Let me start by saying, today was an emotional day for Alfie, which translates into an emotional day for me.
Several years ago, a lovely spiritual psychic told me that Alfie and I were connected in such a strong way that we feel each other’s emotions. It’s very hard to put into words, but I feel what Alfie is feeling. I know what you are thinking, have we crossed over into Elliot and E.T.’s bond? Well, yeah, kind of.
All morning today I was having major anxiety. I couldn’t figure out what the cause was. I was fine, my husband and mother were fine, nothing was bothering me at work, but the anxiety was overwhelming. That anxiety was followed up by a deep sadness that I couldn’t explain.
Today, one of the fellow boarders moved her horse to a barn that specializes in retired horses. The horse that left was Texas, Alfie’s stall neighbor and best friend. We knew this move was coming so several weeks ago we changed Alfie’s field mates, keeping him in the same paddock and he could see Texas in the paddock next to him. We were trying to slowly rip the band aid off so to speak. Today, when the trailer left with Texas, Alfie yelled for him for the rest of the day. This explains the anxiety and sadness I felt, because he was feeling it.
When I got to the barn, all I could do was hug my boy. There’s nothing I can say to make him understand where Texas went, but with time, Alfie will adjust to not having his neighbor and best buddy.
Ok, so I’ve painted a pretty good picture of what my emotional state was when I was getting ready for my first lesson on Tally-Ho.
Tally is a 15 year old paint draft horse. I’m pretty sure she’s got another breed mixed in there but I’m not sure what. She’s a tad smaller than Martini, but wider and more powerful. She arrived at our barn 3 days ago. And I was going to be the first student of my trainer to ride her.
As with any new horse, my trainer rode her before me. As I watched this beautiful and powerful beast walk, trot and canter through the arena, I was just in awe of how magical she really is. She’s a horse that’s done it all, from western pleasure, barrel racing, jumping, English, dressage, you name it, she’s done it.
My trainer gets off Tally and I get on. First thing I notice, she’s much wider than Martini. A few seat adjustments are needed, basically I told my arthritic hip to get over it and off we went. Her walk is forward, much more forward than I’m used to, but I wasn’t scared, just took me awhile to get used to it. I decide I want to trot, so we do. It didn’t last long as her trot has suspension to it, meaning you get the sensation that you are floating or flying. As we were trotting all I could do was say “weeeeee” – that was my downfall – Tally knew immediately that I was a bit flustered, and she wasn’t going to let that opportunity slip her by.
She then started to pull out her “testing” moves…what can she do to fluster me where I will be too scared to continue…I’m used to these games, Alfie still to this day tries his moves on me. It doesn’t scare me when Alfie does it, but I just met Tally and to be completely honest, she got the best of my nerves. All she did was wiggle her big booty and spin a little. She refused to turn in the direction I wanted to go, and even with my trainer giving me instruction on what to do, it was too late…I was a domino and Tally was pushing me down – figuratively, not literally, I was sitting just fine on her. And just like that, I told my trainer I was scared and the tears came out.
I can’t remember the last time I cried on a horse out of fear and disappointment – I don’t think I cried on Alfie, I know in the beginning I was brought to tears by him but I never let him see me cry. As I sat there my trainer – who’s also my friend told me it was ok, and she told me how proud of me she was that I even wanted to ride Tally. At that moment I didn’t care of how brave I was at getting on, all I was focused on was how I let her win. Letting a horse know what scares you takes a long time to undo – I mean it’s been 4 1/2 years and Alfie still tries his old tricks.
I know this was only the first lesson, but she humbled me in a way that I haven’t felt since those early Alfie years.
As I was un-tacking her, my trainer reminded me that she is a mare. Mares are different than geldings. When a gelding objects, you can usually still get them to get over it. When a mare objects, you need to know exactly how to negotiate with her or there’s no hope at all for success in whatever it is you’ve asked of her. They say, “tell a gelding” and you “ask a mare.”
This was a hard post for me to share. Admitting to yourself that you were scared is one thing, admitting it to the world is another. Does this mean I’m going to give up on Tally – absolutely NOT!! She has so much to teach me. But I’m going to do it, even if I’m scared.❤️🐴