Hi, I'm Ev. I'm training to become a horsewoman. These are my adventures and misadventures. I'm green as hell, but so far, so good. I'm now learning from Bo (and sometimes his wife DeDe) at D&D Ranch in Pope Valley. I am extremely lucky to have this opportunity, I feel quite blessed, and I feel that they, and horses, have really turned my life around.
Solomon is my baby- a big old flea bitten grey Appendix gelding who is very kind and way too smart! I love him so very much. He is a rescue and was meant to be co-owned rehabbed, and maybe rehomed to a good home. He turned out to be over 25 years old with injuries that ultimately do not make him riding sound, so he is retired.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Confidence and consistency

You know, I've been thinking a lot about the incident at the gate yesterday.

I've figured something out.

It wasn't really Solomon who changed. It wasn't really the LBG.
Sure, the Little Bay Gelding is older and starting to assert himself a little bit more. Sure, Solomon has recently been in some situations where he wasn't the leader and got beat up at the gate a bit.
But really, bit by bit, I've been losing confidence at the gate.
And because of that, I have been losing consistency.
Solomon, like always, is quicker to pick up on these things than I am.
And yesterday was no exception. When we went through the roundpen gate, he followed my lead flawlessly. I was unworried, expecting a certain result, confident that I would get it. But at the pasture gate, with another horse close by, I did not have that confidence, and I did not have that expectation. Truth be told, I was probably a little anxious. And this was a place where Solomon did not feel comfortable being in charge, because when you have a horse haltered on a rope and are leading him through a gate around other horses, you really NEED to be the one in charge, taking a confident, consistent role as leader. And the thing is, Solomon isn't the only one who picked up on me NOT taking that role. The LBG did too. He backed up when I asked him to, especially when I spun the lead rope a bit, but he didn't do it much. When I think back, I dithered a bit most of the way in, trying to figure out how to move both my horse and the LBG safely. It was that pause, in a not so safe spot, and the little shot of anxiety that came with it, that caused Solomon to react. Not really the LBG, who was on the other side of me and not doing much. It was me.
And Solomon, once he'd paused and seen I wasn't hurt, went to a source of comfort and consistency, that being his water trough. Sure, he was thirsty after being roundpenned, but he was also doing something that would allow him to take comfort in his environment. Something entirely unexpected and uncomfortable had just happened, and he needed his world to be right again.
It's funny how these things can kind of creep up on you. I think a lot about how this or that might affect my horse, and how this or that recent experience might cause a change in his behavior. But I also think back to something Bo said to me very early on, and that is that often we blame the horse, when it's really us.
Me, I was used to playing the calm, centered role, and I guess I got a little caught up in that by denying that I was NOT because I knew I needed to be. I wasn't really scared, I was just unsure and a little anxious, and that was enough. For all that Solomon is very soft and forgiving these days, he's still a horse, and a rather sensitive one at that.
So I may have been the one who got hurt, but he didn't really let me down, I let him down.
But now that I have identified the problem, what I need to do is just work through it.

Have you ever had something creep up on you like this? Something you didn't realize you were losing confidence in? What happened? How did you realize it? What did you do to fix it?

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