My Horses and I
As I sit back and evaluate 2009, I realize a year of not much accomplished, but much enjoyed.
Ever since I bought my first horse in 1971, Russell R., I had been an intense trainer. By then, I had been riding for at least seven years and had a fair background in the hunter/jumper world. Determined to succees in the show arena, on the average, I rode six days a week and took lessons at least once a week. I constantly traveled to clinic opportunities with dozens of international trainers, learning, practicing, and working towards competitive goals.
I also showed nearly every weekend during the Spring, Summer, and Fall and often weather permitting, even braved Winter's weather to show indoors. Russell and I earned over 150 show championships in our career and he was a well known competitor in the area. Gradually, I moved on to eventing, and then finally, dressage once I realized my eventing courage was limited.
When I got PJ's Folly, Russell soon retired from active competition, and the cycle continued. When Russell passed away, I brought Toby into my life and again followed the training routine. I adopted Tucker when Toby was around 10 or so and once more trained.
But somewhere along the way, something happened. Part of it was my frustrations with Tucker, well documented in this blog. He was and still is, a difficult horse to train and with his size and tendancy to solve problems by bucking, an intimidating ride for me at times. While I have now pretty much worked out all his training issues, in the process, I simply stopped competing.
I would have thought I would have missed it, but to be honest, I have not. I still enjoy an occasional riding lesson and, if a good clinic came along, I would probably pack up and go--provided I and my horse were both fit enough. (Not now, of course as it's going to take a good long time for us to get back to work.) But if all my riding is here in my arena at home and on the trails behind the house, I will be content.
I may decide to show Chance in the future, but that will only be if I feel he would be an easy ride. So far, he looks to be a solid fellow about that kind of thing, unlike Tucker.
As for Tuck, we'll see. If I manage to train him to third or fourth level, I might go back to the show grounds, just to play. The upper level tests are actually fun to ride--as Caroline is now discovering--so that is a plus. But there's no pressure.
Showing has become a very expensive pursuit around here. I have to ask myself if it's really worth the money. Meantime, if my trainer comes, I will ride with him and I'll still keep my eyes open for any interesting clinics.
Otherwise, it's a nice ride in the woods on a bugfree day that will bring a smile to my face. Maybe that's all I really need anyhow.