I absolutely love hearing nice things about my horse- and I know I’m not alone in that. Whenever anyone says anything remotely complimentary about Frankie, I automatically think they’re a good person with fantastic taste in horseflesh. And I’m also the type of person to take things in the spirit that they’re meant. I don’t really read into things and tend to assume good intentions.
So recently when someone complimented Frankie, I was very pleased, and then it made me think a little harder. To paraphrase, what they said was: “Frankie is such a good boy, it’s so cool to see how far he’s come! You’re so lucky that he’s progressed so easily!”
First of all, yes he is such a good boy and has come so far! We’re all so proud of him, it’s so gratifying that other people notice it too! And yes, I am so so so lucky is so many ways, including with Frankie. I was very grateful to receive such a sweet compliment.
But I’d like to clarify: I wouldn’t call it easy.
Fun, engaging, rewarding, exciting: yes.
You’ve heard my phrase: bringing Frankie along has been a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. Minus the blood and tears.
Notice that we kept in the sweat.
It’s been a LOT of sweat. Not just from myself, but from my trainers (let’s be honest, probably MORE from my trainers). They have very thoughtfully and carefully put together a program that has taught Frankie the right answers to our questions, while building the fitness to safely answer them.
It’s been a lot of lessons, a lot of homework rides, a lot of training rides BEFORE we actually need them so he doesn’t have a chance to dull any skills. It’s been many many dedicated hours from a whole cast of people.
We’ve always had good material to work with: Frankie may have been inexperienced in some ways when we got him, but he’s always been trained as a sporthorse and was plenty broke. He’s athletic, sane, and a very hard worker. He’s responded to this consistent training so incredibly well and is a pleasure to work with.
But let’s be honest, I have frustrating moments during my rides on the regular. Despite being a Very Good Boy, Francis is not a sensitive character. This is a good thing in so many ways, but it also means that it can be tough to get his attention. Little cues don’t really register with him. They need to be a bit louder. So escalating my cues to the volume he needs in order to recognize what I’m asking can be a bit of a process. We’ve definitely had rides where I felt incompetent and downright annoyed by the end, but we chip away at building those skills and eventually we add them to the toolbox.
I consider myself beyond fortunate to have a horse that responds so well to the training that we’re putting into him- but that training is still a lot of work, and I’m really proud of that work.
At the same time, I’m weirdly glad that it looks easy from the outside. It’s kinda an affirmation that we’re introducing new skills and upping the difficulty for Frankie at a very manageable pace- we have never over-faced him with something he could not do. If it looks easy, it means the countless hours where it’s NOT easy are paying off.
So at the end of the day, I’m still extremely gratified by that compliment. Even though it’s a little inaccurate, it was said with kindness and really- anyone who loves Frankie is OK in my book.
Ha! Horse training is never easy but I guess it is it’s own weird sort of compliment that it looks easy. I guess it’s easy to look through the window and see the beautiful decorated house and never know much work went into arranging it.
I absolutely love that metaphor, so perfect!
I think that’s a wonderful compliment. When it looks easy it means you are doing it right. I once had someone tell me how easy Gem must be to ride. I laughed. Gem is anything but easy but for it to look that way to a stranger was a proud moment for me.
I guess the whole “fake it til you make it” thing really does hold true! It’s exciting to start making it more than faking it (but still faking it sometimes because let’s be real here)
It’s kind of like when someone says, you look great, you’ve lost weight! Lol. I think most of us know you (and your trainers AND Frankie) have worked your bums off to get where you are. Especially so quickly. You should be really proud. While it might be slightly easier with an agreeable horse like Frankie than one that’s hostile and/or lazy (cough- Romey), it’s always a process full of lots of sweat and hard work.
My dad’s favorite version is “you don’t sweat much for a fat guy!” I’m so so grateful that Frankie has met us halfway with his own work ethic ❤
People always have to add that little thing, but hey, they are probably jealous you have such a cool horse. Let him shine 🙂
Shine he does!
I so resonate with this!!!
Henry is so fun to ride right now, but there was a decent amount of time when he came off the track that he was an ass, hard to ride and straight up work. The long hours behind the scenes is what makes these cool dudes cool!!
Word on the street is that some of the girls at the barn always want to ride Henry but trainer chuckles and tells them to ask me (which they never do) because well i don’t share well and I’ll fully own it!! 😜
Ps You know Fankie is my fav bay dude!!
The work is so worth it! You’ve put in the time, now you get to enjoy the heck out of your awesome pony ❤