What happens when the monster of low confidence rears his head? Follow the “Louie chronicles” for more: https://horsejunkiesunited.com/author/sue-van-der-linden/.
For those who need introductions, Charlie Brown is my horse. Louie is my Lizard Brain alter-ego. After a clinic with Andrea Waldo, Louie made more definitive appearances. But I don’t think they’re going entirely the way he figured they would. I can only imagine the conversation between Louie and Charlie…
Charlie: Hey Louie! I haven’t seen you in a while. What’s up?
Charlie: You look kinda down, man. You sure you’re alright?
Louie: No, I haven’t been feeling so great lately. I’m not sure if it’s the flu…
Charlie: Sue’s not here. She’s at work right now, but she’s coming to ride with me later. Wait! What are you doing here at this hour when Sue’s not around?
Louie: Yeah, I know she’s not here. Actually, she’s been kinda mean to me lately. She keeps telling me to sit down and be quiet.
Charlie: <laughing> She did put that song by Daya (Sit Still, Look Pretty) on one of her riding playlist on her phone. I never made that connection until you just said that! But, you know, you seem like you’re just out to torment her. What’s your deal?
Louie: Don’t laugh! Actually, I wanted to talk to you about it. I don’t know what to do! I used to be really important to her. She took me everywhere, and I told her what to do, and how to feel. And now, I just don’t feel like I’m doing my job. I mean, I’m trying. I just guess I’m just not being as effective as I used to be.
Charlie: I don’t know if I say that exactly…
Charlie: Well, Sue didn’t really take you with her. It’s more like you invited yourself. And then you were a pretty big jerk when we got where we were going. It didn’t matter if we were going cross country schooling, or going to a show. You just jumped out of the trailer and started messing everything up. You even ate all the apples she packed in the snack cooler, and those were for ME!
Louie: But it’s my job to keep her safe! And you’re a really big horse! And besides, she packed plenty of apples for both of us. <sniff> Now you’re mad at me too.
Charlie: No, I’m not. I just don’t think you’re fun to be around all the time, especially when you don’t behave so nicely. When you do your thing, you tend to freak Sue out.
Louie: What do you mean?
Charlie: I mean you make everything sound like the final scene in Thelma and Louise, only on horseback.
Louie: Who are Thelma and Louise?
Charlie: Nevermind! What I’m trying to say is that when you make everything sound like a horror movie, then she doesn’t ride well. And I get really scared when she gets like that. Her balance gets off, and she anticipates everything, and she kinda pulls on my face, so I can’t balance myself very well.
And then I start wondering if the dressage letters are going to nip at my hooves, and I get confused and don’t listen to her, and I see things in the shadows on cross-country, and I don’t do a good job.
And then I wonder if she’s mad enough to not want me around anymore. Not to mention, it makes me look like an idiot. And I’m too handsome to be an idiot at an event. You know?
Louie: Sorry. That wasn’t what I meant to do. And I didn’t mean to mess with you. I just wanted to get in her head.
Charlie: Well, you did get in her head. And the end result was you gave me a crummy ride with her. I don’t appreciate that. It’s no fun for her, or for me.
Louie: So what do I do now?
Charlie: Well, you’re doing better at behaving yourself. So I’d keep doing that.
Louie: But I’m bored! I don’t think I can keep sleeping through shows like I did last time. But I do appreciate the time to make my own sandwich while you guys are out on course. <cheezy grin> She packs a pretty mean snack cooler.
Charlie: Don’t think of it that way. Sue’s getting more comfortable with the Beginner Novice jumps, and is even occasionally schooling some Novice questions. Yeah, the easy Novice ones, but she’s got to start somewhere.
Louie: But if I can’t get her to worry about them anymore, then I’m doomed.
Charlie: Nah, you’re just getting a little bit of a vacation while she gets settled with the Beginner Novice and Novice stuff.
Louie: So… What now?
Charlie: Enjoy your vacation. Let her get comfortable. Let her and me get some good mojo going. Let us go some new places, at those comfortable lower levels.
Louie: But… <exasperated>
Charlie: You can come back when there’s something really funky going on, like bad weather, or if she moves up a level, or if someone sets off fireworks at the start gate.
Louie: But she took that LandSafe clinic, and now she’s not even afraid of falling off!
Charlie: Um, nope! She’s still not wild about the idea of falling off. She’s just not terrified because now she’s got a better idea of what to do and how to do it. She’s becoming a smarter and more educated rider. That means you only have to come out when there’s really something to worry about. I mean, be serious. Do you know how much trouble I’d be in if I misbehaved? But if I do, now she knows how to get off.
Louie: <mumbling> So I’m still useful?
Charlie: Yeah, just not the way you used to be.
Louie: And I can still have a sandwich when we go out?
Charlie: Sure. Just don’t eat all the apples, huh?