Monday, September 7, 2009

My lesson on Rosso

Turns out my trainer, Rex, has a person who comes out to clean stalls M-W but this person forgets and doesn't show up or begins to clean, says they forgot something, leaves and never comes back to finish or they do a sorta half-way job and the stalls look like crap...

I used to be a regular stall cleaner. You clean stalls twice and you earn a lesson - or she'll pay you $20 cash each time you clean, whichever you'd like. I am a lesson whore and I always, always choose lessons.

These days, I'm the back-up... when one of the regular stall cleaners needs a day off, they call me to see if I can pick it up. I don't mind it at all - it's pleasant enough for me to be around the horses and they are all well behaved and it takes about 1.5 - 2 hrs depending on the weather and condition of the stalls. It helps out with my bank account to earn these "free" lessons.

BUT that said - I really like being the relief pitcher and not being committed to 2 days a week. I used to be a regular stall cleaner and my back just can't take it so much when it's regular work.

I told Rex I'd make her a deal... I could commit to one day of stall cleaning (cuz I knew another stall cleaner wanted to pick up Wednesdays) if Rex could give me some more face time to help me deal with Rosso.

I sort of want my cake and eat it too.

I don't want to give up my regularly scheduled weekly lesson on my mare Sera cuz we are working on 2nd and 3rd level stuff - stuff I've never done before and it is SO cool and fun and fascinating and yet I really do need to get Rosso out of his, "I don't WANNA" phase. Besides that I need to just build my bridge and get over it with him. (cuz quite frankly he has me a little a'feared of him right now)

She said she'd talk to the M-W gal and get back to me and why don't I bring Rosso over on Monday cuz she'd be around.

I took Rosso over today.

Good gravy - my heart was doing little back flips in my chest and my stomach felt funny and I kept giving myself talks.... "oh, c'mon Shanster. You haven't been hurt - it's not like he's bogging his head down and really bucking. You used to get bucked off all the time when you were a kid and you just got right back on.... get in touch with that 14 yr old girl and take your skirt off dammit!"


You can say allllllllllll those things but the lizard brain still reacts to perceived danger... you know that lizard brain? The one that keeps the very core reactions in our bodies going - the instinctual ones - things like how your eyes dilate or the hairs on the back of your neck will stand up when you are scared?

Stoo-pid lizard brain.

I loaded Rosso up - drove to Rex's barn - unloaded him - spent some extra time grooming him and reminding myself of all the GOOD rides I've had on him. All last winter and fall at home and up at Rex's - with her nephews riding their big wheels up and down the alley way - with fuzzy, furry, paint gypsy cobs in the arena with us, and how I rode him up the road twice after he came home from The Cowboy trainer....

I tacked him up and headed into the arena. I lunged him. I asked Rex if it was time to swallow the frog. (yeah, see, if you swallow a frog, can things get any worse in your day???)

I walked him to the middle of the arena. I slapped the stirrups, I hopped up and down in the stirrup, I laid my belly over his back and slapped and smacked and made lots o' noise.... I slowly brought my other leg over and there I sat...... mouth full o' cotton.

Rosso offered to walk forward with his head level, nice and relaxed. No flinging head, no spinning in circles... not one purty hoof outta place. We walked in both directions - easy as pie.

We trotted in both directions - easy as pie.

Rex asked if I wanted to canter. No. Not really. But I told myself I would and I'm up here and I'm gonna swallow the damn frog.

I asked him for canter - it went easy as pie. We turned to go in the other direction.... he took the wrong lead but he went and he was relaxed and was going forward so I took it. Rex asked if I wanted to go again and try for the correct lead but I thought I'd had all the frog I could eat for one day. I walked him, stopped him, let him chill out for a while with me on his back, asked him to walk again... all easy as pie and no fuss, no muss.

More rides like that and I'll get my confidence back and once my mojo is back, I can begin to push the envelope....

I don't talk about Rosso much cuz right now it really doesn't feel so good. I'm skeered of the big red horse.... Not on the ground but it is so unnerving to me that he can just pop me off his back easier than I can pop the top off a beer bottle.

I had a good talk with Rex. I have to trust in the training. I have to let go and let Dressage.

It happened with Sera - my mare. She went through an awful, awful phase as a youngster. Even today I could take her somewhere and she could plant my butt in the dirt if she wanted.... but she doesn't. She knows to go FORWARD. She has been trained and trained and trained. I've been thru countless lessons and clinics. It's because of the work and the training that I believe she will behave in most situations I put her in. The same will come of Rosso.

John Wayne said, "Courage is being scared to death - but saddling up anyway." And that is exactly how I feel.


Fyyahchild said...

This is often how I feel about riding my BGM. Even when things are going well I know the lizard brain is alert and I think she knows it. Love the John Wayne quote. I'm going to remember that the next time I don't want to saddle her up.

Shanster said...

I'm sure she knows it, just like Rosso knows my little heart is fluttering like a bird trapped in my ribcage... but they just gotta learn it's never acceptable to plant their rider in the dust.

And WE are the ones that have to make that point clear even tho' we are a-scared! It totally sucks!

Tho' if horses were easy, everyone would be doing it... not just us whackos! :)

That is a great quote by John Wayne isn't it? It is so spot on!

Shanster said...

Well the riding and the satisfaction we get is a high like no other... I just think the SCARED part really sucks!! I hate feeling scared and unsure... :)