The skies I’m under

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

You may notice this blog is unusual in that I have no photos. It just happened that I didn’t have my phone on me for the ride and I didn’t do any video or photos before/after today.

Today I loaded up the mare and went to meet a friend for a short ride.

There is a message I keep finding in my world that I’m beginning to take more seriously- because if I don’t start to get it soon I feel I may be getting stuck in a loop until I learn.

I heard a woman in the fall talk about how we are always anticipating where we will be next… you know exactly what I mean: when we’re young we want to be a teen… then we wish we were on our own and didn’t have to deal with parents controlling our lives… then if we could just find that right someone to marry… then it’s (not so much for me but common) looking forward to having kids… then it’s looking forward to not having kids at home… then it’s looking forward to retirement… and… eventually we spent an entire life looking forward to the next step and never enjoying our lives where we are.

I DO make a point to look around and enjoy where I am, but I still fall into the trap more often than I’d like to admit.

Specifically in my horse world I am always wanting to be better, to do better and while that is good- to improve and grow- I can get caught up in the place I want to be instead of being ok with where I am. No matter what I try to do- it seems you just can’t rush life experience.

When I was in IL for the SET seminar I took lots of notes and one of the big points I underlined was a passing comment that others might have not even written down or spent an extra thought on (because they may not have needed to hear it the way I need to hear it)

You cannot know what you don’t know. Learn to be content with where you are in the process.

I knew that word was one I needed to take to heart and it’s something I’d been hearing all around me in the rest of my life as well.

Anyone who regularly reads this blog and is along for the ride from the small window of the internet- you’ll know I spent 2 weeks working with my mare in the field and trying to improve and understand our relationship from her perspective.

Today I continued the process to include trailer ride to connect with a friend. One might have thought that K and I would be working together like clockwork.

Nope. Not even close.

She was way more interested in the herd dynamics this morning when I brought her in than me. She was fidgety in the barn (trying to see if she could discern what was going on outside). I ended up grabbing my flag and used it to command attention and ask her to stand still while I cleaned her feet. A very simple thing she is completely capable of. (The flag worked great!!)

I did get her loaded on the trailer with no trouble but once unloaded and tacking up she was distracted by all the horses around. Having some foresight, I’d brought the flag and used it again when she was dancing around while I tried to saddle. Again this helped.

Then when I went to put in the bit she pulled her head back got free of me and the rope on her neck and roamed the yard a few minutes before I got her back on line.

Loose horse. Great way to start the ride.


She danced around as I tried to tie on her lead rope to the saddle (just in case) then didn’t stand still for me to get on. Had to regroup more than once.

I truly felt like I had the circus clown horse show going on. I pray often for humility and compassion- watch what you ask for!<<
ce in the saddle we headed out and Khaleesi began to turn around in the field and question going through the creek.

No way. I circled and we went through the creek.

She wanted her own speed, her own way… I honestly had a moment where I wondered if this was the day I'd end up grateful for my helmet as my head hit a tree. Then decided not to allow those kind of thoughts any room and just rode the horse I had.<<
e was unruly in the lead (front horse)… she walked faster than ever in the back – not content to let the other horses set the pace… I just stayed loose in my body, tried not to pull on her yet not to allow her to do whatever her equine brain was thinking at the time.

This was the issue. She wanted to make the decisions. She wanted to be in control. But I need to make the decisions. I have the better brain.

So I did my best. <<
d though it wasn't always fun, it went ok. I did not allow her to control the speed and direction, I had to circle her around some trees, I had to hold her back from cantering up on the group a few times, there was head shaking and dancing but there were also some wonderful connected moments when I asked her to stay in the back, not 'tailgate' and just relax – and she did.

I made a point to not be tense, not be annoyed, and not hold it against her and to rub and tell her she was good when she did fall into a relaxed walk in the back of the pack or move my speed and direction when I asked.

I also tried not to see it as a good day or a bad day- it was just a day with my horse.

Once back at the trailer she was much more relaxed and loaded great for the return trip. Once home I spent almost an hour doing a full trim on her feet and though she was much better I also used the flag a couple times when she started fidgeting and not holding still for me. Again- the flag seems to get her attention quickly and worked great.

I turned her loose and she calmly walked out and rolled then got a drink and went to graze.

On reflecting as I cleaned up the barn it occurred to me that I would have liked to think that the time I spent working on a better relationship might have meant that voila everything would have been better today. The there would have been ‘improvement’ when in fact the opposite was true. It was a particularly challenging day.

This could have been because she’s in heat … or that the weather’s changing and she was just that mare today. Maybe the way I’ve worked with her in the last couple weeks was counterproductive to what I want with her (allowing her too much say in how I did things). Or she’s asking a lot more to see how I handle it because I’ve been more present in her world recently.

No matter what the ‘why’ is, I can only be where I am today. This path to getting better is not a straight line, it looks more like a zig zag roller coaster sometimes- and though I was challenged, it was ok. I did not get hurt, I did finish the ride, and we did basically go the speed and direction I wanted and I insisted that she follow my brain without getting upset about it.

It occurred to me I am always looking forward to the day my amazing horse wants to do exactly what I want to do and we go as one down the trail regardless of any other external factor. Even more that I don’t have to force her- she wants to work with me. I’ve become the leader she wants to choose over being alone or with any other horse.

So that day may come, but I have some time to learn how to get there, and in the meanwhile I hope I can remember to enjoy the process of learning what I need to learn, having the experiences I need to become that leader, and being glad that in the meanwhile I do have some knowledge and experience that will help me make good choices and improve with each ride.

I also try to remember that if it were that easy it probably wouldn’t be something worth investing a life into.

A familiar song echoes through my mind today:

So when you’re Hope’s on fire; and you know your desire- don’t put a glass over the flame don’t let your heart grow cold – I will call you by name I will share you road.<<
ope that I'm not a Hopeless Wanderer, because I DO have hope! And I love the endurance of keeping on with your hope and dreams even if it gets difficult. I always have that fire burning somewhere… But in the final part of the song the words I keep hearing today and this fall and winter….

I will learn. I will learn to love the skies I’m under. The skies I’m under…..

— Hopeless Wanderer, Mumford and Sons

Published by JaimeHope

Violin teacher and endurance rider living in a rural mountain county - one of the least population dense and without a single stoplight.

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