The summary of my evening with Alfie is accurate. He pulled out some of his greatest hits tonight, the Alfie shuffle at the mounting block, the flying spit wad, dancing into the center of the arena, until finally, the record stopped playing and he started working with me. And together, we made beautiful music, so beautiful in fact, he worked up a sweat in all the right places, including his hind end. Yes, that beautiful butt of his got used, and when that power kicks in, watch out world, because here comes Alfie.
Tonight’s lesson was filled with so many accomplishments, I don’t even know where to begin. It’s been just about 2 years that Alfie and I have been at our barn with my trainer Kari. When we started lessons together, we were a hot mess express. Truly, just a hot mess. Coming from the western world of riding and transitioning to the dressage world had its fair share of challenges for me. But for Alfie, it was so much more difficult.
The first thing I had to address were all of Alfie’s medical issues, from his stomach ulcers, his raging diarrhea, to his anxiety and of course, the condition of his feet. Add to that a new barn, new people, new routine, new discipline of riding, new saddle, it was a lot of change. It took Alfie a good 7 months to fully settle into his new home. But with the guidance of the barn owners at the time along with my trainer Kari, the real Alfie finally started to emerge.
It took me awhile to catch up to Alfie, to become the rider he deserves. This journey has been a journey, one filled with more downs than ups at times. Countless hours spent feeling sorry for myself and my slow progress, countless hours spent comparing the beginning of my journey with horses to someone else’s middle or end. But it’s finally all come together for me and Alfie.
I approach him with confidence. I listen to him, even when his opinion is against whatever it is that I wanted to do. There is no plan when I ride. There is no agenda anymore. Every ride I take with Alfie is special. Trotting circles might not seem special to most riders but for me and him, it is. It’s working together as a team. Even when his opinion comes out, guess what, so does mine, along with some really good negotiating skills.
My journey with Alfie is unique. It’s one that I wasn’t sure where it was going to take us. In my mind, Alfie and I have won all the gold medals at the Olympics. We’ve won all the blue ribbons at the Dressage Grand Prix. The reality is, we’ve won because TOGETHER we’ve overcome challenges, fears, pain, & sadness. TOGETHER we’ve experienced love, joy, good health & happiness. At the end of the day, that makes us a winning team. Sure, our next ride together could be pure disaster, but no matter the outcome, we are in this journey together, and for that, I am eternally grateful.❤️🐴