Watching JLE and Dandy run around XC and just be general badasses at E.I. made me realize a few things. The first is that Dandy really is an incredibly talented athlete that loves his job. The second is that, because he’s so athletic and talented, he’s always going to be a difficult ride and is going to require a lot of patience and confidence from his rider. Two things that I’m not always the best at.
But I also realized that I want to do this.
If I had the money, I would have JLE campaign Dandy and see how far he can actually go. He’s that talented that I wish I could give him a shot at the upper levels. When he was ready, he would then someday come back and be my horse. In the meantime I’d buy something that would give me the confidence and take me up the levels so that hopefully Dandy and I would meet in the middle in a few years when we’re both ready for each other. Unfortunately, while I could probably work something out to own and pay for the daily needs of two horses, there’s no way I can pay the show fees on two horses.
For now, Dandy is the horse I have and I don’t want to sell him. That means that I’m going to have to make things work. Already I feel like we’re making huge progress. Last night when I went out to ride Dandy, the baby in the pasture adjoining the arena was full of the sillies so of course Dandy became full of the sillies as well. He bolted and kicked out like he was playing in the field. I not only didn’t bail, I got him back together and asked him to get back to work. I was nervous but I took a bunch of deep breaths and pushed on. I did eventually have to take him inside because he just wasn’t paying attention to me anymore and I was all alone and didn’t want anything stupid to happen. But the point of this all is that I pushed through and I didn’t give in.
There’s still a long road ahead of us. So long that sometimes I peer down it and think “yeah, I’m not ever going to make it there so let’s just have JLE ride him and I just won’t ride.” But that attitude has to stop.
Every step forward is a step of progress and they’re coming faster than the steps I take backwards. It’s possible that I’m not going to be ready to show Dandy this summer but as long as we’re working towards it, I’ll be happy. I have to get comfortable on him again and remember how to correct misbehaving and work through it. Dandy hasn’t reared in months and he doesn’t even threaten anymore. That’s a huge accomplishment. Now I have to rise to meet it.