.)
WHAT IS THE BIG DEAL?
After not being able to assuage Finn from challenging the horses he didn’t know, I decided to put him at the back with the one mule he knew.
The problem was that the other people were not savvy to what was happening. Or, they wanted to help me so they swung their horses around to chat with me.
Nice of them… except that just made him want to fuss. So, I would get tense. And, that didn’t make a very good impression of me or my horse. The ladies thought I was a Type A Twit. Which I probably am.
One nice lady thought she would just chat with me to ease the obvious tension. She thought that if she eased me, that would inadvertently ease my horse. She was correct. I’m sure my tense body made Finn feel like he had to fight the intruders. Anyway, she sidled up to me on her mule and was being very kind. Except… she used a leather under-over to keep her horse going. So, she was swinging that thing under and over the entire time she was next to Finn.
Well, you can imagine how he felt about that thing whooshing around by his belly…
Then, of course, there was the ‘trainer’ in the group. We won’t even go there.
WALKERS ARE FASTER THAN OTHER HORSES
And another thing…
Yes, it is true. Walkers are faster at the walk than other horses. They are often faster at their walk than trotting horses are at their trot.
But, that wasn’t the issue. Finn will walk at any pace when he is (I am) calm.
However, it is tough to have a group of trotting horses and one lonely Walker. It kinda doesn’t work. Walkers are going to be faster unless you canter and even then we might be faster. So, if you think moving-out makes it better, it doesn’t.
The issue was when people decided to trot or lope to ‘get the kinks out’ of the excitable horse (in this case, Finn).
Not a good idea. As they started trotting, we were in the back like a belching dragon. Soon, we were in the front like a bunched up locomotive ready to blow off steam all the way back to the trailer…
IT’S THE LITTLE THINGS
What was really funny to me is how hyper alert I became once Finn became hyper alert. Or maybe it was the other way around…
I mean, those little things that one takes for granted were screaming at me!
First of all… Mother Nature was laughing. No, she was bellowing. She was bellowing with some very powerful gale forces today. Great. Leaves blowing everywhere and acorns falling like rocks from the sky. Yay. Even better. Uh huh. Perfect.
I noticed the horse weaving in front of me which was making Finn angry. I noticed the noise one of the saddles made, I noticed the rider turning around backwards in the saddle who was dragging a rein on the ground, I noticed the woman without a helmet who was riding a horse who kept trying to buck, I noticed the one horse who was lame, I noticed the one who went fast then slow then fast then slow and above all, I noticed the solid black mustang who was a gem.
I also noticed my humiliation.
I was totally humiliated.
So, I peeled off and said that I knew I was ruining everyone’s ride so it was better that I went on my own.
Like a beat dog, I slipped away with my tail between my legs.
–And in a matter of minutes, Finn and I were fine.
I was going to suggest that he must have relaxed… but I think we all know that it was really me who finally relaxed.
MORAL OF THE STORY?
I need to ride him more with others – or not. I was thinking about that. I don’t really want to ride him more with others. I like to ride him when I am alone. Gwen and BG are great in groups. I’ll ride them in groups.
Besides, I just don’t have enough time to make all of them better at all things and me better at the same time. Sad but true.
And the other moral of the story is:
Don’t bitch about people having a bad day because some time that will be YOU.
HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth… if you like this, please pass it around!
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