Do you ever feel like you're not on the right path? Or wonder where the hell the path you're on is taking you? I feel like that all the time.
Last week, on the 21st, was the two year anniversary of the day I took ownership of Missy. I had a lesson, which have been rare these days, and we cantered in a big circle off the lunge line. I'm learning to be more gentle when I ask and to open my shoulder so it is easier for her to turn, I tend to tense up on the right side when we start going fast. I felt really good and stable in my seat and in control, even though she'd been grumpy the whole lesson.
Two days later we were riding on our own in the big (jumping) arena. I was determined to ride even though I was in a melancholy mood. I rode myself mostly of my funk and wanted to continue our new routine of having her canter for a few steps in each direction at the end of our ride. To the right, perfect: she picked up the right lead, didn't bend to the inside too much, and even slowed to the trot instead of to the walk. So now I'm feeling pretty confident.
And we all know what happens when you start feeling too big for your riding breeches, right? Your horse makes sure you know that they've got your number.
Instead of staying in a big circle at the end of the arena where there aren't any jumps, I decide I want to go all the way around the perimeter. I get onto the straightaway to the left and ask her to canter, she picks it up and for the first few steps everything is fine. Then we pass the first jump and she realizes I'm not going to make her stay in a circle. In an instant, she puts her ears back and kicks into another gear -- now we are full-on galloping. Immediately I start to try to pull her back but instead I end up turning her head to the left, which makes her veer to the inside. Now we are headed straight for an oxer jump with white gate stantions and I think, she's either going to balk or she's going to jump it, either way, I'm bracing to fall. At the last possible second she pulls up and lifts her front hooves over the right hand side stantion. I honestly have no idea how we didn't hit anything. She stops on a dime, snorting and pawing. I guess she had fun. I almost had a heart attack. The girl lunging in the round pen asked if I was OK, apparently she saw the whole thing. "She seems hyper today", she says, and I say something to the effect that she's always like that. "Oh, she always runs out from under you like that?", she says, and instantly I feel like a complete idiot. I mumble something about her being green at the canter and ask Miss to walk.
I get her untacked and curried and settled into her stall and finally sat down on the tack room step and started to cry. I could still taste the metallic flavor of the adreneline in my mouth. I felt like I'd taken a huge step backwards. Isn't that always the way?