There are a lot of articles, blogs, interviews, etc. on what horses teach us. Not just in riding and horsemanship, but those valuable life lessons. I am going to try and keep this post short, as I think this topic could be covered in a whole novel…or more truthfully, a whole series of novels. One key teaching that I was reminded of recently was humility.
I recently attended the NC State Fair ‘AA’ show at the Raleigh Hunt Horse Complex. Let it be known that me and Rudy have had some horrible experience in this indoor coliseum at this venue. There is something about it that doesn’t sit right with him. It is frustrating to say the least. Anyway, I feel as though we have made tremendous progress in the last year and even the first day of the horse show, although not perfect, I felt was a triumph. And I was whole heartedly excited for the second day thinking that it would only improve from our already minor victory…wrong.
We were excused after two refusals. At least it wasn’t two refusals at the same fence and I did jump one more courtesy fence before exiting (silver lining?). It was heart breaking. I felt like we had made full circle to how he behaved at this very show last year. And worst of all, I felt his stopping was not due to fear or pain as it previously was. It seemed he just did not want to jump. It took everything for me to wait until we got back to the trailer before breaking down. My trainer was very understanding. She has been with me through the whole training process and knows the time and effort I have put into Rudy…but what struck me (and it didn’t come until a few days later) is that Rudy doesn’t know the amount of effort and sacrifices I have made.
He’s just a horse. And to him, I am just his person…his person who occasionally wants to make him jump over obstacles with no set destination. He doesn’t think like I do. He didn’t do this maliciously. I have to move on, not take this personally, learn from it, and continue on the track that has been steadily producing us success for the past few months.
Horses can be so humbling. Just when you think you are doing everything right, they remind you that you are working with a living animal with his own mind. Horses ground you (sometimes literally). It is what makes this sport different from any other.