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.