Knocking off Rust… or Dust?

For the life of me, I cannot remember if the phrase goes to knock off dust or rust. Both possibilities are applicable in my scenario, where I had previously not seen a horse in over two months (which similar to dog years, that two months only multiplies in experienced time).

I have finally, finally broken that streak, and it is the most wonderful feeling to get back into doing what I love. All things aside, I rode with a very knowledgeable and friendly trainer today on a beautiful horse. I have to decide if the type of program offered is the right angle to aim my trajectory.

One of the best programs I have ridden in. Also taken at my least-favorite clinic ever — for another blog post.

Too high? The money tree runs dry, and I experience greater stress than enjoyment.

Too low? I do not excel nor feel challenged.

It’s challenging being a young-adult, young-professional horseback rider. Finances are constrained currently, but you sort-of think 3 years down the line and where you want to be as a future-rider. I continually remind my far-too-practical self, you are spending money on this because you love to do it, and even after constant drilling I still feel guilty about all the money.

At a time when I had no program, and rode without a trainer. We survived, but I needed someone to yell at me for throwing those shoulders.

Horses are never a wise financial decision. Take the pill, swallow as many times as necessary.

Down the road, it can be hard to envision how passionately I will feel about being recognized as an exceptional rider / riding impressive horses. I have in my last year reset my expectations on showing. I will likely never attend WEF as an exhibitor, and that’s okay. Joyous memories of me on horseback are entangled with proud showing moments and champion ribbons, but also barn sleepovers, thoughtful clinics, and trail rides.

I do not need the prestige. But I do need the stimulation.

Right now, I look at amateurs that compete regionally and nod slowly… Yes, that I can do.

I hope this program works out, but if not I am willing to wait for the a good fit.

How has the program you are riding in and the trainer you are riding with defined your future horse aspirations?

5 Things I Need in a Barn

I am in the midst of the longest period without riding in the last 6 years. It’s weird – a part of me is deeply sad but I’d be lying by omission if I did not say that another part of me is relieved. Trying to ride while also figuring out how to move would have brought new meaning to insanity.

I have been attending horse-related events (see Polo match) and checking the horse blogs that I follow on the daily. Not to mention scouring Instagram for Pony Finals related posts and pictures and videos from my old barnmates.

I am ready to find a new social circle of confidantes to whom I can outpour all of my thoughts and theories. While I am sure my “normal” friends would not mind hearing this type of conversation, I try not to burden anyone with my theories on Kent Farrington’s success or how much I love Beezie Madden.

Image result for kent farrington
Photo credit to Phelps Sports. Also, Kent is from my hometown so clearly we were both destined for greatness (HA).

In the meantime, I get to lurk places in my new city.

As I get to gather intelligence about a new barn, I am narrowing down my results. What better way than to organize a wish list?

My Barn Requirements

  1. Horses are happy, well-fed, and do not have any appearances of environment-induced stress.
    • Every horse is different and can react differently to a given setting. Outliers should not be considered the average. But there should be few outliers.
    • Anecdotally, I’ve always found horses who get regular turnout with friends seem the least anxious and have fewer health and soundness related issues.
  2. A knowledgeable person (or people) who is (are) regularly onsite.
    • Horses can get into things and oftentimes need our assistance.
  3. A welcoming and supportive community of horse-lovers.
    • Notice, I do not include competitors. I do not care if you regularly attend shows, but I do care if you create conflict for entertainment. Those who thrive on mean-spirited gossip can be toxic.
    • If someone is being dangerous to themselves, their horse, or others, I try to maturely and calmly communicate with that Luckily, I have not had to do that to a fellow adult, but I have talked to children before.
  4. Stables that are functional and not falling apart.
    1. I have had good fortune of riding out of mind-boggling facilities, ones that likely cost as much to build as I will earn in my lifetime. Crazy as it may seem, I almost dislike riding at these facilities. To me, it’s so far removed from where I began in the sport, and it becomes more about opulence than the animal.
    2. That said, it is equally uncomfortable to be somewhere where I worry of structural failure.
    3. An indoor, outdoor, decent footing, comfortably-sized turnouts and stalls. That’s all I need. Leave the kitchen facilities, air conditioning, euro-walker, and free wifi for someone who will appreciate them.
  5. Access to good-value lessons.
    • There is so much to learn, and I prefer someone on the ground for safety if I am jumping. I do not hesitate to pay handsomely if I feel as though the education received is equivalent. But I would also need a person that respects my budget – the higher the cost of lessons, the fewer I am able to take.
Image result for heritage horse farm
I am cool with just touring Heritage Farm one day though… Photo Credit to James Courdes.

What a nice number five is. I did not set out to create five, but I think that’s all of my necessities. Although surely I am forgetting something.

Nice to haves include proximity to other life activities (ha, I’ve never gotten this as an urbanite), wash stalls, horse-involved facility owner, and smaller in size.