Grabbing Mane Into The New Year

By Terry Golson

This week’s jumping lesson provided something of a metaphor for 2020. In January Tonka and I tried something new. Jumping. Despite the pandemic, we’ve been able to take lessons from Steph. We’ve learned a lot and progressed.  Yesterday we were given a new challenge – a bounce line. This is when the horse has to immediately takeoff again after landing. Tonka approached the line with enthusiasm.


First we did this gymnastic bounce over a single cross-rail with a pole on either side. Then a pole to two cross-rails.. We came in a bit slow, but did it okay.


Then Steph put up a third cross-rail. A big one. Tonka wasn’t sure how to meet this challenge. We muddled through. My good, honest, trying horse didn’t knock a rail. (Volume on to hear the laughter from everyone watching.)


Once Tonka understood what he had to face, he attacked it with gusto. I grabbed mane and stayed on. If I had more experience, I wouldn’t have rounded my back and fallen behind his movement. We’re not always ready for what life throws at us!


Here’s a still photo. What a good pony!


After that big effort, Tonka didn’t think that he could do it again. He stopped.


Haven’t we all felt like that this year? Steph put the last jump back down on the ground. This gave Tonka a confidence boost and he sailed through.


Not to overdo this metaphor, but haven’t we all had to retreat a bit from our goals so that we could achieve something this year? It’s okay to back up so that you can go forward.

That last bounce line wasn’t the end of the lesson. After such a big effort, it feels good to stretch out and move on. That’s exactly what I let Tonka do.


Then Steph set up one more jump. A small, single, easy jump. I pointed Tonka at it, grabbed mane, and let him know that he could decide how to take it. This was his answer. Canter in. Take off early. Go big.


Note the exuberant buck at the end. Tonka’s way of saying: Challenges met, challenges looked forward to.

Here’s to 2021. As Tonka says, Let’s go!


To keep up with Tonka, I’m going to have to unlock my shoulder joints, shove my hands up that neck and keep my core engaged so that I can stay with him the entire arc of the jump. I’ll need to get that to be second nature so that I’ll be able to do it when Tonka decides to uncork some big ones over the jumps. I’ll be practicing this on the flat. Tonka will have to get used to me holding onto his mane up near his ears while we trot around the ring!

Here’s to 2021 and to meeting its challenges with Tonka’s attitude. We might muddle through. We might soar on over. Whatever. Let’s all grab mane and go.


Has 2020 inspired a cheesy metaphor in your life? Tell me in the comments!

13 thoughts on “Grabbing Mane Into The New Year

  • John Schaller

    Your partnership with him is always so nice to see! I have to say 2020 really drove home for me how helpful other horsey people can be to have around. Some sort of teamwork metaphor may apply, assuming the cart gets pulled in an agreed-upon direction? In part because I need to work more on riding from my seat and not my rein aids, and in part because of the year, “slipping the reins” as a positive is probably the one currently most meaningful to me. It has applied to working from home, where giving talented team members their head and letting them work through has been perhaps more necessary than when we all are together in an office.

  • Stephanie Dewilkins

    That looks like so much fun. I cant ride anymore because of my back issues. I miss it so much,,,

  • Michelle McMillen

    No cheesy metaphors, just lots of challenges in close and extended family and with both my horses, and ending the year with a dead well pump and another big bill. Boo. Good riddance, 2020!

    • Terry Golson Post author

      A dead well pump. Awful! We almost had a frozen burst pipe but managed to avert that and have fixed the problem. But we had the big bill because to fix the problem meant a new line…

  • Gin

    I don’t have any cheesy metaphors either, but the post and video’s sure gave me a smile on the dreary, cold, drizzly day we are having. I especially liked the way Tonka kept on “bouncing” after that last jump. Maybe you shouldn’t have let him hear you were doing a bounce line.

  • Jan

    No new metaphor, but loving all your videos the second one made me giggle. Best wishes to you all for a healthy 2021. We have sadly gone into full lockdown again because of the new Covid Variant which is spreading rapidly but we are ever hopeful and do our best to keep safe. Also so great to see and hear that Pip and Caper are still enjoying life, long may it continue. 🙂

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