The Graduated Equestrian wrote a great post last week titled Cloud 9, and part of it really grabbed me -- “There was no reason from a training standpoint to put it up again. I just wanted to. And I realized that’s okay. It’s ok to sometimes do things with my horse, just because I want to and because it’s fun. That’s one of the best part of having your own horse I’m learning.”
Hindsight is 20/20, and now that I’m starting this blogging journey I kind of wished I had done it sooner. In 2015, I was a showing machine. I hit almost every schooling dressage show in a 100-mile radius, racking up ribbons and points across the state. It was a productive year, and Topaz and Ruby helped me bring home some impressive year-end awards. Impressive only in the sense that my poor self-trained horses carted my ammy butt around the ring and did well (in spite of me most days!). It was exhilarating and exhausting and epic (needed a third e-word there). It really helped me overcome my crippling show anxiety -- although it still rears it’s ugly head from time to time, I do think I remember to breathe in most dressage tests now, and hopefully I look less like a frozen version of the Tin Man in photos. I would have had SO MANY things to write about in 2015 as I struggled training two very different horses at different levels. And the show recaps and gratuitous satin shots alone -- man, what a wasted opportunity!
|To this: Wait, is smiling allowed in dressage tests? Can I have... fun?
|Probably 75% of the satin in my office is from 2015
However useful 2015 was for me, the flip side is that it did really burn me out. Like really. It’s August and I’ve shown once this year. And that show was a last minute decision -- I had about three weeks of prep leading up to it and as you can guess, that was a recipe for disaster, haha. I am potentially aiming at three fall shows, but since that would require me actually schooling instead of hacking out all the time, I guess we’ll see how things play out.
So what am I doing instead of schooling? Just playing with my horse. Trail riding. Organizing (and culling/selling/possibly buying) tack. Treat stretches. Cantering through grassy fields and up hills. Turning Ruby loose in the indoor and chasing her around at liberty and playing tag. Teaching her to ground tie. Reading braiding tutorials and gathering supplies so I can do a photo session with my blingy braid bands. Ground driving/long lining. Bareback hacks. Snuggling. All the cookies. Playing matchy matchy dress up with shirts and saddle pads and making DH photograph. Braiding forelocks/tails. Searching for a place to take Ruby swimming. Reading my Kindle while she grazes. Baths. Basically whatever I want to. And you know what? That’s okay. There are no deadlines that I’m missing. My horse isn’t sad that she’s not out showing or improving her skills. She isn't sitting around wishing "gee, I wish my owner had me in full training and showing at 2nd Level as a 5 y/o."
|Ancient picture, but having FUN with my horse.
|Unicorning. This was FUN.
|Don't even start helmet nazis, this photo is like 10 years old. And I was enjoying myself. And clearly nobody died.
|Pre-2015, and not me riding, but isn't her canter pretty?
|What most of my rides lately look like.
I had initially scheduled this post for yesterday, but then a friend shared this post with me and I wanted to wait until I'd had a chance to reread it and then share it in my own post:
Are you having fun with your horse? Or are you doing things just because you feel like you "should" to or because you have a set schedule? (no judgement here, just wondering if I'm alone in being a slacker!)