Thursday, December 13, 2012


I want to take control but I know better

God, I want to dream again
Take me where I've never been
I want to go there
This time I'm not scared

- Unbreakable by Fireflight

Horses are heart breakers.  Everyone that's been with them knows this.  Everything is wonderful, and then in the blink of the eye, it's gone.  I've learned this lesson before, and the last four months have been a firm reinforcement of that lesson.  In August, Fiona was getting compliments on her talent and there was talk of moving to training.  In October, we weren't even sure if she was going to compete again as an eventer.

I'm nothing if not stubborn and despite both of us having a crisis of confidence, we've kept plugging along.  One day she jumped a cross rail calmly.  Another day she actually tugged me to a cross rail.  A week later we were able to jump an oxer.  Set backs and frustrations every step of the way, but we keep inching forward.

Today she jumped good sized cross-rail, went back to trot to do a roll back type turn to a vertical, then cantered around the ring to a third vertical.  Her ears were pricked and she was tugging toward the fences.  I have to jump her with almost zero contact, but it's working.  The panic has faded, replaced by her old confidence.  She's going in a hackamore and a snaffle.  It's taking some practice to ride with two completely different feels at the same time, but I'm getting the hang of it.  If she starts to panic, switch to all hackamore till she settles.  If she's starting to bomb off or I need to really rebalance, more snaffle.

I know some of the old excitement is back for her because she's offering to jump on her own.  I was walking around on a slack rein, not really paying attention, when she picked up a trot.  By the time I figured out what was going on, we were going over a fence.  Afterward she stopped politely and looked back, waiting for her treat.  Someone else was in the ring with me and was laughing just watching Fi go.  She said the princess's eyes were sparkling while she pranced about after jumping.  She's still a handful, but that's just Fi.  That's never going to go away.  

She even managed to work through a bounce.  I added some guard rails so she wouldn't cut out, gave her loopy reins, and let her figure it out on her own.  She stressed about it, but was much more confident by the end.

Her Regumate is on order (poor thing was sore from her heat cycle this week) and it should be here soon.  She's also got a hackamore that's got a different shape shank on the way.  It should work better with the snaffle.

Her junior rider messaged me today, asking if she can ride and show the princess again this summer.  I have my fingers crossed that, come summer, Fi and her junior rider can go out and have another wonderful season like they had last year while I wind up my master's degree.  

It's hard to dream again after questioning everything for months, but I recognized that horse I was riding today.  I recognized that proud swagger.  She's still in there.


  1. So happy to read this update! Fingers crossed you guys keep moseying down this path.

  2. This is much better news than I was expecting with the start of the post. :) Glad things are improving.