Day 7: feeling defeated

Ugh, and a little bit of okay today, but I’m not out of the woods here yet. We only have three days left of training, and I hit a block with Mirror. I could feel it before I even started working with her in the first session. If I’d been feeling this way at home with my own horses, it would be one of those days where I would go back inside and cry and come back when I was feeling better and stronger, but it’s hard to do that in this type of context. So I went out with her and felt a bit meh, but okay, until she took her first air nip at my arm when I was feeding her a reward and my brain basically said: “okay, that’s it for now” so I changed directions, did a couple more behaviours, gave her a jackpot and ended the session.

I gave up.

Ugh, those are hard words to roll around in your mouth or your mind, especially when you want something to work so very much.

But you know what? I think it’s okay to give up sometimes. I also think maybe it’s even a little bit brave to swallow your pride and your tears, especially if you have to do it in front of an audience (however lovely and supportive that audience might be). But man, all I can say is: shit fuck that sucked. It still sucks, reflecting on it.

But for the afternoon session the person working with Lulu offered to switch with me. She likes Mirror and was happy to work with her, and I got to work on an entirely different level (Lulu is just touching the target with her nose and starting to follow) with a completely different energy (so quiet, so calm, so relaxed), and it was really good for me. I felt less like crying afterwards, anyways.

So that’s where we’re at today. I still have a lump in my throat when I think about it all, and maybe I’ll need to have a good cry later to let some of this out because I’ve been holding it all day. I’m grateful for the chance to work with a different horse, and maybe that’s what I need to keep doing. Right now I don’t really know. There is a part of me still that feels bad about not working through my block with Mirror — it feels like a failure, and it kind of undermines the confidence I had hoped to build up here.

I don’t have anything insightful about this right now. It feels like I just have to sit with this disappointment and sadness for a bit. At least I’ll have a glass of wine and a spectacular view and a group of sweet humans to keep me company through it.

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