Sunday, August 4, 2013

All the thoughts, they make no sense.

After my meltdown about my horse's feet to Hubby yesterday, we sat down and talked about this year's general horsey let down. Actually, Hubby did most of the talking and I sat on the couch and felt sorry for myself, occasionally adding in things like, "I don't know" and "I guess so".

"Boohoo me" was the theme.

bobby's new turnout buddy.

Hubby made a lot of really good points, and he really made me evaluate where I'm at with my riding right now and where I want to end up. What's my end goal with this whole thing? Do I want to be a solid Training rider for the rest of my life? If so, that's great, but how do I plan on getting there?

For me, that was the hardest question. I've been feeling so let down after every time I jump. Even if things go well and while jumping I feel good about it, both before and after I feel just...blah. Do I even want to jump anymore? And of course no more jumping would mean no more eventing.

When I first started eventing with Bobby, I enjoyed it. I liked that we were progressing from one show to the next, and I felt like we were headed places. I've never been under the impression we'd be winning Prelim at the AECs, but I did feel like we were on the right track to steadily move up the levels until I felt like one of us maxed out. Then this year happened, and I'm at a total loss. A large part of me is like, "Who needs eventing anyway?" Is it just the horse that's knocked my confidence down several holes? Or is this really no longer something I have a desire to compete in?

But then my crazy, competitive, control freak, "You will FAIL if you quit eventing, you failing quitter!" side kicks in.

All those other people that event are better than you. They didn't quit.

What are you going to say to people when they ask you what discipline you ride? The quitter discipline?

You just bought a jumping saddle. Good eye on a poor buy, dip shit. Way to waste money.

Are those good enough reasons to keep doing something? Because I'm afraid other people will judge me, even when my rational side goes "WTF are you talking about, crazy person?!"

Taking away the jumping, I know I do enjoy dressage. I enjoy seeing my horse moving well, and I enjoy the challenge of getting him stronger and fancier. But is that good enough for me--is that good enough for the crazy train that runs through my head? I don't knoooow.

I think what's making coherent thoughts form in my brain a difficult task is not having someone to talk to that knows what I'm going through. Hubby mostly understands from my point of view, but in the end he's not really a horse person, and he's not doing this day in and day out. My barn mates are great people, but not a one of them events. It's a H/J barn with a few western riders thrown into the mix. I can't go up to a thirteen year old and be like, "Hey. Let's have a deep discussion about how I'm riding at Novice, and whether that's the right place for me to be right now. How do you think our jumping is progressing? Can you give me some advice about nerves on cross country?"

Following that train of thought, it's of course even harder not having a trainer to work with--someone to help me set goals and parameters and help me figure out what the hell I'm doing. BO does really well with her clientele. Her kids always bring in ribbons when they show, and they wrack up the championships at the end of the year. But again--hunter riders. Not to mention I tried dressage lessons with her last year and her teaching just didn't click with me. Going down that route again isn't an option for me at this point. I know it's easy for you to sit there and tell me to trailer out to a different trainer, but in reality it's not nearly as simple as that.

In the end, this entire year has been a complete waste of money and time. We got nothing out of three of the four shows I did. Instead of progressing, or even plateauing, we went flying backwards in a dozen different areas. I'm the type of person that likes being good at something. I don't have to be the best, but if I don't feel like I'm keeping up with the proverbial Joneses, then it's not for me. I'm not happy with my jumping right now. I am happy with how the dressage is coming along. So I guess the short term goal is to nix any organized jumping and spend my time protecting Sir Princess Toes in the indoor doing flat work.

I can't say I'm happy with that decision because I still don't know what my long term goal is. That's the next step, I guess.

Someone get me a Xanax.


  1. So I thought 2008 was one of the worst years of mylife but I think 2013 is trumping it and trumping it for everyone, I just want to write off 2013, lets all pretend collective 2013 didn't happen.

    I know I'm a H/J rider and probably not relevant for you to talk to about these things, but as a horse person who is struggling as well, I'm here to talk to/at/with.

    1. Agreed. Can we have a pact where 2013 is just completely written off the books?

  2. I really enjoy reading your blog, and am sorry to hear that things are not going according to plan.

    I used to event as well, and recently made the [difficult] decision to focus on dressage because I don't have time to train a baby to event or keep an event horse fit, and after having back surgery, I'm worried that cross country and show jumping will just set me back. That said, even though I know that I did what was best for me, I think part of me still feels the same way you discussed feeling in your post (that nagging, crazy competitive/neurotic voice in the back of my head telling me that I actually just gave up because I'm a quitter).

    Good luck with your decision! I'm sure you will do what is right for you and what truly makes you happy in the end :)

  3. There's a few crappy years going around it sounds like.
    Do what you want. Complain if you want. Stuff everyone else.

  4. Sorry this year has sucked :( hopefully things pick up and/or you are able to figure out something that works better for you and Bobby!!

  5. Sometimes there are just bad years. I feel like I've lost so much time with Alex, dealing with his abscesses, hocks and back problems. I'm always feeling like a failure since we're not a lot farther along now than we were last time this year. Try not to be too hard on yourself. Maybe you just need a break :-)

  6. Yikes. I feel for you ... I really do. I hate to offer any advice since I am not an eventer, but I can share what it's like to "quit" an adrenaline junkie's sport.

