Last week, a kind person offered to let me try her firebreathing, American Saddlebred show horse. I said no.
I hate myself.
The gentleman in question was a gorgeous, powerful chestnut who had done well this season, including placing at their big, end-of-the-year, National show. It was an honor to be asked. I wish I were the sort of fearless soul who would get on any horse and try anything. I know I’m not. If I were to force myself, nervousness would be a self-fulfilling prophecy. That sort of gold-plated courage comes naturally or not at all.
It’s not a matter of getting old. I wasn’t particularly bulletproof in my earlier riding days. I had my moments. I did show my friend’s crazy jumper mare. However, it took me seven years to work myself up to it.
My bravery is also horse-dependent. I’d show Previous Horse in Jumpers, but I wouldn’t take Mathilda over a cross-rail. It’s not clear where Rodney falls in the spectrum. In the beginning, I would shrug off his misguided moments. I wrote this in September of 2010 [BTE: Cast]:
Top Ten Reasons You Know You Found the Right Horse
& the number one reason YKYFtRH:
1 When he pitches a widget that would incite panic from a different horse, you laugh and tell him to get over himself.
The laughter died off as the antics increased in decibels. On good days, I can face him down with impunity; other days, his size gives him an edge. (In my defense, if Previous Horse had ever thrown a fit on a similar level, it would have been time to get away from him NOW. Rodney is harmless, but habits die hard.)
For teaching me to equate self-worth with fearlessness. I blame the Event world. That was where I had my first exposure to recognized competition. To old-school Eventers, if you weren’t bold, you were scum – or a dressage rider.
I give myself points for trying saddleseat at all, but – surprise, surprise – we bring our issues with us.
Are you the kind of rider (skier, knitter) you want to be?
Kitten Cat Pic