I haven’t written about the last few Saturdays because they have been so utterly bad, I had a lot of processing to do.
Living up to his name is nothing new, but Rebel has exceeded himself lately. I take responsibility for not being able to manage him, but there’s a fine line between my inability to do so, and whether or not the possibility even exists.
Being out of doors, in the freshening air, air that’s full of the promise of spring, brings out his inner pony and I know I’m not helping by tensing up on the reins. I know this. But once that cycle is tripped, there’s no going back; I may manage a couple of moments of control and calm, but not when he’s tearing away down the straight, bucking in the canter, dropping his shoulder, and eventually dumping me off into the wet sand.
And then taking off for a rodeo jump-and-buck session at the opposite end of the arena.
I got back on, refused to canter into the fences, and took a knock to the confidence.
Which took further knocking in the indoor the following week. I got up there, and knew that it wasn’t going to be easy. He continued to spook and leap away at the K end, and slow down to a walk at the M end. One of the grooms, busily brushing away hay and detritus from beneath the arena doors, almost caused a pile up. And then there was the wind. The wind was blowing as it does, and I wasn’t paying it much mind, but Reb’s ears were spinning like plates on a pole, and at that stage I just felt lucky I hadn’t fallen off — again.
At the end of the lesson, we gave them a long rein, and continued to rise in the trot. He was going too fast, I circled him out, and as we went to rejoin the ride, the wind let loose — it sounded like, oh, a block of concrete hitting the metal roof — and off he went, jumping and bucking, like a bronco, running wild —
And I didn’t fall off.
I expect it was luck, in the beginning, at least. He chose to bolt when my arse was in the saddle, so I had a fighting chance. And as he leapt and leapt, I sat back; as he dropped his head, I sat back and drew back [er, probably yanked back, in fairness!] the reins, grabbed some mane, sat back some more, and sat until he wound down to a stop in the centre of the arena.
I was furious when I got down. Pure, dead furious. This is not fun anymore. I do not trust this horse. He is not manageable by me. I sick of it.
I let off some steam in the car, and breathed deep on the bus rides home, and as I was preparing to go out for the evening, I finally gave some heed to the little voice in my head that had been murmuring since the end of the lesson: You didn’t fall off. You bloody well stayed on, so you did.
Getting cocky is the last thing I need to do.