Kate at A Year With Horses has a great post yesterday: Ride the Horse You Have Today.
It made me think about where I was at today. I went out to ride Corrie. Sensei was letting the other horses out, which ran beside the indoor. I knew he was doing this and was prepared . The horses ran and we heard them. Corrie was on high alert, but I was able to keep her under control. I admit I was a bit rattled, but I did NOT get off.
As I read Kate's post I thought about that moment. Not only did I have to ride the horse I had, but I had to be the rider I was in that moment. In the past I may have reacted differently. Working Corrie more assertively and although been aware of what was going on, kept Corrie on track. Yesterday, I couldn't do that as well. I modified our work to where I felt I could comfortably keep Corrie under control. I did. We rode on the side of the arena away from the window so we would not see the horses, I keep her focus on me as much as I could. I did not handle it perfectly, I did not handle it as well as I did in my youth, but I handled it.
Years ago I had better balance and more control of myself. I am not that rider anymore. Some rides I honestly get very frustrated that my body does not do what I asked it to do. At those times I have to remember to be the rider I now. Accepting where I am now and moving forward from there. Comparing myself to what I was does not help me to be a better rider now. Being happy with the accomplishments I am making and having my sights set on new goals does help me.
Just like Kate says in her post, although you should go in with a plan, be prepared to alter than plan. Even if your horse is having a really good day we need to take into account our own emotional state. Yesterday I was very stressed, I wanted to just bum around on Corrie. Corrie made it knows that she has other plans and we adjusted, worked through that and then just bummed a bit. Sometimes getting out to the barn I myself feeling very confident. After checking in with my horse to see where she is, I might choose that day to challenge myself.
In a partnership we need to look at the needs of both partners. In some partnerships the the rider is strong enough to just look at the needs of the horse. Other relationships, the rider's need have a lot of focus too. Normally this is a beginner/ rerider, someone like myself that has issues to work through, or someone that has physical limitations. In these cases you need a special horse to pick up the slack. No matter though, we need to be the rider can can be for the horse we are riding today.