Well after an exceptionally awful ride on Q yesterday where she proceeded to spook at EVERY TINY THING and be a complete and total Tense Bundle Of Nerves, she redeemed herself today.
She made it quite obvious that this attitude and nervous spooking extreme issue she has is completely personal. And this is completely okay with me. This option, while not awesome, is so much cheaper and less stressful to deal with in the bigger picture than some medical issue. And I'm not ruling out things like saddle fit, hormones, Lyme's, or something else. I'm just pretty certain that it's something more simple....
My horse doesn't like me [anymore].
But she ADORES my boyfriend. (Hrrrumph!)
After yesterday's 3.5 mile trail ride, I was feeling pretty down. Pretty sad and freaked that she had something bigger than just hormones (she's not even in heat!) going on. I decided after the ride that I would have Mike ride her today. Same tack. Same trail.
Main differences in yesterday and today: Time of day; amount of cloud cover; speed traveled down trail; rider.
Yesterday's ride was at 1p; today's was at 9a.
Yesterday it was mostly sunny; today it was partly cloudy.
Yesterday it was mostly a walk ride; today it was mostly a trot ride.
Yesterday I rode Q; today Mike did.
And yesterday Q was so horrible and freaked out. Even my trail partner who rode Griffin noticed it!
Today? Today, under Mike's guidance Q was a total and complete doll baby. She was relaxed. Alert, but relaxed. She didn't spook stupid at anything on the trail. She gave a few things a wide berth, but she wasn't dumb about it. The only spook she had all day was at the very end and I'll give her that one - a rusty piece of sheet metal had fallen from a truck on a driveway we sometimes ride to connect back to the property. It was a new object and looked a bit like a dark hole, something she gets wiggy about usually. So I'll give her that.
So clearly, it's personal.
Its my way of riding vs. Mike's way of riding. Its not the tack. It could be time of day and it could definitely be the difference in how the sun's rays that stream patchily into the forest light things up really weird. But the end of the ride had the same sun spotting today and Q was FINE.
Mike says its because he keeps contact with her nose with the bitless bridle. I keep contact, too, though most of the time.
I asked him what he's looking at as they move down the trail, he says the back of her head half the time and the upcoming trail half the time.
Okay, that's different. I'm usually peripherally focused on her while I'm scanning the trail and surroundings. I always scan and take quick note of all places and things that might induce a spook. I don't focus long, I just keep a continually moving list in my head of potential moments. She's slammed on the breaks and had me off or had me jerked so hard to keep my balance that I feel I have to do this.
I have to quit.
I have to find a way to trust her a little bit more. To be MORE relaxed than I already am around her. To control my emotions MORE than I've been trying to do for the past 6 months (wow, its been so long). I have to relax and stop micromanaging all of the "what ifs". I have to trust my horse and ride.
This is going to be hard. But I have to do it. It'll be yet another personal challenge for myself. I seem to tackle a couple of these every year. They make me grow and better me overall. The process is never fun or easy, but its good for me!
I don't know quite how I'm going to go about tackling this, but I'm going to give it a go nonetheless. We'll get there. It'll just take time. And if I can't get back to where I was with this horse, that's fine, too. I'll give her to Mike. She's clearly chosen her person. For now, until Griffin is older, I'd just like to see if I can get her to tolerate me! She's certainly a challenge!
Her SmartMare Harmony arrived today (Saiph you are the bestttttttttt) and her Mg will be here a little later on. I'm hopeful that both of these (herbal supplements + a mineral I think she really may be lacking) will help give her just enough of an edge to help us to get back on the same page.
Mares. I swear.