Bruises; Of Ego. Of Body.


Social media is really interesting sometimes. In the competitive horse world, it makes sense that people celebrate their successes. Trainers often have their own Facebook pages that highlight how well their shows went. They definitely don't highlight their horses that ran off, or quit them. Non-Pros quickly post videos of their winning runs, with captions exclaiming how much they love their horse. They very rarely post about how their rides went to crap, and they are willing to sell their horse for one dollar and a bottle of stiff liquor. Why would they? When you scroll through your own "timeline of life" sometimes it's nice to see all the highs, all the good stuff, to recap the greatness. However, I think the double edged sword here comes from the people that are watching. When I have a really bad day with my horse, and I log on to Facebook or Instagram, and see a post talking about how amazing it is that a fellow competitor has won their 18th straight show in a row? Yeah, it stings a little. We are all human people, we can allow ourselves a little jealousy, a little griping, and a little moping from time to time. Just not all the time, that aint cute.

Sometimes, it would be nice to know when those people you may look up too, or compare yourself against, on social media, make a mistake. Everybody makes mistakes when it comes to horses, it is inevitable and it is why horses are so uniquely humbling. Big mistakes, small mistakes, and mistakes in between, we have all had our share.

I didn't properly latch the gate and the horse got out. I put the wrong saddle on a horse, and my boss got mad at me. I forgot to give meds to one of our horses. Did I turn the lights off when I left? My trainer has been telling me to use more leg, and yet, I just can't seem to use more leg. I tied the stud up next to a mare, and a bunch of vocal commotion occurred. 

All sorts of things can go awry when it comes to horses, from basic maintenance and care of them, to riding and training on them. Sometimes these types of posts do pop up, but they are usually cute, glossed over accounts of what happen, that make people chuckle. They are very rarely the truth, "I lost my cool and my patience on my horse, and I got into a wreck over it, and I'm embarrassed and ashamed."



I have mulled this post over for awhile, contemplated this post, and thought up a lot of ways to gloss over this post to still make it look all cute by the end. The truth is, that's not the reality of horses, and for the sake of sharing my own life, and my own truth on this blog, I thought I should share a story with you guys that happened to me last week. Do you all remember my beloved first horse, a Paint horse named Jingle? I don't talk about him much anymore because he has a lower leg lameness that means he has been retired since he was 11. Two years of attempting to find out what was wrong with him, to no avail, left me emotionally drained and taxed. Jingle is still alive and well, he is still quirky, and he is fat and sassy. He is currently turned out and he has pretty much reverted back to his wild horse ways. The thing with Jingle is, he was the type of horse everyone tells you NOT to have as your first horse. I learned a lot of things because of him, and with him, but they were hard fought lessons. Jingle is terrible about his mouth, and his head, stemming back to having a broken jaw that was never treated by a veterinarian when he was four. He is naturally a very flighty horse, which resulted in him pulling back a lot when he was younger. Not like little pulls, big time pull backs that would break halters and rails, and wreak havoc in their path. (Remember, not the ideal first horse) We worked through all of it, slowly and surely we plodded through a green as grass rider attempting to train a pretty wild five year old with barely any training behind him. Now he has become a pasture ornament, which still stings a little from time to time. Jingle and I were just kind of "getting it" when he went lame, and so it always feels like unfinished business with him.

Last week, when I went to deworm him, he wouldn't let me. This is classic Jingle by the way, and I've worked through it before, but it's taken a lot of time, and a lot of patience. Last time he was dewormed, my boss was able to do it quickly without any fuss. My boss who is a true horseman, where I am just stumbling along the path of attempting to even head in that direction. So, as Jingle was thrashing around, ripping his head out of my hands, pushing in to me, and generally just acting like an ill broke donkey that I know he isn't, I had all of this in my head. I lost my patience, I lost my cool, and I wrapped the lead shank around a post in an attempt to stop the head shaking. Anyone who knows bad-mannered horses, knows exactly where this is going. In fact, so did I, because as I did it, a voice in my head said, "You know he's going to pull back and come forward and on top of you." I ignored it. That is exactly what happened. Thankfully I had the small smidgeon of sense left to not tie him hard and fast, but he still connected hoof to leg and left me with one of the biggest, baddest, bruises I have ever received. I was lucky, had I not turned away from him he would have caught the front of my leg, and likely would have broken it.

It got progressively worse by the way, at one point my entire lower leg was black.

So was it idiotic, and dumb, and truly unfair to my horse? Yes, it was very much all of those things. Am I embarrassed, and ashamed, that I wasn't able to keep my emotions in check? Yes, very much so. Will I do it again? Absolutely not. But, there is something else in this story, and that is that we all have done something stupid and irrational with horses before. Maybe it wasn't as bad as my story, or maybe it was much worse. It is an art form in and of itself to keep your emotions in check when you are around horses. Just remember, that sometimes you have to forgive yourself and you have to learn from your mistakes. Sometimes, you think you've come a pretty far way, and you suddenly revert back to an old, less informed, version of yourself. Remember too, that very rarely do people share the bad, especially the bad that left them embarrassed or ashamed. Even the people you look up too, or compare yourself against, have stories that they don't share because it will dim their light, if only for a second. Don't compare yourself to others, if anything, let other people's success drive you harder for your own. However, and I firmly believe this, with horses your true concern should be your own growth, and your focus on that growth will get you farther than any comparison will. But maybe, someone reading this, had a similar bad day that they caused, and this post will remind them that deep down, we are all human and we all make mistakes.

"You can learn great things from your mistakes when you aren't busy denying them."

A lifetime ago, a girl, and her first horse.

Comments

  1. This is one of the reasons I blog -- I like to be honest, and document the good and the bad. It's a lot easier to write about the good, but going back to the bad and seeing how far we've come is an even better feeling.

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  2. This. This is what it is about. Thank you for sharing your story. We all have bad moments, times, and seasons with horses and in life.

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  3. going back to the bad and seeing how far we've come is an even better feeling.


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