I read a quote on another blog this morning that seems to sum up my current state of mind. It is
"Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear." Last Friday, I experienced fear for the first time ever on Riva. I got really shook - physically & mentally. I had a good long cry. I did not like my horse when I left the barn.
I have still been riding every other day - working in hand or taking her for a hand walk on the days off. As Riva has gotten sound, she is getting strong and fit. She is feeling good - which is great! But she now has muscle to back up her melt downs - which is bad. When she is willing and moving - she feels and looks great. Her trot is really developing and she is learning to hold and carry herself in canter with a rider. But, her periodic meltdowns have turned to explosions. You know when they are coming - she slows down and stops. If you use the crop of her - cow kicks which lead to huge bucks. If you spur her, huge bucks. Growling and yelling - same. And on Friday - she reared, bucked, and spun - in quick succession. Somehow, I managed to stay on...but I was rattled, scared, and crying. I walked her out - showered her off - and put her away. Cried most of the way home.
I needed back up and a plan. I emailed my trainer - who was competing at a sanctioned dressage show this weekend - and explained what was going on. I told her I really don't think a lesson is in order yet, since we are only supposed to be working straight lines until the vet clears her (her appt for a recheck is in mid-Sept). But I don't want to go back to just walking until then and lose muscle Riva has built.
While waiting to hear back from her, I talked with my daughter about riding her for me. She agreed to ride her for me on Sunday - suited up in her Tipperary vest and helmet, of course. Lex is young and talented - and she does not take crap from any horse. So Sunday Lex got on Riva, after I had lunged her. Riva pretty much tested her right off the bat. Lex stuck with it - got nice trot and canter work out of her. After about a 20 minute ride, I got on. Lex had me trot her 2 laps around the arena on both reins and walk her out - done for the day. Riva hesitated on the first trot transition, but did not buck or kick - just thought about it a moment and then went. Same on the other rein.
Lex plans to ride her again Tuesday before me and follow the same routine. She will ride however long it takes to get Riva moving willingly in all 3 gaits. We plan to keep this up until, hopefully, Riva stops throwing tantrums. I really believe it is a training, young horse issue to work thru. She is sound, feels good, and looks amazing in all 3 gaits when she chooses to cooperate.
Which leads back to my quote - the something else that is more important than fear is my working thru this issue, with help. I know this will all be worth it. Oh, and I liked my horse yesterday!