I am sure all amateur owners and riders alike have been there – whether or not we care to admit it. The mind can be a very powerful thing, a useful tool in most applications, but a deadly war-zone in others. There is a weak trace of irony in it for equestrians - mixing in a 1,000lb beast that most love and enjoy because of their sheer ability to make us feel free. But sometimes we don’t feel very free. Sometimes we don’t stop to appreciate what we have, and moreso don’t have appreciation for what we are striving for or the stepping stones along the way.
Riding horses is one of the most beautiful, gratifying, and completely mesmerizing things in the entire world. I imagine it is much like deep-sea diving or orchestrating a masterpiece in front of a live audience. It is terrifying, exhilarating, and completely and utterly satisfying to the heart.
The common-thing that drives each of us equestrians to our goals isn’t to be the best we can be, but to be the best partner we can be. We strive to be an honest rider, and we strive to do the same with our horse.
The future I have for Annie isn’t so different from this kaleidoscope we all look through with starry-eyes and mesmerized minds. We don’t need the next 4* eventer, and we know that, but it doesn’t stop us from dreaming of the future and all that we can accomplish with our partner.
Horses are a funny thing. They can be young or old, big or small, but they throw us hurtling on this roller-coaster that never seems endless of ups and down. And to say I have been chugging along steadily would be a big, fat lie.
People are planners by nature, and when progress isn’t met, or other diversions pop up, we feel very cheated. Our spirits plummet, our motivation drops, and our minds chug along with a roller-coaster of their own.
Obviously for me, the biggest obstacle is the business of trailer loading. It is like this big, ugly green monster that lurks behind every well-intentioned conversation and every plan I had made. Our lack of mobility is a whole slew of emotions : embarrassing, frustrating, depressing, frightening, annoying, stupid, discouraging…
Most times I manage to shut the unwelcome, negative words out. But it gets harder with each conversation and as the guilt of what happened piles on and spills over the edges. The recent blip in progress is just the nail in the coffin of what was beginning to look like a very promising and painless process.
But horses aren’t like that. Nothing worth having comes easy, and plateaus are to be expected, especially in this business. But still, the frustration is something that will never fully dissolve or dissipate, especially when you have had the taste of sweet victory before.
Not all nectar is sweet, and the typical non-linear progress that is horses keeps us humble. There will be bumps in the road – sometimes sink holes – but this isn’t about avoiding or skirting around them.
These bumps, I imagine, are more like bridges. Rickety bridges that have withstood years and years of weather and wear.
The question is, how fast are you willing to cross them?