This is all Buck's Fault
I don't remember how long ago it happened. I just know that since it happened, things with horses have been a bit of a blur.
Husbeast and I happened across the documentary movie about Buck Brannaman and were watching in silence. He sat on the couch and I was in a chair sort of hidden from his view by the fire place.
Buck was talking to a woman about her outlaw stud horse that she wanted help with. Buck told her something along the lines of that horse being a reflection of her fears. (Truth is I don't remember exactly what he said...) Whatever he said to her hit a nerve that I had kept well padded for a long time. I started to cry. Husbeast looked at me like "what....the...hell...just...happened?" I said something like "sob....that's...sob...me...."
He asked what I was talking about and I spewed forth with several years of pent up fear, frustration and weakness.
I had been bucked off of a horse not long after I graduated college. I had been working with this horse with the help of a guy who was working for my dad at the time. This horse had a lot of issues that we were working through. That particular day started out fine and I thought I was doing alright. In the blink of an eye, I was in the dirt and had been stepped on and abandoned. I was only about a mile or so from home, but I had to shuffle and crawl my way back. When my mom finally saw me in the back pasture and came with a pick up, I nearly passed out from the exertion of getting home, the pain in my back and shear relief. When we told that guy what had happened and I showed him where I had been stepped on (my whole right leg was black, blue, yellow and swollen) his only response was "You must have missed something." I was speechless. I didn't want to be felt sorry for. I didn't want to be babied. But I wanted to know that somehow it wasn't totally my fault.
Once I had healed and could ride again (3 or 4 months later) I was at the point that I didn't want to do any work with horses if that guy was going to be around. I avoided him, his wife and their help, like the plague. I felt completely defeated and I felt like everything I had ever thought I'd known was 100% wrong. I felt that everything I did with a horse had something missing and when they didn't go right, it was all my fault. But I didn't tell anyone. Would I tell that guy how I felt, now? Yeah. I would. He knew/knows a lot about horses, but I'd only share how I felt if it meant I helped him help people too.
Anyway, as the months and years went by I got to where I avoided a young horse or any kind of training opportunity. I rode horses I knew and was comfortable with. In the past, I would have ridden anything at any time. But as it was, I had lost that confidence.
That movie playing and that moment with Buck and that women and her fears finally punched a hole in the wall I'd built. I told Husbeast everything. He had no idea. Any new horse I'd ridden, I had ridden in silent fear that something would happen to me, but I never let on how scared I really was. I just gritted my teeth and made it through, or I passed them on to him to handle.
I was finally brave enough to tell my two closest friends as well. I felt a little embarrassed about my confession, but once it was out, I also felt okay admitting it to everyone. And I think only then, was I able to start working through something I had held on to for such a long time.
His arrival was a total surprise. The mares we bought were both pregnant and foaled unassisted. From the beginning, Maynard was curious and gentle. He happened to come from the mare I had "claimed." The idea began to form that he would be my first "from the ground up" project. I started ground work stuff with him when he was still fairly young, because I wanted to have the confidence in myself. As things have progressed with him, and I've shared what I'm doing, I've caught some flak from people who have seen the photos or videos and had a lot of "just get on him" comments. The me from pre 2003, would have. The me now says "f off. In my own time, I will."
And that's what I needed to do. Had any of those who are more "in the know" than I am, been watching me on the day of the first ride, they would have gone bat shit crazy from watching how I approached it. But I had to be 100% sure that I would be okay. That meant the ground work first, getting on him bareback, a few tears of relief and a few moments of deep breathing, saddling, more ground work, moving off with only one foot in the stirrup, then a ride, and finally a ride I was willing to have witnesses for.
The thing is, I could have waited for Husbeast to do it. I could have had my friend do it. Something inside me however, was ready for it to be me. So, with running shoes on, a slightly askew saddle pad, no hat and a few tears, I did it. Will things with me and Maynard continue to move slowly? You bet they will. I'll keep doing what I can to make sure he's ready, then I'll make sure I'm ready and we will get there eventually. It's about the journey, after all, isn't it?