Monday, July 18, 2011

Being an Advocate for Your Horse (And YOURSELF!)

Notice the arm between the ears!!
We all know the horse community can be a REALLY small world...well, ironically, I found out that Kelsey had been contacted by a former boarder from my previous barn about possibly putting her horse into training.  I contacted her as soon as Kelsey and I connected the dots that she was a mutual aquaintance, and let her know my phenomenal experience with Delilah's training.  She was ecstatic to hear an inside opinion of how successful our experience has been, and we agreed to meet up Thursday evening so she could pick my brain and see Delilah. 

I didn't intend to do much more than walk, trot, and work on the transitions - all things that Kelsey and I have been working on in my lessons.  I started riding in the only available paddock though, which was really uneven, and quickly decided that it didn't make for the greatest flatwork.  So I got to a successful place and decided to try hopping her over a little crossrail that was set up in the middle.
Can I just say.....WOW.  This was the second time I have played around with jumping her since she went into training, so it has been about three weeks.  I cannot BELIEVE the difference.  She was so laid back about the entire thing.  A couple times she cantered off, and it was all I could do to KEEP her cantering!  My jaw just dropped.  This is the same mare that at the end of May was barrelling off of jumps, and having to be fed treats to get her to calmly stop coming off of a fence instead of running around flipping her head.  Who would have thought that she would come this far this fast?  I was astounded.  One of the times I hopped her over the crossrail, she came off on the incorrect lead, yet she was so balanced in the small little paddock, I could barely tell.  Robyn pointed it out since she was videoing on the ground for me, but literally the second she pointed it out, we hit a tight turn, and Delilah did a perfect lead change!  I think she was late behind by about a stride, but this is AMAZING progress for her! 

I am seriously falling in love with my mare, and I can honestly say it is for the first time.  I have always loved her, but I am truly smitten right now.  She is turning into the horse that I have always wanted, and it is so refreshing after two and half years of thinking she would never get there.  It has really made me stop and reflect on a lot of things.  I left my former barn on unfortunate terms, but all of that aside, I am so grateful to my former trainer for seeing this horse's true potential and never wanting to give up on her, regardless of the fact that we didn't make a lot of progress there (mainly due to my confidence issues and lack of riding ability in dealing with a green horse).  I think that every horse has their perfect "fit", and there are a lot of things that go into it - their living arrangements, the trainer's riding style, everything...and I think that we have finally found the right fit for Delilah.  I always knew that I didn't have the desire to do the training side of things.  For quite some time, I debated sending her off to Kelsey, but I was too intimidated to bring it up, and when I finally did, it didn't go over well.  One thing I have really learned this year is that you have to be an advocate for your horse.  I had a gut feeling for a LONG time that going to Kelsey's for training would be the best solution for her, and I am really ecstatic to see that I was right in the end.  It is easy to be intimidated by people into not doing what you feel is right, either for you or for your horse.  But at the end of the day, you have to evaluate your situation honestly, and if you aren't making any progress, you have to make a change.  I think every trainer adds to your experience, and has different things to pour into your "big picture".  It's kind of like the whole "There is a season for everything under the sun...."  Delilah is blossoming in so many ways, and my confidence is blossoming along with it.  I am finding myself less and less afraid, and it is allowing me to find a balance of trust with Delilah that I have never had before.  For the first time in the almost three years I have owned her, I find myself looking forward to going out and riding.  It is so refreshing!

1 comment:

  1. So true!!! I am so excited for you and Delilah. Yall really looked so relaxed the other day. I have never seen that from the two of you. Another thing I noticed... You laughed after she picked a kind of big spot instead of being intimidated. That says a lot about your confidence and how far you have come!