Friday, December 20, 2013

The Accursed Emotion

I should do a sad story for you guys, but not this week. You're lucky this week. 
Her hands were tense, and her mind was busy trying to get the side pass. She struggled immensely.

“Come on, Bentley,” she growled.

Beneath her, the big warmblood moved every which way that he so pleased. He fell too much to the inside, crossed his legs like a confused ballerina, and moved forward when his rider bid him not to do so. The girl was flooded with emotions of anger, but Bentley just snorted, licked his lips, and ignored cues.

“Rabecca, you’re getting frustrated,” the trainer warned.

The girl, Rabecca, got snippy. “Well this stupid horse isn’t listening to my cues,” she snapped.

Rabecca asked for the side pass again as she spoke, and when Bentley refused to do the movement, his rider gave him a sharp bang on both sides with her spurs coupled with a forceful tug on the snaffle. Poor Bentley couldn’t take that kind of treatment to his sensitive body. He bolted forward, bucking and kicking, and taking his rider with him every step of the way. Rabecca lost her reins, but managed to stay on Bentley through the fit. He eventually settled in a far off corner, huffing and puffing. As Rabecca picked up her reins and attempted contact, the horse curled his nose in and speedily backed up in resistance. His tail swished furiously.

“Get off,” the trainer said, grabbing Bentley’s bridle.

Rabecca quickly hopped off the back of the horse. “I’m sorry,” she said weakly as tears began to fill her eyes.

She stepped back from Bentley as her trainer got on and started to school and reassure the unjustly punished animal. The two were silent for a while as Rabecca cried at her wrongdoings and the trainer pondered ways to explain the negative effects of frustration.

“It won’t do you any good,” the trainer finally spoke.

It was obvious that she was improvising.

“What won’t?” Rabecca asked.

“Frustration.”

Rabecca looked up at her trainer for a moment. She schooled Bentley in a circle at the trot. She kept a gentle contact, but Bentley was still annoyed. His neck was very tense and his movements lackluster in comparison to what he usually did, but still the trainer was persistent. She moved him forward and asked gently for a bend, to which Bentley became more and more giving to as the circle continued. When he was supple, she asked for a canter, and Bentley didn’t complain. He moved forward with eagerness and pizazz as if the whole world was watching, and he craved their curious eyes.

“I could get mad at him when he doesn’t bend,” the trainer began again, “But that wouldn’t be right. I don’t like that he doesn’t bend, but if I’m not doing my part as the rider, then there is no reason to punish him. I adjust my cue.” The trainer sat deep, and Bentley stopped on a dime. She looked at Rabecca, “Think about what you’re doing and do not get frustrated.”

She hopped off and handed the reins to Rabecca who was still letting out the last of her tears. The girl stood up, but her gaze lay on the arena sand. Even when she mounted, her eyes were focused on her hands or the pommel or Bentley’s ears.

“Pick your head up,” the trainer said.

Rabecca looked up, and glanced at her trainer for a moment. Her trainer simply nodded. Interpreting the movement, Rabecca asked Bentley for a trot, to which he stepped into with calmness and grace. She circled him in the center of the ring for a lap or two and then moved to the rail. As she came around the corner of the short side, she asked him for a side pass. Bentley simply fell to the inside. Rabecca’s body tensed and her mind became busy again. She moved her seat away from Bentley, which only threw the horse even more off balance.

“He’s not doing it,” Rabecca cried.

“Because you’re not asking him correctly. Support, Becca, support!” the trainer replied.

Rabecca circled around again and asked for the side pass again and Bentley fell to the inside again, but as they passed the center of the arena, Rabecca adjusted and got Bentley to do the movement for three decent strides. He soon fell right after the third stride, but Rabecca was determined. She relaxed herself and corrected Bentley, and he side passed perfectly to the rail. A huge smiled made a trip across Rabecca’s face, and her trainer gave three big claps.

“That’s it, Becca!” she happily yelled.

“I didn’t think he was going to do it so well!” Rabecca yelled back.

Her trainer laughed a little, “Success only comes to those who believe that it is possible!”

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