Tiny Victories, Take II

Training Journal

Victory One – Finishing The Class With Rodney
As I said in the show report [Getting Our Hunter On], Rodney had a moment in our walk-trot-canter debut. Compared to what Milton can do, it was low grade hoppy-hop. Still, not what you want the first time you canter at a show. I thought about pulling up. The feedback I kept getting was, ‘S’okay. We cool.’ IRL Rodney is more dorky than street, but that was the gist of the message. I kept going. He was fine. We finished.

Go me.

Victory Two – Tack Test With Milton
We have been fiddling with Milton’s saddle padding. At first, the plan was to do the test rides at Stepping Stone Farm in the small, covered ring with the nice, solid, half walls. The last time we added padding to Milton’s repertoire, he lost his tiny, pony mind [Two Hops Forward, One Step Back].

… well, there were other factors that day … we’re talking about a few steps at the walk … it’s hardly worth shipping over for that … my groundperson is good enough to evaluate on very little data … okay, let’s do this at home …

Mind you, this would be my third time aboard Milton since the show in July. Conditions needed to be optimal. Before I rode, Milton long-lined. For some incomprehensible reason, the operator used an itchy felt pad. Milton objected. Violently. He pitched a spinning & hopping fit. His gyrations caused the pad to squirt out from under the driving saddle.

… I’m outta here … no way am I getting on that horse … not today …

After ridding himself of the annoyance. Milton went back to work. After a few more minutes, it was time to switch to riding tack. You’re kidding, right? The above-mentioned operator/groundperson convinced me that Milton was over it. Apparently, Milton does not hold a grudge. I rode. We walked. Milton approved of the tack under discussion.

I got on. At home. In the open. With experimental tack. After a fuss.

Go me.

Victory Thoughts
This is not just patting myself on back – which I am definitely doing – it is also reflecting on the nature of progress.

Will I ever get over the fact that Milton had an hysterical hissy fit the first step of the first time I rode him? Probably not. That muscle memory will haunt me each time we start.

Will I ever forget watching Rodney slide from being my mid-life crisis horse into years as a pasture potato? Probably not. That level of frustration leaves a stain.

Each successful transaction is a feather added to the other side of the scale, slowly tipping the balance back into a manageable zone.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Categories: Horses, Riding, Sports Psychology

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