Tuesday, November 18, 2008
How Much More Can the Human Body Take?!?!?
As any horse rider knows, it is inevitable and predictable that we are going to hit the dirt. Especially when backing a horse for the first few times, a sour horse, green horses, *sigh* every horse! LOL! So I've often wondered just knowing what I've gone through, when is enough, Enough?
I've been thrown into jumps at full speed, ran over, boxed at, had my hands crushed, ankle broken, body sore, gushing blood, kicked, bit and more I can't think of right now I'm sure. Yet I wouldn't change it for anything! Yet how much can I take?? I remember this time when I was trying to stop a horse from breaking out of a gate and was standing to his side pushing his head over to the direction I wanted him to go. HE was a headstrong Bastard! He just turned his head straight again and mowed me down. Head slammed into the concrete, it's POURING down rain, my cell phone got shattered, I looked up and saw hooves flying over my face. I got up, caught him and then we practiced being a good boy for quite along time as I was BEYOND livid!
I've had horses get up in the rear and literally start boxing with their front hooves at my face. Slammed into walls, ugh I get sore even thinking about it. Yet we push ourselves forward. I truly believe that we as horse back riders and most humans in general, can handle A LOT of bodily damage for something we love! Hahaha! I'm thoroughly convinced that we are gluttons for punishment!
When it's not a physical beating we're taking and it makes a switch over to a mental beating that's a tough pill to swallow! Your brain definitely plays a huge part in your confidence, and fear levels. When one goes up the other goes down no matter which way you look at it.
I knew a lady who took her VERY green schizo horse out on a trail ride (against the advice of EVERYONE in the stable) and came to a small river crossing. Well her horse didn't want to go across so her horse did a crow hop and the lady plopped off right INTO the river! Well when she fell the horse pulled it's head back and "pulled" on her arm a bit, so she was sore. She didn't get trampled, kicked nothing! Just dumped in a river! YET, since then she has been terrified to get back on! I have a student who had her horse rear up and fall right on her, yet she got right back on. I know even when my ankle was broke, I still had lessons to give and horses to work so I just rode without my left stirrup. LOL!!
We spend a lot of time getting ourselves into physical shape for horse back riding to the point that when we do get a thrashing we don't quite feels as damaged. Our "Battle Wounds" so to speak. But what about mentally exercising ourselves for the sake of our psychological health??
I'm thinking what a lot of riders really need is mental, confidence building exercises. Riding good, yet still semi-challenging horses is a great confidence builder. Riding on the lunge line is a good confidence builder as is having your trainer/friend/riding buddy in the arena with you.
BUT, the number 1 top MOST important thing about riding is actually PAIRING up the horse and rider so that they SUIT each other's abilities! So many people get these confidence shattering green, psycho-but I got it cuz it's sooooo perty, way out of their league horses. And with the horse market as bad as it is right now, it's becoming more and more prevalent to see a green, newbie rider with a FREE green, newbie, NOT Trained horse.
As far as my students, one of the first things I like to do when I give lessons is teach people how to fall off a horse safely. I understand it doesn't always work out perfectly like in a lesson, but still. Eating dirt and then getting back on is sometimes the most devastating thing on earth! Your eyes are farther from the ground then your feet, so you trick yourself into believing you are on the Empire State Building! But when you do get back on that beloved horse of yours it is the best feeling EVER! Of course that's after the initial adrenaline rush of terror finally turning into euphoria, but hey To-MAY-toe, To-MAH-toe.
It really speaks for itself when you finally accomplish something you've always wanted too, like jumping your first fence, penning your first cow, or turning your first barrel. But it says more when you get dumped that first couple times, dust yourself off and hop back on!