Fear and horses

I haven’t posted in a very long time…..

I’ve had a lot to ponder. I did my 4th wild colt start in ND this year in June, came back, moved my horse to a friends place and had a truck hit me with my own realizations.

I realized fear plays a great part in my life and it’s something I need to concur. I hate fear…in myself. I understand it in others because I really do live in quite a lot of fear. Fear of loss of something or someone dear, fear of if I can DO something, fear of failing even though I know that’s how you learn and fear of screwing something up especially when it comes to my horse.

Anyone that’s read my prior posts knows how much I love my horse. I even said it today…I love this horse more and more by the DAY. He is so special to me, so patient, so loving and so EXPRESSIVE about how he feels that even me….a moron….can get a glimpse of what he’s feeling or thinking over a particular moment, item or situation.  I’ll mention more about that later…..here is what lead up to this.

At the colt start, I mention the colt starts a lot because they teach me so much and it’s really not that I think I’m all this top shit because I can “train” a colt…none the less a WILD colt that hasn’t had contact with humans before. But only because I’m under the best instruction in the world in my opinion being instructed by Jack Lieser and I truly think anyone who owns a horse should take his course. It’s not about how much you know or how much you think you know but more about letting go and feeling what it can teach you. Which can be so much….so although it’s redundant in my posts it’s very important and detrimental to my learning and growth with horses….anyway…..

So I’m posting now about fear…and a certain amount can keep you safe but an over abundance of it can hold you back…this is what I’ve experianced lately and what I’d like to overcome.

Under Jacks instruction I worked with two very different colts and I encountered fear in both but in different capacities.

With the horse I called Loverboy:

I spent probably over and hour the first day, mirroring him. Matching what he did in the round pen until he looked at me and then I would back up and try to draw him to me. It was working to an extent…. I thought Oh boy! I have a super sensitive and skiddish boy that I need to take it easy with and he would come in! He would come to me and smell my hand but then take off again in the circle. So I kept at it. Jack had to finally stop me and ask me why I wasn’t using my stick and placing it on his back, because he’s just playing you now….sheepishly, I realized he was totally right and I had pinned this horse all wrong thinking he was afraid and really he just had my number…I conned myself into thinking I was doing good because I WAS AFRAID that I MAY blow him up, and in doing so, I showed this horse I was not strong enough for him. In putting how I felt on the horse, I showed him, exposed and rode on my own fear of doing too much that I missed the target with this sweet little colt. I upped my game and we ended on a good note. I was able to rub on him and touch him with ropes.

Day 2, we started as the I’m going to play you as the fool you showed me you were but I upped my game again, trying very carefully not to blow him up…and exposing more weaknesses in myself by second guessing…again by fearing what I may have been doing, but we pushed past and got haltered probably within a half hour.

Not to pat myself on the back but I think I’ve gotten pretty good at feel on leading so we started to lead pretty quickly. I had to have Jack help me when I got stuck but after his advice we progressed very quickly. We were able to move into an ajoining pasture to the arena we had the colts in to relax and wait for others to be ready to walk down the road to the enclosure we had the rest of the colts and again instantly I felt fear about him taking off and me looking stupid (pride) or him just deciding he hated me…(stupidity). And fate took over, We were grazing and he stepped on his rope. I said, hey buddy, your standing on your rope don’t freak out…..he tried to lift his head, couldn’t since his giant spanish looking hoof was on it and exploded away from me….there’s no way in HELL after last clinic that I was getting rope burn so I just let go……and off he went tearing up the hill around and who the hell knows where he went…..so I turned twards the gate, feeling like a complete failure and ready to throw up my hands and say I’d better go find him and before I could do that….here is Loverboy, turning the corner of the hill and coming back down in a full fledged gallop until he reached me. He stopped, looked at me, I pet his face and he dove his head down for more grass. I grabbed the lead and he was perfectly calm.

