Some things I’ve learned in the (almost) year I have had June under saddle:
- No day with her will be the same.
- No matter how smart your horse is, she’s still a baby, so be patient.
- Don’t make plans. Plans are for horses that are not green, and even then they often don’t come to fruition the way you planned.
- Remember that even the toughest, most frustrating, ride is still beneficial and making you a better horse person
- Enjoy the process because there is a lot of minutia in your future, but if you don’t enjoy it, you’re not going to have a solid partnership.
I came across this in my memories on Facebook this weekend. It’s from one year ago, when Sarah and I went to go get our baby horses and bring them home:
June came back on April 7th, and while I didn’t start her under saddle until around the end of May, she’s been back with me for a year now.
And what a year it has been!
I can’t even compare the rider I was pre June to the one I am now. June has taught me to problem solve. She’s taught me patience. She’s taught me to fall off and get back on, even if my tailbone and finger are most likely broken. She’s taught me to listen to the horse underneath me and be a more tactful rider.
No day with her is ever the same. After an incredible 3 weeks of work, she’s back to some old antics and it’s like we’re having to “start over.” But, I know this is a minor setback. And I know we’ll be on the other side shortly. I just need to be patient with my baby horse. And really, we’re far from starting over. We’ve progressed so much. And the struggles we have now are because things are getting harder. I’m expecting more from her. And geez, she’s still only 4 years old, so really, she can have a few tantrums.
Never having started a horse before I really had no idea what to expect. I mean, the pros make it look so easy, right? Honestly, I had no idea just how challenging this would be! Even with a horse who is game for the work (maybe too game?) I find myself wondering if I will ever be able to canter an entire jump course.
And because I am competitive, and because I set high standards for myself, sometimes I start to spin out of control into “what am I doing” land. You know the place I’m talking about: Why did I think I could start a horse? I’m ruining this horse. Everyone else would be way farther along with her by now. I should just sell her and get a behind the leg, broke horse- that’s what I am good at riding.
And then I see June, and she whinies to me, and I realize I don’t really care how far along we’ve gotten and how long its taken. I don’t really care that we still aren’t solid in the canter. I have no idea if we’re well behind the curve of what’s normal for starting a horse, and I don’t really care. Because I really, really, really love June. And as frustrating and aggravating as she can be to me sometimes, I’m so incredibly thankful I have her.
She’s taught me to be a better rider and problem solver. She’s taught me I can, in fact, sit a solid buck, and won’t fall off every time it happens. She’s taught me to be patient and man, that has been tough for me. She’s honest and smart and willing. And if she’s like this at 4, I can only imagine the horse she will be at 10. Especially if I continue to go slowly, continue to be fair to her, and continue to enjoy the time we have together.
So, here’s to getting out of the tough headspace and into the good one. Here’s to enjoying the ride even if it doesn’t go as planned. Here’s to many more years with this horse that I am so grateful I have in my life.