Monday, February 27, 2012

Barn drama and horse therapy

It amazes me how one place can be the source of so much drama, and at the same time, so much contentment and healing.

I found out on Thursday that Rondo is chewing on other horses' tails in his corral — or should I say, chewing off.  The first one happened shortly after he arrived, but the owner just kind of shrugged it off as the price of keeping your horse in a social environment.  Things happen.  Unfortunately, the owner of the horse of the tail he just chewed off wasn't as philosophical about it.  She has a show coming up, and doesn't want her horse to look like a pasture horse.  So she complained, and although she is being nice to me about it, she is also quite clearly interested in separating her horse from Rondo.

Initially I was feeling like I (or Rondo) was being unfairly pushed out of the corral and into a run — unfair because I've been weathering much worse treatment in Panama's corral (his ear being bitten off, for example, and the rump of his blanket getting ripped virtually every time he wears it) without complaining, because I figured I chose a corral and things happen in corrals, and complaining doesn't make them unhappen.  Yet here I am being pressured to move my horse because of something much less permanent!  Tails, after all, grow back, whereas ears do not.

By Friday morning, when I talked to the owner of the latest horse sporting one of Rondo's haircuts, I was feeling pretty sad.  I had pulled blankets, talked to the other owner, and then taken my dog to physical therapy appointment; sitting at home in front of my computer after all of this, I couldn't stop crying.  So I decided to go back to the barn.  Despite the fact that it was the source of my current misery, I also was feeling very strongly like what I needed to feel better was some horse time.

So after eating some lunch, I threw on my riding clothes and rushed back out to the barn.  Luckily the other owner wasn't there anymore, so I didn't have to be reminded of any of that.  I quickly brushed Panama, threw on his bareback pad, and took him into the indoor arena for a ride (our outdoor arena was full of snow and slush).

In the end, several people and their horses joined us, but I still had a very relaxing, enjoyable ride, after which I felt totally revived — better even than after the healing effects of a good night's sleep.  We mostly putzed around at the walk and trot, and I chatted some with the other boarders, but not a whole lot.  The snow was sliding off the roof as it melted, which tends to scare the horses, but it doesn't bother Panama as much as it used to, so we had only one mishap: Once when the snow fell off the roof in the general vicinity of "behind us," Panama bolted forward a stride or two.  I ended up on his withers (I was bareback, remember), and got bounced once (ouch!) before he remembered he had a passenger and stopped.  I was amazed that I managed to stay on through that, especially from my precarious position atop his withers, though in all honesty if he hadn't stopped when he did I might not have.

Anyway, it is amazing how effective "horse therapy" is.  Before my ride, I had decided to move Rondo into the run next month when it opens up, as the barn's owner was pressuring me torequesting, but I was still very upset about the situation and the perceived unfairness of it.  By the time my ride was over, though, I was at peace with my decision, and was able to see the positive side of it.  I had wanted Rondo to remain in a social environment, sure, but he will still have neighbors.  And now both of my horses will be on the same side of the property, very close to one another actually, which will be much more convenient for me.

And I won't have to worry about any of the drama anymore.

Furthermore, I came to the conclusion that I can't worry about the situation being unfair, because I didn't complain about what was going on with Panama.  I can't help that the owner of Rondo's pasturemate did  complain, but ultimately I had to acknowledge that that's not the kind of person I am, and therefore I can't worry about how things might have been different if I were a different (and maybe less understanding) sort of person.

All of that acceptance and rejuvenation out of a simple bareback ride...  And people wonder why we love horses so much?



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