Maverick — A Guest Post3:27:00 PM
I knew exactly what I was getting into when I bought my second horse, Maverick. He’s an OTTB, though he never actually raced. After that part of his life, he went through a few more hands, abuse, and ended up in a happy home. We’ve been together for almost two months now - not that long, but long enough for us to have gotten many rides in now.
The past couple of times we’ve cantered, Maverick picks up speed, moving into a full gallop along the long side of the arena and all around. After a while, he’ll fall into a nice, even canter. But that’s after a while.
Maybe I’m just getting old and worrisome, but I’m not too keen on galloping when I ask for the canter. Maverick’s a smooth ride, but the unpredictability of speed makes me nervous. So I’ve been doing something I really shouldn’t do: Avoiding the canter.
It’s an inevitable pace. We have to be able to do it to show or for others to ride him. The canter has to be a canter when I ask, and it can’t rush into a gallop when I don’t ask for it. I’ve been so nervous to fall off - which is ridiculous; I’ve fallen so many times I can’t count them - that I’ve worked on walking and trotting and other equestrian things. His canter just made me nervous.
A few days ago while trying to figure out my schedule for the next day, I sat on my bed folding laundry and decided to just do it. It needs to be done, and putting it off for another time is just asking for anxiety to fester into some big thing that won’t benefit horse or rider. As I figured out my plan, I did what any logical twenty-something of these modern times would do.
I went to YouTube.
I went to YouTube and watched a very advanced rider talk to the camera about the unpredictability of a new horse. She talked about the things her new horse was doing, why fear was a reasonable response, and why her love for the horse made everything worth it. The unknown challenges her horse presented to her were exciting little obstacles to something more beautiful, something she knew was in him. At the very core of it, she loved the horse and all the experiences and challenges she was having and would have with it. What are we supposed to do? Live in fear of what could happen? What if what if what if. What if it does? What if it doesn’t? There’s nothing you can’t handle as long as you’re willing to work for it, love and enjoy it (whatever it is), and take things as they come.
So that’s what I did. After I worked teaching riding lessons, I waited for the arena to clear before I attempted to do the one thing that was making a bit anxious. I worked Maverick around the arena, reminding myself that I could handle whatever was coming after I asked for the canter. If I didn’t start now, working out any issues will just take longer, and no one would benefit.
Before I worked myself up into an anxious ball of defeat, I did it. I asked for the canter, riding the little hops and bucks that turned into a gallop. It’s possible I made it around the arena once before Maverick smoothly turned a corner and I overcompensated in between the two boards of the arena fence. He stopped right by me as I slid myself between the fence and back up. And that was it.
I fell, and I felt amazing. The one thing that was holding me back was done. My trainer watched from a distance, asking if I felt all right to get on and make Maverick canter circles until we got where we needed to be. And that’s what I did.
It took a while for me to remember why I was doing it: riding a new horse who is still learning the ropes and figuring out the barn and me like I am learning about him. He wasn’t an easy ride the two times I saw and rode him before I bought him, but I saw and felt his potential, and I fell in love.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s really easy for fear to slip in and to be scared of some possibility that may or may not happen. But maybe all of that fear and anxiety isn’t worth what you love.
Maybe what I’m trying to say is that love is really important and can overcome fear. Or maybe what I’m really trying to say is that I needed to fall in order to knock my senses back into me and to remember that I’m doing what I love, and it’s nothing I haven’t experienced before or can’t handle.
There’s a good, coherent message here somewhere. I’m going to say that it’s how I’m really talented and fell in between a gap that’s about a foot-and-a-half wide without knocking myself. I’m basically professional.
Alex, a really broke girl
Alex is a big-dreams enthusiast who spends most of her time with her horses and five other animals or with the big mouse at Disney. She can be caught blogging about her twenty-something life at 2reallybrokegirls.com.