Overcoming Fear, Friends and Compliance vs. Companionship

So I am horrible at blogging, that much is pretty evident, I haven’t blogged in a very long while due to my late summer schedule. It gets pretty busy in late summer. I apologize if this is rambling and long in advance!

June being the colt start and Nokota horse conservancy® board meeting, then doing Western Dressage, going to the St. Charles, IL Horse and drum to promote the horses and watching my friend win the title for the Horsewoman’s Challenge on her Nokota®,Masabi Warrior. It’s been one hell of an autumn.

Earlier this spring I posted about my experience being bucked off a horse, my horse, which was totally unexpected. This guy, just doesn’t do that…but apparently, in springtime, he can. Four years with Kiko and this hasn’t happened but it did and it crushed me. I wanted to write about how I overcome it, once I overcame the fear.

I was so afraid, I had to really push myself way outside my comfort zone, first to realize it wasn’t his fault, he was just being exuberant and I was being a dick. This was still my “boy” it wasn’t personal, it was a thing that happend and I needed to just deal with that. Then I had to face the fear, I have anxiety issues so mine would sky rocket the at the first thought of getting back on my horse, so what did I do? I bought myself a helmet just to say to myself “Get your ass back on that horse and ride because you love it!” The helmet, I told myself would protect my head, yeah, I may get broken bones but that’s not going to kill me so as long as I had the helmet, I can deal. It worked, I can’t say it wasn’t difficult, I had an inner mono-log that would sound like a crazy person now if I repeated what I had to tell myself and talk myself down from but it worked.

It was at the Jack Lieser Wilderness Challenge that I realized, the second day, I had forgotten my helmet and wasn’t that concerned about it. I said it outloud but no one seemed to see how big of an obstacle that was for me that I overcome which made me chuckle in my head.

Since this, I have realized that overcoming that kind of fear is so personal and detailed that it’s actually hard to explain, everyone I talked to understood, but just like me, none of them could explain in detail how they got over the fear due to it being so personal and conformed to their own personalities and inner voice. It’s become you do whatever you HAVE to do, to get your ass back in that saddle and trust your horse and most of all, YOU again.  I was surprised I got past it but was grateful I could see that I had gotten past the fear.

I have been blessed with some awesome friends and I tell them all the time, I feel inferior since these gals have been in horsemanship ALL of their lives and they will always be light-years away from me. It kind of bums me out because I want to be good someday, but I’m just not there yet. I know I try and they say they respect that, but I will never be on the same level, yet I gain so much from them every day I ride with them, it almost feels like an unfair relationship, I wish I could give as much to them as they give to me but for some reason they seem to like me around! That kind of blows my mind, I hope I keep my entertainment value since I don’t know where I would be with without them!

Watching Jerusha win the horsewoman’s challenge was incredible! I remember when she said she was considering entering and wanted to do it on a Nokota® I said, DO IT!! You so totally need to do it, even if you don’t win, at least you will know where you are with the quality of trainers that are competing. When she won, I jumped up, clapped and was crying instantly and couldn’t even explain why, I was so proud of her, so proud of Masabi and very hopeful for the future of both her and the horses we are trying to save. It’s one of the highlights of my year to have watched my friend, a most talented trainer take home the gold on the horses we work to gain awareness of.

The last and latest thing I have considered is the Compliance vs Companionship. I don’t have the most compliant relationship, even though my horse is very compliant, I have one of the most easy going, happy go lucky horses you could own but I worry about that line. I want him to be him, I want his personality and his opinions even when he may not act exactly as I ask him. I’ve seen this fine line. He likes to eat on the trail, which is fine with me when I tell him it’s okay but it’s not okay to dive down and rip the reins out of my hands, He LOVES the trail and so do I so I have learned that when he wants to GO, I don’t pull back on the reins I say Okay, you want to go fast, lets do it for a bit then slow down so the rest of the group can catch up to us. He tends to get worried and crash into other horses and I’ve learned that we can get worried but I have to react and do everything possible to stop him from going apeshit and running right into Blue especially, I think, no, we are training him to be calm on the trail so lets just deal with it and he CAN stop and think before ramroding another horse. All in all, he’s the best horse I could have asked for so I can ask for Compliance when he needs my leadership but at the same time, I never want to lose his companionship so I also have to be aware of him and how he’s feeling and what he wants and needs.

It’s not perfect yet, but the journey is the experience I want. I don’t want to “break” him into anything, I want him as a partner, if he shuts down and does everything I want just because I want it, I have failed. I want that personality, I want him to have opinions and I want a dialog instead of a robot so I figure although I may be going at a slower rate, but at least I am trying to put companionship first because I really want a partner and don’t want to screw that bit up for my horse. I want him to have as much fun as I am because it’s not about controlling him, it’s about knowing him but also knowing when he needs a leader and when he needs someone understanding and sensitive to what he’s feeling, it’s a line I don’t want to cross but need to ride and figure out what works for the both of us the best way we can.

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