Rebel has been off, and you know something, I missed the little bugger.
He had been off quite a while last year with suspensory ligament damage; at the time, I had yanked my medial ligament all out of shape and was semi-limping around with a support bandage on my knee. We had the same injury! It was pretty funny, and weird.
He was back in the lesson on Tuesday, and on the walk from the barn to the indoor, I could tell by his spritely step that he was… fresh. I got up there, with someone holding him, and the lesson began, and…
I just rode. I am slightly agape as I write this. I just rode. I could feel his fizz, up through the reins as he leaned on the bit and tried to go, and I could feel it in my arse, of course. He was pulling and leaning and buzzing and bucking, and I… I just rode.
We were cantering, and he completely spooked at the door for no reason — sometimes there is a reason, but this time, there was no reason on earth why he should hare off the track and head for X. I wobbled for a second and then sat back, and started over. His right rein canter is generally a little fast, and this was no exception, but I kept us on track, and then the left was actually a lot of fun.
We cantered over poles and he decided to jump them the first time. Fuck’s sake! So I sat back and we tried it again. He wasn’t getting the five strides in between the poles, so Nikki said to shorten him up, and I pretty much knew what that meant, and so, like, pinched up my bum? It was like I was pulling his gait up through my spine or something — anyway, he totally responded to that, and we did that a bunch of times, and then it was over.
As we were leaving the indoor, Nikki said that my shoulders were probably killing me. I said, ‘You know, a year ago, two years ago, I would have been crying during a lesson like that.’ Not because of the physical challenge, but because of the fear that I couldn’t control that horse. Two years ago, I might even have dismounted.
Now, I am absolutely not going to berate myself, or anyone, for dismounting. You know when you need to swing down and start over. I know when it is a really bad idea to continue. So does the instructor, so, you know, it’s no big deal. But there are also days when you maybe forget to be afraid? Or you forget that thing, that stupid thing where maybe something happened once and you should maybe remember in complete detail and expect that the thing will happen again — in fact, RIGHT NOW. RIGHT NOW the bad thing is going to MAYBE happen again.
I knew, during the walk to the indoor, what the deal was. I know this horse — I knew he’d be ready to rock, and if I wasn’t careful, I’d be rollin’. I had no… picture in my head of that happening. So it didn’t.
Hey — this is experience, I guess? Is the equation therefore: experience + confidence = not falling on yer arse?