It had been a few years since I sat on a horse, but I did recall that a trusting relationship between animal and rider made for a pleasurable ride. Fly had decided that today he didn’t feel like having someone on his back. When I pulled on the reins and called: ‘whoa,’ Fly walked backwards instead of stopping – my trust factor fell to zero.
My motto for riding: go with my intuition. I didn’t, and had a frustrating experience.
A horse stable, located on Camp River Road in Chilliwack, BC, where Lizzie, Fly and Blue waited for us. The rain had finally stopped, but the ground was too soggy to attempt a trail ride, so we stuck to the barn. Our spontaneous March getaway needed better weather.
Taking in the smell of hay and horse poop, I felt like a cowgirl. The specialty of the stable was ‘reining’ (Western dressage) – where Arabian horses move in prescribed ways similar to a choreographed dance. The stable crew, led by Jim, intended to take ten horses to Las Vegas for a ‘reining competition.’ (hope they do well!)
After composing myself, I kicked harder. We moved forward a few steps, then Fly stopped. Slightly more perturbed, I gave him another chance.
Being a well-fed horse, we lumbered around the barn. I kicked him with as much power as I could muster, but his bulky body strained my leg muscles.
I pulled the rein in my right hand and pushed with my left leg to turn right. He made a reluctant turn and paused. I kicked. The instructor, Jim could be heard saying: “keep pedaling” (like riding a bike) – meaning, keep kicking.
I felt I was exerting way more effort than Fly.
Finally feeling more relaxed, I unintentionally made a ‘kissing’ sound, which I found out meant: ‘go fast.’ Fortunately, Fly wasn’t listening to me or else I would have ended up on the dirt floor of the barn!
I ended up switching horses to Blue. She was much easier to handle. We made a few rounds of the barn, but at that point my concentration had waned: I had exerted too much energy trying to get Fly to like me.
Lesson learned: if the first command doesn’t work, get another horse!