I had a lot of thoughts today while trail riding at Henry Cowell (also finally found a loop that doesn't feel like my poor horses are going to DIEEEEE) and so I'm going to process them here.
1. I had a riding lesson with a really BigNameTrainer out here a few weeks ago. It was awesome in many ways: she was complimentary of my riding, Kat behaved incredibly, and she helped shape the ride into one of the best rides I've ever had on Kat. It also broke my heart: she says Kat will never be a 2nd level horse, that I'm a little bit wasting my time as a professional with a horse like this, and that I'm sloppy in my training.
- I think most horses are capable of at least third level, given enough time and training
- "as a professional?"
- As for sloppy in my training, great! Show me how to improve.
2. I showed a friend's horse this weekend, and it was awesome.
3. Cappuccino has been going very well, w/t/c. Yesterday, however, she forgot what the aids for trot meant, and rather than staying patient I got a little frustrated and got after her for not moving forward immediately when I asked. It was the first time I've ever gotten after her while under saddle, and she spooked and bucked me off. I was completely fine, but still found myself a few hours later ruminating about backing out of the competition.
4. Fynn's owner re-listed him for sale and hasn't been replying to my texts... so I'm assuming I will be unable to purchase him. For a moment, I feel like railing on about how terrible people are.
5. I'm going through a certain amount of personal-life upheaval. I think it's sort of important background for all of this.
With all these pieces, what do we see? A turbulent mind and a lot of questions. For a few days, I considered asking JM to help me sell Kat so I could buy something 'worth my time' but every time I focused on that thought I wanted to start crying.
And then today while marching along the trails and babbling to Kat (who was trying to spook at a log on the ground) about what a brave girl she is, something clicked.
I like horses.
I like going into the ring and trying my best, even if it's not to win.
I like Kat.
I feel vulnerable sometimes in the ring, ESPECIALLY on horses I've put most of the training on, but mostly because I'm afraid people will think that due to -insert equine issue of the day- I'm a bad person. There are intermediate steps there but it kinda all piles back to a self-worth thing that's an ongoing issue for me.
It's important to me to have a horse I find funny, that I'm excited to work with, and that I can learn from. Kat is absolutely that horse - at the end of the trail ride we cantered along an easy stretch for about half a mile and the cadence of her underneath me and feeling her breathing and knowing how much she had to trust me to stay that balanced and not in self-preservation-mode... I love Kat. Who cares if it takes us ten years to crest 2nd level (not that I think it's that bad..)
I think feeling bad about owning and training a horse that I adore even if she is a sh** sometimes is a waste of time. And somehow, the past two weeks I haven't seen that.
This is riding: setting goals, overcoming set-backs, embracing humility, exploring our demons, developing focus, and working really hard.