“It’s never the horse’s fault. If you get the wrong answer, you either asked the wrong question or you asked it wrong,” says Rick Gore, Horse Blogger and Vlogger.
It’s only March, but all the horses at our barn had a case of spring fever last weekend. It didn’t help that we had added a new gelding who was fitting into the herd as well as could be expected, but there was still some remnant of hierarchy to be established. Add to that the fact that Tara can be a bit of a flirt and she was definitely interested in the new kid in town. You would be right to ask why I didn’t sit my ride out that day. My simple answer would be that I’m horse crazy.
So we saddled up and started out towards the trail, but hadn’t gotten far when the mares stampeded across their pasture to the geldings’ fence. Tara immediately went into high alert, trying to spin, prance, and dart, wanting to join her herd that was running away without her.
Right command, but my voice, body, and spirit were asking it wrong and that was why Tara was not going to take it easy.
I could feel my heart pounding like it was going to explode from my chest. I could hear my riding partner Karly calmly say, “Stretch your heels down, Jayne. I know you’re just trying to stay on but you’re heels are up and digging into her side. Check and release. She’ll fight you if you try to hold her back.”
Karly, who, as a rule, never gives unsolicited advice could tell that was what I needed to hear at that moment as I frantically considered bailing. She sounded like she was a mile away. I was in my own bubble of survival, but thankfully, I could still hear her. I had no idea my heels were digging into Tara. I knew I needed to settle myself down before I could help Tara do the same.
Against every natural instinct, I lowered my legs, sank deeper into the saddle, and softly said, “Easy… Jayne.” Deep breath in, big exhale out, follow Karly’s instructions. Within minutes, Tara went from big and high-headed to my relaxed trail horse once again.