The thing about horseback riding is that you communicate with your partner through an unspoken language, which can get pretty frustrating at times when all you want to do is scream directions at them. Recently I have been going through a rough patch with my horse, Watching. It’s almost always my fault that we get into a silent argument, and like fellow blogger Karleigh Gray says, it’s hard to think that a horse can be smarter than you. But it’s the truth, and we have to accept it. So I’ve been trying to translate my language into his, and it isn’t working. The normal human response to that is to get upset-which I do. Unfortunately this makes me feel more like a beginner rider than the mature rider I am and should be acting like, which makes me even more upset. Poor Watching has to put up with it, and tries to teach me a lesson that I should be paying more attention to.But I take him trying to teach me and do things the right way very wrong, and soon enough we are in a full-fledged pulling match (I know how terrible this must sound), and then the pony kicks and leg flapping gets going and both horse and rider are upset. The whole ride was a waste of time and the only thing that came of it was anger and frustration.
There sure are no feelings more degrading than humiliation and failure. And I’ve learned that first hand.
So what I’ve learned from this whole experience is that if I feel an argument brewing, to stop, catch my breath, and try to end the ride on a happy note. Then get off.
If a situation similar to this is happening to you and your horse, know when to get off. Don’t think you’ll be able to fix a bad ride by continuing on with the ride-you have to stop, try and fix some of the damage, restore a little bit of confidence in both you and your horse, and then get off. My fights with my horse usually come within and after the canter work. There have been times when I only get through trot work and decide “Eh, better not risk it today, I know something bad is probably going to happen soon.”
Just remember that bad rides happen to the best of us, and there will always be better days that both you and your horse are performing amazingly. Everything will work out in the end.