Thursday, May 1, 2014

Facing Facts

The past week has been...well, special. Yeah, we'll call it special.

Simba has been continuously improving, slowly and steadily, though in a "one step forward, two steps back" kind of way. On Sunday, he lead the whole way and while I wouldn't call him "brave" (hah!), I'd say he was relatively solid with only two goofy spooks. He was his usual "ohmigawd MONSTERS EVERYWHERE" tense self, but he was listening and was able to ride on the buckle at the end of the ride. He has so much nervous energy, and now that we're moving on the trail more often, he has somewhere to PUT said energy and is a better beastie for it. One step forward!

On Monday, all the horses were toolbags (D and Tory nearly ended up in my lap when Tory threw a big ole' spook over nothing, Simba was a resistant butthead who did not know the meaning of "FORWARD, MARCH!" and M's Clara....well, Clara was well behaved but she is eighteen and lovely so that's to be expected). I have a feeling Simba was tired, too, because he was having a harder time maintaining his gait and we spent a lot of time rating him back from the pace. So...two steps back.



Tuesday it was cold, raw, and just depressing...so we fussed in the paddock a bit and he lunged beautifully at all three gaits (including maintaining his running walk on the circle consistently!) and we did a little bit of follow the leader liberty work. He was soft, compliant, and gave me an eye and an ear at all times. He was almost borderline sweet! I quit after he stayed with me as when I picked up a little jog, and we scraped some more fur off of him. I'm excited to report that there is DARKER FUR under that cream colored winter coat -- I canNOT wait to see him all shed out! Again, one step forward.

Yesterday and today, it poured...so I shuffled back to where I'm house sitting currently, tucked in the ponies there, and curled up with a fluffly blankie and my own thoughts.

Simba is a special horse, in a lot of ways. He can be a bit "speshul", and he's also special because he's such a nice little critter. Even with just a little consistent work, he is a better beastie overall, even after such a short time. His groundwork has come leaps and bounds, he is a quiet boy on the crossties, he isn't nearly as pushy over anything anymore, and his under saddle work is steadily becoming more and more reliable. He is goofy, but he is quick to learn. He is funny, curious, and a fun ride for the right rider, even during his stubborn, "I don't wanna and you can't make me!" moments.

Unfortunately, I have come to the conclusion that the right rider simply isn't me.

For some, this is not news -- it has been brewing for months and I have finally faced the facts. For others, especially those who watch on Facebook, this a little bit of a shock. I spent most of last week in a panic attack driven haze over this, and it's taken me all that time to be able to stand up and say that I have broken my two golden rules: never ignore your gut and never bring an animal into your life that you are not 100% certain is meant to be there.

I ignored my gut. I brought an animal into my life that I wasn't sure about. I don't regret this horse (just like I never regretted Image, not for a second), and I don't regret this experience, but I am kicking myself for not abiding by my own rules. That is where I went wrong, and that is my mistake.

This.
Simba's particular personality and my particular personality do not mesh. There are a hundred different ways to explain this, but the bottom line is that there is nothing wrong with Simba. This is not about him. He is a good horse with the potential to be a great horse, and I feel like I could handle taking him there with the skills I already have and the arsenal of help I have at my finger tips without a problem...but I don't want to. I hate, hate, hate, hate, HATE that I feel this way, but with the way our personalities simply don't mesh, the training challenge is not rewarding with Simba. I find myself making excuses to not go to the barn or ride. When I do go, I'm pretty good at the "fake it 'til you make it" thing, but how fair is that to either of us? He deserves someone who enjoys working through his particular brand of stubborn, and he deserves someone who is head over heels in love with him. I am emotionally exhausted by the time I leave the barn and it's not the mental space I should be in when it comes to horses, riding, the barn, and my horsey life. Horses are my one "thing", and if it's not fun, it's not right. I expect bad days and I expect difficulties and I expect wanting to get out of horses all together when I'm feeling defeated...but when I find myself  counting down the days to when I DON'T have to be at the barn? That's an issue.

I know the popular response to this is "well, you haven't given it enough time!". Usually, I'd agree...but something isn't right. It was the same gut feeling I had when Image started going downhill. It may not provide everyone with the reasoning they want to hear, but it's the truth. I thought I had learned a long time ago to listen to my gut.  I put my own selfish desires to have a freaking horse rightnowrightnow in front of everything else and ignored everything that my intuition was telling me. I mistook "pretty" for a spark of connection and allowed myself to listen to the opinions of others instead of thinking for myself, and that was just goddamn stupid.

So, as of right now, this funny yellow horse is on the hunt for the person he's truly supposed to be with. There is a reason he ended up with me, regardless of everything else, and if that reason was to just have me a stepping stone to where he's really meant to be, then that's that. I did not purchase this horse with this particular plan of action in mind, but now that we're here, I am going to keep working him like he wasn't going anywhere. I will continue riding him, tormenting him with glitter and things, making him wear funny costumes, and making sure he wants for nothing. We'll keep playing and adventuring together. He's not in any danger...he just deserves more than what I can give him.

I don't know what will be next for me if/when Simba sells. That is a bridge I'll cross when I get to it.

For now, though...each day as it comes!

...including more sleep, please, instead of driving myself nuts with my own brain!

5 comments:

  1. I disagree with the 'give it more time' comments. As someone who is also a big 'listener to my gut' I think you know if the horse is right for you or not. I knew Simon was right for me, even though we had tons of training and lameness hurdles to overcome. If you don't feel that Simba is right for you now, the road to progress is never going to be fun. It will be more frustrating than satisfying.

    He's a beautiful boy and I predict he will sell quickly, and you'll find that dream horse eventually :) It took me a lot of 'not rights' to get to my mr. right!

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  2. Sorry to hear you've been going through this, but happy to hear you seem to have made a decision that will be good for everyone. Sending good thoughts to you and the yellow man, everything always works itself out in the end.

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  3. I just found your blog so, hello! :)

    I completely agree with Lauren up there. I think that finding the right horse is very important and giving it more time will just make you lose time with the right horse in the future! If you don't mesh, you don't mesh! I hope everything goes well and you'll find your Mr (or Mrs!). Right soon!

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  4. Such a hard decision but ultimately I think it is the right one. He's not a bad horse and he will find the perfect person, and in the meantime you gave him a wonderful home and a fun, educational time for both of you. No part of your time together wasn't worth it and this will give you a chance to have something else come along that has the potential to be perfect :)

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