My eldest nephew turned five this weekend. He wanted a hurricane party! Ala Ms. Frizzle and the magic school bus variety. My sister-in-law’s people are from Nawlins, and they know how to throw a good hurricane party. Despite the rain outside, it was a fun time for all the little ones inside.
My trainer calls that moment the horse decides to have a hissy fit Tricia’s own little hurricane. I find them a mixture of amusing and full out pissed off. You see, I bred and raised that little girl (she’s 17 now, but will always be my baby) and when she decides she just “can’t even” she does sassy shit that she knows will spin me up. Sometimes I find this sass hilarious, as she really is the best horse world and her on sassy days is what some rider’s deal with every day. Sometimes she will buck, or she will kick back at the whip. She hates the whip! It’s the ultimate offense. You would think I had called her a shetland or something! But, confession time: Sometimes it really pisses me off!
I know this is sacrilege. We are supposed to be happy, patient riders all the time, staying completely zen. (Ah, yoga class…I look forward to ye!) They are, after all, beasts–horses don’t know any better (yeah, right!), and are simply unable to control their emotional outbursts (another crock of poo). UGH! This is why the equestrienne archetype does look like the cool grey Ralph Lauren ads! We all wander around with this unaffected ice queen image to look up to, when in reality sometimes horses are little shits that know how to get your goat as good as any person would! But, isn’t this normal in any working team? I love my friends and family, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to stick my fingers in my ears and raspberry them on occasion!
We are currently working on saddle number four. It fits Tricia great, but for me? It’s not the most comfortable saddle I have ever ridden in; for me it’s passable. As my hip flexors stretch, and her withers come up, it gets more comfortable. But it also requires less actual seat space, which makes the saddle feel bigger than what I need. What an odd problem right? Go from riding in a 19.5 to a 17.5 and tell me what you feel? Is this a plus-sized rider thing? Or is this a simple, “I’m getting better and learning how to use the saddle better” thing? I was terrified to buy this saddle because this was the largest seat size I could get in the Wintec. I was steadily gaining weight after J’s death. How was I supposed to take 2 inches off my saddle seat? Now the problem is the opposite, and as recommended by another rider I have put the thigh blocks in. I have never ridden with thigh blocks. I came up old school with flat Crosby’s and Miller’s. My first dressage saddle was a flat Crosby!
Just like in yoga, it’s all about position. We all want to be Charlotte, floating along and looking lovely. Well, it takes time and dedication to get there, hips open, thighs back, happy hanging heel. Relaxed back and shoulders. Arms that can operate with that fluid independent swing from the shoulder with elastic elbows and light fingers. When it happens, it’s all zen and lovely and we float for that minute. It’s hard, and we’ve succeeded. THIS is happiness! Then the horse decides to stick her ass out in Montana, and it all falls apart.
So our last few lessons have been for the betterment of me (greatly overdue, I’m sure the horse would say), and finding that sweet spot position. We all learn technical purpose of the position: physical safety, communicative aids, and general feel. But I was never taught that it is also your emotional Hurricane shelter. When Tricia goes to “can’t even” I can find my position, stay soft and lovely and (as long as my 5’1 frame will allow) long legged, floaty heel, and just weather her storm. The temper tantrum is no longer funny or piss-tacular, it’s just a moment in time. Happy unaffected rider–one half of this team is no longer losing their shit! But the wild thing is, the horse settles down. Yay! I set proper and fair boundaries, and she adapts to deal with them! ZEN!
Oh, I need this for people! Deep breath, inner peace. Boundaries. Maybe someday! Until then, I am so happy to be finding it in the ring with Tricia. I know this will help our bond, and also give her a safe, confident place to be within our team. The “can’t evens” are coming less, and she is already making strides for better balance. It’s really been amazing.