LEGGO MY EGO Yeah, Tango was in the ride, and I have to say, I was dreading it, but not for the obvious reasons.

What if his rider got him to go?

I had been giving out yards about him for weeks— what if this new person actually got him to move?

Ego is, of course, a highlight of psychological literature, and the primary element, it seems to me, that many of the horseriding books go on about. As in: get yer ego out of it if you know what’s good for you— and the horse. The horse has to accept you as leader, this I understand. But the notion that you’re up there, in some kind of performance mode [particularly when you’re not much of a performer], solely to show off your skillz, is the thing that I’m vigilant about.

But, to be honest, Tango just wrecks havoc on my ego. I’ve been on, let’s see: Mercury, Argo, Delilah, Murdo, Charlie, Rebel, and Tango, in my home yard, and Jack and ‘Pluto’ in that other place, as well as Bingo in Brooklyn, and Guy in New Jersey… okay, eleven horses in thirteen months [see where the ego is rearing its ugly wee head?] So, yeah, cocky, but I’ve been moved around, and moving myself around, and feel like I know what to do to get a horse to go. So Tango has thrown down the gauntlet before my ego— what to do?

I’ve asked around, and nobody has had anything productive to say about him, except that ‘some horses are like that.’ Except for last night. One of the regular Tuesday riders was asked to get off Murdo so the poor woman who had been struggling with the Tango-meister all night could get a decent canter, at the very least. Well. Anna, who is about five foot five, mounted Tango from the ground— from the ground! Seventeen hands! I ask you. So I decided to stick the ego in the [nonexistent] back pocket of me jods and watch.

We ended the lesson going large a few more times, with a few more rein changes, again to give that poor woman a decent go round. I was confident enough on Rebel, who knew for sure that I was there this time, unlike the last time, to watch Anna go.

And go she did. He kept moving. I tried, briefly, to put it down to: well, he’s all warmed up now [there you are again, you sly divil!]— but no, he was going.

So I did the thing that ego never, ever wants you to do: I asked her how she did it.

‘I was kicking and kicking his sides, on the girth, but he wouldn’t listen,’ she said. ‘I think he’s been kicked there so long he ignores it.’ So she solved the problem by keeping her leg just that little bit behind the girth… and he paid attention. And he went.

And here is something I never thought I’d say anytime soon: hope I get him again. I’d like to give that a try.

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