It’s been a while since I updated you on how things are going with Kona and Hot Rod. So, today I’ll start with my progress with Kona and tomorrow I’ll update you on Hot Rod!
Kona has been ah-mazing! I’m really happy with our progress as a team.
My goal for him this year was to establish good lope departures. For most riders, this shouldn’t take a whole year, but my relationship with Kona has been a rocky one. From the very beginning, I had this idea in my mind that Kona was too fast for me, too much horse for me, too athletic for me, too young for me, too anything for me. I unknowingly doomed our partnership from the start.
I had this horse everyone else seemed to love and I just couldn’t figure out why I didn’t. Everyone who rode him said great things about him! Everyone, but me. I loathed riding him, and I had to force myself into it. I didn’t understand, at the time, that what lay between me and an amazing equine partner was simply, and colossally, a mental block. It was Fear.
I had moments in the past where I saw the truth, but then I would shove it down. This year something changed, however. I was ready to tackle it head-on. No more asking people to ride him for me, and no more dreading riding my gorgeous horse. He was mine, and I needed to conquer the fear myself. Sometimes in life you need a supporting hand to hold while you face your fear, or even a whole team cheering you on. But not this time.
This time, I needed to conquer the fear alone, in the quiet, while no one was watching.
So I’ve been saddling up and riding and pushing myself to GO GO GO. To LOPE LOPE LOPE. To not be scared, to trust my horse, to LOVE the horse I had wanted to sell so many times over. In the beginning, I’d stiffen and wait for him to buck me when I asked for the lope. He never did-it was all in my head. He was a gentleman. I told myself that the more I asked, the better it would get. Poor, sweet Kona allowed me to ask him to lope and come back down to a trot after a few strides, just to do it again over and over again. It wasn’t pretty, but it WORKED.
I’ve worked past those initial, fearful rides and now I’m able to lope without hesitation, and without the extra adrenaline. We’ve even started to tune the departure and develop speed control within the gait.
And today, as I loped him, my heart SOARED. I had goosebumps. My face flushed and I broke out in an uncontrolled, wide smile because I realized I had faced my fear and today. TODAY. It was officially conquered.