View Full Version : Getting over that first date feeling...
Feb. 8, 2011, 01:29 PM
So, followers of my old threads will know that I bought a 3 year old Welsh C X TB who I broke out myself this fall. When I bought him, he was gangly and not much to look at in the movement department. He's grown up alot since then, and now people at the barn are stopping to watch him work because he's looking just that good. He's also gotten a lot more powerful and much more energetic undersaddle--he's a horse who wants a serious job to bear down on--he's not interested in a pleasure ride, that's for sure.
Anyway, this horse is exceeding my wildest expectations in terms of looks, movement, work ethic. Frankly, I'm intimidated. Not afraid of him, but intimidated like when you're on a date and nervous because you really like who you're with and are not sure if you're worthy...
I feel like I have that awkward feeling around this horse. He's just so cool and so pretty and so smart that I feel a bit nervous...I want everything to be perfect in all our rides, I want him to find all the work interesting, I want to be at the top of my game at all times...BUT I work crazy hours and am often stressed and tired at the barn.
When does this feeling go away? My relationship with my old horse (of 15 years) was like an old marriage...comfortable, easy, accepting of each other's faults. I'm sure this is just part of starting over with a new horse, but it just feels so weird! Anyone else experience this?
Feb. 8, 2011, 02:13 PM
Be careful. I obsessed in a somewhat similar way over a horse I got that ended up being more talented than my wildest imaginings and put us in a box we couldn't get out of. Everything had to be PERFECT--which ruined a LOT of the fun we could have had together. We worked and worked, and did some fun stuff, but mostly it was work. You need to treat this horse just like any other. You never know when it all might come to a sudden and unexpected end (I had to put mine down).
Treat him like your old horse. Just have a ball with him and smile when you think about the fun you two are having. Don't get so hung up on what MIGHT happen in the future. Enjoy the now. When you don't have enough time, don't feel guilty, just realize that you don't have enough time and he'll still be sitting around playing with his friends and waiting for you to come out and play with him. :) He's just a horse, after all. Maybe the nicest one you'll find, but that's what makes him and extra special gift in your life, but still a horse that just wants a human to play with him. ;)
Feb. 8, 2011, 02:13 PM
I always want to be at my best because that's what my horse deserves. I'm still not as fit as I want to be, and very frustrated by that - but a year of riding him apparently isn't enough time to get totally fit! Thus, I'm doing longeing regularly.
I've had my guy for almost a year, and regularly feel like I need to do more for him. In that year, he has learned not to curl, to lift at the withers, to push from behind, bend his hocks, lengthen and collect, do s/i and h/i when he only knew leg yields before... and I have not made much progress at all! He's a superstar in his own mind, and he demands I work him hard enough - and refuses to leave the arena if I haven't ridden hard enough yet.
I don't think it's exactly like a first date, it's more like having a relationship with someone who loves me and believes in me, and trying to live up to those expectations.
Feb. 8, 2011, 02:30 PM
Horses are the great ego builders and ego crushers. I remember the first time I laid eyes on my horse, I saw nothing but a big red butt and a flaxen tail. I KNEW he was going to be my horse. I was on Cloud 999 until I got him home and had to learn to ride him. I went to a clinic the first month I had him and was told you need to learn to be a better rider because he won't tolerate you. :eek:
Ever since then it has been a journey of hills and valleys. Ever achievement, every accomplishment, every kudo is accompanied by what is on the other side of the coin.
The last six months, I've watched as my horse hit a new level of athleticism. I would look in the mirror in wonderment and say, "IS THIS REALLY MY HORSE?!?" I thought for sure we were finally hitting our stride. And then last month, the menses horribilis...I swear, I was SO CLOSE to just throwing in the towel. I had it all planned out. I would stop paying my board, I wouldn't answer the phone and letting my barn owner take him off my hands. I knew exactly how much money I could get for my saddle, bridle and all my other tack.
We were each other's sworn enemies...both of us miserable. Every ride started with a stand off in his stall, "YES! You will be ridden today!" and he narrowed his eyes and pinned his ears and answered back, "Oh really, who's gonna make me?" and I would soften up, "but will you let me ride you for a cookie?" and he begrudgingly replied, "I guess for a cookie I could do it." And then the switch flipped again....he greeted me in his stall, stuck his head in his halter and we happily marched to the arena. Every ride more beautiful than the last. I ask him, "can you do this counter canter halt? How about this halfpass?" And he makes it look so easy! I would literally squeal like a little kid and hug him after every ride and he would sigh with contentment. And after I had loosend his girth and we walk back to the barn, he head butts me in my back, as if he were chastising me, "like you would ever give me away!"
And so continues the masochistic love affiar!
Feb. 8, 2011, 02:32 PM
Horrors! I agree with Velvet. :)
Be careful not to put so much pressure on yourself. It sounds like he's off to a great start. One bit of advice a trainer gave me years ago is to not ride when tired or stressed. Instead longe him or long line him so that you don't end up with regrets that could have been avoided easily. It sounds like mind-numbingly basic advice, but I used to feel *committed* (in a bad way) to maintaining his training and to keeping myself fit. There are some days that you just shouldn't ride. ;)
Feb. 8, 2011, 02:33 PM
Be happy and enjoy him. He is yours to have fun with. All of this pressure on yourself is not good for either of you.
He sounds like a very special boy. And he is lucky to have someone in his life like you.
Feb. 8, 2011, 03:07 PM
Going through some of the same with my new horse. When I'm totally focussed and riding my best, everything is wonderful. During my last lesson, the instructor reminded me of words I'd heard before; "don't abandon him, keep riding".
Some nights I get to the barn later because of work and have realized that it is better to lunge or turn out instead of trying to ride when I'm both mentally and physically exhausted. So what if I don't ride him as often as I'd like, the quality of the rides is much better when I'm rested and focussed.
Feb. 9, 2011, 07:52 AM
Not really the same thing, but years ago when my parents bought Pookah, my trainer had to remind me for a solid month "he's not made of glass, you won't break him!" I had been riding him while she owned him for years without having this problem, but suddenly was afraid that every ride had to be perfect, etc. I eventually just realized that I wasn't going to mess him up, and I needed to just RIDE. And the same applies--you will have a much nicer horse if you aren't first date nervous around him all the time :-). Plus, it sounds like you're several dates in and he still likes you, so just enjoy him!! One of my favorite crosses.