Saturday, December 6, 2008


Do you ever just feel like you've got to have an attention deficit disorder? I've felt that way lately for a few different reasons. The first being Twilight. No matter where I am or what I'm doing, I cannot keep focused for too long before something Twilight pops into my head. It got a little better for a while after I'd finished reading the series and taken a week or so "off" from them. But then I started re-reading them and I'm almost right back where I started.

The other main thing that I cannot seem to focus on is my horse. This one is really bothering me. I guess it's not so much my horse, but my discipline with my horse. When I first started riding I mostly just rode around the pasture, set up jumps or obstacle courses, rode "around the block" with friends, etc. Just pleasure riding, some trails, even swimming a couple times, just time on my horse. During the summer it was all day every day on my horse, running around with my best friend and her horse, being crazy kids and somehow surviving. Then I showed 4-H for 5 years. I only showed performance, but rode every seat at some point: stockseat, huntseat, bareback, even saddleseat at one show. We did both pleasure and equitation classes, though we always did better in equitation since I didn't know how to train my own horse and couldn't bring myself to ride in an arena with any sort of regularity. Racing down gravel roads and across fields with friends just didn't get you in the ribbons in a pleasure class.

After I was done with 4-H and had sold my "show horse" (hahahaha) I took some time off. My mom still had her old mare that I rode occasionally, but nothing more then a lap around the block. Eventually, we had to put her down and I went a whole 2-3 years without any horses at all. Then somehow I ended up buying a 3 year old pinto Arab. She was halter broke, that was about it. Now, looking back, I wonder what the hell I was thinking, though I don't regret it one bit. I had planned to show performance again, Arab and Pinto shows. I had never started a horse before though. I had no idea what I was doing, but knew where I wanted to get her. I did what I could with her until she bucked me off and put me flat on my back for 3 days thinking I had broken my hip. After that I wanted to work with someone, a trainer. I found one that I liked at a barn that wasn't too far away and off we went. We learned a lot there. The trainer had fun working with Fancy, my Arab, and I had fun playing musical horses and learning how to ride all of them. When I felt comfortable with her again, I brought her back home and went to work.

Some time around there I made friends with another really horsey person. She had a truck and trailer and was willing to haul my sorry butt all over the place. We trail rode a lot. My little arena princess green Arab got lots of trail miles. We went to the ocean, we went camping in the woods, we did prize rides. I swung a rope a little bit and I got to go penning a few times, which was a blast. Slowly but surely, the thought of showing in pleasure classes lost it's appeal. Why in the world would I want to do that? Spend all that money, deal with all the politics, etc. etc. just to lose and feel inferior because I couldn't afford the lessons, the big name trainer, the saddles with all the silver, the chaps that were perfectly matched to my stylish new shirt or the $400 romel reins.

Along the way I managed to get a good job and my own truck and trailer. Then my very horsey friend sold a horse to a local lady who rode on a drill team that was just starting up and she convinced us to come give it a try. She is also now my future mother-in-law, but that's a story for another time. We tried out the drill team and we were hooked. This will be my 5th year drilling. In the past few years, drill has been my main discipline with the horses. It's also gotten me my competitive fix.

During all of this I ended up meeting my boyfriend, finding Midori and selling Fancy. The boyfriend also rides, but until the last year or so, we really only did trail riding and some time in the arena together.

So, back to my A.D.D. I feel like I'm at a pivotal moment with my riding and I'm not really sure which direction I want to go. Part of me really likes that my horse is fairly well broke so I can do just about anything on her. I like that we're versatile. I like that we can go from a reining pattern to cutting a cow to the drill team to a trail ride and not embarrass ourselves. Too much anyways. I like that I can trust her to listen to me and, as long as I understand what is needed, we'll do alright. The other part of me would like to pick something to be really competitive in. As much as I try to be humble, I like winning. Seriously, who doesn't?! I would love to "specialize" in something, really focus and get good and go some where with it. I would love to actually make money with my horse! I kick myself when I think back to my 4-H days and think about how good I could have been if I'd just been able to focus and do a little arena work. I placed pretty darn good considering the time I put into my horse. I could have kicked some major booty if I'd actually been a little dedicated. I feel like I want to make up for that now and pick something that I can go far in, get into the big competitions and do well.

Part of my issue with "specializing" is that I don't know what I want to do. I love drill and it has treated me well the last few years, but there are so many variables that I have no control over it's hard for me to feel like I'm really getting my competitive fix out of it. I know I'm putting my time and energy into it, I'm riding my horse and making sure we are ready, but it is frustrating when other people don't. And there is always someone who doesn't. I'm just not really sure that drill is my calling right now, but I love it and don't really want to give it up yet either. The main problem is, it's time consuming and not something I can do half-assed since there are other people counting on me. While that can be good, it is also hard when I want to do something else "on the side". It's a lot to work around.

I have been doing a small reining series as a beginner and I would love to go further with reining. It is an amazing sport. I literally drool over the "real" reining horses. They are the most amazing athletes. The sliding stops, the spins, the loose rein and perfect collection, the fluid almost invisible lead changes. Wow. Just wow. So I've been asking around about trainers. There is apparently no one in this area. Well, that's not true. There is one person that is very close, but too busy for someone like me. And another guy a little further away who, after watching for a while, I would not let touch my horse or tell me what to do for a second. While I am almost desperate, I do still have some standards. The complete lack of trainers in the area is very discouraging. I need help if I'm going to do reining. I have some major holes that I need to go back and correct and I cannot do it on my own.

Over the summer I started on cutting. I had the oppurtunity to practice on buffalo once a week also. This was fun! I had a blast at the shows and have every intention of doing the whole series in '09. It is thrilling. Again, I literally drool over the pro horses. I think riding one of those horses might be better then sex. I feel like I have a few more oppurtunites in this area. I know of a couple decent trainers that aren't very far away and it's the kind of thing I feel like I could get something accomplished practicing on my own.

Then the boyfriend went to a sorting clinic and I went to watch for a few hours at the last sorting competition. That looks like tons o' fun too. I think we could do well at sorting as we are right now, I just need to understand it better. Atleast it would be fun to do, even if we're screwing up.

I also have an english saddle that calls my name every once in a while. I would love to learn to jump and do dressage also. I wouldn't mind throwing a rope a few more times. Or penning again. There is just so much that I want to do! I would love to just go do everything. But is it fair to my horse? Is variety the spice of life for horses to? Or would they prefer to have one discipline to learn and perform? Is it confusing for them (which, in turn, would be frustrating to me) to go from one thing to another? Or do they get bored as easily as I do? The other part of that is drill. Am I willing to quit drill to persue other events? Or if I don't quit, am I willing to sacrifice those other events because of my commitment to drill?

That is why I feel like I'm A.D.D. sometimes. I can't decide on what I want to stick with or if I want to do it all. Not that I'm complaining at all because I always feel very blessed just to have a horse and be able to do anything with her, let alone have the "problem" of trying to decide what to do.


Sarah said...

If you quit drill to try out some other events, you could always go back to drill - right? It wouldn't have to be forever if the other events didn't pan out. Just a thought.

Amers425 said...

I don't think Midori will have a problem. The more of an "All Around Horse" you have the better! I have at least tried EVERYTHING with Honey and I know what she likes, dislikes, and what she could excel in if I put effort into it. Test the waters! Find what you enjoy doing and what Midori really enjoys doing then pursue it more aggressively. I know what this feels like myself also since I have gotten really burned out with drill lately.