One of the greatest moments in the horse and rider relationship is when the horse has his or her rider’s back. We all make mistakes sometimes – we can’t find a distance to save our lives, we lean over through the lead change, we forget our course and end up weaving right and left to the next jump. Horses have to put up with a lot, and the great thing is that they often make up for our mistakes. We may not be able to find a distance, but they see it and jump anyway. They get their lead changes through the turn even when we are basically telling them the opposite. They forgive our many blunders, and keep going even when we have given them every excuse to dump us.
Chance has never been the most forgiving horse. He sometimes seems to use any excuse to not cooperate. He likes a very specific and accurate ride. This has made me a stronger and more accurate rider, so I cannot complain too much. Lately, he has been especially tricky due most likely to the possible ulcers (as I said in my last post, Always Something). However, we had a moment last week that really showed me that deep down he is the awesome horse I have always known he could be. I made a really dumb mistake for the first time in a very long time. I dropped him at the base of the jump, then jumped up his neck. For a split second I thought, “oh s*** this isn’t good,” but he jumped it and cantered away like it was no big deal! My crazy, loose cannon of a horse who loves to randomly run out at jumps, jumped when I gave him every reason not to. He also did not complain about going back to it. I was very impressed with him. For all of his bad behavior, he was very forgiving when he needed to be.
On another note, he started his stomach supplement this week and I feel like there may already be a slight improvement. He has been a little wild, which is typical for him this time of year just when the summer heat begins to subside, yet he does not seem quite so sour. He is more willing to move forward, and just seems a little happier. I am not planning on showing him for the time being, and I am going easy on him when I ride, to keep his stress levels down. I am keeping my fingers crossed that he will continue to improve!
Although I appreciate that Chance has helped me to become a far more accurate rider, I hope that he will continue to be forgiving every now and then. Sometimes it is just random moments like the one in my ride the other day that allow me to see his progress and potential. A horse forgiving me for a major mistake is not something to take for granted.