Many moons ago I took a few lessons with a crazy lady. Knowing what I do now, I wouldn’t have mounted up with them at all, but hindsight is 20/20 and all that. Anyway…back then I always felt bad for lesson horses. I’d throw my leg over a horse I didn’t know and have to ask it to work and I just had this deep seated feeling of being sorry to do so. Like it wasn’t fair for me to be working a horse who didn’t know me. Plus with a lot of lesson programs, you just never know what the care is like and how many times that horse has already been worked. It is actually what led to me purchasing Gemmie. I didn’t want to ride horses I barely knew – I wanted a relationship.
Flash forward seven years and my thought process has flipped 180 degrees.
Last night was a jump lesson (more details to come when I have more time to type it all up) and I was riding a new mount. As I groomed and tacked her up I was surprised to notice that I didn’t mind. Its not that I no longer care about the horse or that I want to use a horse as a means to an end, but I think owning Gem has taught me that it isn’t really so bad to ask a horse to do some work for an hour or so even if you don’t have that bond with them. As long as you are fair to the horse, act kindly and don’t ask more than they are capable of giving, it really can be a enjoyable experience for both.
My current situation is really different than any lesson barns I had known before. Maybe times have changed, maybe it is the regional difference of being in the south versus suburban north or maybe I just lucked into something great, but the lesson string of my past is nothing like my current trainer’s set up. The horses I ride are either her personal horses or a boarder’s who doesn’t mind allowing their horse to be used for a lesson from time to time. So these horses are being used judiciously, have a person who loves and cares for them and isn’t just being taken out to go around a ring all day long.
Whatever the reason, I am loving my new found infidelity. Not only am I being pared with horses that allow me to work on new skills and focus on me (you know instead of just trying to tame the beast beneath..umm…looking at you Gemmiecakes), but I am learning what it feels like to ride different horses and what suits me best. Gem will turn 19 this May and while she is in great shape and capable of being tortured by me for years to come, I know that in the nearer future I will be on the look out for a new main squeeze. Getting to ride different types of horses of various personalities and training levels is teaching me what I really want and need.
Being a one horse at a time type of gal and turning 35 soon means that if I get another horse in 3-5 years, it may very well be the last horse I purchase. That means that I want to get exactly what I am looking for.
In short, I am loving getting the chance to ride new things and learn what I want, need and enjoy. Of course, the better I become at my new found discipline of…well, I’m not really sure since I’m just working on beginner basics stuff but something english and arena/course based…what I want and need may change, but for now I am enjoying the variation quit a bit.