Rodney Recap

Some positives, one major negative.

Strolling – Rodney and I went for a mounted stroll in the pasture. Although we only went as far as the water trough, it was a wonderful, relaxed beginning.

The single stress came from me. When we turned to go back, he swung his head a little too near our no-climb mesh fence. I had just read a cautionary post, Saddle Seeks Horse: Avoid This Dangerous Donut in the Saddle. Horses getting entangled was on my mind. I thought ‘Eeek, he’s going to get his bit caught and freak’. He didn’t. I eventually calmed down.

Later we went for a group hand-walk all the way around the field, twice: me, Rodney, Milton, and the dog. It was chaotic. I told him to deal. He did.

Standing – I got on near the barn (another new trick) walked to the middle of the ring and stood. Like a statue. Compare this to our less successful attempt in May [It Takes A Village]. He was so completely locked into park that I quit after a few minutes. Nothing more to prove.

Shipping – Rodney took a drive to Stepping Stone Farm. His first time off the property since he arrived. WHAT’S THAT? Oh, okay. WHAT’S THAT? Oh, okay. WHAT’S THAT? Oh, okay. And so on. He’s the sort of horse who would like to show at the same facility several times a season, year after year. Fortunately, this seems to be the paradigm these days.

Rodney at SSF

Jumping – I got cocky and trotted a jump. It. Was. Awful. He zoomed. I grabbed. He hurtled over. We landed in a heap. He bucked. All of these are fixable, except the last. Bucking after jumps is where the rot set in 7 years ago. First a tiny hop after a jump. Then, bigger crow-hops after smaller jumps. Then bucking and spinning without jumps. That one tiny buck tells me that, despite the small victories, nothing has changed.

Full disclosure. My groundcrew, i.e. Greg, thinks my horrendous riding made Rodney feel restricted. Could be. Being the optimistic ray of sunshine that I am about my horse career, I have to take it further. What if all this work amounts to nothing? What if there is no miracle ending? What if buying Rodney was just stupid mistake?

So, I’m back in a funk.

This version lacks toxic self-hate of Snit the First [Anatomy]. Instead I have creeping discouragement & disappointment. I have a horse that didn’t work out. Oh, well. Dreams die every day. My mood is not as deep, but is proving harder to shake. The beige plane is back.

“… the future stretches in front of me as a comfortable, featureless, beige plane filled with an endless repetition of ‘petty tasks and worthless jobs’*, occasionally to be interrupted by tragedy, and gradually descending into terminal rot.”
[For the Record] 2013
(*Terrible Trivium, demon of petty tasks and worthless jobs, ogre of wasted effort, and monster of habit, from the Phantom Tollbooth by Norman Juster)

I know I should be grateful for beige. In many life siutations, beige would be a vast improvement. But it’s so … beige.

In the time between the up of the dressage lesson and the down of the jump, I had a handful of great days. The work-both-horses, get-to-the-gym, cross-everything-off-my-to-do-list kind of days. I felt as if I had taken the motivation pill from Limitless, only without the morally questionable side effects.

I’m trying to model that behavior even though I no longer feel energized.

When you are so excited by the new place that you forget to chew.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

4 thoughts on “Rodney Recap

  1. I think your horse has weighed in pretty strongly with his opinion of jumping. Really not your fault as his disdain for it is likely a result of his checkered past; a past you were not a part of making. So what to do now? I guess there’s nothing else you could possibly school him for, eh? Sometimes the human sets the goals, sometimes the beast does. I think Rodney is just waiting for you to be on his team. 😉 (FWIW, I’ve been through this conundrum myself, though I doubt that confession makes you feel any better.)

  2. You’ve always had the courage to change the things you can change. The serenity to accept the things we cannot change is harder. But the hardest of all is the wisdom to know the difference. You’ve never been a quitter but framing this in win/lose terms may be counterproductive.

    Rontuaru has an excellent point. Maybe listening to Rodney is the the key to his future. It’s a partnership. You’ve had your say. Now listen to him. Follow his road and see where it leads.

    It will take courage but that’s always been your strong point. It will be hard but you aren’t a quitter. It will be his dream, not yours but you may find a new one along the way.

    1. Joan~ Well said. Several years ago I got my first purposely bred competition dog. I did TONS of research and I was ready to devote many years to showing and competing. Turns out none of that was in the cards for his personality. Oh, I tried. We sought out trainer after trainer and tried more methods than I can remember today. None of it worked. I finally gave up trying to push my square peg through a round hole and spent some time really listening to what he was trying to tell me. Turns out he was very good at a couple of things I’d never dreamed of doing, not to mention being just the greatest farm dog ever. So yeah, I said goodbye to my hopes and plans and we ended up having some really lovely years together. Finally. My only regret is having wasted so many years searching for that elusive answer and not really seeing my dog for who he really was, despite his constant attempt to show me.

  3. All good points.

    If I may be selfish for a moment, I feel that I have been enormously supportive of Rodney. I have respected his boundaries, simplified the lessons, spent hours pondering/addressing his physical and mental issues. When do I see a return – of any sort, in any discipline, for anything – on my investment of effort? In other words, what’s in it for me?

    Sigh. Back to being a responsible horse owner.

    (I debated posting this. I’m not saying animals are put on earth to be slaves to man. I’m saying that one has to get *something* out of an activity, and it has to be more that one puts in. Otherwise, burn-out.)

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