So you move your horse to a new barn, and Sheri (the owner at New Image Equestrian) is very kind and gives you some great tips, and you feel like you are really learning, and that your horse is doing great.
Only one thing; the horse has been very “up” since the move, and it has stormed every time you have ridden in the indoor arena. EVERY RIDE! Huge thunder storms, sideways rain storms, and little storms, and at least a few lightning strikes and thunder every ride. And Pippi, the granddaughter of Spookin’Fool, has on each of these rides watched the storm through the open door at the end of the arena. So that on the day of the lesson with Jennifer Roth, that gate has now become the portal to hell, and as is now a rule, HellBoy is rattling his chains even as I tack up.
I take Pippi to the indoor and lunge her, and she acts like a 2 year old and spooks at everything. The wind is picking up, and we can hear thunder in the distance. After settling her, I mount only to find that Pippi knows something we stupid humans have yet to figure out; the portal to hell is wide open and we must stay clear at all cost. After a few rounds of “Seriously Pippi?” Jennifer Roth takes over, and proceeds to be louder than the storm.
Jennifer teaches Pippi the lessons of, “Hey stubborn mare, trust me, all will be well,” and, “Focus on the rider.” Pippi starts to realize that maybe her fears are unfounded, and just maybe this crazy redhead on her back is more worrisome than the rain outside. Pippi still disliked the door, but trusted enough to pass it without a fuss, and so Jennifer had me ride her past it a few times. “Be the leader,” I tell myself. “Cross your fingers,” my heart whispers, but Pippi and I manage to… okay, we learned a lot.
This lesson was not what I had hoped for – it was so much more! I didn’t get to show off the new supple bend and softness, but I got to learn. I was able to watch as someone took charge and eased Pippi’s fears not with soft coos and cuddles, but with leadership and measured rewards. And so I will build on this, (and change Pippi’s feed back to the old one), and go Onward and Upward to infinity!