Thursday, May 7, 2009

All By Myself

When I was a kid I would ride anything, anywhere, anyhow. My cousins and I wanted to be movie stunt riders when we grew up so we spent many hours throwing ourselves off the ponies at a dead run in the milk cow pasture. We would Roman ride on the drafts. I'm sure we gave our parents heart failure many times but at least we learned to fall off properly. Six years ago I came off an Arab mare bucking up hill. Last year I came off Vooshka on an asphalt road. I wasn't hurt badly either time and, quite frankly, the anticipation of coming off Vooshka was worse than the actual fall.

Now days though I'm older, somewhat wiser, and very much aware of what could happen. It makes me a more hesitant rider and I absolutely hate it. I hate the fact that I am thinking of what could happen instead of enjoying what IS happening. From my reading on the internet I see that I am NOT the only one that feels this way. But it's just this horse. I have seen her try out for the Olympic gymnastic team. She hasn't tried it under saddle but I'm constantly thinking "What if?". Fortunately I ride with some friends who understand. Stefanie is always telling me to BREATHE. And I find that it helps. I also talk to my horse and to myself when I am riding.

One of my biggest fears is riding by myself. It's the craziest thing but I am way more comfortable riding with someone else. Tonight though I actually took Voosh out all by myself. We stayed on the road for a bit and when she stalled out I made her go forward two more steps, then I stopped. Two more steps and we turned back for home. The trails on my place have lots of intersections and I use them for training. If I'm going to turn left, I ride straight for several lengths, then turn around to turn left (right). I just make sure that it's my decision which way to go. Voosh (and I) did great until we got to one point. Strider, my daughter's Appy pony, had been calling to Vooshka since we left the barnlot. She knows better than to call back but she was looking for a way to go home the whole ride. Finally she just quit. There was no making her go forward. After much coaxing and the application of the end of my reins, she finally took three steps toward the direction I wanted her to go. I stopped, threw away my reins and let her stand there relaxed for several minutes. The we turned around and headed for the barn.

I feel so much more confident after this ride. What is it that makes me feel this way? I know the consequences of poor choices. My brother has sat in a wheelchair for over 25 years after making the decision to drink and drive. I refuse to let this "OMG what would happen if" keep me from enjoying the things I want to do.

Today's picture is Stefanie riding Voosh 2 years ago. Can you tell we love riding the river? Actually, almost all our trails cross the Little Susitna River at some point.

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