This week was definitely better than last week, but still not one of my better weeks. I can't think of much that's happened this week, so I'm going to write a special post. This post is going to be about a friend, that if he was a human, I'm sure he would be a therapist or psychologist. So, here is this week's post about an amazing horse named Winter.
When I first got horseback riding lessons at my current barn, Winter was the second or third horse I rode. Winter quickly became my favorite horse, and he did anything I asked him to. Unless he was in a silly mood, which he still does sometimes, and he sees what he can get away with. One day, I was doing some jumping, and my current riding instructor (she wasn't my instructor before), set the jump to a different height and different type of jump, not realizing I was still using the jump.
I thought that Winter and I were allowed to go over the jump, so we went to the jump. I now know that a vertical (the type of jump set up) should be approached in canter, not trot. We weren't going fast enough to clear the jump, but Winter still jumped over for me! I stayed on him, but the pole fell down to the ground. It was fun, that's one of the good memories I have of jumping.
Later that summer, I fell off a horse for the first time. I had been riding the tallest school horse, Ben. Ben had tripped, and I had fallen off, and then Ben walked over to me. Ben just stood there sniffing me and nudging me with his nose. I got up, then I got back on and continued to ride Ben for the rest of the lesson.
Ben had become my favorite, and Winter didn't seem to mind being the second favorite. Then, a few months later, I got assigned a new horse, Vincent. I hated Vincent at first, but that's probably because he accidentally stepped on the jump because we approached it too slowly. About five months later, I rode Vincent again, and he quickly became my favorite horse.
Winter was not happy that he was my third favorite, so he tried to get my attention by misbehaving and seeing what he could get away with. I had thought he was just being annoying because he didn't like that Vincent was my favorite, but now I realize he was just trying to get me to want to work with him so he could be my favorite again.
Winter's plan had backfired, I had started to hate him. Whenever I got assigned him, I would ask my riding instructor if I was allowed to see if anyone wanted to trade horses. Usually, no was the answer to my question, but occasionally I got a yes.
A few months later, Winter had seemed to have given up on his plan, and I got a good lesson. Winter quickly became my second favorite horse after that day, and he started to behave again. I soon tried to get a one day lease on Vincent (paying a tiny bit extra to be promised the horse of your choice each lesson), but wasn't able to because Vincent was too popular. I decided to see about leasing Winter, and I was allowed to because he wasn't very popular.
When I was diagnosed with PTSD, I found myself getting distracted during my riding lessons. Winter also noticed this, so he would pull little tricks to get my attention. Winter is very good at distracting me from my stress now, and I rarely lose my focus on Winter anymore. If I lose my concentration because I get distracted by stress, Winter is always there to get my attention back.
I recently discovered Winter knows how to do a trick where he lifts his front leg up, and lowers his head to touch his knee. It looks like he's bowing, and it's very fun to try to get him to do the trick. I had thought it may be something he already been taught, but now I'm thinking it's another way to help me concentrate. If my idea is correct, horses do understand English (which I already believe they do), and they know how to distract us from stress and pain.
To conclude this blog post, I would like to thank Winter for being the best therapist I have ever known. And I would like to thank my riding instructor for teaching me so much about horseback riding. Thanks to all the horses and amazing people at the riding stable, and thank you to Winter for being the best horse in the world. Also, here's this week's song People Like Us by Kelly Clarkson.