I can't quite believe how far along we are in Boca's rehab. This week we passed the 6 week mark and are on to Week 7. We'll be doing the re-check/x-rays next week to get approval to go back under saddle.
For the most part, lunging has been going great. However, Monday night I re-introduced the canter. And it was... not encouraging. Boca was literally throwing himself into it -- flinging his head in the air, lunging, flailing, running, corkscrewing his hindquarters. Basically he looked about as bad as he did pre-surgery. Maybe worse. I left the barn that night really discouraged. I felt helpless and overwhelmed.
Frustrated and disappointed are not feelings I am unfamiliar with in the horse world. I have had a number of people in different situations tell me I am way too hard on myself. When I see video of myself riding, I am disappointed by how amateur-ish and uneffective I look. I look... floppy.
My thought process usually goes something along the lines of the following: 'I have been taking weekly lessons for the past 6 years. How can I possibly still be so bad?"
For the first time, while driving to work last Tuesday, I had an original thought. And that thought was... I Want What I Have Not Earned.
You see, while others had a junior career, I was drinking.
|Bareback, helmetless, drinking beer and getting high. |
Definitely not GHM approved.
Most of the riders and horsewomen I admire have worked their whole lives to develop the skills they have today. Years of owning and caring for horses, lessons, clinics, showing. Most are on their second, third or umpteenth horse. As the years passed and life changed, they made riding a priority. I was at the bar.
|Faces redacted to protect the innocent|
|Not a horse in sight|
|I invented duck face before digital photography existed|
As I drove into work, I asked myself why I thought I deserved to be a good, effective rider and horsewoman, when some of the best years of my young riding life were dedicated to drinking.
And before you think this is a big pity party, it is just a form of me coming to terms with my reality. I'm not going to have the knowledge to handle every situation that comes up with my horse - because I haven't earned it.
What I did do was immediately book a lunge session with a good pro. I brought my Pessoa rig and my side reins. I showed her what we'd been working on. She made a few suggestions and changes. Within 30 minutes, Boca was picking up the canter softly and quietly in both directions. Why? Because she knows what she's doing. Because she earned it.
I shall not forget the past, nor wish to shut the door on it. But I need to remember where I came from. My history is part of who I am. When I started riding again 6 years ago, I wanted to be a good rider. I still do. But when I compare myself to other people much further along than I am, I need to remember one thing.
They earned it.