I thought that PJ had boosted my confidence (and my riding abilities). But, the old fears and apprehension resurfaced when I got the opportunity to take a lesson on Phoenix, a draft-appy cross you may have heard about from onthebit’s blog. Whereas PJ is a push horse. Phoenix is a half-halt horse, meaning he gets quick if you aren’t constantly half-halting. Not being able to stop seems to be my biggest fear and his desire to go versus PJ’s desire to stop was a bit more disconcerting to me than I thought it would be. I hate myself for being such a chicken.
To my credit, I didn’t let my fears stop me from riding and I didn’t curl up into a little ball when he did get rushy. I knew that it wouldn’t do any good and that riding correctly was the only way to get through this. It didn’t help that half-way through the lesson the skies opened up and it was as if someone dumped out a bucket of water. Phoenix spooked, which Barbara said is very unusual for him. We waited for a few minutes for him to get used to the noise, and then I was very proud of myself that I continued on with my lesson, even if I couldn’t hear half of what Barbara was saying over the rain on the roof of the indoor.
Besides teaching me to overcome my irrational fears, Phoenix helped me to get the control of my hips better. He has such comfortable gaits and I didn’t need to keep kicking, that it was very easy for me to ride from my core. With Phoenix, you have to ride every single step with very independent aids, which will also help me when I get PJ back.
Barbara offered him to me again, since I’m not riding PJ this week. I think I’ll take her up on it. It will do me good in more ways than one.