I've sat here for 10 minutes trying to figure out how to start this thread, because it's been eating me up. It's become my number one stress, and I'd appreciate outside input. Let me first say that I am not a "froo-froo" person that thinks that the world is rainbows and butterflies, and I am the first one to say that I am not one of those people that is mushy-gushy about my horse being my best friend, etc. I'm a realist. I expect my horse to do his job, and I expect to be the rider to know how to communicate clearly and concisely. But recently I've really felt a lack of "bond" (gaaahh I can't believe I just said that word and meant it!) with Ronan.
When do you push through and see if there is a "bond" (gahhhh I just said it again!) and when do you move on?
I've had him for just under a year now. When I bought him, he had been in professional training for a few months - he knew the basics and could get around a course, but he had no idea how to use his body properly, and was relatively dead to the aids.
I've learned a TON on him. We've progressed so much in just the past 6 months even, we're a totally different team than we were a year ago.
Ronan has a gigantic personality. He's a goof and just a fantastic horse on the ground. I actually forgot to put his halter on yesterday after I'd taken his bridle off and he just stood there, being a good boy. Eventually he wandered over for treats when I rustled the bag, which is when I realized that he wasn't haltered.
His first show was at Spruce Meadows (small classes) and he handled the atmosphere like he'd been born to it - totally calm and cool, just did his job. He's a "yes, ma'am" type of horse.
This next bit is going to sound very weird and it may not make sense, but bear with me...
He "talks" a lot on the ground - he's a people-horse, and loves attention. He's very very personable and such a sweetheart... but under saddle I find that he's "yes, ma'am" and that's all there is to it. He gives just as much as is asked. He has never said no, he's very willing but you know when you can tell that a horse loves his job? That spark? I'm not sure that's there. He doesn't go out of his way to say "YEP! Absolutely! I'd LOVE to do that for you!" He's very quiet and just says "Ok"
When I was a teenager, I leased my coach's stallion, Duke. He and I just clicked. Again, at the risk of sounding totally out to lunch and like a teeny-bopper, I would ask and he was right there with me. I would ride him around in a halter and he would be right there. It seems like I would just *think* about something and he was already doing it. We were fearless together. But we had discussions under saddle. He would think that something I was doing was stupid, and we'd find out that I was right after all. He gave me feedback all the time. I really can't explain it, but (oh god here I go again) we had a bond. He took care of me, he knew that I wouldn't ask something of him that we couldn't do, but sometimes we'd have to have a discussion about it.
My coach offered him to me for a significantly discounted price, because she saw our connection. I didn't buy him because he had a stifle issue. I still regret it.
Ronan is a fantastic horse. He's quiet as the day is long, he never says no, though it can take a while for the cue to sink in to his brain; it's got a long ways to travel from my seat/leg to his brain and back. He *is* awesome - he's honest and safe. He's a fantastic Jr/Am horse, as my coach loves to say. It's great to get back into jumping with a horse that seems to love jumping and has never refused a fence. He's brave and bold and does seem to light up a bit when it comes to jumping, but we only jump once or twice a week, max - and can go some time without jumping at all.
I just don't feel connected to Ro under saddle. He does what is asked, but (and this is going to sound crazy) there's no passion in his job. He does his job, absolutely, but there's no spark between us. Maybe it's just me. Maybe I haven't found whatever it is that makes him tick. But how long do you stick with that? Do you stick with a fantastic horse that you just don't click with, or do you go out and try to find a horse that you do *love* to ride? Can that spark develop?
Do I have "grass is greener" syndrome? Is it completely stupid of me to feel that Ronan isn't the right horse for me?
Cookies to everyone who read all that... here's a pic just so it isn't the.driest.thread.ever.