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.