I got out for a ride on my pony yesterday. It has been a bad year for riding with the cold and ice and when I have gotten out it has been on Odie. The little Coyote has been neglected. He made that very well known during our ride.
My darling husband took The Goblin Child with out with him all morning to move a fence, put propane in the tank and feed cows. When he sent her in so he could get non child friendly tasks accomplished she went to sleep, immediately. I was able to accomplish all kinds of things around the house, mostly cleaning. When he finally did come in he ordered me out of the house to enjoy some of the moderately nice weather.
I grabbed my bridle and a hand, make that pocket, full of horse cookies and went looking for horses. I could tell Coyote hadn’t been ridden for awhile because he came up looking for me. When he is being ridden regularly he heads the opposite direction. I slipped him his mandatory cookie with the bit and hopped on. He was very polite as we rode around their pen, we checked the hay bale and mostly looked for places to ride that were out of the wind. The other two ponies followed us, Jerry with short bursts of running and bucking, Odie cautiously vaguely curious about where we were going. I still don’t know if that strange pony even has a canter.
Bored with that I forced Coyote out the gate for a lap around the stack yard. We plodded slowly out checking out the cows and generally looking around. Then we reached the corner, the fence line, the turn around place. Every thing changed. We were headed
home, like a shot. His head came up, he pranced and danced, and leaped into the air performing high school dressage moves.
Sitting, bareback, upon my rampaging pony I pondered the intricacies of riding. I could feel how still and steady and confident my seat was. Granted, I had a death grip on the mane, but there was not a drop of fear or tightness. Together we swayed and dipped in an intricate dance. I could feel his back muscles tighten and release with every spook and hop and I remained still, the eye of this whirling vortex.
So why can’t I ride? This is so frustrating. On Coyote, almost, nothing scares me, on any other horse everything terrifies me. It’s not fair. I am more nervous riding Odie, our twenty year old perspective kids pony. I do find him a little alarming to ride, I believe it is the lack of controls. I do mean that in plural, not a lack of control but the lack of buttons and levers. There isn’t the complete control over movement in any body part like I am used to. Coyote can be trying to run home sideways and I can touch him with my leg behind the girth and straighten his body, bringing the hindquarters back in line. Riding a horse without those controls is like driving a car with out, I don’t know, steering I guess.
Unfortunately it’s more than that, I think years of starting colts ruined me. I know what horses are capable of, I’ve seen a mare who could kick a saddle as it was placed on her back. I know that they can still kick you no matter where you stand. My own little Jerry has gone from standing completely still to gone out from underneath me in an instant. That quickness made her a great cow horse but I don’t trust her with the child or husband even now that she is old and lame. I often think that if I could ride colts with the same confidence as I do Coyote I wouldn’t get bucked off but I think I used to ride all horses like that and it must not have worked because here I am old, sore and sure that I am coming off.
Sometimes I wish for a quiet well behaved horse but mostly I enjoy my wild, little, old pony. He makes me feel like I can still ride without forcing me to be able to still ride.