I Would Cry If I Could…

As informed this morning, I met my friend at the stables for a nice ride! Fortunately it had become “warmer” by the time we started riding, it was only -9°C. 

We started out with 30 minutes of just walking. My friends mare is a pretty amazing Swedish  half blood. It is wonderful to see here interacting with other horses and with my friend.

To have a horse, that is so mentally stable, assure of herself and (which I find most impressive for a mare) always playing fair without being mean, is really worth her weight in gold! 

To have such a companion alongside my 4 year old gelding, is like a mom taking her child by the hand across the road.

My friends mare is, I would say, roughly 15 cm taller than Barley and she covers quite some ground when trotting or even galloping. So the girls in front of us started trotting.It didn’t take long until the distance between us got bigger and bigger. As I said, she covers a LOT of  ground! 😀

My dear friend, who is one of the most considerate persons I have met so far, explained afterwards to me why she started out trotting first.

My little shrimp (my nickname for him being a red roan…..figures,ey?!) starts galloping to cover some lost ground. Still felt pretty good, he didn’t become competitive and it just felt pure and natural. And that’s what my friend did for me and my little horsy. Letting him start to gallop, to make sure that he feels comfortable with it, instead of letting her mare gallop right from the start. All about horse psychology, folks, all about the psychology. This way, Barley didn’t get the impression, that she was running from something potentially dangerous and he needed to switch to flight mode himself. He started galloping and she just joined in. Isn’t that beautiful!

Then the girls started galloping, too……….and we lost ground again.

By that time I just felt how much fun he had, stretching out in a gallop in the powdery snow over the open field. We had reached already long ago a speed, that made it impossible to sit, so I was standing in my stirrups, having the hand high up is neck with short reins (just in case if…), but without pulling on his mouth. Having the reins loose in one hand, I stroke his neck with the other hand and just talked to him. Reassuring, that we are just having fun. He didn’t show any kind of signs of being afraid, becoming overly competitive or panicky, I just wanted to make sure that it stayed that way!

I want him to be able to have fun without becoming anxious or annoyed and develop a bucking problem out of it. There is a simple reason for it, quite frankly, I wouldn’t be able to handle it.

If he would have done something, I would have been out of the saddle in a split second. I am riding for a little more than a year and I wouldn’t dare to say that I am a good rider, I try my best and I try hard every day to become better, but that’s still a long way down the road. My guts just told me to keep the balance in the stirrups while standing, trying not to interfere and disturb as little as possible. My guts told me to talk to him and to stroke him on the neck, the same way I would do during grooming. And Barley was thunder and lightning! He gave it all! 

I felt him stretch his whole body under the saddle and it was for the pure love of life! Oh, if you haven’t had that moment with your horse, I guess that this is difficult to comprehend but I just felt such a joy inside of me…..if my tear canals hadn’t been frozen shut, I would have started to cry. It was overwhelming! I don’t think that this experience would have been as successful without the two great beings galloping beside us!

Two happy horses and two very happy humans on the way back home!
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