I have an extremely difficult horse that is oftentimes out of my league. I could sell him and get something quieter, more broke, or just easier but I seem to be ridiculously attached to him; and honestly, I think deep down I love the challenge that he is. Even though we are not cleaning up at every big horse show in the country, he has improved so much over the past few years. Slowly, but surely. And he has taught me more than I could have ever imagined. I have him to thank for most of my blog posts, after all.
Recently, I have discovered something about him. He is really good, and works hard when I am very accurate, assertive, and on top of my game. When I am not – even it is just for a second – he just doesn’t really try. He will throw his shoulder in after a jump, he’ll miss a lead change here and there, he will even sometimes refuse (just because he can). He does not like rider errors. Sure, he will forgive them every now and then like that day I told you about in Being Forgiving and he far more level-headed than he used to be, but he still wants me ride well. Most days, he expects me to ride like a professional. He expects me to be a leader, and a good one. When I ride like the accurate, assertive, professional that I am capable of being he is very good and shows so much potential. When I slack off, he slacks off. The other day, I held a little to hard on the left reign around all the jumps and he just stopped trying at his lead changes that he has been consistent on. As soon as I softened my left hand, he was fine.
In spite of all the struggles I have had with Chance, I am very thankful that he came into my life. His progress has been slow, but it is more and more apparent. He has really pushed my limits as a rider, both physically and mentally, and I know that I am better for it. I don’t know how far he will go, but I am determined to help him become the best damn horse he can be.