I am a fretful, anxious person. Most of the time, I know the twists and turns of my own brain well enough to either quiet it or use it to my advantage.
I haven’t had the easiest time recently, with Tristan’s Cushings diagnosis and his bout of colic. I’m second-guessing every decision I make. I’m beating myself up for every extra step I don’t take. I’m staying up late reading, trying to absorb more and more information, trying to make the best decisions. It doesn’t help that my day job is at fever pitch right now.
Last night, I got to the barn and tacked up. He’d had three days off; Saturday and Sunday I was out of town, and Monday we just did trailer loading because I’d overscheduled myself on my day off. My plans were to mix in some hill work with some long and low.
Mostly, I carried them out quite nicely. We walked for a little while, then trotted up one big hill. We headed back down to the indoor and did a couple of laps of a nice stretchy trot. We did a few short bursts of canter, mostly to rev him up and stretch him out rather than to really work on the canter. He seemed to have a little more pep; he certainly started off walking with some nice swing through his back end.
We headed back out to the fields for a little bit more of a walk, and on a whim I decided to trot one last steep-ish hill. He’s trotted it more times than I can count, and cantered it a few times. A few strides into the trot up, he LOST IT. Grabbed the bit, bolted in that hard, sudden, rush of energy that horses can muster, let off a few bucks. I felt curiously calm and collected during it and never felt in danger of falling off. Mostly I gave a few hard half-halts and brought him back before he jumped the ditch and went into the road. (Which was deserted at this time of night; I wasn’t concerned about traffic, more about the hard packed dirt on his legs.) He gave a little half-rear at my final half-halt, and then stopped and blew out. Picking his front feet up in that way was really uncharacteristic of him.
The only thing I can think is that he got stung by something. It’s either that or his total 1/2Q per day of alfalfa pellets has warped his brain after only 4 days – but he wasn’t spooky at all during the ride, quite workmanlike. It was a 10 second blip in an otherwise nice and productive ride, and I dropped the reins and walked him for another 10 minutes just to make sure he had returned to normal. I still worried the rest of the night – if it had been an insect bite, was he ok from it? What if it was the alfalfa? How would I decide what too much is? What will he be like at GMHA?
I kept worrying, even after I got home and opened my computer again to work. I’m still mildly worried today. I wonder what it’s like to just ride your horse and be done with it, to feel entirely confident in the decisions you’ve made with your horse and go home settled.