This morning, I decided that Sunny and I needed to hang out. Before I even went over there, I planned on grooming Sunny, maybe putting the saddle on him and staying close to the barn. I knew we weren't ready to go to the arena or the equestrian park yet. I knew we needed to get to know each other and learn to trust each other first.
I was also trying to pay attention to everything I was thinking and feeling and also to how Sunny reacted to me.
I really wanted the experiences described in the book, "It's not about the horse." The book described amazing changes, insights, and hope. I wanted to feel those things. I also knew that it probably wouldn't be anything super amazing, but I would learn something about myself.
We did great together at first. He came very willingly. I groomed him. He let me pick his hooves. Although, while doing his feet, I started to feel very dizzy. When I started to feel dizzy - he would pull his feet away from me. When I asked him to lift them up again, he wouldn't do it until after I rested for a second.
I put the saddle on him and the bit in. Both went relatively easy. (I admit every time I try to lift that saddle, I get worn out and dizzy, but it always passes eventually.) I rode him around the barn and up into the orchard. It was going really well, so I decided we could handle the arena.
We started to walk over, and as we approached the road, he started to get really antsy. I remembered that I hadn't planned to go to the arena, but quickly pushed that thought aside and kept going. We got across the street, and he got more anxious. As we rounded the fence, he seemed to be absolutely terrified.
At this moment, I was still determined. I refused to let myself be afraid, and even if I was afraid, that was no reason to go back. I got down off his back and tried to lead him. He walked with me for about three steps, then yanked back. At that moment, I felt fear for maybe the third time ever with the horse. I was afraid Sunny would run away and get hurt or lost. I was afraid I would get hurt or lost. I was afraid that someone else would see me struggling and think I was stupid. I was afraid.
And again, I remembered that Sunny and I weren't ready for the arena yet.
I was embarrassed to turn him around and take him back. I felt like I had let fear win. I felt weak. I was angry at myself. Those emotions only lasted for a few seconds, because as I turned him, he calmed down almost immediately.
I climbed back up on his back, walked back to the barn and took off the saddle.
How many times have I known something wasn't quite right, and yet I forced it anyways? How many times have I "pushed through" only to find myself in trouble? How many times have I tried to skip steps? How many times have I taken unnecessary risks, because I want to look like I have it all together?
The answers to all of those questions is a lot. And even now, there is a part of me that says, "What's wrong with that? If you can push through it, that's good right? Why be patient... if you wait for good things to come to you, you'll be waiting for very long time! We're supposed to take risks, right?"
Sunny knew we weren't ready for the arena. But don't worry, we will be someday.