The fit was impressive to watch, really. And, since I was watching from between his ears and on his back, it was a little frightening as well. Sitting on 1200lbs of pissed-off muscle that has the ability to run record-breaking speeds and throw your ass a dozen yards across the arena is not exactly where you want to be as a rider.

But there I was…pretending I didn’t notice his pinned ears and swishing tail. I was ignoring the saliva dripping down my cheek from where his head tossing had drenched me.

Was I asking him to perform some impressive feat? No.

Was I whipping him? No.

Was I asking him to work hard? No.

Is he abused? No. In fact, he’s quite spoiled.

I was asking him to focus and cooperate. I was asking him to complete a task that he could manage in his sleep with one hoof tied behind his back. But he had a bad case of the “don’t wannas”.

So, around and around we went. He pushed himself into a complete lather, working ten times harder than he had to and twenty times harder than I was asking of him. I smiled, ignored the antics, tried not to fall off, stood my ground and sang “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” to keep from losing my cool.

The second he gave me some effort and cooperation, we quit. I patted his neck, hopped off, gave him a big hug and a kiss and removed the saddle. He buried his nose into my chest, took a deep breath, then looked at me with eyes that said, “Is that all it took?”

Yes, buddy. That’s all it took. You just had to lean in and trust me.

This horse’s name is Compass. I named him Compass because he is leading me home. He’s my True North. He is me, in four-legged, furry form. He fights the unimportant things and he can be passive aggressive. He’s loving and goofy…when he feels like it…and a complete asshat when he feels like it. He has the ability to be awesome, when he’s not being lazy. This is an embarrassingly familiar personality.

So, while he was stomping his feet like a toddler, I was learning something about myself:

Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Things are easier than you’re making them out to be.

Stubbornness and over thinking makes things harder.

Lean into what’s being asked of you and trust the process.

Be yourself. Even if you know you’re acting ridiculous, commit to being you until a different way appears.

When you finally get it, give someone who loves and understands you a hug. Tomorrow is a new day to try again.