Riding (with issues)

After  a week where my schedule or Patti’s didn’t match, I finally got back aboard my horse. I went bareback, as usual.

Last week Patti mentioned as an aside that she thought it would be ‘safer’ for me to use my saddle during the winter months. This, I took to mean, she doesn’t want me riding bareback during the winter.

Anyone who rides bareback can tell you that it is easier to stay aboard a fuzzy, winter coated horse than one that is slick as a seal in his summer coat.  Patti keeps her horses well, and in the summer, Trooper’s coat is slick. And, when he’s feeling his oats, he can be frisky. He spooks every time I ride him (come on, he’s Arabian. They all do that.) And, way back in the first of the year, I rode out a bucking, backing and spinning Hank bareback. So while I’m not saying I’m an expert bareback rider, I am a good one.

A winter coated horse has lots of fuzzy fiber to provide the friction that keeps one on his back. I could wear rough out chaps, that only increase the adhesion. So far, I’ve not needed the chaps.

Patti’s seen me ride bareback dozens of times without comment.  I’m not certain why Patti made the comment in the first place. True, she’s a controller, but usually manages to keep her demon muzzled. It’s not as if she doesn’t know I prefer bareback. It was in the ad, and until I bought my saddle, the only time I rode one of hers was on the trail.

The only difference between the night she made the ‘suggestion’ and all the other times we’ve ridden,  was that her friends were there. Jay and Robin (not birds, people!) were there. They’d purchased a horse at the stable and were trying it out prior to taking him home. They ride western. They’ve been friends of Patti and her husband for a couple of years, and Patti’s ridden with them both. Robin was on the new horse, I was bareback on Trooper, Jay was watching, and Patti was ‘handling’ Penny. After twenty minutes or so, Jay noticed and said, “Hey, you’re riding bareback!” I said, “I prefer it.”

To this day, I’m not sure why riding bareback always brings a comment from, in some cases, total strangers. It’s not that uncommon. I’m not that good, but I don’t fall off (welllllllllll, I’ve not fallen off yet). I’m judicious in where I ride bareback and take into account my horses’ state of mind. Nevertheless, it does elicit comments. One woman whose name I don’t remember but her Appaloosa is named Bravo came in one time after I’d purchased the saddle I was riding in, and she said, “Hey! You’re riding in a SADDLE???”

So what is it?

I can only guess that Patti is jealous. Of my ability to ride bareback.

Yes, it’s ridiculous. My reaction, though, may be unusual, because, (I’m not boasting), I don’t understand jealousy. My sister got all the jealousy genes, I was left with perhaps an iota of it. I have been envious once or twice in my life, but I am not a jealous person.  The one time I was eaten up nose to tail with jealousy was when I discovered that my (now ex) husband was having an affair with the wife of our best friends. And I can be forgiven for that…jealousy when one’s SPOUSE is having an affair is understandable.  Jealousy is a horrid feeling and I don’t understand why some people indulge in it.

But I do feel a bit of Schadenfreude when I consider that Patti may be jealous of me. It must mean, to her, that I am doing something better than her. She is competitive to an extreme, and I haven’t a competitive bone in my body.

She doesn’t diss me, but I know she thinks herself the better rider. That may be so, but..it makes no difference to me.  There are many, nay, millions of people who are better riders than me. I don’t care. What matters to me is how does my horse react to my riding him? He doesn’t give a damn, either, whether I could win a medal at the Olympics or not even get through the in gate.  Is he comfortable, do I carry my weight, do I balance correctly, do I keep out of his mouth? That’s what is important. Not, do I look good? Although there’s untold millions of dollars spent on precisely that. The rider should be riding to the best of his or her ability for the sake of the HORSE, not for vanity.

So Patti seems to be indulging in a bit of jealous controlling. If SHE cannot ride bareback (and no way in the world would I ride that witch mare of hers bareback), she wants me to not ride my horse bareback. Typical girl stuff, and amazing to be found in a woman her age.

I thought about her comment for quite a while. Another failing of mine is I have never won an argument, because I have always merely absorbed another’s verbal abuse, without returning anything. I think over what the person said to me, and only later, do I understand the implications, and only then do I think, “Oh DAMN, I should have said”. By then it’s too late. By not arguing back,I make the mistake of appearing to be what the other person said I was. Or being complacent, or worst of all, agreeing with their abuse.

It’s why I don’t like confrontation. I don’t want to go up against Patti,  but no where in my contract does it stipulate how I ride. She can demand I wear a helmet, and I do. Otherwise, there’s nothing that she can do. So it was a good thing that she had a week in between her comment and my ability to take it in, chew it, and decide that I was going to ignore it.

If she pushes the issue, I will, as always, be civil. However, I will say, “I know you are concerned about my safety, but riding horses is inherently risky. I know that. I know what I am doing. Please don’t push me, because I don’t want to end this partnership I have with you and your horses.”

I hope it doesn’t come to arguing, because she has as much right as I do to end the contract.

I’ve seen small bits of this part of her, not only on my part, but also from comments from her husband. This is what she is. But I am what I am, too. My motto is, “Do not mistake my civility for weakness.”  A friend of mine, who is also an astrologer (which I, being a scientist, look at in complete disbelief, but am amazed, sometimes, how close it comes to truth) told me once that my being a Taurus meant that I could be pushed to incredible limits, but once I snapped, watch OUT. She is right. I’ve lost my temper three or four times in my life, and in each case, blind fury replaced reason.  One time I snapped and chased a husband through the house with a hunting knife, fully intending on eviscerating him. He locked himself in the bathroom. That’s when I learned that a Buck knife wasn’t much good at cutting through a wooden door.  We divorced soon afterwards.

Patti made one comment last night just as she was saddling Penny.  Where was my saddle? In my house, I said, awaiting a cleaning.

Can’t ride a saddle you don’t have with you.

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About subodai213

Retired U.N.C.L.E agent. Living in Laurasia.
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