Saturday, November 10, 2012

Lesson #4: Dominance and Control, a lesson in life

I arrive at the stable right on time and now I'm stressed and frazzled. I wanted to get a chance to find a kitten which I'm trying to get adopted out. But, I don't have time because I have to tack up for lessons. I check the board and see I'm riding Bonnie tonight. Hurrah! We're going to become good friends at this rate. It's nice to have something I look forward to, during the week (other then Fridays).

Work has been challenging lately... I find myself upset with things and not keen on the way things are happening. I lament my thoughts and feelings to AW and he tells me, "you're not being very assertive. Stop being the sucker and stand-up for yourself and make it clear that your time is as precious as other people's--regardless of where they are, on the totem pole." I was taken aback because I thought I am generally clear about my intentions and that I'm a "take no crap from anyone" kind of person.

I mount Bonnie and we get the lesson started. Things are going alright... I am getting better at determining posting diagonals and I pick up on the correct diagonal and am able to post for a longer period of time. Lenka asks us to do some 20m circles around the ring while trotting. There's still a lot I'm doing wrong and I'm trying to focus on keeping all my stuff together... sit up straight, don't lean forward, don't lean to one side during a turn, keep your arms in... sheesh! And I think that Bonnie's picking up on my anxiety and "greenness" because now she's lowering her head and shaking it about. At one point, I thought she was going to pull me off! She's stopped listening to me when I want to go somewhere and while we're doing something, she'd stop or do something that she wanted to do. I've lost control.

Now I'm frustrated and slightly embarrassed. Lenka stops me and says, "she's testing you and you're letting her win. All these animals instinctively understand is dominance, punishment and reward. They're herd animals and you need to be that leader that they can follow." I'm flabbergasted. I thought I was assertive and enough of a leader most days. Bonnie is proving me otherwise tonight. Learning about how to deal with horses is a lot different than I thought it might be. But then again, maybe it is about learning a very core and basic mind-set to have and to translate that into life in general.


  1. How true! I have found that, often, what I am struggling with in the ring, is what I am struggling with in life (i.e., setting boundaries, letting go, being in the moment, etc.) I like to think of it as a side of free therapy along with my lessons. ;-)

    1. how true it is! it's quite the wake up call because i really thought i was doing a-ok for a long time... but perhaps these creatures will also be teachers for me :)