This guy showed me that I can’t anticipate his mind. I can’t assume and I can’t be afraid of what he thinks. Regardless of what an Idiot I thought I showed myself to be with this horse and how scared I was about what I was doing, he thought of me as a partner and safty…this WILD horse…not used to anyone telling him what to do and when to do it…and with me afraid I was screwing it all up came back to ME and said…oh, I feel much better with you then freaking out was a HUGE compliment. That fear was completly irrelevant and honestly probably a hinderance. I thank the Nokota’s and not just loverboy to see past that, work with it and try to find a partnership that works for us both nomatter what’s in the way. This is probably the number 1 thing that’s different in the Nokota’s then a domestic horse, the willingness to work around our shortcomings, the willingness to be a partner to us and the willingness to adapt because they want to find an understanding not because they were forced but because they seem to want it just as badly as we do..as long as we are listning and trying to find an understanding with them.

Horse number 2:

Sheriff, we called Sheriff the Sheriff because it took us 3 runs to get all the colts from different locations, so there was a lot of infighting between the boys to see who was boss. 3 colts, Halvsies (named so from his gangster like interactions with other colts) Big Sexy (a large warmblood) and Dirk ( a dominant stud from a prior clinc who we re named Roosevelt) were having it out and driving all the other horses around in mass chaos until the Sheriff arrived….this last run drop off,  this 15 hand primitive marking grey steps onto the feild and friggin RUNS THE SHOW with the other boys, he was kickin ass and taken names. Took the wind out of halvsies sail, ganked Dirks game and went in a head on run with Big Sexy where they smacked chests so hard that Big Sexy limping and taken down a rung gave the badge over to Sheriff. This was the guy I had the pleasure of working with.

I’ll probably do a whole other blog about Sheriff because he’s phenominal but this is about the fear I exerianced. So I had this super stud, totally knew he could kick the shit out of every other horse in the vacinity and I was chosen to work with him….Yes, I was very scared.

I thought, if I am too bold with this guy, he is going to rear up, smack me on my bitch head and laugh at me while I die bleeding at his feet.

I started off small and Jack quickly told me I needed to get bigger so I did, twice he shouldered into me and I knocked into him by bringing up my legs which caused me to bump him with my knees and that’s all it took…..he was a complete pussycat after that.

I was able to ride him day 1 and day 2…again my fear was what held me back…if Jack wasn’t there to tell me when to get bigger, I don’t know if I would have done it and this horse….excuse the grammer but he would have unthunk me. All because I was afraid of him.

Today, I felt fear again….not with riding my boy, I had anxiety because I haven’t ridden him in over two weeks due to work and a crazy schedule, which luckily never seems to bother my awesome boy Kiko, he rode like a champ today, like we never missed a beat, like we did it everyday. I felt fear when my friend Kelly asked me to ride her Blue….a Nokota colt she bought last year after the ND clinic where they met.

When she asked me why not, I came up with a thousand excuses but none of them were the truth….and she said. “It’s Jack right? He can make us do anything.” and she’s right! That’s exactly what it was, I did not feel confident enough with a horse that I had a buddyship with but no real connection. I did not ride him….out of fear. I realized that and it made me feel very very small and meek. After all the experiance, all the hours Jack and my other friends have put into me. After all the self realizations…I should be able to do this, yet I didn’t…all out of fear, which has been proven to me time and time again to be worthless with horses.

I felt like a failure…a fake.

I e-mailed my friend Kelly and told her next time I’m there I’m riding Blue. Fear is not a good enough excuse, prior experiances are not a good enough excuse, any excuse I can come up with is not a good enough excuse because fear in abundance is not a good enough excuse with horses.

So I learned today, I can’t let that fear control me, I can’t let it dictate what I do, I can’t let it get in my way because otherwise I’ll never get as good as I want to be, I’ll never be who I want to be and I’ll never be the person the horses need me to be if I don’t overcome the fear.

So I’m going to do it, for them, for the horse. I am determined to concur the fear because that’s what they need.


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One Response to Fear and horses

  1. Welcome back my friend. It’s good to read your post again.

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