When I first thought about adding a second horse, I was concerned about a few things, mainly my perpetual shortage of time. P has always been a 6x/week horse and there were days where I had to rush to get him ridden between work and familial obligations. It’s especially time consuming when you board at an amazing barn with amazing people that you just want to talk to.
But now that I’ve had 2 horses for a little over 8 weeks, I’m loving where I’m at mentally.
Despite the fail pictures/gifs that I routinely post, I’m very much a perfectionist. And exclusively riding P was hard because the only thing P is consistent at is being inconsistent. I’ve joked many times that owning P was the equivalent of owning at least 5 horses, since P is definitely a quad-polar and you never knew which personality you’d get on any given day.
When P was initially laid up and I started riding other horses (shoutout to especially S, B & C!!), initially I brought a lot of baggage along each ride. I anticipated stopping at jumps, spooking, running off…all things that weren’t really there. And it took awhile for me to stop projecting P on these other horses (it also taught me to appreciate the really good things about P, like ground manners, trailer loading and his gait adjustability). But I learned some new tools and how to separate rides on different horses instead of treating them all the same.
And that was something I desperately needed to learn before bringing home my very own blank slate. I can’t imagine getting on Leo and riding him the way I ride P. It would’ve been disastrous.
When it was just P & I, P had the power to make or ruin my day. If we had a bad ride, or even a bad part of the ride, I’d lament that I was clearly the worst rider in the world and clearly P was just terrible and clearly I should just never ride again. I’d dwell on it, vent about it to long-suffering Husband, think about it….yes, I’m aware of the ridiculousness.
But Sunday I realized that no longer seemed to be the case, so I’ll use that day as an example.
Let’s start with a snippet from Leo’s most recent lesson we had on Sunday- first, justlook at that flying change and adjustability and try not to swoon:
Right now we’re working a lot on suppling Leo using inside aids and it’s so cool to feel the lightbulb click on with him. He’s not the most naturally relaxed horse and he gets a little antsy when he doesn’t understand something, but he tries so hard, which is all I can ask for.
While the transition leaves A LOT of room for improvement…
…The canter itself is insanely nice.
Even when he jumps the groundpole:
So needless to say, while it wasn’t perfect and everything didn’t majikally fall into place, the lesson on Sunday left me feeling practically giddy over the progress Leo (and I) have made. And when we got back to the barn I pulled P out for his 4th ride of the week- the first week since FEBRUARY that he’s been ridden more than one day of the week.
And…P was less than pleased at this obvious testament that his year-long hiatus was over.
And while one-horse-KC would’ve been distraught that my ride of the day was spent on the back of Free Willy and not on *real* riding, two-horse-KC let it roll right off her back because she don’t need no Pilgrim to make her happy anymore.
For me, that’s a HUGE win. The mental part of riding has always been my nemesis. If things didn’t go to plan, I was a mess. And we all know how well horses and plans mix…
But because everything hinged on the one horse I owned and rode, I put too much pressure on myself and on the horse. Which surely didn’t help us get further any faster.
So while I’m still a work in progress, on Sunday afternoon, when I found myself laughing about P’s shenanigans instead of overthinking, I realized that FINALLY…I might just be on the right track.