Today was a training milestone, not for the horses, for the dogs. Last week L and I went home to Chicago for a few routine appointments. We brought the dogs back to Florida with us. They are farm dogs, learning to be condo dogs.
This post goes out to all my sisters and brothers who are riding a DJ. Damn it looks like fun, but you are sweating every minute of it. DJ is an absolutely lovely horse. That does not mean I won’t say a bad thing about him.
Here's why I think it's well worth a financial contribution even if you can only spare the cost of one riding lesson:
As an amateur, my primary concerns are safety and fun. That means having a highly qualified instructor (yes...even after 40 years of riding) is a very high priority for me--and so many of you. I know you. I see you. We want to enjoy our horses but the quality of instruction received from a riding teacher--your trainer depends on what exposure they are able to maintain at the highest levels of this sport.
If you have been reading my blog posts, you already know that the desire for perfection is my enemy. I battle with self judgment. Others battle with judgment from the sidelines. In either case, NOT HELPFUL!
I have always defined the concept of self-sabotage as something people do because subconsciously, they don’t want to succeed. I see now that I can desire success and still get in my own way. Not asking for help is a BIG one for me. I even wrote a blog post about it ten years ago.
Today I feel overwhelmed. I woke up that way. Work, the child, horses, life. I don’t think today is any different than yesterday, except that I have a show jump lesson today at 2:45. Show jumping lessons give me anxiety and I start to walk down the path of self-sabotage.
So here I am in boot camp. I spent many days feeling terrified about packing up my life and heading south. I had friends who removed all the obstacles, leaving me with no excuses. Right now, I am feeling worthy of the experiences I am having. I’ve got my opiate, my community, my identity, and my safe space. I think we all deserve these things.
Honestly, I debated it for a few days, because the topic is controversial and I am not a trainer, right?!?! So what business is it of mine to talk about bits. But it falls smack in the realm of judgment. We judge each other for the bits we ride in. Some of us are getting dragged all over Mother Nature's kingdom and back for the sake of a snaffle bit, when really our horses would be happier if we just took one tug on a big bit...
The sport that I was so passionate about in my 30's, disappeared from my life in my 40's. I asked myself constantly during that time if I had lost my passion for riding and competing. I wondered if my depression was the cause or the result. I wondered if I would ever find another horse I enjoyed riding so much that I fell asleep thinking about riding.
I was almost cleaned up when Junior finally got back to the barn after a less than perfect lesson. I reminded her that we came here to learn and that horses is hard. She said, “I don’t need to be perfect, I just don’t want to suck.”