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July 15, 2014: Lessons Learned: Abandoning Fear

Further defining moving forward – abandoning fear is a central issue for me, in regards to dealing with Raudi. Today we took yet another step in the right direction – we did a group trail ride on the home front and a lengthy lesson at Beth’s. I don’t know about my horse, but I am tired.

I by nature am a very anxious person. And quite often, anxiety translates to fear. I fear many things, including going to the dentist, flying in airplanes, and spelunking. Up, down, and in between, I’m happiest when my teeth don’t hurt and both feet are firmly on the ground.

These things, and others, like getting my hairs cut, translate to what I call the dreads. (I would have dreads but my hair is too fine.)

When I first started riding Raudi I was extremely fearful. Over time, I’ve challenged myself incrementally, taking on one small thing at a time, such as crossing big streams and riding down hills.

And I would be the first to admit that had a more confident and experienced rider purchased Raudi, she would be further along in her training. However, this summer we have been making up for lost time.

I’m not yet a fearless rider. But gosh, I’m getting closer to this seemingly unobtainable goal. Today I took a big step forward First there was the trail ride – Sarah who was here the day of the obstacle course/trail ride came and rode with Pete and me, as did Frank, who was riding Giff and ponying Katla, and Terri who owns Lifre and was riding Joe. And many dogs came along, most notably Rainbow, Ryder, Frank’s dogs Lucy and Sally, and Sarah’s dog Pete.

We all made our way in very Hobbit fashion to Grizzly Camp, then backtracked and did the Bench Loop, the downhill portion being Pete’s trail. It’s worth noting that I didn’t make excuses and bow out of doing this ride. I just hopped on my number one riding horse (Tinni is now Pete’s number one riding horse) and off we went. Raudi and I lead most of the way, going up and going down the hills. There was no getting behind Tinni and riding on his butt. Raudi and I were confident, cool, calm, and collected. It’s also worth noting that I had no qualms about riding with big horses, which by nature are generally more reactive. Joe is okay, but Sarah’s mare Spiffy (she said) could be a handful. She did seem to me to be jumping around some, but it wasn’t anything that in any way bothered Raudi or me.

As for lesson – I do still get a bit nervous about this, especially since the time in which Rosie bolted and got away from me. But I am not so nervous that I look for an out. This time was no exception. I began by walking her around (as usual) and then riding her. There was (this time) four other riders, two of them being a woman who rides a large palomino named Riley and her friend who rides a large tri-colored pinto named Stitches—because he’s always getting banged up. For a while it was business as usual – we trotted over ground poles and low jumps, and then a series of low jumps. There was a lengthy intermission because Hilary came off of Stitches when going over the ground poles. He jumped sideways, bucked, and dumped her.

When, finally, Hilary was back on Stitches, we resumed work, all of going over a six-jump serpentine course. Rosie was last. She refused the middle cross jump once, I think because she was tired. Beth suggested that I go around it, and come back in the direction of the other horses. This worked. She refused it a second time, going in the direction away from the other horses. I finally got her over the jump. I told her that I thought Rosie was tired -- Beth then wisely said to call it good.

So that was my day. There was a time in which my heart would have been in my throat, had I had a day like today. This wasn’t it. This is evidence that Rosie and I are moving forward in a huge way.

Next: 194. 7/16/14: A Year Later