I’ve been absent the past month and a half (or more), faithful followers, due to a serious life change. In the middle of October my four legged friends and I picked up and moved back to Wisconsin from Virginia. Sure, some might say the timing right before winter wasn’t my best idea. And yes, I’m fairly confident that Jorge may go in to hibernation and come back out in the spring. But it was a great move and I am thrilled to be home in Milwaukee. I promise to get back to regular postings, and I also guarantee that I’ve been dusting out the corners of my horse brain and have some gems in the hopper, so please stay tuned! But for today, a self-indulgent post, because it really is all about me 🙂
So we just moved from Virginia, where there is a horse show just about every day of the week. Wisconsin winters are long and cold and lonely, at least in my tax bracket, and I need a project to keep me motivated. Additionally, if I’m being honest with myself, I could really use a little tune up in the saddle. So I am planning to take some lessons! Jorge agrees – he’d like it if I could stop apologizing to him when I mess up.
My barn friends and I have been chatting lately about taking some lessons, particularly across disciplines. Jorge is going to be quite annoyed when we start up with basic dressage. However, what I really want (need) are more opinions on my fabulous horse as we sail over giant (2’6”) obstacles with grace and ease (well we get to the other side at least). He wants me to hear the things I may be doing which might hinder his natural beauty and athleticism. Oh, let’s be honest – I need someone to gently scold me a bit as we land to the left, removing a better part of the corner in our approach to the next jump.
But I’m nervous. For a number of reasons. None of which have to do with Jorge’s general disdain for loading onto the trailer.
The first is the irrationality of “riding with trainer x” and what usually goes along with that – regular lessons, shows, schooling, training rides, more shows, barn rivalries, gang colors, barn approved equipment, general snobbery… things I used to excel at in my younger years. There are expectations of you both personally and financially to train with show-caliber teachers. Yet I don’t need or want any of that. In my perfect tightly budgeted horse world I do what I want when I want – a local hunter/jumper show one weekend, getting excused from W/T classes at a Twilight open show the next, scaring the living sh*t out of Jorge schooling cross-country, a coveted clinic with Nick Karazissis, and shipping up to Door County for a weekend of annoying Dancer and trail riding with my mom. My ideal world includes lessons with the best that the Midwest has to offer, not just one eye on my horse, not a single opinion, but many. And I get to jump their pretty jumps and ride in their heated indoors, always a bonus.
My second fear is contrary to my goals. I do things the way I do them and the ribbons on my wall prove it has worked pretty well for us. I generally like the way my horse goes on course. Sure, he trots like a short stirrup pony. And yeah, he has a lovely western pleasure four-beat canter on the flat. I should probably admit that I adore his “poke your nose out and float around the course older amateur frame.” Not to mention, we both really do prefer a solid hack in the field to jumping in the ring just about any day of the week. We don’t jump very high or very often and frankly have no intention of doing so. I guess what I’m saying is that I want trainers who will accept us for who we are and understand our limitations. Well, mine at least.
Along with that fear is something I’ve written about before. I used to be the girl who walked in to the ring and won at 3’6” without a moment’s hesitation. Now I’m apparently the woman who didn’t want to show the equitation this summer because it was 2’6” (please see: https://jornataylor.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/moms-always-know-best-just-ask-them/ ) And since I’ve known most of these trainers I’m considering asking to teach us for decades, I’m afraid they will have certain expectations of me that I readily admit I can no longer live up to. Will they understand that I laugh when he bucks in the corners because I’m nervous about falling off since my leg isn’t as strong as it used to be and he’s big? How about when I circle 3 times before a 3’ oxer, knowing that I’m picking to the base, only to do it perfectly the fourth time and want to call it a day – why press your luck! And the hundreds of other things that come along with getting older and both knowing your limitations but also needing to face your fears.
I want to ride better. I want to take lessons. I want to learn. But most importantly, I want to have fun and enjoy my horse and gain valuable insight from years of experience that I draw upon intuitively, whether at home or away.
And Jorge would like me to get my act together and stop staring at the ground or he will be happy to show it to me up close and personal one of these days, should I wish.
Basically, I’ve become the caricature of what my friends and I used to make fun of when we were younger – an OLDER AMATEUR! Oh the horror. It will happen to you, too, kiddies, along with that candy bar you’re eating right now going straight to your thighs. You’re welcome.
Now, who wants to stand in the middle of the ring and talk for the next 20 minutes about that last X we just trotted?!?!