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Friday, 19 May 2017

Apollo's New Adventure

This last year has been a huge year of transition with Apollo & I.  Actually… I would even stretch that to the last two years.  Here are some things that have changed:

1)      My confidence improved
2)      We got a saddle that works for both us
3)      I began to expect more of him
4)      He began to test me (read: bolting at the mounting block and other sassiness)
5)      We took lessons with Coach D and recently two lessons with ST (after many years without lessons)
6)      I transitioned to a life of riding three horses (goodbye time and monies)
7)      Apollo doesn’t get as much attention as he used to when I he was my sole riding horse



For a while I have thought about Apollo adding “husband horse” into his job description.  We will still lesson and continue to improve together but I would really like to ride with husband/other horses friends sometimes.  I’ve put in a solid effort to trail ride him more often and to make him quieter (which mostly is just a consistent riding schedule).  But I kind of hit a wall.  There are two things that I can’t really seem to get past. 

Baggage and incompatibility.  Let me explain a bit! 




So when I say baggage I mean that over our 10 years together some things have gone wrong (as in any partnership), and I have trouble forgetting them sometimes.  I particularly struggled when the mounting block issues came up last summer, as that was always a point of anxiety for me.  I feel like I am 95% past it but it still lingers in my brain.  Only recently have I started wearing my new samshield helmet when I ride him.  For a long time I let that 5% of mistrust around the mounting block tell me that I shouldn’t wear my new samshield when I rode him because I might fall on it and I can't afford a new one.  In my lesson on Apollo with ST last weekend she commented: “It’s very confusing to me that you will jump and canter around on green bean Henry but you are so nervous to canter Apollo on a looser rein.”  And I think the reason for that is baggage, as part of me still remembers bolty/crowhoppy Apollo at the canter and doesn’t 100% trust that he won’t do that. 




And when I say incompatibility I mean that Apollo would probably really like to go fast.  And I would really like to travel at a low rate of speed.  I am getting braver (go me!) so I feel like this struggle for us will continue to improve.  But riding a more-who-than-go Henry has made me feel so brave (#slowsoulmates) and that has made it so clear to me that Apollo and I are very mismatched in terms of our preferences for speed of travel.  I hope to keep bridging this gap and to become the rider he needs.   I can’t help but feel a little guilty that I know he would have more fun with a human who would want to hop on and go for a gallop.




Apollo is totally my heart horse and I had to make a difficult decision in order for us to move forward.  I decided to send him for 30 days with RK (the wonderful guy who trained Henry).  They will focus on trail miles.  RK doesn’t have 10 years of baggage with Apollo.  RK doesn’t mind going for a good gallop sometimes.  He is super kind and I know he will show Apollo how to be a good trail pony for me and my husband.  I’m really excited to hear his insights. 




It’s been harder on me than I went I sent the babies to be started.  I cried after I dropped him off on April 30 and although I've been visiting it's been a bit tough for me.  I have been his rider for 10 years and have very rarely shared him.  Its super weird for me to think someone is riding him when I’m not there.  And I got a fair bit of judgement from some of my horsey people IRL too.  I trail ride Mystic bareback…. So why can’t I get my old horse quiet enough on the trail to share with other people?  Which kind of makes me feel like a failure in my work with Apollo.  But I feel like training with RK is worth a try and could really improve our relationship going forward so I’m willing to try! J


26 comments:

  1. I think this was a great decision for you and Apollo. Sometimes you need a mediator to help sort through the baggage. I think when you've had a horse a long while, you learn each others weaknesses and sometimes even take advantage of them. I mean that for both the horses and the riders.
    Also, I don't mean to judge your friends, but no one should ever belittle you for doing something good for your horse. You've chosen a reputable, kind, and capable trainer to help you work through some troubles. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. I applaud you for getting some help instead of just getting frustrated.

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    1. We totally know eachother's weak spots and how to push eachother's buttons! At some point I had used all the tools in my toolbox, and things weren't where they needed to be. So here we are!

