Job one. Get to know my horse.
Now that Rodney is getting less disturbed about life, I am meeting the horse underneath the hysteria. Please understand that I mean ‘less-disturbed’ for a high-strung, Thoroughbred definition of the term. Rodney is never going to be an easy ride.
Over the years, I have gotten used to thinking of Rodney as anxious and timid. The anxiety is real, for him [Weekend Report]. The timidity comes because the anxiety makes him concerned about new things. But not all new things. He’s can be weirdly bold [XC Sorta].
Remove – or reduce to manageable levels – the anxiety and the timidity goes with it. Well, hello there.
I’ve always know Rodney had an underlying confidence in himself. It was obvious the first time I saw him, years before he came to live with us [HI: The Horse Next Door]. I have nothing against arrogance in a horse. Previous Horse was utterly certain he was the center of the universe, or at least of the parts that mattered, which if course meant the parts that concerned him.
That confidence hasn’t been much in evidence over the last nine (!) years. I want Rodney to be confident. I want him to believe in himself. Does that make him sassy? Great. This is this attitude I hope to tap into as our show career progresses (!!!). I shall have to become the rider he needs in order to manage it.
I’m finding out that Rodney also has a temper. During our most recent ride at Stepping Stone Farm, Rodney stumbled for a step in the canter. Then, he threw his body about as if it was MY fault that he tripped. He seems to get mad as he gets tired &/or feels mentally pressured. A bit of easy trotting put him back in a better mood.
At the show [Report], I felt the kettle start to boil over during our last trot in warm up. He was telling me ‘Enough!’ So, we went back to walking for the time remaining and took our tour around the outside of the arena on a long rein. That seemed to restore his mental equilibrium.
In his defense, he may get mad but a) he’s fair about it and b) he gets over it. It is his way of saying that he feels he’s working too hard. He has a point. Given the amount of work he’s done, I have to be careful not to get caught up in the excitement of riding my horse and thereby asking for too much/too long.
The new, improved Rodney can also be pushy. After our test, he marched me all over the showgrounds, having a bite of grass here, a bite of grass there, and another bite from that tuft way over there. I tried to stop to talk to someone. Nope. Rodney was on the move. “I was a good horse. I can do anything I want and you’re not going to stop me.’ He was right.
Big horse got ‘tude.
Thank you for reading,