This week a self-described moody rider requested a blog- about moody riders. To tell the truth it has been an erratic week at the barn. Each rider had their best and worst rides, in rapid succession. Passion is the green light, frustration is the red light, and the ensuing crash in the intersection can make us “moody”.
“Too much blood in your eye!” is what Mona called it. Mona Benson, my mentor, was loved and hated by her students then, as I am now. It is a proud tradition.
Too much blood in your eye refers being blinded by ambition or arrogance or even daydreams, and not being present in the moment. Horses require a be-here-now focus from a rider. Horse people consider it good manners to credit their horse when rides go well, and shoulder the blame when things go not-so-well. Humility has to find balance with confidence.
Here comes the life lesson from the mounting block. Since I was warned to not be too pollyAnna-ish in this blog, I will pass along my mentor’s advice to moody riders. During lessons Mona would stand cocked on one hip with hands in her jeans pockets and a tilt to her head. The worse things went with your horse- the merrier the gleam in her eye, and it was easy to feel a bit persecuted.
“This too shall pass”, Mona would always say with a quiet, hen-like cackle. I used to hate to hear that. Now I’ve developed a decent hen cackle myself.
Mona is right. Life is a long and winding road, moods soften and time passes. Young horses become old campaigners. Success and frustration are different sides of the same coin. Eventually riders become old campaigners too. But beware of us old hens, the passion doesn’t age a second.
“Forward!” Mona and I both say that a lot.
Anna Blake, Infinity Farm.