Ride 3 put Nigel and I 10% of the way through the Challenge! (3 rides out of 30, 4+ hours out of 40).
Nigel is a very well-educated horse and the poor guy’s trying to work with me bouncing around on him like a bag of rocks. He’s a tolerant soul. For the first time I felt “secure” in the dressage saddle, which is an improvement in my seat, for sure. And I don’t feel any soreness after riding in it. For ride number 3 we rode for 2 hours — .5 by ourselves and then another hour and a half with Suzie and Porkchop.
The weather is in stark contrast to this time last year and I’ve been ditching all indoor endeavors in favor of being outside. Last year at this time I had a MUCH cleaner house.
Ride 3 was one of those rides where even though things were great, I just felt like I really didn’t know anything about riding and probably should just take up crochet. The great thing about this horsemanship challenge is that you have to go beyond those days. And then you have a good day. Then, after a few good days and a few bad days you become confident that bad days are always followed by good ones. I get my confidence not in being a good rider, but in being a resilient one.
It used to be so easy to feel defeated after a bad ride. Giving up after a bad ride is like smashing your phone just because you dropped it.
So, I shrug off that self doubt and look forward to another day with such gorgeous and thankfully forgiving horses.
Ended ride 3 with a shower and several terrible games of chess.
After feeling defeated, you gotta be gracious and forgiving of yourself. Nobody else will do it for you.
Rode Axel first and got to work, he knows he’s on the payroll now and he’s darn happy about it. He offered me everything he knew to do. I saw a willingness in him that I think I’ve overlooked in the past.
Axel and I have been at odds from time to time. He’s a persistent, bull-headed, stubborn horse. Some days I swore the only thing keeping him alive was that he’s so damn cute.
I suppose my issue with him is that he makes me think. A lot. I have to think about setting things up so he thinks it’s his idea. He’ll never be trained, he’ll always challenge. He does it in the herd, constantly challenging the lead horses. When we had him with Wishbone, our 2000 lb Percheron, Axel was completely unfazed by Wishbone’s mass and daily challenged Wish for dominance. I can’t tell you how many times Axel went tumbling ass over teakettle. He’s a tough one.
Fortunately, he’s also very gentle.
Next I rode Nigel. We still had some Christmas trees leftover from our tree lot, so Suzie and I took turns riding Porkchop and Nige over a tree. Hilarity ensued. Then headed out on the trails.
I swear, Nigel is going to be a trail horse in our string except I don’t want to share him. He’s the kindest horse, and so chill.
Ended the week with totals of 4 rides and 5 hours on Nigel, 2 rides/1 hour on Axel, 1 ride/.5 hour on Wrigley.
Goals for this week:
Nigel: 5 rides/5 hours — more trails and long walks, also walking over poles.
Axel: 5 rides/5 hours — arena work with some patterns, poles, fine-tuning some basics.
Wrigley: 5 rides/5 hours — arena, long-trotting.