Sunday, November 26, 2006

Horsin' Around

Yeah, this probably belongs under my other blog, Savvy Horsewoman, but I know nobody is reading that blog (and that's okay) because I haven't really posted to it since, oh, September 2004. *ahem* OK, I guess I did post a couple times this fall but there was no real horse content for over a year. Anyway, I just have to tell someone about today!

No, this isn't a plug to read the other blog. Unless you want to, that is. :-) Savvy Horsewoman focuses on my journey along the Parelli Natural Horse-Man-Ship path. It derailed somewhat when some big personal stuff happened followed by losing my equine partner Wildflower and the blog just sat there collecting dust. If you were to read that blog from the beginning, you'd understand why what I'm about to say is so HUGE. I realized today how far I've come in overcoming a gigundous fear issue that I had with my first horse Cheerios, a goal I've been working toward since 2001 when I first developed the fear.

Yes. That long. And I kept that horse the entire time even though at the lowest point, I was scared to death to lead him in from the pasture without a "buffer person" between us. See, I bought my first horse in Feb 2001. Adorable little four-year-old sorrel gelding with one blue eye (and one brown) named Cheerios (he's a spotless Paint aka solid aka breeding stock aka Quarter Horse with a fancy pedigree). No prior "real" horse experience in my bag. It was great for three months until I was bucked off or fell off or something, sprained my back, and became terrified of him (he was quite a handful, and, derrrr, very young and I was neon green).

The whole miserable story is on the other blog. Suffice it to say, I wound up discovering Parelli, getting a second horse (Wildflower), and slowly developing my savvy to the point where, FINALLY, I am no longer afraid of my "baby" horse Cheerios. (He'll be 10 next April). I stopped being afraid of him late last year (it was a gradual progression).

Today, it was absolutely gorgeous outside, so I headed to the barn. It took some effort, though, as does everything these days (mentally). I told myself I didn't need to do anything, that it was OK if all I could muster up the energy for was to visit with them (I have two: my Paint mare is Shaveya, horse #3 if you're keeping track). Lately, just thinking about going for a trail ride or having a serious play/study session wears me out. It's the depression from this past year; it'll pass (I hope). I spent a little time in the mares' pasture with Shaveya, then went over to the boys' pasture to do the same with Cheerios. When I say spend some time, I mean hang out. Literally. Scratch them, pet them, love on them, walk beside them, demand nothing of them. No halter required. (This Parelli stuff is A-MAZ-ING.)

After a long session of catering to my horse's scratching whims, I felt this overwhelming urge to just sit on him. I haltered him (rope halter), checked his brakes and made sure he looked "ready" to ride (he was, they were all pretty laid back today), tied the 12-foot lead line into "reins", found a ditch to put him in (so I could be up higher), and hopped on. Bareback. With him wearing a halter and lead rope. No bit. No saddle. Naturally. Like a wild Injun (I'm part Cherokee so it's OK for me to say that).

And, there we sat.

As I was drinking in the sunshine and the quiet peace of being on my horse's back as he casually grazed in the pasture with other horses about 100 yards away, it occurred to me that:

  • I was sitting on Cheerios

  • bareback

  • no bit, not even the hackamore, just a rope halter and lead line

  • in the 10-acre pasture

  • surrounded by other horses

...and not the least bit afraid.

That, my friends, is HUGE.

Now, if I could just knit while I was up there. THAT would be something.


At 11:14 PM, November 26, 2006, Blogger tiennieknits said...

Yay!!! That is huge! Sounds amazing too.

At 4:35 PM, November 27, 2006, Blogger Mother of Chaos said...

Oh, that IS huge!! And beautiful, too.

If you do figure out how to knit bareback, we need pictures. :)

At 12:36 PM, December 05, 2006, Blogger cynthia said...

Congratulations. I haven't ridden since the last time I was thrown, over twenty years ago.

Thanks for sharing the story-- it makes me think I might overcome my fear someday.


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