    I was an avid endurance rider for more than 15 seasons, and not the gal who rides one 25 miler and calls it endurance. I did the big dogs, hundred milers. One year I even did three of them which is pretty tough to do.

    Anyway, I lost my number one mare to colic in 2010 and was forced to bring in my back up pony (Speedy G). Endurance just wasn't the same without her. I decided to hang up my endurance tack for the summer which isn't too uncommon here as it is HOT, but when the fall rolled around, I realized that I was quitting the sport. I went cold turkey; I didn't renew my AERC membership, and I even called them to tell them not to bother sending me the reminder notes.

    Fortunately, my endurance pals were quite respectful of my decision and wished me luck in my new endeavor, dressage. So there I was, an endurance rider taking on the dressage world. It's definitely lacking in the adrenaline department, but it makes up for it in the technical department.

    I think you should take a step back from what is making you unhappy. That might be two months, or an entire season. You can always go back. Find a trainer who can come by once a month or who will let you haul in once a month. See where it takes you and then reevaluate. A saddle will keep just fine. If you decide to leave the eventing world, you can always sell the saddle. Boy, did I have that problem; none of my endurance tack transferred to dressage, and I had TWO of everything. :0)

    Whine away, several of us can bring the cheese, and try on some decisions and see how they feel. Nothing has to be permanent. :0)

  7. My 2013 has been a lost cause as well.
    If dressage is more your thing at this point in time - go for it and enjoy. There's no rule saying you have to pick a discipline and stick with it the rest of your life. I've quit dressage a few times, western once or twice, jumping a couple of times, heck, I even quit horses once. Don't overthink it, just do whatever suits you and your horse at this moment in time. I love your blog and hope Bobby's feet are better soon!

  8. I was in the "let's write off 2013" boat, but I'm hoping Courage helps change things for me. We'll see.

    I absolutely know what it's like to face fears and feel like you're not getting anywhere. For me, the answer has been making sure that both the horse and I are on the same page about where we're coming from and going. So far. It sounds like your talk with hubs was productive.

    Best wishes going forward.

  9. I'm not an eventer... way too chicken for that. I've kinda floated around doing whatever style I had easiest access to, western, endurance, now H/J. I almost quit because for awhile jumping didn't seem worth the ulcer-inducing anxiety that came along with it. So I took a break and stepped backwards, gave myself time to evaluate. Its all in the end up to you, but nothings in stone, maybe just focus on dressage until... end of summer? Set a vague goal that's flexible. If you both feel the need to leave the ground, do some jumping, if not, don't. The saddle will keep.

  10. I'm actually in awe of any eventer- the fact that you have steered your horse successfully around a multitude of eventing competitions alone is something to be proud of. I know I'm too chicken to do it (tried it once- shit bricks)
    You go, girl. Horse riding was never meant to be easy, nor the decisions that come with it.

    Whatever way you go, we'll be here to listen to you whine. (Srsly. Whine away.)

    1. Agreed with above!! The fact that you've not only jumped ONE xc jump but many is seriously mega cool to me. You should be proud, no matter what choice you make and revisions from there. The great thing about having YOUR horse is that you get to decide what you both want to do, and when, and then change it 5000+ times or not.

  11. I agree with someone above who said that none of these choices that you are making have to be permanent. Nor are they decisions that have to be made today, or even tomorrow. I totally get where you are coming from with the quitting thing, I remember struggling over the choice to stop playing basketball so I could become better at volleyball, and really had a hard time feeling like I wasn't being a quitter. But at the end of the day it's supposed to be fun, and horses horses bring enough stress to our lives without us adding to it.

    We're all here for your whines and questions and anything else you throw our way!

  12. Oh, man. After losing my Old Man, my partner for 15 years (or was it 16?) - then losing my confidence over fences with the unpredictable (but, rather willing and talented and athletic Psycho Mare) - and rebuilding my core from scratch because I screwed up ANOTHER disk in my lumbar region...
    I keep having my own moments of WTF am I even doing and do I really want to keep eventing with this crazy-green ride?
    It comes back to "yes", but I've had to adjust my map. Not all of 'my' trainers agree with the map. Or the approach. Philosophically. I'm constantly re-prioritizing. I'm just whining right there with you.

  13. This isn't at all similar, really, but comparable: I'm thinking about quitting soccer. I've played for three seasons and my team has gotten significantly better, but ultimately I have to question if it's the sport for me. Does an hour every Sunday really take that much time and effort? No, but do I want to drag it out until I absolutely hate it? Do I want to continue to be the crappiest player on my team/in my league? Where's the fun in that?

    Back to horses, though, I completely get the whole there-is-not-a-fucking-trainer-to-be-had. It's not always easy making big decisions without someone to bounce them off. Hubbies are great, but they are capable of being giant horse-hating jerks. :)

  14. I would just do what seems like the most fun for a while, and focus on that. If you decide that you really want to do eventing and that is the ultimate goal, then a change in barns might be the best thing to give you a situation where you can excel.


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