Archive for September, 1996
I’m always on missions. The mission for this column is FEAR! I’m talking to new:
Women Adult Riders Inspired by the Option of Retirement or WARRIOR!
This is for the WARRIORS who have discovered the unforgiving hardness of the ground and developed fear. The WARRIOR buys a horse and it bolts, bucks or shys and the WARRIOR hits the ground. The ground whispers to you…death, broken bones, pain. Your continuing mortality becomes a great concern. Your self confidence goes underground!
You are not alone. You are in the great majority. Fear can be conquered and bested! Listen WARRIOR…read my story and keep chipping away at the enemy.
I hit the ground.
My life was saved by trainers Jenny Vaught, “For the Horse” Ranch and Karen Moulis of Pine Dell Farm. Jenny trained Sage and Karen trained me. I rode nice safe “farm horses” and developed my riding skills.
Sage and I met after two months of separate training. I wasn’t scared of the gentle farm horses, but my body was as stiff as a board when I climbed aboard Sage.
Jenny told me to relax. I took a deep breath and relaxed. Jenny asked me why I seemed to be standing in the saddle. She told me my knees were straight. She tried to move my leg and bend my knee. My knee might have relaxed about 1/2″. Maybe I wasn’t too relaxed.
Sage hated my frozen body and refused to move, tried to bite my legs, and cow kicked. My immediate thought “My life is over. Surely Jenny will take me off this creature! But no, Jenny was telling me to squeeze her with my legs, spank her rear with my hand, spank her rear with the lead rope. Finally, Sage made a step and we started all over again.”
Jenny talked me through this like the control tower guy in the movies helping the passenger land the airplane after the pilot dies. The only difference was that I wanted to be the dead pilot! About half way in this refusal to move forward, (we progressed about 5 yards), we started to move slowly about the arena with mad, disgruntled horse things happening. I think we almost made it one lap around the arena at that time. I decided that I should cry because I was a tremulous mess. I needed to cry. I teared up and thought, “I’m going to tell Jenny that I want off!” But Jenny kept talking to me…talking me through and finally the time was over and I was alive! I was wringing wet with sweat. There were a lot of people in the arena that night…of course I couldn’t see them; I only sensed them! I know Patty Miller and Dale Feagan were in the arena. We rode together in lessons for years after that. We go back a long ways!
They all came over and told me I did really well. Jenny told me I did really well. I felt better then, especially since my feet were on the ground. It was a one wine bottle night!
I continued to work with Sage on the ground and had the weekly riding lesson with Sage. The 2nd lesson I was much more confident; but Sage was worse. I had to get off and Jenny got on, and made Sage very uncomfortable about not moving. I got back on again with more confidence and made Sage move. It was a banner day. Several more rides and I had managed to ride her by myself (in the round pen).