dancing horses

dancing horses

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Checking Progress


Between family dinners, weather, work and now not feeling well, I haven't ridden since Sunday. I am trying to deal with the guilt of not riding.

 Does anyone else struggle with that inner voice that says things like you're not riding your horse and so she's going to go backwards and you suck as a trainer.? It's insane but at some point it became engrained in me that if I wasn't working my horse regularly I wasn't serious.  And for me, 'regular' means 5-6 days a week.  Now my rational brain realizes that a few days of not riding will be fine. There actually is not a link in how well Carmen is in the ring and the last time I rode her. Of course that would matter if it was a long time.

Anyway, I spent today cleaning out my photo bank. Which got me looking at photos of me riding Carmen since she arrived. I think I see progress:


April 2015 (she arrived March 2015)
Sept 2015




May 2016 (Johanna Clinic)


July 2016 (Centred Riding Clinic)

October 2016 (Johanna clinic)

When I look at this I see softer rider (although with tons still to work on) and less tense and happier horse.  I could be delusional but I'm happy with where we're going. I also have some blatant fail photos but decided that no one needed to see those. 




19 comments:

  1. I feel guilty all the time because I'm not nearly as committed as other riders (including you!). But my horses are still happy and healthy and progressing in their training, even if it's slowly. Let yourself enjoy all of the journey, not just the riding. You and Carmen have come so far!

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    1. Yeah- I need to not be so hard on myself! It's not like the horses are judging me!

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  2. Can I just say first off, that I LOVE her mane in that last photo. I know that isn't where I am expected to focus but that is where my eyes went, and returned, again and again. I used to feel the same way as you about the need to train 5 days a week. When we relocated, that became impossible due to the demands of my new job. It bothered me a lot -- and I think it did make a difference with Winston; although he's still a turd with his new owner who rides 6 days a week. Lucy is an older, well trained mare and I can be a weekend warrior (or less since my injury) and lose nothing (except fitness). I no longer care about showing (which was huge for me, for many years) -- I'm just a happy slacker now.

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    1. ha! I love her mane too- except when it's a frizzy mess. It's a breed thing - Andalusians are supposed to have long manes. It's fun to play with braiding it. I keep threatening to put flowers in it.

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  3. She is just so lovely :) right now I have the opposite problem - I'm SO HAPPY to be riding again that it's all I want to do at any moment ever lol. But once I am more settled with the routine I will definitely be ok with days off lol. And I make myself rescind all guilt. Days off are good. Days off are healthy. Making ourselves feel guilty for the break negates any positive or refreshing outcome of said break.

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    1. yeah- the guilt thing is really stupid. I totally get the new horse excitement too. Truth is that i love to ride so I probably miss it too.

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  4. I feel especially guilty when I don't ride my young horses... My inner voice tells me that they will forget that they're broke haha (sometimes they sort of do, I shouldn't laugh!).

    I have a similar 5-6 day a week schedule ingrained in my mind for "serious riders". I guess I'm not serious. Because I put 3/4 rides on each horse every week, on a good week. Sometimes they get one or two. I just do my best to ride as much as I can, but sometimes weather/life can't be helped. :)

    I LOVE that last photo so much, you can really see the connection/partnership between you two.

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    1. I actually don't know how you do with all your horses! I can barely keep up with riding one!

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  5. I too noticed the mane growth. I like it long. My horses have had four months off, and they haven't lost more than we can make up in a couple of rides. Sometimes I think they are better, because they like to be ridden after standing around in the barn doing nothing for so long.

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    1. One day Carmen will be the horse that you can bring out after extended time off and she'll be fine. We have some work to do before that happens. :)

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  6. She looks lovely! I like how in her last 3 photos she has a 'listening' ear on you :)

    I have learned that horses retain what they know. They may be a little sharper for less work, or a little less fit, but knowledge never goes away. So put the bat away, lady! (for beating up on yourself). Life balance is hard.

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    1. It IS hard. I will stop beating myself up.

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  7. I think there is a very clear difference overall, but as a reader who is new to your blog I am not sure if anything happened over the summer but I really feel like she looks softer and more relaxed in the last photo then she does in the one before it. She has a concerned look in the ones from 2015, but she doesn't really have that in any of the photos this year. I think it is clear signs of progress!

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    1. Thank you. I think that biggest difference I see over the summer is in me- more relaxed and less defensive.

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  8. I love looking through progression photos. It's so rewarding when the day to day can seem endless and non progressive.

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  9. I do sometimes feel guilty about not riding as much as I used to. But the truth is that while my previous horses Erik and Dusty needed the training Blue really doesn't. I look forward to riding on the weekends and can live with that for now. I think that even horses in training benefit from a day off so they can relax and think over what they learned. Carmen does look softer in the last picture. Beautiful girl.

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    1. Irish does well with time off as well. I am looking forward to Carmen getting there.

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  10. Progression photos are the best! I think that you both look softer and quieter in the last photos :)

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