Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Almost as long as I've owned Izzy, I've grappled with this question: is she too much horse for me? I am a chicken-shit-scared re-rider adult ammy. I am not well endowed financially and I do not have ridiculous aspirations of international level competition.

Izzy, on the other hand, is gorgeous, athletic, wicked smart, talented, and has a rather sick sense of humor. She's way more horse than I -need-, sure. On the other hand, she will always have a nice reserve of talent to draw on if I mess up.

I'm in no way saying that I think I'm holding her back--I fall squarely into the camp of people who think that horses do not have goals and she's perfectly happy to plunk around over 2' jumps and play in the pasture as long as I want her to. My issue comes more from incidents like Saturday or our massive crash in June or any number of other episodes we've been through together.

I -can- ride Izzy. It's just that she challenges me every single day. Because of her intelligence, there is no "trotting around" on her. She gets bored, and if you don't give her something to do, she will find something to do. (This is always and unequivocally bad). She is not the pony-ride type horse. She is not a husband horse. She is a proud and fiery mare, by turns brilliant and hormonal.

After our lesson Saturday, I once again seriously questioned what I was doing. I mean, I love riding her when she's good. Jumping through the angled grid? Definitely one of my proudest riding moments ever. Super fun. Losing it from a ridiculous explosion like that? It honestly makes me wonder if I'm one of "those women", the over-monied* and over-mounted scared adult ammies.

In a different situation, I'd probably have to seriously consider my options as far as selling, leasing, or rehoming was concerned. Let's be honest. There are times when Izzy scares me to death. On the other hand, we're actually working with a fabulous trainer now. I am confident that we're going to get through this and come out even better than before.

It just takes more. More discipline, more trust, more assertiveness, more energy, more time. More.

We're going to do it.

*Ok, well minus the over-monied part.


  1. I have a feeling that working with this trainer is going to leave you with so many great tools to use with Izzy in the future. You're going to leave the experience feeling empowered and more connected with her than ever. And, for all that you said about her getting bored and testing you? Well, she's a mare...and that's what you signed up for...that's what you love and (hate) about her after all. I'm convinced that only certain types are suited for mares (I am one of them)!!! In the meantime I look forward to riding along with you through the ups and downs!

  2. You're right, horses don't feel "held back" by their riders, they just deal with what they have! And from what I've seen (well, heard anyways) it seems like you guys are doing great together for the most part. And everyone has crashes and scary moments, sometimes on the best of horses.

  3. What I LOVE about you and Izzy as a pair is that she does challenge you. Tell me would you really be content on a husband horse getting carted around? I don't see that. We all have those days we second guess ourselves, it will pass quickly, I am sure. But I have seen Izzy push you to be a better rider, be a better horsemen, push you to loose weight and get into better shape to be better for her. And because of those things I know you will move through this and you will do it to be better for her and for that she will do her best for you. I cannot think of her age right off hand but if I am thinking right she is young and with young comes unpredictable moments. So though she is intelligent and athletic she will get more whits about her and about keeping you safe with more experience. It sounds like this new experience at the new barn is pushing you and her out of your comfort zone and to me that is a great thing and you will both be the better for it.

  4. You are SO not one of "those women", and not just because of the money part:) You are doing and have done a fantastic job with Izzy. You are BOTH talented and you're bringing out the very best in her from everything I've read. I love your blog, though, because you are so honest...I think all of us have felt like that at one time or another. You are totally doing it, and doing it well:)

  5. If I read it right, you had a wreck on Izzy because you had a loose girth. You could have been on an ancient school horse and had a rodeo over that.
    My last horse taught me more than any horse ever has. When I went to clinics I was nearly always told that he had the scope and the mind to be an Advanced horse. His fate was to jump around itty bitty jumps with me, be more powerful than I needed in dressage and have my trainer jump him around BIG jumps every once in a while, just for a treat.
    As long as you are not afraid of the horse, one like Izzy can teach you a lot. Being afraid of a bad situation or being afraid of something new, hard and scary is not being afraid of the horse.
    I don't know you so I don't know if you are really overhorsed - but from reading your blog I don't think you are. I think you have a challenging horse who is going to be soooo much fun.

