Let Me Teach You Something…

Reason and Matt today after our ride.

No matter which way I look at it, Reason isn’t going anywhere, period, without my full and utter commitment.  It’s a blessing and a curse at the same time.  It’s a lesson straight from the horses mouth (or back).  Don’t mount up unless you’re committed! 

It’s a really important reflection and lesson in horsemanship and tests the key skill of riding, the mental aspect.  Most equestrians will tell you, riding is mostly mental, despite being apparently very physical.  I have yet to master the mental part.  I just, for some reason which somewhat (who am I kidding, not somewhat, ALL) has to do with confidence (where did it go?), I cannot bring myself to understand why I just can’t buck up and get the job done.

Because my first thought is Reason’s body and maybe something hurting him, making him uncomfortable etc.  I have Matt hop on.  If Matt gets the same reaction (we’ve tested Reason this way quite frequently lately) then I know it may be Reason.  But if he gets a different reaction, I know it’s me.

I watch on as Reason goes forward without hesitance, walking, trotting eagerly and cantering.  Huh?!  I mean Reason and Matt have always gotten along, but up there in the saddle Matt isn’t as secure as me.  Like physically secure, to be clear.  He bounces around trying to post the trot and manages to put together some balance to ride Reason’s canter.  You would think Reason wouldn’t care for that type of riding…  But apparently, it doesn’t matter what it physically looks like, just what it mentally looks like.  It look’s so easy!   Reason pricks his ears forward and away they go, rocking along, no cares in the world. 

After Matt’s nice short little ride, I mount up again.  Time to put on the big girl breeches and ride.  As the moments go on, while I’m trying again to work with Reason, I realize I need to step up to the plate EVERY. SINGLE. MOMENT. no matter how big or little (I’ve always knew this, but have had a problem executing this lately).  If Reason slows when not asked, I have to be there without hesitance, fully committed, knowing exactly what I want, breathing confidence and selling my ability to Reason like the greatest equestrian sales man.  So I begin to get a little bit of a testy horse.  Matt says we look good, but I need to ask for more.  I get some head shaking and a little bit of brakes, so I do it.  I take my crop and crack him on his tush.  I get two huge bucks and then after the moment of “whoa buddy” wears off for Reason and I, we keep going.  The score is even. 

We trot and canter around well after that.  But the moment I’m not confident, the moment I’m not committed to what I want, the moment I don’t step up, the balance shifts and the score changes.  I have to find my confidence again.  I’m not sure if I’ll get anywhere without having it consistently, with Reason.  But I’m darned determined to get myself there.  I’m really in a state of limbo, wondering what I can do and wondering what I need to change to ride the best I can mentally.  Matt says I need to know what I want and mean business (confidence).  But part of me doesn’t want to demand, but ask and get a positive answer…  Maybe Reason is just shedding light on my weaknesses and is making me face them head on.  That’s a good thing.  Maybe I need to deal with what’s in front of me without wishing it was different..  I love Reason, I always want to do right by him.  I think doing right will be from change, from me. 



One thought on “Let Me Teach You Something…

  1. I saw your post on Chasing the Dream and had to come over and let you know that you are definitely not alone in TB mind dilemma. If you have a smart one and sane one they can take you far and by what I have read from just this one post it sounds like Reason is definitely one of them. Something a friend told me that really helped when I was having problems with disobedient bucks and bad behavior with my OTTB when I was concerned that I was doing something wrong or that he was in pain. She said no matter what he needs to understand it is NEVER acceptable to act out like that no matter what! What I found is all those problems I thought I was causing, I was, but not for the reason I thought. It was simply because I was not confident in my approach. I was half heartedly asking him and half hearted=open door to take advantage in a smart, athletic TB. So when he protested I protested right back. Until the battle of the wills was won, by me. It wasn't about whether I was right or wrong it is the fact that I AM IN CHARGE! Once you gain respect from him he will trust you to take him anywhere and do anything. But how can you expect him to trust you if you don't even trust in yourself??

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