I hacked Speedy around the neighborhood, he's not 100% sound yet, but he's looking better and better each day. After messing with him, I eagerly saddled Sydney, hoping to reinforce the work we've done on the right lead canter. Unfortunately, our immediate neighbor was having his MANY trees pruned with clanking extension ladders and roaring chainsaws.
The noise had stopped so I felt like it was probably safe to put in a ride on Sydney. As we were doing our walk warm-up, I heard the ladder being shuffled into place. I felt the adrenaline begin to course through my body. On Speedy, that stuff doesn't even phase me; he could care less. On Sydney, it's a different story. Sometimes he's indifferent, but at other random times, the noises cause explosions.
I sighed in frustration. I was mostly irritated with myself. Sydney was fine with the initial noises until I got tense. As I worried about the chainsaw and clanking ladder, his trot rhythm got faster and faster and he dove into my hands. I wanted to simply quit for the day, but the weather was just so nice that I knew I couldn't waste the schooling opportunity.
I knew that JL's arena was open so I hopped off and walked over to her place. Several of the ladies had just finished their rides so I had the arena to myself. As I walked over to the mounting block, my stomach felt sick with anxiety. I could still hear the chainsaw, although it wasn't as loud, and I knew Sydney would pick up on my fear and anxiousness.
I really, really didn't want to get on a horse who was going to wig out. JL's arena is filled with jumps and poles, and I always worry that Sydney is going to crash into something during those moments when he loses it. I just felt certain that this ride was going to have one of those moments. I got on anyway and demanded that I pull myself together and ride my horse the way I know I can.
There were a few times where he tried to find an escape door, but I was right there and slammed the door before he was able to use it. At one point in our ride, I finally felt him just relax and trust me to do the thinking. We went around a few more times, I asked for a square halt, and hoped off him. I had a huge grin plastered across my face. Success is ever so sweet when it follows fear and self-doubt.
Sydney was so good, that for the first time ever, I turned left from JL's (home is to the right) and rode him around the neighborhood. He was a little surprised as we've never ridden the neighborhood from her place before. He did get a little high as we climbed the scary dog hill and passed by the geese, but after that, he settled into a nice swinging walk and seemed to enjoy himself.
When we deal with our fear, the confidence that replaces it is priceless!