With a heavy heart, in my car instead of the truck pulling Bob in the horse trailer, I headed up to the barn to take my first lesson in my life on a Lesson Horse.
My friend and trainer (Frainer) had advised me to bring my saddle. She told me she was currently using the horse I'd be riding in a lesson. As soon as that lesson was over we'd swap saddles before I rode.
I arrived to find the lesson was behind schedule so I sat down to watch before "my turn" came.
I was thrilled to see the horse I'd be riding. I'd known this horse and his rider since 2004. They had boarded at the same barn where we had boarded our daughter's horse - Champ, in 2004. As it is in the horse world, this horse and his rider had popped in and out of my life for the last eight years.
I KNEW this horse and I LIKED what I knew.
It was a bit strange to pull off the saddle and put mine on. I'm so used to prep and ground work before riding. But I was soon up on Petey and out in the arena. Shortly after that I was into that slow western jog where I could have sipped tea and not spilled a drop.
Riding Petey was indeed a thrill. It was like riding a combination of Poco and Champ all in one package.
The lesson/ride was overwhelming. I rose in my saddle from the confidence I felt as I rode Petey. I craved the gaits of this horse which brought back great rides I had experienced on my own horses. I never wanted the ride to end.
But it was later in the day when I was running the lesson through my mind over and over again (which I tend to do) that I had an "Aha!" moment.
The lack of feeling confident and walking away with little or no sense of accomplishment when I rode Bob had been in the back of my mind for some time. I had been feeling Bob and I were spinning our wheels. Obviously my Frainer had also been feeling the same, which is why a few months ago she had suggested I consider replacing Bob with something similar to Petey, Poco or Champ.
At that time I didn't understand her suggestion. I'd put Bob up for sale for twelve hours before feeling terrible about selling my horse and pulling the add down. But after riding Petey I understood what my Frainer had been trying to tell me.
I had wanted a horse that "pushed my confidence" when I purchased Bob and I'd gotten exactly what I'd asked for. But the truth is I don't fit well with a horse that pushes my confidence. I do best with a horse that nurtures my confidence.
Bob's pushing my confidence and taking me out of my comfort zone made me a more accomplished rider with a higher level of confidence, especially when I rode a horse that nurtures my confidence. And riding a horse which nurtures my confidence allows me to feel secure and strive to ride better (not to mention thoroughly enjoy the ride).
If it wasn't for Bob, I would never have known this about myself. What a great "Aha!" moment!! What a great gift he has given me!