Fear? Where did that come from?

When you have horses, at some point, you will experience fear. Gah the dreaded word! I was reluctant to even make this post but I feel like it’s something we all experience and should be discussed. After all, we are literally putting our lives in the hands of a 1200# plus animal and letting them go. We have to trust in our training, trust in God and let them go. Of course, this is not in all sports involving equine but most of them!

Zbar Lynx To Cash 1/30/2021 Imagehounds

When I make a run on Lynx, I do get the jitters. We have been running together for over 10 years. I raised him. I’m the only one that has ever run him on barrels. We have a bond. Someone made a post about when riding a hot horse you just let that anxiety wash off because it’s all you can do. Lynx is a back forty, full blast down the alley horse. When warming up, we are warming up. If I stop to chat, he will give me about five minutes then he does this little kick out and attempts to get back to warming up. When we are in the holding area waiting to run, he is… well… an ass. I’m constantly apologizing as he shows out and insists on long trotting or loping and might kick out here and there. It’s not that he doesn’t want to run. The issue is, HE DOES WANT TO RUN!!! He wants me to let him at the gate to go! He has always been this way. But this weekend, something clicked in my brain. It was fear. Oddly enough, it didn’t happen before or during my run. It was way after. I cannot explain it. All I can say is that when I was unsaddling I had this “what was I thinking? He could have really hurt me!” But this horse has my heart and gosh darn it, I LOVE to run him! He had just been a bit extra that day. The fear was there. I gave it to God in the warm up and holding pen. I had to step off him and hand walk him until before my drag. I prayed. I prayed with so many people! A nice person came over on her horse, whom was also acting out, and it seemed to calm them both down. Luckily, we were in the same drag. We had a great run! I didn’t fall off! He did his normal victory lap! I loved him and gave him cookies! But he was talking up a storm about how I got behind and he needed me to stay with him. Yes, we talk to each other a lot!

When I got back to my trailer, I was struck with the fear of “what if’s”. This is the same horse I give lessons to all level of riders on and he is a saint. Truly. He is only like this for me. So where did this sudden fear come from? Here is my thought…. I got too much in my head. He and I feed off each other. I was nervous about him hurting someone else. He was wondering why I was nervous. He was confused. I was trying to keep him calm. He wanted to run. I was trying to not get him anymore excited than he was. He was feeling my negative energy and my worry so he was worried. So I think the fear came from him. I think he thought that he did something wrong (he did, he bucked and tried to kick at a little girl) and I confused him. It hit me hard at the trailer and I think he was afraid that I was unhappy with his run. I wasn’t! I was unhappy with his attitude towards innocent bystanders! But he didn’t know that. He thought I didn’t trust him.

So what do I do with this fear? Obviously, I need to work on reassuring him that he is a good boy! I need to stop getting on him too soon (25 riders before me was evidently too soon) and I need to warm him up where there is not a ton of people. I need to work on MY confidence in HIM. I need to trust my training. I need to send positive thoughts to him. I need to give it to God and leave the jitters at the trailer! This is my rockstar! This is my awesome, totally broke, athletic barrel horse. I need to get myself stronger so I can ride him better.

As we get older, we start to gain self preservation. It’s normal. I need to forgive myself for that! I have a family! It’s ok to be aware. It’s not ok to loose my Faith. God had me. He always does! My horse had me, he always does! So I will have to start listening to music or something before my run to keep my brain from the rabbit hole!

Lynx did pull his biggest check this weekend in one run! We won 2nd in the 3D and won $1235!!! Other than a few thigh bruises, we are fine! We both really had a great weekend! I think we need to just ride and enjoy each other more! With the weather, that had been challenging!

So if you are like me and catch a dose of the fear, say your prayers and don’t feed that energy to your horse! Literally, peace out! ✌🏻

Taking Requests?

So this week I asked for requests! I had two people ask for two things that go hand in hand… in my opinion! Let’s see if I can help these ladies out!

One asked “how do we leg up a barrel horse that has been turned out for a bit” and the other asked “how can older women get “back” into riding after being out of it for a long while”. See what I mean? I think I can come up with ways for the horse and the rider to work together! Let’s give this a go!

First… when ever legging a horse back up, make sure everything is up to date! Don’t slack! Deworming, dental, vaccines, farrier, body work… all detrimental to the well being of the horse! Also, for horse and rider, STRETCH!!!!! Lynx and I have a series of stretches mentioned in previous blogs! Humans, stretch like you are getting ready to do hot yoga! Touch your toes and HOLD for 10 seconds! Step out and touch your opposite toe and hold and vice versa! Stretch your front legs and back legs (that is a joke) and don’t forget your shoulders!!!!! Also, make sure you, yes you, are properly geared up for riding! Good sports bra, comfy jeans, good boots that fit, etc!!!

