As 2009 draws to a close, I am thinking about everything that has happened this year. It has been a very good year. I cannot help but reflect on how my horsemanship has changed over the past year. I guess it's a picture of how I have changed as well.
Cricket and I started the year awash in frustration and fear. Her headshaking was making riding sessions difficult. While things had improved over the previous summer, it was still unpredictable and unnerving to ride. Cricket was obviously upset and I wasn't able to help her. Our groundwork was deteriorating as Cricket became less willing to offer anything more than the bare minimum on-line. Liberty was a disaster as she refused to draw to me in the round corral and preferred to just leave if we were in the arena.
My low point came in August when I seriously considered getting rid of her and getting out of horses all together.
And then everything began to change. I found a way to help her with her headshaking by adjusting her nutrition. We experienced a quantum leap in our riding during fall camp when it just all came together. Then the thirty day program saw advances I'd only dreamed about.
As the year draws to a close, I cannot help smiling as I think about what we have accomplished. I feel more confident cantering my horse. I feel confident riding her at the walk and trot with just a carrot stick. But it continues to improve and my confidence continues to grow. Playing at liberty has become the dance it once was. Cricket is starting to offer more life on-line.
Now comes the leap forward. Tomorrow starts the new year and my new enterprise with my horsemanship. My goal is to spend time with Cricket every day until my spring camp in May. It doesn't have to be major, 10 minutes of something positive and progressive. To help, I may create a set of "get out of jail free" cards to give me a few days where I don't have to do anything.
It will be hardest during the winter months when it is cold, dark and possibly wet. But I have a covered arena and I can layer my clothing.
The end result, if all goes according to plan, will be my green string. And it's okay if it takes longer. But that's my carrot.
Here's to a new year and a new chapter in the journey.