Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Alternative Lifestyle

Don't worry, this isn't a controversial post discussing sexuality or open marriages or anything of that nature.  I ws just thinking about the choices we make...okay, the choices *I* make and wondering what it would like if I did something different.

I was reading this blog post over at Equestrian Ink and it got me thinking about fun and horses and all that.  The last two weeks I haven't seen much of the pony, which has been disappointing.  So maybe some of this is because we haven't really done much lately.  But reading this post left a small ache in me.  Not a big hole, but just a tiny pinch of something.

I ride dressage.  Mostly because when I started riding as an adult I wanted to do English and I ended up at a barn that did mostly dressage.  This was 20 years ago.  Then I took my 10 year hiatus and when I returned, I tried Western Pleasure for about a year.  It wasn't my thing either.  So I returned to dressage.  I now ride three to five days a week and take one lesson a week.  It's good exercise and I feel exhilarated afterwards.  My horse and I have made so much progress since the end of November.  We are coming together more and more every day.

But fun?  Huh?  Is it fun?  After reading Laura Crum's post and seeing pictures of folks walking their horses, socializing, probably laughing and talking while they rounded up cattle.  That looks like fun.  Could I imagine doing that on my horse?  No.  How about five years from now?  Ummmm, maybe?  I really like the idea of doing something with your horse.  Being useful.  And from what I could tell, nobody was 'pushing their boundaries' or 'working through issues' on this ride.  They were doing a job and having some fun.

So, I'm jealous.  My mind starts to wander and think about alternative lifestyles.  Western saddles and cattle drives.  Obstacle courses.  Potlucks.  Sitting on your horse talking to a friend.  Putting up a cross rail even though you've never jumped and your horse hasn't either.  Teaching your horse to bow.  Happy, mellow geldings instead of neurotic, young mares.  I think about moving to a barn further out from my house, but one that is laid back.  A barn where nobody cares if your horse is on the bit or moving off your leg.

This is hard work.  I think it's fun, but I'm not sure sometimes.

But could I do it?  Do I want to do it?  Is it important to me to have horses so I can relax and have fun or so I can make 'progress'.

I don't have answers for these questions.  As a kid and even as a young woman, these questions were easier.  I would just do it all.  I had all the time in the world.  Now, my horse is squeezed in between raising my child (my absolute number one priority), my job, my husband and my friends.  It's just one of the many balls I have to keep in the air in order to keep the circus of my life running smoothly.  If I change the shape and color of that ball, will I be able to keep it up in the air?

I'm not saying I'm moving my pony or switching to Western.  I am looking for that elusive quality we all want in our lives.  Balance.  It's all about balance.

And if you have a pony that you get to do all of the above with (, I'm looking at you!!) give your pony a huge, fat kiss.  And ask them to please telepathically communicate with Tessa that if we can work this shit out, we can go do fun things in the future.  Horse can do that, right?  Right?


  1. : ) Mona, Moon is officially working his telepathic skills, though with the distance it *may* take a little while! ; )

    As for progress and fun, it's whatever you want it to be. You and Tessa, need to make it your own. You've already come so far together, that you're ready to start finding what you both love together! She probably has some hidden talent, secret knack that she's hiding on you. : )

    And I hereby make you the first "distance" member of the "who-gives-a-damn" club. : )

    (P.S. Thanks for the reminder to give Moon an extra kiss...but I'm gonna heed your warning about tooth-loss! ; ) ).

  2. I think the most important part of riding being fun, is developing a bond. You can do anything you want with your mare if you guys have a solid bond. Good way to start developing a bond in my opinion is to do lots of casual stuff. I had a "psycho pony" I will write about later on my blog tonight. But for me fun starts w a bond then you know your horse will give it her all and when she is just not feeling it. Sometimes its nice to take a step back. :D

  3. Yeah, I agree with Sand above where she says progress and fun are whatever you define it to be. Aside from the training issues you're currently dealing with, is there a reason you can't pop over a crossrail when you feel like it at your current barn? Or take a trail ride? Nothing says a horse and rider have to only do one discipline :)
    Working through issues is never really "fun" but you kind of have to in order to do all those fun things safely. Have you tried mare magic to take the edge off her attitude? A few people I know have tried it and had a lot of success.

  4. I know what you mean - everyone does dressage at my barn...except one lone eventing girl. The barn we moved from was hunter/jumper.

    Riva has physical limitations due to a knee injury when she was young, so jumping is out for us. But she loves to go over ground poles, do obstacle type stuff - weave standing poles, barrels, cones - go over a wood bridge - take walks around the pond and field on the property, etc.

    My point being, I think we all need to take breaks from 'working' and find or make some fun for ourselves, and our ponies!