Riding for tomorrow – overcoming chauvinistic moments

I had a recent ride where I really had to talk myself out of my chauvinism moment by moment.  I was all set to ride the clover leaf in the arena for session 3 of seven.  Well, the arena was closed due to recent heavy rains and I could only walk a bit, so I started with that.  There were thresholds to some surrounding equipment and activity and we had a nice slow start while Jesse gained her confidence.  I decided to head to the front field for some cantering from point to point and circles around the trees.  Jesse does well with open spaces as an LBI and I didn’t think twice about her being worried.  There were people around, so my ego got a bit involved and thought it was a great time for people to be able to see what we’ve accomplished through Parelli.  Well…immediately Jesse started pulling toward home; I mean really pulling.  I started going with her but doing more…so we’d do circles and almost spins always ending up back in the direction we’d started.  I did this all over the field keeping to a walk and trot and she was getting more agitated.  I checked my emotional state and I was still balanced, so I kept going.  I had been moving with her closer to home, still using the exercise and eventually headed back out towards the back of the open field to see where she was in circling the tree.  Every time she’d pull toward home, I’d support her and keep going in circles.  Seemed to be working a bit and I decided it was time to go back to trotting the circle at least once with less than 3 corrections…my original plan when we headed out to that tree.  Well, she started shutting down so I went back to point to point with the plan to get her motivated again, then go back to the circle.  Next, as we were going from one tree to another, she spooked BIG.  Actually took off…not something I’m used to experiencing with the calm, slow, relaxed horse.  I looked back and didn’t see anything that could have spooked her so, I decided to ignore it and go on with the plan.  Can you see all the places I missed clues?  From this point, she got pretty tense and her head went up; eyes got wide.  I knew we were in RBI territory; real close to explosion …  I realized I better change my strategy.  But, I really wanted to accomplish my initial goal and started negative self talk about what would Pat do; what would Linda do and that at this point I should be able to get it done…etc, etc, etc.  But, I could picture lessons/thoughts of wisdom from Linda and Pat like, ” if the relationship is broken, do not go forward until it is fixed”…”is your horse confident and relaxed?”  “I’m riding for tomorrow”.  Okay; I knew I had to put her first and deal with me later.  I changed my plan to RETREAT figuring I’d find the place where she got confident again.  Took us going almost all the way home before she relaxed a bit and stopped spooking.  Hmmmm.  I had a lot to think about but reminded myself to do my thinking at night and feeling during the day.  I untacked my horse, apologized to her, turned her out and went to sit in the paddock with her.  I wanted to see if there were any clues as to what had happened.  Here’s what happened next.  She found a spot and pee’d.  Now, I’m not sure if this was her main issue but twice in the distant past she started acting right brained and something told me to take the saddle off.  She immediately pee’d and went back to relaxed.  Did I miss that here?  Gonna think about it for later.  I realized that no matter what the cause was, I had not been the leader she needed.  I had missed something and had struggled with putting my goals ahead of her needs.  I decided to be gentle with me since I was able to have a conversation with myself and ultimately backed off.  So, I’m pleased but not satisfied.  I need to get it quicker next time and I have accepted that my ego is still powerful. When I showed up for the evening feeding, my horse called to me as I arrived.  She rarely does this, so it was super meaningful.  

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