      I don't know that the comments were intended to be hurtful (although I am a soft marshmallow) but I think the optics are confusing... Apollo seems super chill and I ride green as babies all the time... so it just looks weird from the outside I guess. I really hope RK can help us get onto the right track :)

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  2. I think Apollos time with RK will benefit both of you. It's a good decision. It's also easy to carry baggage and it takes time for that to be dealt with.it doesn't mean you are a bad rider or a coward. Remembering past problems helps with self preservation. If you didn't remember incidents you might not be cautious and set yourself up for an injury. On the other hand if you dwell on the past you might not be able to move forward. So I guess the best you can do is remember your past but don't let it overshadow your future rides. Good luck with Apollo and have fun.

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    1. I'm really excited to see what RK and Apollo can do together! I think it will be a huge help for me (and future Apollo riders too!) :)

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  3. Great decision. I made the same choice with Ginger, for the same reasons, and have no regrets. Ignore the people with the opinions - I remember talking with my coach about Ginger. She is very pro hard work and making do and all that, and I was expecting a lecture on being better or not quitting or something. Her response was basically that she knows Im fully capable of working through stuff with Ginger, but she can't fix how I feel, life is too short, ride the horse you're having fun with. Pick your battles, essentially. She suggested a trainer for Ginger, and eventually some lease teens, and I've always had the option of taking the ride back. I've chosen not to, for now. Honestly, it sucked and it was hard and I still beat myself up over it, but I'm happy seeing Ginger happy, and excited about what the additional focus and time on my other mare is producing. Sorry for the long reply, in short, awesome decision and I'm sure it will result in you finding a good place and moving forward in whatever direction you choose with Mr Apollo:)

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    1. Thanks so much for sharing that :) , that is totally how I was feeling! I really hope I can find the right program/routine for Apollo and I too click again but ever since I raised my expectations of him it hasn't much very much fun (and it's supposed to be fun!). I hope RK can at least give me a good plan of attack and my current ideas just weren't working for either of us.

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  4. I feel you. It can be hard to ride the horse you have on the day when you have memorious that are making you anxious.

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    1. It totally is! And when we hit a wall where things weren't improving further, I know I needed reinforcements. I sure hope RK can help us out :)

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  5. I hope the training helps. I can't believe anyone gave you attitude about it. Everyone should do what they need to do to be happy with their horse.

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    1. Thanks me too! :) Yeah I was a little confused about that, more training is always a good thing in my books. But maybe things looked a bit odd from the outside (me riding baby horses all the time but struggling with an older horse... who know).

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  6. Everyone always has an opinion.... But you know yourself and your horse best, so sounds like some training with someone else is the way to go! There is never any harm in utilizing the services of a professional. Hopefully Apollo is able to learn the skills he needs to be a solid husband horse! 😀

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    1. Gotta love the opinions haha! I do think that I did everything I could do in terms of my skills, I hope that RK can take him the rest of the way. *fingers crossed* :)

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  7. I totally get this. Confidence is not a one-size fits all kind of thing. It can be different on every horse and baggage is a powerful beast. I know it is so hard to let someone else work with your horse, but the trainer you have sounds wonderful! I hope it goes well!

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    1. I do agree with ST that it maybe seems strange that I'm so brave on Henry but not on Apollo, that definitely shows me that I have some stuff to work on too. RK is awesome, I sure hope he can help :)

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  8. I think you made a great decision! Your logic is very sound to me and I can't wait to hear how mellow he is after 30 days. :-)

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    1. Thank you :) I can't wait to see what RK can do!

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  9. I'm with the crowd- this is a very good decision!

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    1. Thanks! Fingers crossed for good results :)

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  10. No shame in getting Pro help, especially like you said, RK doesn't have the history or baggage with Apollo so everything will be fresh and new!

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    1. RK is pretty wonderful! I hope that he can get the ball rolling on some progress towards husband horse life :)

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  11. It sounds like you are doing your best to do right by Apollo! (:

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  12. Exactly what you said- the trainer doesn't have 10 years of baggage with him. You're making the right choice, though I know it's super hard!

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    1. It was so hard! I hope it was worth it :)

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  13. I totally get the baggage issue. Getting some trainer help sounds like a great step. You aren't making any rash decisions, just getting more information and a second opinion about what might work or not work for Apollo's future. I hope it goes well!

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    1. Thanks! Yeah I hope it helps move us forward :)

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