Well, some days are diamonds and some days are…today.

I finally got to ride Spartacus in the big field last week and it was thrilling, but challenging. I want there to be a way to earn his buy in without having to physically overcome escalating defiance. Last Friday, the day after our field escapade, I came out to spend some low pressure time with him. We had a beautiful, connected day. I want him to know that I desire all aspects of our relationship, not just riding. But I do want to ride him!

I dream of riding him all the time. Every time I see him run I almost burst with imagining the thrill of doing that together. Today, however, he took me for a walk around the property, and was unimpressed at my displays of assertiveness. Well, he might have been impressed, but he was not swayed. He got more uppity and less biddable as the day wore on.sparty gazing

I’m at kind of a stuck place and my trusted advisers say variously:
“you need more rank”
“you need more draw”
“you need to just be”
“you need to be the leader”
“the horse will teach you what you need to know”
“you need to trust your instincts”

Every one of those observations has merit and I see the wisdom behind each. Unfortunately, they don’t build a unified picture and they don’t illuminate a path. Carolyn Resnick talks about trying to train her first unruly horse. She asks her dad what she should do, and he says, “What do you think you CAN do with this horse?” They work through a list of things she’s not too certain about, but finally land on “I can walk him.” She does that until he accepts her as a rider and there’s a happy ending, roll credits. The only thing on the above list that I know how to do for sure is just be. If you asked me yesterday I’d have said I could walk him, and if you asked me last Wednesday, I’d have said I could ride him for short periods of time. How can we be going backwards?!?!

I wanted to share this in the blog, because I believe that every happy horse/person partnership out there is the product of some magic, some tears, some rudderless days in the arena, some blind hope, some unfathomable desire, some moments of perfect connection and some stretches of absolute bafflement.

Even though I’m discouraged today, I expect that when I approach his paddock tomorrow, Sparty will walk over to the gate to greet me and nuzzle me. So that keeps me going. Also the knowledge that I’m not in this alone. I’ve got the support of the The Herd helping me along.

So gratitude goes out to all the folks in The Urban Herd, and also to Mija, Shazam and Briana, who continue to train me so I can ride the big redhead.