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The Blame Game
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The Blame Game

My Sport and I were out with my good friend Lisette and her horse Riley for a trail ride on a beautiful sunny day. Lisette is on a work-to-ride lease at our stables as am I, but she’s been there much longer and has been riding Riley for more than seven years. I admire their relationship almost to the point of envy, since Sport and I are still in the “newlywed” stage of feeling each other out and finding out what makes us tick.

I felt this same way several years ago whenever my newly married husband Peter and I would visit my brother and his wife who had been happily married for ten years. They had already worked through many emotional and mental minefields and had safely reached the other side. There were several times in our newlywed phase that I wondered if we would be so lucky.

“Want to trot a bit?” Lisette asked as we reached a wider part of the trail. Sport has a nice trot, so of course I said yes.

Unfortunately, he trots so nicely I wasn’t paying attention as I should have and Sport tripped over a tree root. As he began to fall forward, my first thought was “Oh no, we’re going down!” He quickly regained his balance but then went into a couple of little bucks before I had completely regained my seat. My next thought was “Oh no, I’m going off!” I barely stayed on and was thoroughly shaken as Lisette slowed Riley down to a walk with Sport following suit.

Seeing we were okay and trying to downplay the event, Lisette just shrugged, saying, "The last time Riley tripped he gave a couple of bucks too, to cover up his embarrassment.”

The rest of the trail was uneventful but my heart was still racing and my emotions were imploding when I dismounted, untacked Sport, gave him his apple and put him out in the pasture as usual. Had Peter been there, he would have recognized the looks Sport was getting because he’s seen them many times over the past twenty-seven years. The well-practiced - Well, I never, how dare you - types of looks.

On my drive home, I started crying. Lisette was just being kind, trying to gloss over the fact that my horse had tried to get rid of me! It’s a good thing I had a half hour drive because that’s how long it took me to navigate this particular minefield that had exploded between Sport and I.

I have taken riding lessons in the past but for the present, I’ve been relying on a few favorite YouTube trainers when I’m facing issues. Just the night before, I had been watching Rick Gore Horsemanship and although I’m not ready to go bridleless as he prefers, he always makes a lot of sense. One of his favorite sayings is, “It’s not the horse’s fault, people! It’s your fault.”

It was my fault?

I brushed the tears and my emotions aside and thoughtfully replayed the scene in my mind. I recalled that as Sport initially lost his footing and pitched downward, I tried to pull his head back up. In my panic and my effort to keep my seat, I had inadvertently yanked back on the reins and held them there, which I would never normally do. I always make an effort to keep my hands soft with him but I hadn't this time.

It was my fault.

As I left Sport in the pasture, he had had every right to be glaring after me with his own "how dare you" look. If I want Sport to control himself perhaps I should get control of myself and work on acting calmly instead of overreacting.

Sport and I might just survive this newlywed phase after all.

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  1. James Kenway
    hey. i have just read this post here, and think i will give you a little advice... i feel that it's clear, that the most importen to you is the friendship betwing you, and your horse sport... if i were to recomend any horse experts on youtube, i would sugest carolyn resnick and her waterhold retuals (don't worry, its not really retuals, just what its called) and so klaus ferdinand hempfling, and the greatest of all alexander nevzorov who have the greatest knowledge of horses in my opinion. i would like to sent ya along here two videos. one that is abute stormy may, a former horse trainer, riding instructur, competetion jugst, and all of that industri things of horses. but after 20 years of that looked ahead anoder 30 years and desided she not needed anoder 30 years, learning people the same lessons, traning the same kind of horses, and all of that. so she took on a jurney that chanced her life, and her view of horses... and at long last found the missing part in her relationship with horses, that she never had before.... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TQUMAJCh1fA the oder video is a peace of her book. the first 3 chapters where you will hear a little of how she chanced. what happend after her jurney, and what she learned and descoverd.... if you are intrested, i will send ya the whole book on 15 chapters in mail if you write to my mail i send ya along too further down... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQhJEcOEDEk my mail is julianj@live.dk dearest julian johansen, profesonel in being with horses from the ground, horse behavior, and great undestanding in horse anotomy.
  2. liz48170
    Hey, horses trip, riders bumble and almost or actually come off. Horses can give a bit of a buck here or there especially if you are pulling back on the reins when the horse is moving forward, and or has forward momentum, which may have been the situation as you tried to gain your balance. It happens to the best riders with horses they have been riding for years and years. Perhaps somewhat of a scarey spooky situation for you, but in time you will gain more confidence. It wasn't your fault. This is just something that happens when you trail ride. The most important thing is that you did not get hurt. Sport seems to be a good mount for you, able to trip and regain his balance and keep somewhat under you so you don't spill onto the ground. My own mare would have freaked if I freaked, twisted dumped me and ran off. You and Sport will get the hang of each other, not to worry or place blame on yourself. Seems not so much the relationship between you and Sport, but just getting the hang of each other under saddle. Horses are VERY forgiving.
    1. James Kenway
      hey liz48170... horses have allways a good reason to buck... and one most commen reason from the humans perspectiv, is to be nutty, it got too muths grain, too muts alfalfa, too cold, too windy, or a number of oder countless guesses. but if we look on the horses perspective. it can had been becouse it got enoug of having her on the back, and then just put out in the pasture standing with backpain. it may wanted to give her a lesson by doin that. as in sayin 'HEY! im a living being too! i too can get sore back and injury' but she had not notice something was wrong!!! thats why i adviced her thise video's i shared. becouse they can lead her to better undestand her horse friend sport... its not the whole thing ofcouse. she will have to made her own studie, and let go of what she THINK she know of horses, to made space for what is...

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