Controlling My Emotions
I am, and have always been, prone to anger quickly. When things get stressful, I either shrink into the shadows and let someone else handle the problem head on, or else I get mad. I'm ashamed to say that this has carried over into horsey endeavors.
My horse is the most kind, forgiving animal on the face of the earth, but she's still young and it would be unrealistic of me to expect perfect behaviour from her 150% of the time. When she does misbehave, I can feel myself getting more and more and more frustrated until finally I lash out. The horse, who already is stressed and uptight, has no clue why she's being reprimanded and all my anger succeeds in doing is making both of us even more worked up. I know I'm a terrible person for doing this to her-she gets stressed and into a situation where it's time for me to step up to the plate and show my true colours as a strong leader for her, but all she feels is me getting just as worked up as she is, and she has no one to fall back on. I imagine it's terrifying for her to know that in really bad times, I'm not there for her.
It's only much later, after I put her away and sit there and begin to think about it, that I really realize what happened, and what I've done. The thinking side of my brain kicks in much too late to stop the reaction side. Funny, that we all want to get our horses to think before reacting, and really that's what I need to train myself to do. I always feel like an absolute piece of crap after, especially because just stopping and thinking for a while gives me the answer, and what I should have done instead of acting blindly out of anger. However terrible I feel about it, the damage is already done, and there is a period of awkwardness between us because I've betrayed her trust. She trusted me to be there and to lead her through difficult times, and I did the opposite. To the outside eye, I'm sure everything looks fine and dandy, but when you know your horse that well, things aren't right at all, and to know that she wants nothing to do with me really sucks. I remember a long time ago when I'd get angry, she would come back to me and we'd feel right again within the span of a day. It's been more than a couple days since our latest blowup, and still we are not...good. Each time something like this happens, it takes longer and longer for me to win her back again.
I know I'm getting better at controlling it all the time. Everything that happens gets cemented into my memory vault, and when a similar situation arises, I never ever react the same way again, but not every circumstance is the same and this just happens all over again. I know we went through the same thing doing groundwork-at first I was unsure of myself and was prone to fits of anger, simply because I didn't know what else to do, and over a long time, it's gotten to the point where absolutely nothing rattles me. I'm sure we'll get there with riding eventually, but I'm afraid that by the time I get my act together, her trust will have run out and she won't give me another chance because I've betrayed her so many times.
I want to know what I can do to control my emotions. I'm ashamed to be asking this, but I'd rather be ridiculed here, briefly, than to learn the hard way and ruin my horse. Oftentimes whenever I get frustrated, I'll stop everything and just sit there for a couple minutes, pulling myself together, but usually I am angry and reacting before I think of doing so. I'd be grateful to hear anything you have to offer.