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Yesterday I was so upbeat! And so looking forward to having my lovely mare to myself…..careful what you wish for!!!

I think I’m just tired….but today was not a ride to be recording and remembering…but I want to be so honest in this journal. Months down the road I hope to get encouragement and truths from this writing. So I have to write about this day because when the ride was finished because I don’t think I was fair to my good Rafi.

The beginning of the warmup seemed auspicious. She seemed to offer the good forward intention that we have been building in her these last few months. But after the initial walk work and our posting trot work, she seemed distracted and very aware that I wasn’t Cathy. Cathy has been riding her a lot this last two months as I was in NY and the horses all shipped to Florida in early November.

When I arrived here after Christmas, Cathy wanted to do the warm-ups. She felt that she wanted Rafi to understand that when the leg of the rider is put on her, she must jump forward and be immediately obedient to the aids…this has been going very well. Cathy gets her started five to ten minutes and I take over the ride. Those reading who think, well…her trainer sets it up and she just has to keep it. Let’s just say it isn’t that easy to just keep it…at this level, you really have to RIDE the horse, not just gather the spillover of the previous rider.

But today, for the first time since she recovered from her injury, I was doing warmup, set up and schooling alone…it didn’t go well enough. I love this mare so much. She has such heart and tolerance. But today, she remembered that I’m reluctant to get REALLY after her with the whip. Her evasions are distraction from the work by looking at anything and everything that moves, and these little half spooks…..shall we just say that she treated me to plenty of them! hmmmm

So sending her forward, up and out were my assignments, along with running and schooling test movements. I think I schooled a bit of the trot work and the half pass….the rest of my hour was spent trying to get her on the aids and supple enough…I failed dismally, used the whip more than I liked and had way too many tears of frustration when she blew me off.

I didn’t quit until I had some good trot work. The canter seemed good although she tended to set her neck on me. But I felt annoyed with both of us…just didn’t feel we succeeded at much. And the fact that Rafi seemed against my hand most of the hour just killed me!

As I curry-ed her out…I hugged and patted and talked to her, easing myself out of my frustration. It’s not her fault that I haven’t mastered this yet. Tomorrow, I am going to ask for less and praise a heck of a lot more…so what if I don’t do well this show…I really can’t let the pressure come between Rafi and me. She’s too important and way too special!

So…the lesson this week: temper my expectations, stay focused and patient, take joy in the small stuff….and never, ever blame the horse….they go the way we ride them. If my horse isn’t going well, it’s my fault and my job to rectify the situation…

Most important lesson today: reaching for the harmonious partnership supercedes EVERYTHING…