The smallest of things will make fear bubble up. Like a fly/pollen/bee/if I toss my head up and down maybe she'll stop making me work, thing. When I brought Koda in from the pasture he had an itchy nose. It didn't just develop, but he would totally add it to his bag of tricks. Unless we were doing something that required his full attention, he was flinging his head to get rid of whatever was itchy.
So I stopped riding. Maybe I should get off? I don't want to bee flung.
My hubby dismounts, and begins to rub and wipe the inside of Koda's nose (EWWW). I'm glad Koda enjoyed the nose cleansing. It didn't cure the itch, but made him feel better. Totally grossed me out. We all chuckled. It wasn't the nose wiping act, it was the green goopy slime left on the no longer clean sweatshirt!!
Koda really wasn't doing anything wrong (minus head tossing) so I tried to keep him busy, and his mind off being itchy. Add a trailered-in young horse learning in-hand showmanship (think owner going one direction, horse going the other) annnd I can't stop the little "what if" fear as it bubbles up. Instead, the fear bubbles bigger. Like bubble gum big. Expanding and getting clearer, about to pop and cover your face big!!
Why do I let little things bother me? I work through it in my head. Block - it - out! Doubt it's ever really gone, just squashed. I even manage to lope again. After a bunch of wrong left leads (stillll struggling...my boy is extremely right sided - but that's another post) I get three good left lope off's. It's been a long enough ride, and end on a good note.
Fast forward to the next day, it's wet and muggy. We head to the indoor arena. Last time I rode inside it was spring, and Koda ended up in training. Block - that - thought - too! Service doors are midway up, so there is open space above and below the door, the hay is gone, and there is a new cart for a mini horse in-training.
After working through some antics while tacking Koda up, we enter the indoor arena and our conversation goes something like this:
Me: "See the cart, don't tip it over"
Koda: "I wonder what a cart tastes like?"
Me: "It's not for you"
Koda: "Does it move?"
Me: "Let's not find out. See the open door?"
Koda: "I can see the outside!! Did you know there is an Arena out there?! A Trailer? A Round Pen? Why is this door open anyways??"
Me: "Not sure, the door is never open - and yes, I see them." They all look the same as they do every other day."
Koda: "What if a horse-eating monster pops in from outside? or a blade of grass moves??"
Me: "There are no monsters at Iron Horse. Grass & trees move, get over it"
I find something to help me crawl up on Koda, and we begin our ride. Gradually working up in gaits, and proximity, to passing the scary open door. Koda never really does forget about it, but doesn't shy. We take breaks next to the big open door, and gaze outside. Yep, everything still looks the same.
My hubby leaves the arena to swap Cierra out for Nemo, and it's just me and Koda, and kitty Belle. Shortly after, Belle disappears out the open door. I can feel Koda's wheels turning, where did she go? First Brad, then Cierra, and Belle too - where is Nemo anyways? Why am I still inside??
I started thinking we should play it safe and just walk/trot, nahhh - went for the lope. Past the door we went! First one side, then the other. Kinda fun having the arena to ourselves. I swear I heard my horse sigh, when Nemo & Brad joined us. I was all proud of myself, I got the "what's your point" look from the husband...he just doesn't get it. I know it wasn't a big deal, but it was to me. I'll take every confidence building success I can get, especially the ones I do on my own.
I dislike fear, and what I let it do to me or better said what it prevents me from doing. There really isn't anything funny about it. But a healthy amount does keep one safe. If that's the case, I've got nothing to fear.
Koda (L) Cierra (R)