Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Backblogged, Gazing into the Middle Distance

I went to the barn last night feeling low and on the edge of being nuts. Some kind of sense prevailed, though, and I found myself outside in the quiet, hand grazing Saxony and Scout side by side with a good friend who's come to stay for the summer. What kind of a metronome is perfect? The metronome that is a horse. They steady my breathing and decelerate my thought process. Beholding them, I have to slow down.

And I did, I slowed down. It's hard to say how horribly wound up I got about Scout's bucking caper this Saturday past. When I'm in the run-up to the opening of the summer festival I work for, everything bottlenecks to the same forward-leaning, hurtling place. My perception turns funnel-like and peripheries begin to vanish even though there are people, places and things living there. I can miss important things.

My friend, K, has a very different view about Scout and the bucking, but I didn't take the time to see it in the moment. Rushing and reacting, I didn't even ask. It's hard to admit that.

I've wanted to write the story of what's been going on between Scout and K for a long while now, and boy, I really wish I'd made the time to do it. Now I have to gist and compress it to acknowledge K's perspective. In one year she's ridden more miles on Scout than I have in all the years I've owned her. She's done things with her that are unimaginable to me - road riding, solo riding, galloping, pushing her to deal with life as a trail horse. K just has a handle on how to cope with this hot, anxious, nosy, distractible mare.

My knowledge of Scout presumes my own failures with her; she's defined as the horse I can't manage. When it's your failure, it's easy to make excuses even if you think you're over it. The hyperstimulation of a new stable, two days spent indoors during inclement weather, inadvertent feeding of oats by the barn owner, running out of the Mare Magic sample we tried on her, all these things auditioned in my mind until I settled on a girth sore being the root of her bucking K off. I don't even know why it mattered to me. But K doesn't have my baggage; she just sees a horse to ride. A horse she loves something fierce, but, all the same, a horse she insists does not respect her, a horse she will have to have it out with in the end. I never went to that place with Scout; I didn't have it in me. I don't have it in me. When K told me that Scout bucked her off out of piss and vinegar and sheer disrespect, I was shocked and wanted to defend her. But why? This is the very horse that broke my confidence. Be surprised, why? Maybe because I wouldn't know what to do about it, seeing what K has seen. I think it tells me a lot that I never even saw that place with Scout, the place where respect must happen.

What is it that I want to say? I think K is right. She faces Scout in ways I never did, has ridden her deeper than I ever could. I should have seen it.


smazourek said...

As someone who is evidently being followed around by 4 elephants fully loaded with baggage all I can say is I know exactly how this could happen to you and Scout.

Annette said...

The important thing is that you see it now and that you can acknowledge it. So hard to do!!! I had to admit I didn't have the confidence or the seat to ride my previous horse -- it took me five years to admit to the obvious. Good for you. Some of these lessons horses teach us are very difficult. You did see it - and that is what is important.

twohorses said...

This is a great post, you describe so well how it feels when you meet a horse that is too much. I used to have a horse too that I couldn't ride. I loved him to bits, but I made terrible mistakes with him and it took me years to realise and admit that he was way too much horse for me and that he and I were just not right for each other. He taught me a lot though and I am a much better horse person now than I would have been without him.

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

Sometimes it is hard to look in the mirror that horses hold up for us, but always beneficial :)

June said...

Well, what does Scout want? Or doesn't she know?

allhorsestuff said...

I am so with you....trying my darnedest to overcome-MYSELF!

Breathe said...

Been there. Got the buckle. It's a weird zone, this limbo place. Some things are right, some things are wrong. The fix seems tough to reach.

You dropped a note about wanting some info on Round penning - there are some decent videos on You Tube (like this one: by John Lyons), but I also have a DVD I can send you. Email me your snail mail at wprosapio at gmail dot com and I'll send it.

The first thing you do in the round pen is try to establish listening by the horse. One eye and one ear on you for 90 % of the time (unless they are facing you, of course). I like round penning a hot horse because it does give a chance for them to do some energy work - important for horses that don't have big pastures to run in. Anyway, toss me an email and I can give you more info about what I've learned. Maybe it'll be helpful.

Anonymous said...

I disagree that K and Scout have to "have it out." If there was bucking right away that tells me that there is possibly an equipment issue of pain in Scout.
If it isn't this, and Scout has just learned she can act up to get out of work (which is exactly what Cassy learned with her previous owners and tried to pull it with me) she simply works through it with out making it a fight. When Scout sees the bucking doesn't work, this behavior will stop. They only do what works for them, using the least energy possible to do it.
I think you are closer to being right about the situation and shouldn't beat yourself up for your feelings.

June said...

If Scout bucked out of "piss and vinegar," it's still ok to let her off the hook. If she's angry, why is she angry?