It was so awesome to go XC schooling at Poplar. It’s the very first place that Gus and I ran XC at a schooling show. We’ve come a very long way since then. If you’ll remember, I was terrified of a itty bitty little tadpole table. And, okay, they use that table for the BN course all the time but still. It is tiny. Now I see that table out on course and think, what was I scared of?
It’s all perspective, right?
And now that I’ll be running Novice my trainer has to find a way to push my limits and still maintain my confidence. It’s not an easy task but she’s pretty amazing. She has complete faith that Gus and I can do this and that helps give me faith that we can do it too.
For example, once through our warm up there is no easing into higher fences, we start riding the Novice fences right off the bat. It’s almost like she’s not even giving me a chance to over think. Don’t worry. Just do it. And so that’s what I did.
The questions started easy. Single fences, long distances. Slowly we added related distances, tighter turns, more terrain and little courses. I was thrilled that Gus didn’t even peak at the ditch or the drop, even though I was slightly terrified of the later. Each fence and combo under us made me a bit more confident.
A lot of it really is time and the right frame of mind. And, of course, the right horse. Gus is becoming confident too and is much braver than he used to be. He might look at a new or scary jump but he’s also willing now.
So one new fence after another. We’re on our way!
Let’s address the elephant in the room: I’m moving up to Novice at the Tryon Hunt Club HT in October.
Moving up has been a goal I have been working towards since I ran at Poplar last May and something we have been working towards all year. It really felt doable after we ran around Stable View’s huge BN XC course. Seriously, that was a beast and, while not every fence was perfect, I had a blast and walked away feeling so confident. Novice was in my sights and plans were made.
Then my life went to pieces and I stopped riding. I even stopped taking lessons for a while. I didn’t really know how to have fun anymore. But then I got a new job with a significant pay raise and I started taking lessons again. Better yet, I started wanting to actually ride. And so I put my entry in for Tryon Hunt Club HT and selected Novice. Deep breaths!
And Gus and I have never been more ready. Well, okay, maybe we need a lot of work on our dressage (seriously, I am so over it!) but we are jumping big and fast and confident. I am ready to be back out competing and I am ready to turn it up a notch.
Finding my rhythm again has been a little bit of a challenge. At my last job, I had a great schedule that left me plenty of time to go to the barn during the afternoon and still be home in time to do other things. Sadly I found myself not really taking advantage of it due to being so mentally exhausted at the end of the work day.
New job has sadly doubled my commute and I now get home a whole two hours later (may shift a bit when I am feeling a bit more comfortable with my job). But, even with that change in time, I get home and actually want to go to the barn. I was a little afraid I had lost that for good.
Last night I stopped at home just long enough to grab Guinness and then hightailed it to see Gus. We had a wonderful ride and worked through some major stiffness to the right. And afterwards, I actually went through my whole routine of wiping down tack and a full groom… all things I’ve let fall to the wayside when I barely had the energy to make it our to the barn.
I’m excited to start working towards my goals again. We’ve got big things coming up and I don’t want to miss them because I’m too mentally drained to get out to the barn. Although, I’m sure Gus didn’t mind the break!
A few weeks ago, LT invited us to go camping over the weekend. With the horses of course! Do people actually like doing this without the horses?
There is a state park camp ground that allows you to highline or bring in coral panels. We went with the highline which was a brand new experience for both Gus and I.
At first I was really impressed with how well Gus was behaving on the line. He just stood there quietly, ate some hay, drank some water… it wasn’t until a few hours later that I realized it was because he was scared of the line! Thankfully by the next morning he was over it.
That first evening we went on a several hour hike to find a place to get into the water. Gus was a bit of a pill being behind the other horses but fine to go in the river.
That night the storms came in and it poured. Poor ponies were stuck out in the rain but that’s how camping works sometimes! Because of that, we were all a little slow moving the next morning and decided to not go back out. Some of the trails had already been slick and we didn’t want to risk it.
Still, it was a fun break from the normal training routine and something I definitely want to so more of.
A few weeks ago I went to Tahoe and had the most amazing time. I came home from that trip feeling refreshed, if a bit sad, and determined to turn my life around. So what if thing a are a little crazy at work? If I just buckled down, I was determined to get it under control.
I dutifully showed up to work that next morning, rolled up my sleeves, got my coffee, and opened my email only to find that while I was gone work had apparently decided to go to hell in a handbasket. I wish I was exaggerating but what little moral remaining in our department was completely shot. My get’er done attitude went out the window in less time then the greenest cowboy at his first bull ride.
But little did my office know that I had an ace up my sleeve. While in Tahoe, I got a call from a recruiter about a job. Within a week of returning I had gone through the interview process and found myself with a job offer that was more pay and less work. I didn’t have to think hard before signing that! I gave my notice immediately and this week started my new job. While I’ve doubled my commute time (a total bummer but pretty much unavoidable here in Hotlanta) I am already much happier.
It will take some time to completely recover from the stress and anxiety I was under at my last job but I am already seeing signs of improvement. So now it is on to the next big adventure!