A Mini-Misty Break

“The Mystique” and I were reunited towards the end of October. I was hoping she wouldn’t make her entrance this year, and that the sweet, willing Misty I had come to know and love would stick around. Alas, that did not happen. I have come to the conclusion that Misty must have seasonal depression, or some other seasonal disorder that changes her behavior under saddle so drastically. I can’t think of any other causes.

This has been happening for five years. I’ll have a wonderful, happy horse all summer long and we will canter our little hearts out. Then fall comes and with the return of the cooler temperatures comes The Mystique. (You can read about The Mystique here, in case you’ve missed it). The first few times I met this autumn time monster, I figured it was just fall-time crazies, but it seemed like something else had to be going on because her behavior was downright dangerous. I’d ask her to canter and she would EXPLODE!

We're just taking a break. Photo via Pinterest

We’re just taking a break. Photo via Pinterest

Two years ago I thought maybe she had Lymes Disease, but the tests came back inconclusive. Last year, I tested her again: negative. Then I thought maybe her saddle was bothering her, (which wouldn’t have really made sense given her perfect behavior during the warmer months), so we got a new saddle. And after all the supplements and training and acupuncture and you-name-it, we are back where we started: crappy behavior that lasts until spring and the inability to do anything other than trot (sometimes). And once spring arrives, we battle until she’s finally in a routine, and then I have about four good months of riding. This has been my reality for five and a half years, and quite frankly, I’m tired of it. How are we ever supposed to make any progress? (And this post is a very abbreviated version of our story).

So it’s time for a break. I haven’t ridden Misty in about three weeks, and I’m not really sure when I’m going to ride her again. It’s becoming clear that no matter what I do – this is Misty. She’s not in pain…she’s in regular training even through the fall when she goes crazy. She is just a four month a year horse, and there’s nothing I can do about it other than take a step back and gather myself.

While I’m gathering myself, I’m horse shopping. I want to be able to ride all year round (weather permitting) and compete regularly, and I don’t think I’ll be able to do that with Misty. But I love her to death – she is my equine equivalent, and I’ll never part with her. We’ll just enjoy nice, easy summertime hacks. Hopefully I’ll be able to find a new horse on which I can achieve my competition aspirations. After five years of ups and downs with my sassy grey, I’m just ready for a break.

It’s heartbreaking to realize that Misty probably won’t be what I want her to be, especially because she’s completely fine physically. I had such high hopes for our partnership. But that’s okay – she can’t help who she is, and I will always be her mom and love her in spite of and because of her silliness. I actually can’t blame her because if I were a horse, I probably couldn’t be tamed either!

Stay tuned for some new developments…but for now, Misty gets the winter off.

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