Oh, wait. I know how to fix my condition - GET RID OF A HORSE! And he who caused this knows exactly to which horse I am referring.
I had the mother of all lessons on Monday. Remember all that talk about closing this door and that door? That worked all right, until Sydney found yet another stinkin' door. How many Goddamn doors can there be?
This time, Sydney found the attic door, also known as a rear. He's always had a propensity for rearing so it's not a total surprise, but apparently, the rear was only required if other doors were closed. On Monday, I had slammed every freakin' door until forward was his only option. Unfortunately, I didn't know an attic door had been installed.
When I say rear, I don't mean this ...
Had I been riding alone, I would have found a successful moment and gotten off. I am not stupid. But with my trainer there offering support from the ground, we rode through the naughtiness and tried to teach him that this was not acceptable behavior. My trainer has a plan, and we're working on it from the saddle, but I decided to work on it from the ground as well.
At the end of turnout the next day, I went to the gate to get Sydney to bring him back in. He was throwing a little hissy fit and gave a huge rear as I approached the gate. I charged the gate, swinging my arms wildly while hissing and yelling at him. His eyes popped open in surprise and he bolted in terror. Good, I said to myself.
I opened the gate and waited as he walked up to me quietly. I sent him away a few times (love a lot of the natural horsemanship strategies) and asked him to come back up to me. I slipped the halter on and started on some ground work. He got a little fussy one time and reared while on the lead rope. I went to TOWN with the lead rope and smacked him HARD, and then I sent his hindquarters spinning. He stared at me in total shock.
Aw … power is so very intoxicating. My fear simply melted away, and I became Wonder Woman! I am AWESOME on the ground. There is never any fear when I do groundwork.
I am going to continue to demand hard and fast back ups from the ground in an effort to illicit a rear so that I can let him know exactly what I think of that response. If there are no rears, well all the better as that tells me he is getting the message.
Monday's ride left me feeling quite anxious (who wouldn't be?), but after doing some ground work, I felt as though I had reasserted myself. Again, I find that when I confront a fearful situation, I nearly always replace the anxiety with confidence and empowerment.