Since I’ve been posting photos of our latest horse show on the blog non-stop, I’ve received a few readers asking about the blue armband I wore. There’s a technical description I’ll give to you in just a moment, but the down and dirty is that I like to support charities while simultaneously looking cool. And if all the AA-Circuit kids are doing it, I wanna do it too. Yeah, sometimes I’m just that shallow. But at least it was for a good cause?
Striking a balance between what I want and how I feel isn’t always easy. I want to be a confident, capable 2’6″ rider who can go to a show, ride the numbers and make smart decisions. I feel intimidated by the pace, nervous about how my horse is going to react and lacking in the skills I need to produce this type of round at a show. At home, I fall easily into my comfort zone: jump a single to an outside line to a diagonal line at 2’3″. And while its certainly nice to feel good about your ride… that training plan isn’t going to get me to where I want to be in the show ring. And my trainer knows this, so she’s not taking it easy on me anymore — she’s pushing me to get into my learning sweet spot.
About a year and half ago I embarked on one of the most exciting, frustrating and difficult experiences of being an equestrian: horse shopping. I’ve written about my personal trials and tribulations and even given some advice on the subject. But now, I’m going back through and re-reading all of those posts for an entirely different reason: I’m house shopping. Right about now you’re probably asking yourself what the heck horse shopping has to do with buying a house. Well dear reader, I’m really glad you asked because I’m going to tell you just how similar they are!
I’ve spent some time reflecting on the horse show last weekend, as well as some of my recent rides on Miles. My lesson on Thursday night was a perfect illustration of where Miles and I are at right now. We are definitely in a new phase of our relationship (not honeymooners anymore!) and while it’s tough right now, I know I will come out of it a better rider who has a stronger bond with my horse. Getting there though, is going to require some work.
By the time Sunday rolled around, I was tired. I felt woefully out of shape, exhausted from early mornings and late nights, plus totally worn out from the hot, burning sun. I love being a somewhat DIY equestrian, taking care of my horse myself at shows but when I rolled out of bed at 5:30 am to feed, for a moment I wished I was at a big, fancy show barn with someone else to hay, water and grain. But of course when I saw Miles’ shining face, that all melted away and I was happy to be there.