Sunday, December 18, 2011


Good Sales Managers are hard to find and when you do, they are worth a fortune.  It is a unique gift to be able to encourage someone struggling, forward and still kick their butts in gear to get them going.  The fine line between picking someone up and keeping them just a little hungry.  When do you hug and when do you kick? The gift is knowing what works and when...
One week before

Honesty continues to rear its ugly head... and, by now, you may be bored with hearing about...  "my mojo is reluctant to come forward,  my inner cowgirl is working at Walmart and my GRRRRRRR is a squeaky tiny guttural sound".  And, this weekend, it is apparent that getting over 2011 is gonna take some time.

So when Sugar came into the weekend Jumping Intensive spooky and quirky, I rustled up the strongest Grrrr I had.  And as we came around the spooky corner to the (maybe 2'6") oxer, I wilted, did not kick on and she spun.  I spanked her for quitting.

And when we went to do it again, she showed reluctance.  This time I kicked.  She jumped huge and anticipating a "correction" she bolted.  I was angry and "corrected" more fiercely and expressed my dissatisfaction with a string of truly ...  um...  salty (inappropriate)...  words.  You know, the kind you hear in gangsta rap songs, action films and well, maybe construction sites...  not nice language for a "lady".

Smiling with Eventing Peeps
It was an awful night of jumping and though we finished on a good note, I was rattled.  And, embarrassed and feeling like a failure... I wanted to cry and cry and cry!  What happened to me?  I was a "Contender" and Sugar and I were a team.  And, I had to jump again tomorrow...  I went to bed working hard to be better, to correct the dark cloud and to find the joy of jumping again..

As we warmed up this morning, Sugar spooked at another oxer placed along the indoor wall.  I sputtered and kicked her on...  Her spooking got worse as she "looked" at the other jumps.   It felt insurmountable.  I felt like I was heading for a repeat performance. And I did not feel capable of dealing...

Then my Eventing Trainer suggested that I pat her and encourage her with a few "Good Girls".   Each pat on her shoulder released tension.  I could feel her soften with the words, "Good Girl Sug, Good Girl".  And, the spooking stopped.  My own little version of a Christmas miracle.  This ride, this morning on this day, Sugar needed to be loved through her issues.  It may not work next week, but it was lovely today.
We will get there!
Used with permission

And after releasing said tears and saying all the words that came with them, my Event Trainer shared her story and the tears shed on her path to return.  Time and the desire to do it will make it better.  And, when I do my first Training, it will mean so much more...  I just hope Sugar won't be too old by then. 

And, today I was loved through my issues.  Good Trainers are hard to find and when you do, they are worth a fortune. 

It's gonna be ok... it's gonna be ok...


eventer79 said...

Taking a deep breath and a moment of praise can go so far, can't it? Yet it can be so hard to remember when we are caught up in the moment.

KC said...

I must ask, who is your event trainer? I love him/ her. That's wonderful coaching and something you can replicate at home. Bravo!

I've found, especially with my young OTTB's, and even when taking Zeus XC, if I feel reluctance a mere "Come on, boy!" will give them the surge of confidence to do what I ask. Your voice is a very powerful tool!

And sometimes, my babbling at Zeus is more effective than a crop - he responds to my encouragement more than punishment. His reaction has helped me ride my rescues better.

Keep chugging along - you'll get there! You and Sug are in this together!

Katie Murphy Eventing said...

Beautiful, intimate and honest! You are on track, Suzanne - don't despair.

I find that saying simple positives helps me and the horse to set the tone for the day and the future. With Baby G, it's been "You are so brave! pat pat pat" Now he surprises me - a spook is now a forward strut to the scary thing followed by a sniff. No more terrified baby.

There is a community of riders and horses in constant support of you and Sugar. Besides, Garth is destined to meet your beauty at an event - 2012 holds great promise for you!

Suzanne said...

Thanks to you all... it means alot to me... and KC, it's Stephie Baer for Eventing and Lainey Johnson for dressage and jumping when I can't get to Stephie.

Amy said...

Wow! Awesome post. Gutsy post, too. As someone who can get her Irish up, and drop a few salty words, it's something I struggly with as a rider AND a parent. Am going to use this as my mantra from now on, and going to just love on through the issues.

KS said...

Ah, the incomparable Stephie Baer. I wish I could have a recording of her voice in my ear when I'm riding. It would probably be asking, "Why are you pulling? Why are you pulling?"

She's always so wonderful about recognizing the small steps we take with our horses.

Good luck with your winter work!

breadinoldkentucky said...

This is probably the wrong aspect of this post to which I should respond, because there are bigger and more significant things going on... that said, I'm going to forge on with it.

I truly respect anyone who can unabashedly use the word/spelling "gangsta". I try but I still feel like a "poser" when I throw down with a "gangsta". It is a goofy phenomenon, but sometimes you just need to lose the "-er". :)

Suzanne said...

Breadinoldkentucky... you make me smile. I lose it more often on other words... when it feels good on my tongue. LOL!