I had a hard time choosing just one post from 2009. It’s interesting, because that’s the year I spent (possibly wasted) writing the proposal for my horse book. Okay, not wasted, because the time I spent writing and re-writing it brought me to the true point of writing it at all. It wasn’t about my hijinks as an adult-learner, but rather the synthesis of all the self-helpish stuff I’d been doing for most of my adult life. It came as as surprise; the content of this post does not…

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Tuesday was blowy. Like, gale force winds that seemed to take as their focus the indoor arena.

Sure, we’re up in the mountains, but there had been no indication in town that the air was in any way assuming hurricane proportions. When the door of the taxi just about blew off upon my exit at the yard, it came as a complete surprise. I stood outside the barn, and it felt like the wind was coming from all four directions, relentlessly.

No way was I taking Rebel in this. I opted for Delilah. We had a perfectly good lesson, she was full of go, and I sat her bockity canter without too much trouble.

I got off, got home, and realised that I had been slightly… bored?

Just gotta have that thing to fight, hey, Sue? Just gotta feel like you’ve had a hard time and and knocked it on the head? Gotta get the feeling that people are looking at you and going, ‘Wow, she really saw that through’? Gotta make life difficult for yourself, so that you feel like you’ve accomplished something, that you’re good at it, never mind that it may have caused you distress, or maybe even put you in danger?

I call to mind several jobs that I should have left much earlier that I did, because I had something to prove. Of several relationships, including [indeed!] a marriage that may have been better left well before things had gone down to the wire. I examine these events, and without too much self-berating and some distance, I can see that I kept myself doing things that weren’t good for me out of… pride?

Oh, dear, boredom and pride. The latter is a deadly sin, and the former ought to be, too. Both get me into trouble all the time. I’m getting better now, and yes, it’s down in a large part to the horses, to the discipline of horseriding, to the symbiosis of horse and rider, to the give-and-take of the work of it. I don’t want to continue to sabotage myself in any area of my life, and lately, it has seemed that I was on that track with my horsewomanship.

If Rebel was a human man, oh lordy, he’d be the one I’d once be apt to chase, to try to change, try to get to do things my way — ha! As if I haven’t been doing that already! In an actual arena, not the metaphorical arena of personal relationship. I made a promise to myself, as regards that metaphorical arena, that I’ve been keeping: no more chasing, no more controlling, no more fighting a losing battle.

I’m applying it to the horses now. I had Amigo again today and he is just gorgeous. Mild-mannered, detached enough to keep his own space when he wants it, affectionate in spades when we’re in accord. He listens. He’s willing. He’s got boundaries [boy, he lets me know when he doesn’t like my canter aid!] and he rewards gentleness with attention and response. These are the kinds of relationships that I cultivate now, and it’s truly being reflected back to me, through the medium of an animal that lets you know, in no uncertain terms, how he’s feeling, even if he can’t speak English.

The lessons aren’t only in flatwork, it would seem.

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