Mood Swings

DOWN
Rodney loves his stall. It reminds him of his former days as a high-class horse. He gets stalled when Matilda grazes. Usually he trots in. A few days ago, he wouldn’t go. When he finally went, he stood in the corner staring over the horizon waiting for the onrushing hordes. He was completely wired. I despaired. How was I ever going to manage this if an attack happened at a show?

First of all, we won’t go to an overnight show right away. There will be lessons, one-day shows, cross-country schools, and all manner of other adventures. We won’t go to a big show until we have a satisfactory answer on how to manage 17.1 hands that wants to bounce around like a kite on the end of a string. Therefore, it is a nonissue.

Secondly, failure is an option. If we get to our first event and Rodney had an irretrievable meltdown, back in the stall he goes, the weekend becomes a schooling experience, and we try again next time. Not desirable but doable. This was Hubby’s way of talking me down out of the trees. He’s gotten good at this over the last two years.

Finally, part of the intimidating factor is his size, yes, but mainly he is Fancy Horse and I have never figured out how I ended up with a Ferrari Lexus in my driveway. Going to take a stab at cheering myself up on this one. Whether he is too fancy for me, or I just think he is, either way, I must come to terms. A Lexus is still a car and a fancy horse is still a horse. Even Gem Twist put his girth on one buckle at a time. Or, how about this. If I want to pull myself out of the quagmire that is the lower levels of jumpers/dressage/eventing, I am going to be out of my comfort zone, at least for a while. This is, by very definition, uncomfortable. Sigh. The cheering up works so much better when Hubby does it.

UP
Preparatory to a PT session [Quiet], Hubby rubbed Rodney’s back with a burn-relief cream that we use to give Mathilda her shots. It dulls feeling to the skin for a short while. Rodney spent the next hour galloping, trotting, hopping, and cavorting. After the above, this was a great relief. Although he was powering around in a borderline manic state, the motivation was totally different. This was joie-de-vivre rather than sky-is-falling. This was the horse I saw 6? years ago, who looked ready to take on the world [Next Door]. This was a horse I wanted to ride. I might not be able to, but it sure would be fun to try.

SYNTHESIS
From the above we learn three things:

1) Nerves are involved in the damage to Rodney’s back, not just skin & muscles. It is not usual for deeply scarred areas to react weirdly to stimulus, in his case to cold. More investigation required.

2) I am not as bad at this as I think I am. I couldn’t be. I’m not a brave rider. I never was. However, when the stars align, I have my moments. Also, I have been doing this for so long that tiny flecks of knowledge must have adhered. If I sense that Rodney is tired, tense, unmanageable, whatever maybe it’s not just because I am a sniveling coward afraid of my own horse and undeserving of the good fortune that has rained down on me. This is clearly the main reason, but perhaps there is a secondary issue based in fact. I should listen to myself.

3) Happy uses fewer words than sad.

How do you talk yourself out of a tailspin?

(Apologies to anyone who found a second, inexplicable post in their email yesterday. I was experimenting with a secondary blog and import/export. One of the little buggers got away from me.)
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Your chair? The evidence is not in your favor.

The books on the floor to the left are post-disaster, see yesterday’s GPK.

Categories: Horse Behavior, Horse Shows, Horses, Sports Psychology

2 replies »

  1. It’s interesting how we can have an epiphany while reading about someone else’s woes and worries. I’ve been reading your blog long enough to know there are a couple of things going on simultaneously: 1.) You have a horse that might (or might not) be the horse of your dreams, 2.) You suffered a setback when said horse went off the deep end, and 3.) You (still) constantly question your ability/skills/desire to turn this horse (and let’s be honest here: yourself) around.

    I sometimes feel like we’ve traveled the same path. I lost my heart and soul horse, then after some deliberation and thought, bought another. She’s young, green and can at times be far more formidable than the former horse ever thought of being. Or that was what I thought at first. Thuth be told, she’s probably no more challenging than the former horse was, but it’s no coincidence that I’m some 25+ years older now. With hindsight, I think that alone is the biggest influence on how I approach things this “new” horse.

    Setbacks and behaviors that never would have given me reason to pause or cause a hiccup two decades ago, are suddenly big worrisome hurdles. I don’t have the wherewithal, bounce or ability to recover from a physical impact that I once had, and the post-menopausal indecisiveness and questioning my abilities and problem-solving skills hit hard. I waffle on making decisions that never would have made me stop and think twice back in the day. It’s almost like I lost a bit of my mojo and became …. what? The word escapes me! (Menopause again!) Responsible? Conservative? I dunno. All I DO know is that I’m not as willing to take the kinds of risks I once used to take without thinking twice. Or thrice …. or more! And it’s that thinking twice thing that bites you in the ass because that’s when you start second-guessing your plan of action, motives and (eventually) your sanity!

    Not sure what I’m trying to say here except that think I understand. I really have no advice because often, I’m looking for similar answers to my own version or set of similar questions. I will mention that one thing I’ve kicked around is boarding my horse someplace where we can both get good instruction and assistance should things ever get out of hand. (I’m probably making my mare out to sound much more difficult than she is.) She’s grown into a great trail horse, but I just don’t think I have what it takes to bring out her best in other venues. (Then I start questioning if those venues are really even important to me? Or her?) So that said, the short-term boarding thing is just one of many places my mind has visited over the past year or so … FWIW.

  2. Good point. Dreams change and goals should be questioned regularly. I now have all of the things I dreamed of 35 years ago. My dreams are different now. Not that I don’t enjoy what I have or take it for granted but given my life right now, what do I wish for or look forward to doing in the (current) future?

    Did you ever see the movie “Bedazzled”?

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