  6. Just going to jump in here..

    I don't think you are over-horsed with Izzy.I think you two are a perfect match. But just remember that even though it's okay to be afraid sometimes, a truly perfect horse-and-rider team will trust each other. They will place that fear on the table and say "okay, make me know that I was wrong to be afraid of this." Now, sometimes, things go wrong. But that's always to teach us a lesson. After all, like they say, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. I KNOW that you and Izzy are doing great together and that if you work hard, you two can go very, very far. Trust her, and remember: it's okay to be scared some times, but let her prove your fears wrong.

    It'll all work out in the end. You love her, she loves you. It'll all be okay in t he end!

  7. I think it's great that Izzy challenges you. If she didn't challenge you then you wouldn't have gotten to where you are now.
    I also think you and Izzy are going to improve loads with this trainer. (more than you already have)

  8. You guys are a great match! No challenges=no learning, which means you would never move forward as a rider. It's good to have a horse who pushes you a bit without being flat-out dangerous.

  9. LOL for the comment on my blog - I KNOW my time is coming! And I will most certainly have a huge post about it!

    I like reading your blog because you are very honest about your training experiences, you have a young smart mare, and you continue to challenge yourself and Izzy.

    I am thankful for the horse blogging community -just knowing other adult amateurs (in my case greenies) are trying every ride to build their relationship with their equine partner.

  10. Just wanted to say I completely relate to all of this. Been there, done that, will be tehre again. All of it. And you ride great, and your mare is awesome, so just enjoy the good days!

  11. I think you are probably just entering a new step. Meaning, at the base of moving up in your training/learning, it seems totally scary and intimidating. Look BACK and see those steps you have already taken, and how hard it seemed then. This is a great sign because it means you are aware of your horse, yourself and of the moment. Nothing but good signs :)

  12. I understand completely. My Tucker is a challenge for me in the same way, and I am never quite completely "at ease" when I ride him. (Now, mind you, I have been riding and training for nearly 50 years and have trained 2 horses up to Intermediare I...evented, hunter jumped, did jumpers, etc.) So it's not a matter of experience, it's a matter of "not the best horse at this time." My coping mechanism is not to challenge either of us with situations that may get us into trouble. (Avoidance.)

    Not so easy when Izzy is your only horse. (I can play around with Chance or Toby.) So, what you need to do is settle yourself down and set some realistic goals you feel comfortable with. You have made lists on this blog before, so I know you think that through.

    Some lungeing lessons on a solid school horse could help you get a better seat. Working with your super trainer on just the basics of position and where your leg needs to be when you go over a fence will help a lot. Just set up some tiny crossrails and work on position until you are truly solid. A good lesson doesn't have to introduce something new if the goal is to make the things you've already learned as solid as granite.

    When I was taking jumping lessons from a super trainer, we spent months, and months, even years, just focusing on crossrails and little jumps of no more than 2 feet or so in nearly all my lessons. We did tons of gymnastics at that height, posing all kinds of horse/rider problems to solve. As a result, my horse became an amazingly reliable, confident jumper and I actually was able to help him.

    You've come far with Izzy. Only you can decide if she really is the right horse for you, but don't sell yourself short. You've been doing a great job so far.

  13. The question of whether or not you're overhorsed is an important one - and good for you for even going there. This spring I made the decision that the mare I was riding was just too much for me. However, I was able to get through some rough patches by really doubling down and improving my riding. From competence comes confidence. I think you're right to ask yourself these questions, and I also think that your answer - committing to improving and putting the plan in place to do so - is bang on target. And your first "jump school" post from December certainly bears this out! :)

  14. You said it yourself. You're working with a great trainer and you will get through this. :)

  15. I went back to find the original broken arm post. Just look at the change in your riding position!

    Teaching your horse that jumping is their job, and refusing is not an option; waiting for the horse to commit before you jump; trusting that your horse will do his best for you and your horse trusting that you won't ask anything impossible~ this will get you through 3'6" safe and sound. Being technical is good, it's important past a certain level, but between her scope and developing that trust between the two of you will certainly allow you to do BN and N and some of the straight-forward Ts. She knows you won't ask anything she can't do, and you'll know she knows her job and will DO it as long as you direct and support. You guys can have a lotta, lotta fun! Don't give up on yourself.

    And just imagine how you'd feel if Izzie didn't have someone as particular (and fashion-minded) as you... Unless you NEED to sell her, please don't. You are not overhorsed and not doing her a bit of disservice.


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