Moving forward… when getting back into riding for the horse and/or the rider, we must determine WHY the time off. For example, did the horse have an injury? Did the human have an injury? Once you have been cleared by your vet/doctor to begin riding, that is literally the first step. The easiest step is getting cleared to ride! The next step is the hardest… starting to ride AGAIN! So after all of your gear checks and stretching, it’s time to decide how to proceed. For me, I like to lounge or work the horse in the round pen before putting my boot in the stirrup! It might be fear, it might be me watching the horse for signs of distress, it might be a easy way to get the necessary “walk/trot” warm up in for my mount! Or all of the above!

Horses, like humans, need to be warmed up before riding! I prefer to long trot lynx 3-5 laps each direction in my field which is about 1/2 mile of long trotting. Then I will progress into loping. Again, 3-5 laps each direction. If we have had time off, this will be more trotting, less loping and it will make the rider a bit sore! So I also walk and stretch while my horse is walking!!!!!!!! Touch my toes in the saddle!!! Reach back and touch his tail! Reach forward and touch his ears! Trust me! STRETCH! Also, this gives your horse a chance to walk! The more you ride, the more you warm up! But start off with more trotting and less loping!

My first rides after time off normally last about 15-20 minutes. I don’t want to push too much on a horse that is out of shape or that can re-injure himself. Also, my body will be screaming by this point! I highly recommend unsaddling then brushing the horse down from head to toe while stretching yourself as well. Make sure said horse is 100% cooled down before turning them out! Also check any prior injuries to make sure you did not re-injure them!!! Then go in the house and soak yourself. You will be sore!

One thing about rehab and conditioning is… repeat! Yes! You must work with this horse daily! However, it doesn’t have to be strenuous daily! In fact, day two might be a nice leisurely walk. It would be good for both of you to ride on day two but also take it easy! I prefer to start with working out every other day and easy ride in between. Take your time! Both of you need to build back up!

If you and your horse are sore, might I recommend a product that I personally use??? Summit! Now they have a human formula too!!! Feel free to ask me all about it! In all seriousness, legging a horse and yourself back up takes time! 🤟🏻

Luck is Not My Thing.

I hear it all the time. “good luck!” Sometimes it makes me twitch a little. My circle knows that I don’t depend on Luck. Nope. It’s not luck. The Grace of God is what keeps me going!!!! Let me break this down!

Y’all, I have had a lot of personal injuries and equine injuries. I pray A LOT. Especially before a run. In fact, I really enjoy praying with random people in the warm up. I feel like God made me bold so I could be a light for Him! It’s an overwhelming feeling! I will be warming up my horse and God says “that one” and points me to someone. I have yet to be turned away from prayer! With all of my issues and pain, I have had to change my perspective on life on general. God blessed me with the ability to ride. It’s not luck. I don’t even run to win. I run to run!!!!! I have been told a few times that I would not recover and I would not be able to run. I prayed HARD. God restored me and my doctor released me back to running! I will never take that chance for granted!

When I am on my horse, my focus is to do the best I can for my horse. He will get love and cookies wether we pull a check or not. I will come out of the pen thanking my Horse and My Lord for being with me in the arena and taking care of us! After all, that 1375# equine has a mind of his own! He chose me! God put him with me! I’m so grateful!!!! I’m there for the ride!

Some folks reading this are most likely rolling their eyes saying “but Lynx wins all the time”. No, he doesn’t. But he is a pretty awesome horse! God has blessed me with 3 heart horses! It’s very rare! So why would I think it was luck? No, it’s God’s Grace that has allowed me to have these awesome horses in my life to ride! They get a lot of the credit for my success! God gets all of it! Sometimes I think I have to work really hard to find my groove or to figure one out. Then I pray. It’s amazing how my brain will clear out and the horse’s desire floods my thoughts! I’m not saying it’s easy, but God gave me a gift. So I will do my very best to thank Him every chance I get!

Next time you see me at a race, I prefer to hear have fun! Or run hard! Becsuse luck is not why I am here. I am here because GOD wants me here! I am BLESSED! No matter how I end up in the race, the race of life will be endured with God holding my hand. I pray that you all stay safe, humble, and remember how blessed you truly are to get to run down that alley! 🤟🏻