Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Struggle Bus

I've been at odds with this whole "amateur equestrian" thing lately. It sounds dumb, but I don't understand how to relax and enjoy the process and not be competitive, if that makes any sense.

I mean, it's obviously easy in the sense of "just don't sign up for shit" and I have that part dialed.


I'm a super motivated and goal-oriented person. To a fault. (Example: took up throwing frisbees last year. Now a frisbee-throwing champion with multiple trophies to prove it.) I recognize that this is a character weakness as much as a strength. I mean, again, here I have this amazing horse and sure I didn't have the energy to do anything about that for a while, but I kind of do now.
yes a color-coordinated purple bag and yes the frisbees sparkle, haha
It's just that every time I tried to ride her, I struggle-bused real hard. Riding is hard. Dressage is hard. Practice is critical. Lessons are expensive. I'm too focused on perfection and too aware of my own deep-seated flaws to really enjoy half-assing it on that level. It's not fun for me to do badly, know I'm doing badly, and then continue to do badly.
toodling is pretty ok
Deep breath. This is not an anxiety spiral.

The other day, I dug a jump saddle out of my garage, put together the one brown bridle I own that I can sort-of coax on to ZB's head, and then trooped out to the barn.
does the mare need open fronts? obv
am i going to shop for them at not-rolex this month? OBV
I set up a bitty little trot pole and made myself do goofy jumper-lesson patterns around the ring. Pick up a contact. Trot at the corner. Halt at A. Trot off. Straight line over the pole. Walk at the letter. Halt. Walk off. Just whatever, keep things organized.

It was actually really funny. As we both settled into the exercise (and I committed to keeping my hands UP and FORWARD like a JUMPER and FOR THE LOVE OF GOD NOT FUSSING AT HER) (god I teach good lessons to myself in my head), ZB relaxed into the contact and gave me some really quality work.

For the first time in a long time, I got off from a ride with a saddle and felt... successful? Motivated, even. I want to do it again and do it better and I actually feel like it was productive for both of us.
awww look what a cute beebee is growing up
Naturally, I prompted celebrated this success by ordering a browband.

Stay tuned, I guess.


  1. A broadband seems to be a legit way to celebrate. :)
    I think mixing it up makes sense too.

  2. Life's too short not to do what makes you happy, whatever that is today. You do you. Order the open fronts AND the browbands. Have fun with it!

  3. Dressage is hard, riding is hard. But it’s also not about the gear and competitions. It’s about exactly what you did here, it’s about getting on and riding with focus and purpose. For the last year I’ve been riding my latest dressage prospect in an Australian stock saddle with a hunter bridle that has neon green and purple roper reins attached to it. It wasn’t about looking the part, it was about making sure that I could point him in the direction I wanted him to go and he’d go there. The rest comes easy once you’ve got that part down, and it doesn’t matter how you get there.

  4. Hahhah celebration shopping, the best!

  5. Us amateurs are our own worst enemies sometimes -- it can be REALLY HARD to get out of your own head. But honestly, the best part of horses is that they don't care. So enjoy your journey and do what sets your soul on fire. Whether that's winning the Olympics, toodling or somewhere in between <3

  6. LOL to teaching lessons in your head. I'm the same way, tho I suck at listening to myself. 😂😂

  7. you definitely need open fronts. if you decide to pre tack ho before not rolex, PEI has been having a tendon boot sale for... ages.

    I'm glad you got the jump tack out. Dressage is hard and nitpicky.

  8. i think my favorite thing about horses is they're always there for us when we need them, or feel ready to pick back up and go for it again.

    also, kentucky, eh? perhaps i'll see you there?! ;)

  9. I think this feeling just means you're ready to get back to horsing a little more. Embrace it!

  10. Finding a happy place at your own pace: awesome. :)

  11. yay i miss your posts so love when you do posts. glad you and ZB are doing well. I am hoping to hit NotRolex too if I can get all my ducks in a row. Hope to meet you there!

  12. Dressaging is hard sometimes, but it can be really fun and rewarding. Especially when it transfers over and makes our other disciplines better.


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