Thursday, February 18, 2016

I Want It.

I don't have crazy aspirations. I never have. Even as a young(ish) kid who rode, when people would ask if I wanted to go to the Olympics, I'd look them in the eye and tell them I couldn't afford it. 

And then I wouldn't worry about it.

I still don't.

I'm not going to the Olympics. Ever.

I'm okay with that. I don't need outside accolades to prove to myself that I'm doing the best I can.

But things have been going well with Courage lately. I mean, yeah, I can only actually get on him about every other day on account of some stuff we're working through, but when I can get on, he's very, very good.

And this stupid idea keeps kicking around the back of my head.

"I want to do Grand Prix".

It's a stupid idea.

It's so dumb.

It's expensive.

It's hard.

It's elitist.

I'm an average rider. I do not have great means. At this point, I am not willing to sell my body and soul as a working student to learn what I need.

I'd have to do it like I am, nights and weekends and a shoestring budget.

There are SO MANY REASONS it can't happen.

For starters, I can't afford it. The best chance of success would be a fancy warmblood, a stall at a fancy training barn, and multiple lessons a week. I have none of those.

Nexties, Courage is 11 now. We haven't even competed at first level yet.

Neither of us is God's Gift to Dressage. At all.

I mean, the only thing going for us is the fact that one clinician one time told me that not only could I get my bronze medal on him, but there was "no reason he couldn't get silver and gold too. He has three correct gaits."

Well, that and a saddle that fits.

So I guess there are two things going for us.

It's a stupid goal. It's not even a clever dream. It's unrealistic, out of reach, and downright pretentious. It's probably the most common goal in the entire horse world and hardly anyone ever achieves it.

To think that some silly, flabby, uninspired and completely average adult ammy could take an older, pressure-averse OTTB gelding to Grand Prix.
Right? It's laughable.

But it won't go away.

I don't even know enough to know why we can't make it. I just know that there's this gaping chasm of knowledge and skill and ability (and talent and time and aptitude) and I haven't the foggiest idea who to even ask to find out how to cross it and get to that silly dream so that they can tell me no in the first place.

He's too old. I'm too poor. Neither of us is fancy enough. It's silly. It's dumb. I'm eminently practical and this goal is the opposite of that.

But you know what else? We also have a good, local recognized show, so for once, travel wouldn't be an obstacle.

That makes three things going for us.


  1. I agree with that clinician. You both have the talent and ability to go Grand Prix. This is what I always say about Hampton. Will be competitive at a CDI? No. But can we learn all the GP and bop around at national and local shows? Uh, yes. And to me that is plenty good enough!

  2. You never know until you try! Start at First, keep chipping away, and who knows? You may be prancing around at GP someday!

  3. That is the beauty of dressage. You may not be winning top placings but you can do it and you can get a medal for it. So dream big and see what happens.

  4. I think it's important to have that goal out there. I have a similarly unrealistic reach goal: Mine is to show Prix St. George in my lifetime - so not necessarily on this horse or in any set amount of time, but someday. I don't know if I have the talent, time or money to even have any business having that goal, but I do. I can't even bring myself to tell most people.

    Regardless, recognizing that is my goal has changed the way I approach dressage. It means I needed to learn the best canter aid that wouldn't get confused with aids for half pass etc. in the future. It means I want to learn how to harness my horse's energy into an uphill frame, rather than just slowing my horse down enough to be successful in a training test. It means I want to train with someone who has competed in PSG or higher so that they can teach me the lower levels with the upper levels in mind. ...

    I don't know if you'll make it to Grand Prix on Courage (nothing against you, I don't have the knowledge myself to make that assessment), but I know you'll have a better chance making it if you put that goal out there in your own mind than if you don't =D

  5. I don't think our dreams are laughable. I think we have them for a reason. What may be laughable is our understanding of what it will take - and that's okay too. You shouldn't fault yourself for not knowing what you don't know. You will one day, right? Maybe you will make it to GP and maybe you won't - either way, there are thousands of things that have to happen. But time will pass anyway - why not dream big and work hard? :D
    Rebecca (

  6. Don't talk yourself out of it before you've even started working towards it! I think that the reasons you list for not being able to do it, might drive someone else. Sometimes having the cards stacked against us makes us work THAT much harder to get where we're going. I'll be cheering you on no matter where you guys end up:)

  7. Nothing wrong with having goals like that... you have to have something to work toward, otherwise you'll be bopping around at Training like 99% of AAs out there. Not that there's anything wrong with Training, but there's more to life than 20 meter circles! Bring on flying changes and piaffe/passage! :D

  8. I don't think it's stupid at all! And just because he's older (I don't think he's really that old at all...) and it's expensive doesn't mean that you can't make it work. And really, isn't it about the journey?

