Six weeks earlier ……..
Son arrived for his lesson in his usual slow motion, whiny mood. He didn’t want to come and his mother promised him ice cream if he rode. Key words “if he rode”. And, the horse of the day was Lil (for those who know her the story doesn’t have to be told). Son’s attitude did not get any better by the time he finished tacking up and we got to the arena where he got on. Of course Lil pushed all his buttons by not working which made him more and more frustrated and mad.
He finally shut down, crying and arguing. I told him he had a choice to either get down or stop the crying and ride. It got so bad I told him he was going to have to get down if he couldn’t manage his energy. He said he couldn’t get off. If he did, he wouldn’t get the ice cream that had been promised. I tried again to get him to choose to ride and try, which he didn’t. I then told him I was making the choice for him and he would get down.
He did dismount and it was literally kicking and screaming. I had other riders besides him so mom took son and the horse to the barn. After they were there a few minutes I became aware of his resistance and complaining getting louder and louder with mom telling him to not come into the horse area.
I finally walked to the barn, stepped in where the boy was, looked at him and told him to come with me. We walked back to the arena where I told him to go sit on the bleachers. He did and then began to justify his behavior and continue to whine and cry. I didn’t release him until mom was done with the horse and joined us.
She and I talked and she did say that this has happened before with activities. When it did, they stopped the activity. I told her I wasn’t trying to tell her how to raise her child but I could see beyond this tantrum. He wasn’t the first to pull one and some others had been just as bad. I told her that if she thought it was worth it, we could hang in there and keep giving him the opportunity to get himself under control.
After giving it a week’s thought, she decided to continue. And now, two and a half months later … the rest of the story.
A side note – prior to this next ride, the last 4 have been good as far as his energy and attitude.
Son arrived in excellent ‘horse energy’. He was focused, calm and in good spirits. The good spirits stayed even after he found out his horse assignment was Lil. The set up of equipment went well as did tack up. Before he got on, I told him that I was very pleased to see the energy he was demonstrating and if he could keep it during the ride it would be a good one.
He listened to and followed all directions. He kept himself in good horse energy the entire ride although Lil (mistress of push frustration and anger buttons of riders) did her usual of not cooperating. He was able to get her going when she stopped and even began to keep her going and not let her stop.
After the ride I asked him if everything had gone smooth. He said yes. I asked if the adults with him (his mom and me) were happy. He said yes. His mom asked if the horse was happy today and he said yes. I asked him if he was happy and the answer was yes. I then asked if he knew why everyone was happy and he said his energy. I answered yes and asked him how it felt to control the energy of those around him. He thought it was pretty good. I reminded him that if he wanted good happening to him he needed to demonstrate those energies so they could come back to him.
Mom had mentioned to me that she thought it would be cool to take son to the bull riding BUT did not mention it to Son before the lesson. That way, he could concentrate on the lesson. They are both getting regarding this thing called ‘try’ and setting up to succeed.
Mom mentioned today that she is seeing a new maturity in him (right on). She also admitted she needs to do some letting go and that is hard – but – that is a mom’s job, to keep her eye on the goal and raise a man or a woman, not a child. So proud of them both.