Yesterday, I helped be the lungeline-holder-horseman for my pal. She's getting back into a vigorous workout with her big gelding after a bit of rehab and some attitude adjustment. The young horse has been totally taking advantage of a sore ankle to act up and be a little bit ornery. My friend has been working on her confidence and overcoming some recent, huge emotional losses. It's a fine line between tenderly caring for an injured animal and falling off the Be the Alpha Mare wagon.
She thanked me for being her helper. If I hadn't been in the arena with them, she probably wouldn't have tried to ride alone. The drama and arguing that sometimes occurs when left to their own devices is something she is trying to overcome. And avoid.
I am also in the same boat. I'm very touchy these days. Emotions run amuck when I need to be calm and confident. I am trying to overcome the grief of losing our daughter-in-law, Rose, last September. She lost a valiant battle against non-small cell lung cancer. Rose was 37 years old. Our son, Micah, is 32. They had been together, two peas in a pod, for 11 years. And it hurts like a sonofabitch.
When my 20 year old Appaloosa came up lame about 3 weeks ago, I went straight to the dark side. What do I do if this is permanent? Will I ever ride him again? Should Chance be retired? My internet search (uh-oh. Too much information there.) suggested maybe stifle lock. That can't be good. After a full week of rest and anti-inflammatory meds, Chance started to shake it off. Slowly, we built up to a walk- trot-walk transition with 15 to 20 minutes of groundwork. Yesterday, the old guy looked damn good. In fact, I was told that his pasture mate, Burley, was chasing him around the pasture in the morning sunshine. Chance had been picking up those hind legs like a prancing circus pony. We had another half hour of groundwork, Chance trotted and cantered very comfortably. Easy breezy.
Turning the Appaloosas back out into their pasture, Burley casually walked off for the best grass. Chance, on the other hand, shot off like a racehorse to the top of the hill. Ok, there Mister Big FAKER!
I'm back in the saddle next week. That fine line of tender-hearted care and over-compensating has been crossed and taken advantage of for the last time. (Or at least until the next time.)
Maybe we should use a different term when we are with our horses—replace the word 'drama' with
You know, more positive notes. "If you change the way you look at things, things will change."
Or we could just stock up on booze and Rescue Remedy for the tack lockers. Either way, it's all good. We will get back to our usual positive, confident selves. We won't dwell on past errors and judgements, the things we accuse ourselves of. We'll take things easy, have fun. And we will live in the moment, dammit.
We won't try to be confident, strong, faithful, hopeful and peaceful. We will simply BE that confident, strong, faithful, hopeful and peaceful Alpha Mare with our horses and our lives.