Friday, July 14, 2017


I don't have sponsors or advertisers or even a particularly large following on my blog.  It's mostly a stream of consciousness for me to write things out and share my experiences with my online friends.  I like to write and it helps me nail down things that are avoiding explanation.  I've got good days, bad days, victories, defeats, and all of the boring days in between.  I don't edit what I've posted in the past because, when my fingers were on the keys, it was true.  It was what I was feeling and thinking.  It's important to look back and remember what I was experiencing during times of high emotion, especially as I'm usually very logical.  It's easy to forget why I felt a certain way when months have passed.

My last two posts were very much in the throes of emotion.  I look back at them and go 'omg, take a breath, girl'.  But that's what I was feeling.  It was what was going through my mind, what I was experiencing.  

I've come to the conclusion that horses are amplifiers for our emotions.  They bring out the best in us.  I'm more patient, more trusting, more courageous when I'm around horses.  They force us to leave behind our long term plans and logic to live in their world of emotions and immediacy.  If you're with a horse, you're living in the moment.  You can't plan for an hour ahead when, at any moment, something could change and need your absolute attention.  A horse fly, a loud motorcycle, small children dropping things from the hay loft without warning (you gotta love summer camp weeks), any of those things can completely take over your horse's mind and become the only thing they're thinking about.  They don't give a damn or even understand that there's a show in two weeks.  They are worried about that fly on their belly right now.  Not being with them in that moment is a good way to get hurt.

It also brings out the worst in us.  I'm at my most raw, my most intense when it comes to horses.  Particularly a horse that is my horse.  In order to get those highs, you have to deal with the opposite.  The lows, the frustration, the anger.  The embarrassment.  Everything is amplified when you step out of our modern, slightly detached adult lives and immerse yourself in your passion for creatures that are ruled by their emotions.

I see it every day to varying degrees.  Some people don't lose themselves so much and everything just rolls off of them.  Some lose themselves too much and the horse becomes an extension of themselves.  They take any slight of their horse as an insult to themselves.  I like to think I'm in the middle.  I'm certainly not unattached, but I'll be the first to tell you that my horse is a lazy asshole a lot of the time.  But anything involving my horse amps my reactions.  I'm emotionally invested enough to make me react in ways that my co-workers would find utterly alien.  They know me as someone that keeps their emotions in complete check.  They wouldn't recognize me at the barn, burying my face in my horse's neck because I'm fighting tears.

Horses bring out the best and worst in us.  I've accepted the fact that in order for me to experience moments of true courage and achievement, I must also experience the opposites.  I have to experience the fear and failure.  You don't get to have just one side of the spectrum.  It's harder to cope when your emotions are ramped up, but that's what happens when you throw yourself into your passion.  It's not a hobby that's safe enough or cheap enough to take up lightly.  At this level, it has to be all or none.

So yes, in the cold light of day, my intense reactions are bizarre and confusing.  I was embarrassed and hurt because my horse had another bad score on his record.  It's far from the end of days and there was a lady in my class who's horse completely melted down.  I'm sure she would have given anything to trade with me.  There was another rider in warm up who's horse put on an amazing display of bucks, spins, and rears that would have happily traded problems with me.

I don't have a solution or way to prevent my reaction from happening again.  If I'm going to participate in a sport that revolves around creatures that run off of emotions, requires a great deal of emotional investment, and is judged on a very short snapshot of our skills, it's going to happen.  Being aware of it helps to keep me from doing anything rash.  I know I need to wait and come down from whatever I've experienced, good or bad.  I waited until this morning to talk to Trainer A.  It was a calm, adult conversation that cleared up confusion for everyone and set new expectations.  I couldn't have that conversation yesterday, I still felt too raw.  I had to let my feelings settle, take a day off and just breathe.

As much as I dislike having my emotions amplified, I'm reminded of a conversation I had with my husband years ago.  I tried to explain why I give up so much for my hobby.  He didn't understand until I brought up his passion for creating things.  When he can't make things, he's moody and frustrated.  That is his passion, my horse is mine. It's the same, soul devouring drive.  It would be like me asking him not to create anymore.  To which he said, "But that would be so empty."

Yes, it would be.

1 comment:

  1. As someone who experiences some intense emotional highs and lows (with or without horses being a part of it), I'm glad I realized the importance of a clear mind. You have to sit down or sleep it off or let out those emotions somehow before even attempting logical thought. Glad you were able to have a good conversation with your trainer!!