Friday, February 4, 2011


My riding instructor has been after me for at least a year to keep a riding journal to track my progress with my little mare. I have to say, though I usually follow her advice to the letter, this is the one thing that I have consistently left undone. Since we are in the age of technology, I've decided to keep my journey online in the form of a blog. So here we go with a little introduction.

I purchased my little mare for next to nothing in September of 2008. She was a six year old pasture ornament who had been sat on a grand total of two or three times. I was an ex-pony clubber who had sat on a grand total of maybe ten horses in my lifetime - all dead broke and completely sane, mind you. Then I met the little mare who came to be known as Delilah. When I first approached her to give her carrots, it took ten minutes to get her close enough to take one. Even then, she would snatch the carrot out of my hand, scoot back three feet, and then munch happily. Then came the precarious dance again - a few steps forward, a few to the side, a couple more forward to snatch the carrot, then scoot back to munch again. That is how we met. And it's interesting, because looking back, that became our routine for the next few years - a precarious dance. We take a few steps forward, a few to the side, a few more forward, but continually fell backwards again in our progress together. Much of it has been my own fault in not learning to deal with my fears. Part of it is Delilah's naturally expressive and chatty nature, which can lead her to voice her opinions rather loudly at times. Regardless, the end combination for our past two years together has been a little bit of progress, a lot of backsliding, but overall very few accomplishments. Until now.

I can't pinpoint exactly what has changed things for us. Over the last few months, I have been steadily working on my confidence in an attempt to overcome some of our issues. I do know the day that propelled me forward even more determinedly though. My instructor called me a p&%$y. You see, when I am pushed like that, one of two things happens. Either I slink away and secretly fall apart, while trying to put on a smiling face, or, I get mad. This time, I got mad. Really, truly pissed off. I have a stubborn streak a mile long, and it can be used to my advantage and to my disadvantage. In this instance, I used it to my advantage. Renie, my instructor, told me that if I devoted thirty days of consistent work to Delilah, that it would be done. Most of the issues we continually struggle with would be resolved, for the most part. So yesterday was Day 6 of my 30 day goal. I plan to ride a minimum of five times a week, or six if the weather and my schedule allow it. And already, things are turning around. I am cautiously optimistic, because we have had times in the past where it felt like things were going great and wonderful, and then we end up ten steps back. But I can hear myself saying things that lead me to believe my thinking is changing. Last night, when her new evasive technique was to lay a bunch of weight in my hands, I called it "interesting." Not intimidating, frightening, scary, bullying...."interesting." I found it intriguing that in our six days of work, she has found a different technique each night to try to get around the work, or find a shortcut of some sort. Now, keep in mind, her most consistent technique has been tossing her head like a madwoman - side to side, up and down, to the extent that she has tripped and even fallen to her knees with me. This used to terrify me. Now I am working on seeing it as a protest that I know will last a few moments and will then be over. And eventually, it will disappear completely.

I have so many more stories to tell about this little mare and all our little adventures together. I guess that is a decent enough start for now.

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