Tuesday, May 26, 2009

back to it

so, for the last three weeks it has pissed with rain pretty much constantly. On the three nice day's we've had, i've either been at work, at tech or sick in bed. So no riding.
I also seem to have discovered quite a bit of fear. Apparently in deciding I want to work with horses for a living I've put enough pressure on myself that now I am.. afraid. Of doing something I've always loved.
As you can imagine, being afraid of getting on my horse is kinda freaking me out. I don't recall ever having been afraid to get on a horse. Mildly nervous of a new one I didn't know well, but no actual fear. Combine this with learning to ride without a saddle for the first time ever and you have a fairly terrified me. I have no idea if my horse has ever been ridden bareback.
So I took my partner out with me. and made him stand, holding poor BBB (who only wanted to eat, his paddocks pretty well grazed out and the grass around the mounting block is beautiful...) while I tried to convince myself to get on. I think I put my leg over about four or five times before committing to getting on.
BBB was wonderful. We walked quietly around the paddock and stopped to graze a few times (just while I got used to the sensation...) I will get a bareback pad though, as he has saddle damage over his withers and it makes him a little uncomfortable to sit on. I hate to think what my bony bum does to his poor back!

I am amazed at the amount of feeling there is... every time he moves his head, bends his neck, takes a step... you can feel all of it, his ribs bulging on either side, the curve of his back changing as he drops his head and lifts a hind leg forward...

I believe learning to ride bareback will make me a much better rider, and I believe I will overcome the fear I have now. But for a while, I will continue to keep company with me, especially while riding round the block, which is my usual hack. God only knows how long it will take to feel comfortable at the walk, or the trot, or the canter, but I will do it.

I dream of myself riding, like Alec and the Black, down the beach, without fear... That is my picture of absolute freedom.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Newbie fears

Ok, So BBB and I have had some adventures since the last post. You remember he was sound again? Well, there were a few nights where class didn't end til four/five-ish and it was too dark to ride, so I didn't go out this week.

Friday Ainsley went to feed out and for whatever reason, the BBB turned round and kicked her. Not so flash. We chased him around the paddock for a bit, made it VERY clear he was never to do it again and I'll be working on having him respectful of both of us when feeding time comes round. Left a post for mugwump and have some practical advice from her and Laura Crum.

At any rate, Saturday was lovely and I had all day free so I headed out for a ride. Guess who's lame again? Tearing around the paddock without a warm up seems to have left him off in the back right leg. Damn it. We got maybe ten steps out of the drive when I thought, no, this doesn't feel right.

It doesn't help that after so long being lame and under worked he's as high as a kite and making me nervous. I gotta get a grip on that. The BBB being high as a kite is a tall horse picking his head up and looking about and walking a little bit forward. He's not that scary. Not out of control, not spooky or feeling like he might buck... Just not a lazy old school horse you've got to wear yourself out on just to get a walk.

But let me tell you, the whole owning a horse thing, and riding outside of an arena and not having an instructor to tell me what to do? It's bloody scary. I'm terrified of loosing control, and trying really hard not to hang off his face because of it. I'm afraid I'll do something wrong, not feed him adequately or not notice that he's sick, or... I don't even know. Anything. I want to look after him so well, and every day I find something else I had no idea about. I'm learning fast though!

Right now I'm slightly worried that my riding fears are getting in my way. Ainsley doesn't think he's lame, and apparently he was only very slightly lame last time too... I don't know about that, I could see and feel the difference that fast it felt like a huge limp! She thinks I should still be working him, and if he's only very slightly lame she might be right... but again, it feels wrong to me. How long will it be before I can safely trust my own judgment? I feel ignorant and everyone elses opinions seem that much more... important? knowledgeable? I also haven't owned this horse for long enough to know if this is normal. Maybe he's always a little un even. I don't know. Maybe it's a result of being barefoot for the first time. It's been six weeks since the shoes came off, maybe he's still adjusting? Maybe I'm just making excuses so I can still be a scardy cat and not ride...

I hope not.