“Firstly, I would like to thank everyone for an amazing outpouring of support with Finn and I’s journey to the RRP. I feel so grateful to have so many cheering us on.” – Maddy
An Emotional Rollercoaster
The past two days have been a bit of an emotional roller coaster for me. I left our demo in Fort Wayne feeling so amazed by all Finn was doing. He is now further along than any of my other horses especially with his bridleless work—including full canter half passes bridleless! I was so excited to share this way of training for a new audience.
But when we arrived at the Kentucky horse park, I realized how unprepared he was in terms of exposure—hauling, riding with other horses, horse show environment, etc. Given the retreats we had this summer with our mustang mares and the additional training they needed to be prepared for adoption, I wasn’t able to haul him to shows, etc and only rode him around our quiet ranch in Colorado. I actually realized I’d never even ridden him around other horses, which turned out to be a huge trigger for him given his racing career that I hadn’t even considered! Lesson learned.
That being said, I changed my plan on Tuesday, seeing his emotions. I realized I would no longer attempt to do my planned bareback and bridleless freestyle. There was a huge part of me that just wanted to scratch altogether. In the end, though, I decided to turn him loose in the arena and see what he would offer at liberty.
The Most Rewarding Part
So on Wednesday, when it was our turn to perform, I did exactly that. And he ran around the arena full force for the first few minutes. I knew I needed to let him run, and when I felt he was ready to connect, I asked him and he gave me his full, beautiful, energetic self. He stayed right with me throughout the rest of the performance and his connection never wavered.
“This to me was the most rewarding part. Even in this triggering environment and seeing him in this frantic state, Finn chose to connect and that was a true gift for me and afterall, connection is always my primary “goal” and intention so it felt very fulfilling to receive that.”
But as far as logistics and scoring, over half the freestyle is based on completing compulsory maneuvers (such as halt, back up, circles, lead changes, etc). I don’t feel like I showcased all the amazing work Finn does on the ground as I was trying to fulfill those requirements and ran out of time, so I felt disappointed in that… and I skipped most of these required movements anyways.
However, we still ended up 9th because of our high scores in horsemanship, the other weight in the scoring. Again, what I truly value. Unfortunately, only top 5 make the finals. So Finn and I are headed home earlier than expected.
So Much MORE To Share
Thousands of dollars have been invested in this journey as well as traveling nearly 3,000 miles…huge sacrifices have been made to come here and it was certainly not the outcome I expected. I think the greatest disappointment comes from feeling like Finn had so much to share with this audience and I wasn’t able to fully showcase him and this new method of training. But I trust for reasons I may not yet know, it was not meant to be and there will be other ways of sharing his training and these methods. And find gratitude for another lesson in surrendering attachment to the outcome as well as valuing the journey over the destination.