As part of the weekend ritual before my lesson, I paid homage to all the horses in the stable. Petted them, swatted flies for them and kissed them if they allowed me, and in return they snorted in my face. One feisty fellow in the last stall was always a mystery to me. Outside his stall there was a board hung: a ferocious horse face, in biting mood with big and ugly teeth. He never let me so much as wander close to him, let alone pet him. He was always ready to bite and kick. So, I kept my distance.
Now back to riding, I started riding a new horse, his name was Amazer. He was a chestnut horse and his coat had an extra sheen. He looked very different from the rest of the horses I rode. He looked a little like the horse from the corner stall. And strangely enough, he never liked my instructor. I was told that he kicked if my instructor, who was also a vet, went close to him. So he delivered all his instructions to me from a distance. I was happy, he liked me: I mean Amazer. But he neither liked me tapping his thigh while riding nor patting him after the lesson. He kicked every time I tried.
I really liked Amazer and had a good time. However, as the days passed I learnt Amazer was scared of monkeys, people, any strange sound, dogs and sometimes he was just scared. He used to take off in the middle of a lesson. Gladly, he never bucked me while he was at it. At the rate we were going, I knew I was going to learn to canter without any instructions or guidance.
That’s Amazer and Kalina
While I continued to ride him I was turning into a person, I didn’t recognize anymore. My heart started to pound the moment I mounted him.
I lacked confidence while riding; I was startled by everything around me and I was ever ready to fall off the saddle knowing that he might take off any minute. And every time he took off, I screamed and spooked the other horses doing their job diligently. Sometimes I even got dirty looks from the other riders.
I’ve started paying close attention to the sounds and things around us more than just focusing on riding. If I would hear some sound in the distance my heart would be in my mouth and I would tip forward and grip him tightly with fear, and this was something we were told never to do, in fear or otherwise. If my ears were slightly longer you could perhaps see them move back and forth.
I had a long way to go even to be called a below average rider. My instructor would scream “heels down” and I would say “but there are monkeys,” he would say “sit back” and I would say, “there is a blaring bike on the road,” he would say “reins shorter,” I would say “but there are people watering the plants.” Such was the plight of my instructor. He quit in a matter of few days and I sincerely hope I was not the only reason.
I pored over internet sites, gathered information on, horse psychology, why they bite and kick, what spooked them, why they behaved the way they behaved sometimes, and what to do when a horse gallops. To gather some courage, I read about Alexander and his relationship with Bucephalus, his horse. I watched war and horse movies.
After all the preparation, I went back to the lesson more anxious than the last time.
I didn’t want to quit but I had nightmares when I thought about my lessons.
Finally I mustered the courage to ask my kind instructor to change my horse with a cry face. I couldn’t endure the fear any longer. She understood, I was troubled and immediately changed my horse to Royal Secret. For a few days I was riding Royal Secret, I was still paying attention to the sounds and other things around me. But Royal Secret is a wise old horse and he has seen many losers like me. Even though horses can sense fear, he was exceptionally calm. You can read more about Royal Secret here and here.
After I got Royal Secret, my favorite horse, I was back to being myself. Before the lesson I started visiting the stables including the corner stall. During a conversation with a groom, I found out that the horse in the corner stall was Amazer himself. So it was Amazer who kept me away from his boundaries since the day one. He didn’t like me the first time, second time and third time I met him. I don’t blame him, for I’m not a very likable person anyway and my sisters would vouch for it.
I actually can’t believe I lasted for a few weeks on Amazer. Having said that, Amazer is still a sweet fellow. He now rides next to me and he lets the rider pat him, pet him and do whatever. He is a perfect gentleman. So, I guess it was me who drove him crazy.
…And Everyone lived Happily Ever After!