  9. I'm harboring a secret giant goal for myself this year, and I really want to achieve it so I can be like, "Fuck you, Self, for ever doubting yourself!" I think sometimes you have to set a big ass goal to keep yourself motivated and always pushing for that next level. Grand Prix Courage and Aimee, I'm all over that!

  10. Even if you don't make it to GP with Courage, or even at all, having a lofty goal will get you a lot farther than only shooting as far as 1st level. What's that corny line about shooting for the moon, and landing amongst the stars?

    1. Mine is always "shoot for the swamp. You'll make a big splash." #motivation

  11. You spend so much space in your posts defending your right to have goals and dreams and be content with what you love and do. I don't disagree with any of it, but sometimes I do wonder what would happen if you justified less and just let yourself be, and do, instead.

  12. Pssst. I'm secretly shooting for PSG just so I can have a shadbelly. And papi is older than C and has never successfully completed a test at a recognized show. Just sayin' . . .

  13. First of all I would challenge you to never use the words stupid and dumb in reference to your goals and dreams (white breeches yes, goals and dreams no). Secondly even though we aren't her biggest fan, Lauren keiffer's first advanced horse wasn't supposed to go above training, and then prelim,and so on and so forth. Don't kill your dreams before they happen, just use them (no matter how currently unrealistic they seem) to keep reaching, trying, and improving. So you don't make it to grand prix with papa, what if you do 3rd and 4th,that is still way kick ass and you can use those skills to get your next horse to FEI.

  14. I don't think Courage's age is a factor, just look at Megan at A Enter Spooking. Rico was on stall rest forever and had a ton of rehab and wasn't supposed to be able to have a career after his suspensory injury. But I think he was in his late teens when they went Grand Prix? Don't count yourself - and Courage - out just yet ;)

  15. i have this same chat with myself about my goals all the time. and esp the jumping goals, there's this one extra little nugget: i'm straight up scared of big jumps. kinda, uhh, a problem.

    but then again... just wanting something badly enough is very often enough to suddenly wipe away all our excuses (and rationality and logic and all that basic noise) anyway. to perversely paraphrase jurassic park: horse people find a way. get it girl!

  16. Don't sell yourself short, girl! You're making great strides.

  17. You make my lofty, unrealistic dream sound like a cake walk, because it's nowhere near that ambitious. But... it's very ambitious for me. And I know that we can both get there. Or, you know, at least we'll have lots of adventures along the way. That's really the point, right? The journey? Or something.

  18. I have a very similar goal floating in my head. I'm an adult rider with no real credentials on a fat little pony. Why not? You might get there, you might not, but why not aim big? So, I definitely say YES YOU CAN to your goal. It's going to be fun, see you there:)

  19. I don't think it is unobtainable for you or for Courage. Think in steps (Bronze, Silver, Gold); read all you can of the classic teachers and keep that in mind between lessons as well as what your instructors have you work on. Most important, find a trainer with hot or heavily TB bred warmbloods to lesson with that has good schoolmasters a step or two above you. Even a weekend once every few months if they are not local should really help YOU figure out what you need to be asking before trying to teach Courage. I wish you all the luck in the world. Go get it!!

  20. I think everyone should have big fat wild dreams

  21. Maybe it's easier if you don't tie a specific horse to the goal. Like "I wanna show Grand Prix. And I'd like to do it on a thoroughbred. I'm gonna see how far this capable one can get me."

    Cause... that's basically where I am. Though. I'm not TIED to thoroughbreds, though I really like them. I am tied to the Grand Prix goal, though.

  22. 4th thing you have going for you--large, diverse fan base cheering you on :)

  23. Woohoo! You go for it!! I'll be here trying the (nearly) impossible right alongside you.

  24. go for it!! you are never going to succeed unless you try. No dream is stupid!!


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