Monday, June 25, 2018

Reset

One of my goals this year was to make sure I don't get caught up in what anyone else is doing. I've worked hard to make that happen, and every time a hint of envy or jealousy or self-doubt tries to creep in I immediately shut it down. Your horse is not my horse. Your struggles are not my struggles. Your wins are not a direct challenge to me to do better.

However, I did get a little carried away and start to compete with myself. I got caught up in wanting to make up for last year's lost show season, and Opie progressed so well and took everything I threw at him so mostly easily that I was able to jump right in and show show show and push push push.

Then an emotionally upsetting deviation from his schedule the day before yet another show really threw him in a mental tailspin. Fortunately it coincided right when I was planning to give him a week off anyway. Unfortunately, it happened at all.

i swear he has different snoot spots every time i look at him.

I spent that week doing a lot of grooming, cookie feeding, and nothing else. Opie started to get a little reactive though. His BFF is a bit of a mental case, and it felt like Opie was starting to pick up on his tendencies to get wide-eyed and twitchy over absolutely nothing. While I firmly believe the week to himself was a very good thing for both of us, I was eager to give him and his hamsters a job again.

We've been doing mostly long and low work followed by long trail walks. The next show isn't until the 14th, and I feel like I have ages before I have to check in and make sure he's show ring ready again. It's a great feeling as every ride has had zero expectations finally.

lots and lots of walking

Opie has responded by being super relaxed yet responsive, and all the sudden he's figured out how to stretch down at both the walk and trot. He's taking the reins all the way to the buckle and flicking his giant clod hoppers out and loving his newly discovered freedom. I still have to remind him to balance himself as he gets so carried away he starts to sort of somersault forward and out of control, but I'm hopeful we'll have an actual stretchy circle from now on instead of just having to write that movement off.

a very good pone also starting to really figure out leg yields

I've also tabled lessons for the time being. There are a few reasons, but mostly that I don't want to feel like I have to get something done by Friday to make sure I'm not wasting my own or BM's time by spending the entire lesson getting my horse to focus because I didn't feel like drilling him during the week. BM put us on a good track with the basics and I'm not doing much right now beyond making sure the w/t/c aren't a complete mess. I can handle that all by my lonesome.

We've also been doing some jumping, including Dopie's first (very small) cross country jumps! I'll make that its own post. It's really not that exiting, but I'm going to need some blog fodder for awhile.

he never stopped coming when called so he must not have been 
too mad at me. or he just really loves carrots.

24 comments:

  1. I can relate to that goal. Is it too competitive to make your goal my goal 😂

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    1. only if its not too meta to make my goal not having a goal....

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    2. I feel like we're all having a goal identity crisis right now.

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  2. If I had the money to do so, and the time, I'd probably be all showshowshow myself. And then I'd end up getting frustrated that I'm not achieving what I want to be achieving and why isn't my horse more LOGICAL UGH. I've discovered I'm not a very logical person myself...

    So being poor is definitely a blessing for Murray's brain and my progress in this regard.

    One day, I hope to have a horse with a solid brain, and be a good enough rider that I *can* show almost as much as I want and make progress and compete with myself. But I'm not that rider and don't have that horse yet!

    Hopefully the break makes Dopie feel awesome and come back stronger than ever!

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    1. If I had the money I could double my show schedule in a heart beat. And then I would be hands down the craziest mother fucker with the most burnt out horse on the planet. Yay for being poor!

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  3. I can definitely relate to this as I tend to compare how my horses are progressing against my former horses and then put too much pressure on myself.

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    1. I fall into this trap all. the. time.

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  4. I am glad you are able to step back and relax a bit. He still is the cutest. He should have all the snacks. ALL OF THEM :)

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    1. Everyone in the barn feels the same way. Feed Opie all the things all the time!

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  5. It’s so hard not to compare, especially with social media so prevelant.

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    1. I've been really proud of myself so far for not getting caught up in that crazy train. Of course I have a hard time staying off my own personal crazy train. :P

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  6. It's so easy to get caught up in that "must achieve" mindset. This is the first time I've intentionally not gone to a single horse show since... ever.. and it's been really interesting to re-evaluate how horses are a part of my life and what matters most to me.

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    1. I still need shows to keep me focused though. I have a hard time accepting spending so much money on a creature just to pet it, and that's exactly what I'll end up doing if I don't have something concrete to aim for. I just need a break every now and then to ride for no reason!

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  7. I had planned some time off for Charlie for his own little reset but then after the catastrophe at plantation that got thrown right out the window lol

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    1. Yeah, no vacation for you, Charlie ole boy! He's given himself enough vacations with his dings anyway!

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  8. This is such a smart plan! I think you'll have a happier, more eager horse in the long run. I'm really impressed with how quickly you two are pulling everything together.

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    1. He makes everything so easy that I'm trying really hard not to take advantage of that and sour him...while also keeping his baby brain engaged so he doesn't turn into a terrorist for other people to handle. Because that happened over the winter, and no one was appreciative. :P

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  9. I love how you think, because it is exactly like me so I don't feel as alone and crazy haha! ;-) I also have struggled with the "omg my horse is already six years old and we are only doing abc compared to all these younger horses doing xyz!!!" Then I thankfully catch myself and remember that when I bought her nine months ago she had been under saddle maybe ten times total! And maybe being a late bloomer means she will have a longer career on the other end! You are doing a great job and I have loved watching your progression (even though I admit I have had a few moments of OMG we are only doing schooling shows at Intro and Opie is cleaning house at rated Training level hahahahaha!) ;-) <3

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    1. To be fair we're only doing Training because it seemed like the easiest tests with the most time to set up for the next movement because behind the scenes Opie falls on his ADD face A LOT. Also pretty sure we're getting extra points for cuteness. ;)

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    2. I do think the Training tests have MUCH more time as the movements come up so darn fast in Intro. And yes, he is totally getting extra cuteness points haha because he is stinking adorable! ;-) How can you blame a judge for that!!

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  10. I love this post. I SO hear you on the competitive with yourself though. I do that shit all the time and it manifests poorly when I get carried away. I'm grateful that horses are so transparent that they can point these things out for me to learn from, but I agree with you noting that it's unfortunate that it has to get to that point! Ebb and flow, ever learning, trying to improve. It's the best we can do.

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    1. Absolutely! And now hopefully I pick up on it a little faster and let his mind recover a little quicker.

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  11. I love your posts so much. I can totally relate to you in comparing yourself to others and their horses - it does no one any good, but it's hard to get out of that trap!

    I think resets are good - both for the horses and for us. Sometimes I get "ring riding burn out" and just need to toodle around, or just brush my horses and hike the dogs. It's important to have little vacations sometimes.

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    1. I think I'm the worst at comparing myself to myself and past horses. Like, no, Opie at 7-8 months off the track cannot be expected to throw down lateral work and collected canter willy nilly. No, Opie cannot lope over 3'6" without a second thought. And mostly my brain is like, MAKES SENSE. But then sometimes it's also like, Y NOT THO.

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