The mare has opinions
|March 10, 2022||Posted by Melinda under Uncategorized|
Forget the child…it’s the horse getting older that I can’t get over.
Farley is 24 years old. Yes, TWENTY FOUR YEARS OLD 😳 as of this month.
The child that lives in my house that is a biped human? Yeah, she’s six now and getting older, taller, and more awesome-er, but that’s to be expected.
An old mare by any standards, a few more grey hairs than when I first got her, but as forward as she’s ever been. How is she hotter now at 24 than she was at 9? Does it make me a bad person to be grateful she’s a bit of a fat ass? She’s serviceable sound. A bit of a hitch on the left front. Pounds the ground a bit like a pogo stick. Still travels like a giraffe when allowed. But she’s sound enough and that’s a bit of a minor miracle considering the miles and what I’ve asked of her over the years.
New in the last couple of years is a pissy streak in her that must be respected. That’s okay. Me too Farley, me too.
Farley demands fairness. She doesn’t forgive the same way she did ten years ago. I guess she thinks I should know better by now.
I can ride her bareback or in a saddle in the arena. She prefers rides that are 30 minutes or less so she doesn’t huff and puff too much, and will tolerate my polo antics *for awhile*. Posting while cantering? Ok. Just don’t over do it. Galloping from one end of the arena and stopping at the fence. OK, but just understand I’m an old girl and don’t slam me to a stop. That mallet and ball thing? You get like 5 hits. And then I’m done with that nonsense.
For a horse that has been asked to do a lot of dressage and contain, contain, CONTAIN in the arena and give me more power and more collection and MORE control, she seems to like this new thing where I push my hand forward and ride a little cowboy and ask her to GO.
What I can’t do is ride her on the trail.
For the last couple of years when I’ve saddled her up and hit the trail, I’ve walked home, completely furious at my stupid horse. The sort of furious where I just want to throw her in her pen, never ride her again, and I don’t care if she colics and dies. She’s awful under saddle on the trail for me. Snorting, barn sour, bucking, prancing, head slingy “I’ve absolutely never been asked to ride outside of the arena” bad and it’s definitely not fun. Not for me. Not for her. I hate her with every fiber of my being when I attempt to trail ride her under saddle.
For people that don’t believe that horses talk or have opinions, or that every “problem” can be worked out through superior training or finding the source of “pain” have never ridden a mare who has decided that she is retired from her old job, thank you very much.
We have worked out a compromise. Short rides bareback at walk/trot is allowable. I don’t know if it’s just me she won’t let trail ride under saddle? I haven’t gotten brave enough to throw someone else on her and point them at the trails and say “let me know if she is a fire breathing dragon for you too or if it’s just me she has sanctioned.”
Right now I don’t miss trail riding or endurance very much. Polo is a helluva lot more fun *while doing the actual sport* than endurance is. In endurance I found myself constantly reminding myself that all those small steps (some of which are incredibly boring, or incredibly hard as you put one foot in front of the other during an endurance or conditioning ride) would be worth it in the end. Endurance was mostly fun after or thinking about it when I wasn’t actually doing it. I liked all the planning, organization, and problem solving that endurance required. There were moments of joy on the trail, and the right-ness of partnering with a special horse, but right now I can experience most of those same moments – the beauty, camaraderie, and equine partnership – in other ways. Trail time on my own two feet, or horse time in the polo arena is checking those boxes for now.
Maybe Farley feels the same way about endurance as I do. Maybe there’s a compromise this summer where we can steal some moments together on the trail again in a completely no-we-aren’t-doing-endurance-I-promise sort of way.
I vote I get a saddle some of the time.
The Mare may have other opinions.