Horse sense

Another Fenner story. This one was harder for me. At Fenner’s riding lesson, I took some videos and and then went to the car to wait for her to un-tack. The lesson seemed to have gone well and when she got in the car I said, “So, how was Travis today?” I turned and looked at her face – she was not happy. She mumbled something I couldn’t understand. “Not happy with it?” She shook her head. “Disappointed?” She nodded, working very hard to hold back the tears. I wanted to know more, but I could tell she wasn’t up for talking. “Want to watch the movies I took?” She reached out her hand to say yes.

(I can’t resist showing one of the clips – if I can’t tell her how proud I am, then I’ll tell you!)

As she watched them on the camera’s small screen, her body began to relax. “You know what’s not fair?” she said. “What?” “I only got to jump half a cross tie, and that other little girl got to jump a full one on Brickle, and I’m the better jumper!” Brickle is Fenner’s favorite horse of all time. “Hmm… Do you know why?” “No.” I struggled to think of what to say next. “Do you think it might be just because of the way Travis is with jumps?” I asked. “Yeah…and it happened last week too.” “Did you tell the teacher how you feel?” “No.” Darn, I thought. I wish she would speak up more and tell the teacher what’s on her mind. Let’s see, how could I encourage that? I had no idea. Finally, I said, “Do you know, if you want to request a different horse, how you’re supposed to do that?” “No.” “Oh…” I left it at that. She seemed to be feeling a little better and I couldn’t think of what else to say.

It was hard I think because deep down I was hoping my encouragement would somehow fix her disappointment. But I have to remember that that’s not the point. The point is for me to be there for her to listen and understand, not to make it go away. And just by doing that, she’ll be more likely to get up and brush herself off and give it another go.

Explore posts in the same categories: Week 7: The Art of Encouragement

2 Comments on “Horse sense”

  1. Vicki Says:

    I can think of a few reasons the teacher is putting Fenner on a horse that doesn’t like to jump. She is a quiet rider, with quiet hands which probably helps this particular horse relax and if anyone is going to gain the horses trust it will be Fenner and her quiet concentration. I think the teacher may be flattering Fenner, but don’t tell her I said so. I want to hear the story after the TEACHER tells her. And who knows, I could be wrong.

    Great seeing video of jumping again. I miss it in my life. Great reminder that it may be time to take it up again. Oh, my aching butt.

    • flockmother Says:

      I didn’t know you’re a horsewoman (or if I did, I’d forgotten). I can totally picture you around horses, though. They’re like little kids!

      Your insight was helpful. I didn’t tell her you said it, but she mentioned again how it wasn’t fair because she’s the better jumper and I said, “Maybe they need the better jumper on Travis to be able to handle him.” Her response was, “No … why me? There are plenty of jumpers in other classes better than me.” Even so, I think she liked considering that possibility.


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