And Yet More Existential Blathering

As you might have suspected, I told the story of my first reverse epiphany for a reason. A week ago, I had another of my Rodney-inspired tailspins. Hubby was lunging & Rodney was being a dork. His behavior might even have been considered progress. The dorkiness was more from TB enthusiasm than tension. In spite of this rose-colored interpretation of events, I was overwhelmed with the idea that I would never be able to ride this horse. Too much had happened to ever allow me to get comfortable with him.

I’ve sung this song before [Explosion]. Probably more than once. Apparently I don’t believe myself. This one feels more permanent that the others. In response to my whining yet again on this subject, one of my ever-patient friends gently suggested:

“If you want to event, Rodney isn’t likely to get you there. For whatever reason, and I don’t really think it matters why, the two of you haven’t managed to have the sort of horse/human relationship you were expecting.”

After uncurling from the fetal position & crawling out from under the covers, I had to admit that she was right. No matter who did what to whom, the reality stands. Despite an awesome start, this was not where I had planned to be two years on. So what to do about it?

She went on:

“If it were my place to make suggestions, I’d suggest that you call a cease and desist with the boy and find him another home. Not sell him! Don’t be silly. I have been listening to you this past year. …. why not find Rodney a person who can deal with Rodney while Rodney is still young enough to have a career and free lease him, with a contract that you get him back when they are finished?”

Not gonna happen.

In addition to our inability to let go of anything, we are of the opinion that it would be too easy for Rodney to fall into the wrong hands. Yes, I can accept in theory that there are people who have exactly the right balance of understanding and pressure to bring out the best in Rodney. We have clearly swung too far in the understanding direction. However, such stellar horsefolk are outnumbered by the large mass of us who stagger along doing the best we can, often to the detriment of our horses. We’ve all seen the pictures on the Internet of horses – usually jumpers – whose bridles look like moving tack shops. I’m not judging (much). I’ve know horses who give as good as they get. I had to get in Previous Horse’s face on more than one occasion. More tack isn’t going to help these situations but such is the ego on this sort of horse that it’s not going to hurt them either. Rodney is not one of these.

Plus I know virtually no one actively competing. Maybe if I lived in Horse Central and had good friends &/or trainers I admired, and I had seen them interact well with Rodney, I might, possibly, maybe, consider a more functional home for him. As it is, I would have to rely on the opinions of others. That’s a sure way to horse/rider mismatch.

BTW, I blame the mare. If she hadn’t scared us spitless & then sucked up all our energy, I would have had more time to work Rodney this year. Well, if I’d *really* wanted to I could have found the time. She didn’t make easier.

Mathematically, we are not eliminated from the race. However, I can’t think that way. Tending such dreams for that last 2 years has resulted in the waves of frustration that kept crashing over my head. So, I have finally accepted that Rodney is a gorgeous, sound, happy pasture ornament.

Things that I have gained:

No time pressure. If I accept that Rodney will be in exactly the same place in a year, it no longer matters that he flings his head up in panic when I approach his head with a brush. If one is not going anywhere, there is no hurry. As far as the activity on a given day, I can chose grooming, a heating session, lunging, ground exercises, or nothing. Mox nix.

No performance pressure. In competition, progress can be measured. You have a good round, you win, or – in an ideal world – you do both. If the question is, what relationship will I have with this horse, the only answer is the one he & I come up with. Even my judgmental, hyperanalytic brain can’t find a way to give that a grade.

It sounds as if I have lost hope [Pandora’s Horse]. I like to think that I have lost false hope, delusional hope, hope that wasn’t really there. I’m feeling more peaceful. We’ll see how long it lasts.

Snaps to Hubby for taking care of the horses all day following my tailspin. He did all the chores & feeding while I sat in the house & wallowed. I didn’t go to the barn once that day. Neat trick when the barn is 100 feet away.

Categories: Barn Life, Horse Behavior, Horse Care, Horses, Riding, Sports Psychology

11 replies »

  1. I had breakfast with your Uncle yesterday. He asked how you were doing. I replied “It’s tough for her, having a horse she hasn’t been able to ride.” He snorted, started to say something, said “never mind” and took a bite of hash. When pressed, he gave his reply: “Then buy a horse she can ride.”

    My excuses were not heartfelt. He just shook his head at me. He’s a smart businessman, my brother, and always cuts to the chase.

    I would add that what you do with Rodney is irrelevant. You need a horse to ride. Rodney isn’t it. Deal with it. A seventh kitten is welcome. A new puppy is a much-anticipated addition. Horses cost more but the principal is the same. You have room in your home, make room in your heart.

    Rodney will be happier. You will be happier. Hubby will be happier. Your readers will be happier. Get a horse!

  2. any chance of buying/leasing a successful horse and dropping back a few levels till you feel fired up about competeing again?

  3. Yay, Mom! I second that! An alternate probable solution: Hire a trainer who comes to you and helps you and your horse establish a better working relationship. Make sure they know you’re starting the horse from scratch from the ground up. Together, maybe you can sort out his issues and gain confidence. Yes, I know this still leaves you with the difficult task of finding the right trainer, but start asking around, especially where you’re taking lessons. When my brand new horse promptly dumped me on my keester that’s exactly what I did. No way was I going to ride alone, without the safety of an experienced pair of eyes and hands. What a huge relief it was for me to have a trainer work with us once a week. And I have to say, the new horse somehow instinctively knew the trainer wasn’t there just to take pictures and feed her carrots. That aside, you could always board him with the same goal: to work with a professional who will help you achieve your goals. Spendy, but IMO no more so than having a big lawn ornament.

  4. Tough decision but a good one I think. And it sounds like you think so too after contemplating it and looking back. I know how much I like to do stuff with my guys (dogs for those of you that don’t know me) and how hard it would be/has been for me to realize it wasn’t right with one of them. Actually, it took me about 3 years with Drummer. And it took someone giving me a reality check too. In his case, we both ended up happier with him in another home. My vet was really nonchalant when I had to give up search and rescue with Jazz because of his trachea defect when I really wanted to do it – he said ‘just get another dog’. It’s not always that simple…..I know. We did other things together and eventually I did get another dog in addition to him, when the time was right. (see I do blather too!). In the end though, each journey with each of our animals is different and might not be what we originally planned. I think what you wrote here makes a lot of sense and it’s the right place to come to for where you are now and I admire you for being able to get there. Feeling peaceful is good. Listen to that part of you.

    I love what your mom said about making the room in your heart.

  5. Yikes. With friends like that, who needs enemies? She says, feeling remorse sitting like a bad Mexican dinner.

    Seriously, I confess to thinking I was just putting into words what your post about Reverse Epiphany was really getting at. Nothing like mixed signals. That said, glad the comments are being supportive of your needs. Which, is all I *really* meant to be!

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