Until tomorrow goes away

And another dressage lesson in the books, and man, I am getting blown away by how soft, forgiving and good Oats and I can be! It’s an excellent revelation 🙂 I want to be that rider, who has a horse with a soft mouth, who has forgiving hands…And we are getting it! Now I wish I had it years ago, but to be honest, I don’t think I could have.

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Something more like this… 

This is just part of the journey I guess?

We added canter to our building blocks of progress, and while the canter does require much more ‘maintenance,’ it also felt way better than it normally does. Also, with the idea of contact as a ‘living’ thing to be constantly worked on, rather than a ‘set it and forget it,’ I am actually having to ride more. It sounds funny, doesn’t it? What am I doing on a horse if not riding?

Well, the truth is I like to get statue-still and mistake that for perfection. It really isn’t. A horse is a living, breathing, flowing, reacting thing, and so am I. So, no room for turning into stone, ha. Or having a grip on my contact. Ebb and flow, take and give. And my legs need to actually be used rather than just ‘there’. It’s funny it has take me until now to ride like this, but hey- progress?!!

It is humbling but I’m really enjoying how excellent Oats feels!! Yes!

Now if only our TERRIBLE weather would freaking shake out of it. Every day is either cold, or rainy, or cold, rainy and windy. I had to go back to wearing jeans, sweaters and vests and jackets. Efff…. So much for this miserable summer.

Guilt and horses

Coming into the holiday season, I’m often confronted by lots of charities, organizations and others looking for donations. I’m using the term ‘confronted’ because honestly, it feels like a real barrage sometimes and because it is the holiday season, it’s all coming in one huge rush. Last weekend when I was grocery shopping (a task that I approach grimly on the best of days) I was approached by both the Sally Ann bell-ringers and some boy scouts selling something…ARGH.

Buster

And it’s too much sometimes.

And that makes me feel guilty.

I’m lucky enough to be able to work a good job, I work hard at it, and I have enough support and finances to be able to afford a good but cheaper boarding situation, lessons and training, grain for my horse, the occasional splurge item like a horse show or a road race (ok a lot of road races, they are cheap as anything compared with horse showing).

 

But that’s also where the guilt comes in even more…Because there are fellow horse people – friends, boarders, trainers, etc., who are not as fortunate as myself and it makes me feel vaguely strange about the relative small luxuries I allow myself.

We all make choices in the world, and because I understand others may not be facing the kind of life I have, I do try to give back, but I mean, I’m comfortable but not exactly a Rockefeller here either…

But I made my choice- to have a horse instead of a kid (like that was ever a competition though, haha), to travel and run races, to have lessons and the occasional horse show.

So, it all kind of comes to a head during Christmas, when we’re reminded daily that others are not so fortunate – not that it matters more this time, but that it’s kind of in your face a lot more over the winter.

Also, my sister recently lost her job and I emphathize strongly with that. It’s tough, and demoralizing, and not something I would really wish on anyone.

So, while I greatly enjoy my horse, my progress and my competitions, it’s important to keep all these fun activities in perspective and doing so may help me manage my ‘comfortable guilt’ for this season. Also, I’m making sure I’m not too ‘wanty’ or grabby hands for things at Christmas. Honestly, what do I really need? Nothing!

I am also trying to make sure I give small tokens of my appreciation to the people that ride with me, have fun with me, coach me and do other things. Maybe I can make their day a little bit brighter too!

It’s the little things, not the big things, that can make a difference.

Persistence

So, this comes up often in my life:

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And yesterday, Oats and I did not have a harmonious warm up to our dressage lesson. He was being an absolute dingbat in the outdoor ring, spooky, snorty, sucking back, getting light in front and stalling out and wanting to run backwards.

It pissed me off mightily and I was near tears, frustrated and angry. WHAT about this summer is making him act like an idiot? Seriously, I have not had this level of terrible rides with him in like, forever. And now he’s spooky and a twit.

Summer Oats

Summer Oats

I was also still a bit sore, though not bad, from getting dumped – yes in the outdoor- from his big ‘spin and spook’ maneuver on Saturday so I was NOT in a forgiving mood.

I gave up, huffed and fluffed and we had our dressage lesson in the indoor. He was a bit feisty in the indoor, and made me ‘work for it’ to get to the real meat of the lesson, but you know what? That connection that I seriously was missing started coming back.

I even said it felt like before, when I lose all my ‘power’ in the outdoor ring, that I don’t feel like I have any connection with him. I also know that when I am frustrated and mad at him, I do not give him a fair ride, or the benefit of the doubt. So, it’s a partners problem…

But anyways, the lesson went quite well. That doesn’t mean there weren’t bumps in the road, but you know what? We persevere, and I did get some great, honest work from Oats. I finally felt like our connection was coming back! He was over his back, listening to me and really giving to me. I like those rides, and sometimes give too much power to my shitty bad and frustrating rides. Now, to gain some perspective…

I was quite pleased with his effort and the level of work he is starting to give me. He might make a dressage pony yet!

Is it true, we only get the horse we deserve?