I cheated on my horse with another horse last week. There. I said it. I own it. And, I’m not sorry I did it.
My boy is on a two week hiatus while we wait for some biopsies to heal and results to come back from the vet. (Thankfully, the biopsies came back non-malignant and it turns out he’s only allergic to some type of insect. The trauma of a first-time experience is another topic for another day.) He’s the only horse I’ve ridden in the three years that I’ve owned him and I couldn’t conceive of riding another prior to this lay-up. However, I was going through riding withdrawals. My body was, too. So, I took a look around the barn I train at, and thought that I should put on my big girl panties, get over the feeling that I was going to cheat on Carter, and ask my trainer for a lesson on one of the school horses. Of course she said, “of course.” We decided that I should have a Piaffe/Passage lesson on Diego, an “older” warmblood who is trained, well trained in dressage.
Carter lives a few stalls away from Diego. They are turned out in the same group. They don’t always see eye to eye on things so I thought it might be interesting. In fact, Diego typically gives Carter a little love bite (okay, LOVE is pushing it a bit) each time he comes by him when they are coming in for the night. It’s kinda funny to see, actually. Anyway, before my first time cheating on him with another, I was grooming Diego and looked over to Carter’s stall to see his big eyes giving me that evil stare as if to say, “What are you doing? You cannot cavort with the enemy! Get over here and give me the love! I wanna ride. I’ll be good. PRRROOOMIISSE.” After a few minutes of complete disbelief that I was actually going to put a saddle on a horse and that I was actually bridling another horse and it wasn’t him, he turned and all I saw was Carter butt for the rest of the tacking session. My boy was jealous. I was getting the cold shoulder… as any cheater should.
My first lesson on Diego was phenomenal. My abs, inner thighs, buttocks sided with Carter and made me pay for my equine indiscretion. But, boy did I learn a thing or two during my first 30-minute session on a horse that expects you, the rider, to know what you’re asking him to do. I’ve never sat the trot that long, let alone one that big. Carter’s sitting trot is still a bit of a slow, very slow, meandering endeavor. Diego… whoa Nellie… this boy knows how to turn it on to FEI-level in a split second! I did learn that I sit too far right on my bum, that I use too much left rein, and that I use too much left leg at the trot. How do I know? Because my 20m circles were more like Spirograph (for those who are familiar) art projects. We leg yielded more than we went straight until my trainer mentioned… “Now, you know why Carter’s shoulder is always leading.” Correction attempted… trot proceeded. We attempted a Passage. I say attempted because I’ve never ridden a Passage. It looks fun. It is HARD. We Piaffed…well, we traveled in the Piaffe. It is HARD, too. After a while, I found myself really thoroughly enjoying cheating on Carter. I was learning a ton. I was having a blast!
After the first session, I decided that I hadn’t had my fill of being disloyal and I wanted MORE! Even though I was paying dearly with each step, each laugh, each muscle movement… I knew I had to do it again. So, two days later…there I was tacking up my boyfriend, Diego; readying for another lesson. A fellow barn-mate even captured it on video. There is proof! I’m so busted!
Later this week, my boy and I ride again. I’m ready to show him a thing or two about our partnership and that he’ll always and forever be my first love. He and I will go as far as we can, together. But I have to make sure he understands that Diego and I will have our special moments, but that it’s only going to make me a better rider so that he and I can be phenomenal together. I’m open to riding other horses, too. I’ve set aside my guilt. In all seriousness, I know it will only help me be a better rider in the end.
2 Comments Add yours
I’ve always found that riding other horses helps me learn things about myself and my riding (faults, usually). Sometimes I can correct these things with the schoolmaster and then come back to my horse a better rider (which he appreciates!), or I can learn a new skill (like piaffe, good for you!), and bring elements of that feel back to my work with my true love 🙂 Fun article, thanks for posting!
I’m adding a regular ride on Diego to my schedule — I’ve ridden him a few more times now (once after Carter decided to take off his shoe and I realized it only minutes before my lesson) and I get so much out of the ride it is amazing! I’m able to concentrate on what I’m doing and how I’m doing it that it just sinks in and I can retain it for my ride with the munchkin. — thanks for the comment!