Monday, February 15, 2016

Learning Lessons: Personal Problems

Once upon a time, I was bitching about how complicated and sensitive my horse was.

Fellow blogger Lauren (who also has a bay OTTB gelding) was like:
don't worry--she approved this graphic
And she's not wrong. Courage is a very challenging horse who pushes me to my absolute limits with complete impunity. It's maddening. The worst part is that I know the things that drive me crazy aren't training issues. They're his freaking personality and that's not going to change. The histrionics and theatrics and flailing is just who he is.

Which is why Lauren said what she said.

And she's right.
remember when short sleeves were a thing
Here's the thing. Last year, I took an accounting class and blogged about how it challenged me and how that helped me understand Courage. That class sucked the soul out of me. I did hundreds of hours worth of work, struggled and clawed for every inch, and when the semester wrapped up, I was profoundly, deeply satisfied with my grade.

This year, I'm taking another class. Different instructor. It's stupid easy so far. It's so easy that I sit in class and do my own review sessions from last semester's material and invent problems BECAUSE I'M BORED. It's not that it's a bad class. It's fine. It just doesn't challenge me and I get zero satisfaction from it.

And that is the problem with me.
think WAY back
I sort of think that's why I was so happy jumping Cuna and yet can't convince myself it's fun on Courage. Cuna was the most incredible horse OF ALL TIME. He and I thought the same about everything. So while we had our disputes (occasionally), in general, we were challenged by the jumping to constantly improve.

And Cuna was good at jumping and terrible at dressage. Let's face it: I jumped 3'3"-3'6" on Cuna and had a blast, but when he did the TEST OF HIS LIFE it was training level at a dressage show and we got a 64. Courage got a 67 and I was like "hm good but I know we can do better".
basically a unicorn
So when JenJ is like "I'm riding this fantastic horse who like Does What He is Told and doesn't need to Express His Opinions on Life, the Universe, and Everything", I'm really a little bit jealous. I don't know what that's like. Then I jump to "it must be heaven" then immediately "I want one" and then riiiiiiight before I start horse shopping, I remember that I already HAVE a horse.
this horse
 And while he drives me crazy and pushes me to my limits some days, the truth is that I'm a person who pathologically NEEDS to be challenged in order to excel. I crave it. I chase it. I blunder right past the easy stuff, grab what looks impossible and say "this one".

Over and over.

We can argue all day about what a challenge looks like and I freely admit that just because your horse is less explosive or emotional or argumentative than mine is, it doesn't mean that your horse is somehow less challenging (or more, but god help you if so). It just means that Courage is my challenge.

I like riding him. I look forward to seeing him. I like how his face looks in my bridles.
so classic
Someday I hope he's this super-trained mega-fantastic fancy-ass dressage horse that little girls are jealous of, but even if he never is, he's my horse and I like him.

With all his challenges.


  1. Replies
    1. I guess I could have called it "The Battle Hymn of the Owner of the Complicated Horse", but that's not as catchy.

  2. Hey man, this is what's important. You might not always LIKE his problems, but you can ride them and it makes you better. That's how you know it's the right horse <3

  3. If I didn't have a horse that was a complete and total PITA I would be so, so bored. And cocky as hell. I need the little punk to put me in my place. Courage is good for you. <3

  4. I'm sure on paper it sounds like my horse is easy as pie, but as described by my BF last week, "Riley doesn't seem to know he's a horse". I'm not sure if this says more about him or me, but either way we tolerate each others quirks... I love how he challenges me and that I know what to expect out of him even when he throws all of his toys out of the sandbox:)

  5. "his face looks good in my bridles" = totally a legitimate reason :) really tho we all got into this whole crazy horse thing for different reasons and from different backgrounds, and we're all probably getting something different out of the mix. i'm glad you're exciting and feeling good about what you're getting with Courage !

    1. Sounds like fodder for a good blog hop: Why do you ride :)

  6. Glad SOMEONE else agrees flailing is just personality. Said that a while back and got lit up because of it.

    1. Well it is and it isn't. He's going to react dramatically, that's personality, but for my horse in my situation, if he's flailing, it's because I'm doing it wrong.

      But it changes of day to day and week to week. So sometimes flailing means personality and sometimes it means he's overfaced and it's on me to figure it out. ;-)

  7. "his face looks good in my bridles"

    This. An ugly critter costs just as much to maintain as the pretty one but the pretty one makes you enjoy it more.

    I've done dog rescue on and off and had varying degrees of fit with the dog and our household. Invariably the pretty dogs were easier to tolerate. Not quite the same but on a few levels I get it.

  8. All that matters is that he works for you. It sounds like you know yourself quite well and the challenges that you enjoy. I'm one of those people who would rather have unchallenging horse.:)

  9. The first graphic completely made this post.

  10. Guess the key is as long as you still like this challenge. I like challenges, by I did not like the challenge of statistics class. I rose to the occasion, but hated it. Pathophysiology on the other hand, bring it on.

    Where I'm at now, I kinda would rather be challenged by learning and trying new things, not if the damn rake in the corner is going to eat us. But that's my challenge priority, I know plenty of riders that love the difficult horse.

  11. I agree completely. I've realized that this is why a own a pony. This and I don't want to be really competitive because I got so burnt out when my mom was pushing me in music. I subconsciously knew that if I bought a small paint pony I wouldn't have to feel the need to be competitive.

  12. Little girls are already jealous of you and your fancy ass dressage horse :)

    1. Hm yeah I guess 9 year old me would TOTALLY be jealous of curent-age me, so I'll have to agree with you on that. Good point.

  13. Finally, someone nails how I talk. Thank you.

  14. Hahaha... well, while T isn't actively trying to murder me in my sleep (yet), he definitely comes with his own set of challenges and some oversized baggage - so don't be too jealous (you can, however, be jealous of the adorable horrible Haffie). As long as your horse's challenges match what you want in a horse and your abilities, that's what counts.


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