If you’re reading this, that means Presto and I are on our way to FEH Championships. It’s looked reaaaaaally 50/50 all week, but if the hock swelling is down enough to be presentable, we’ll go. May as well since we can’t get a refund. He probably won’t win, but hopefully it’ll be fun and a learning opportunity anyway. I mean… as fun as a 5 hour round trip journey with a baby horse that involves putting said baby horse on the trailer in the pre-dawn darkness can be. Which now that I put it in writing, I clearly sound like a psychopath.
I didn’t have much time to draft anything else, but please send Presto some good luck vibes today! I um… think he’s gonna need it…
I did want to take the opportunity to repost this, which I saw on facebook yesterday and felt absolutely to the bottom of my soul. Everyone needs to read this facebook post from Kate Samuels and share it. So well said!
You don’t need to pay a lot of money to find a good horse.
You DO, however, need these things:
The experience of having ridden as many horses in your life as you could get your hands on: the good, the bad, the ugly, the sensitive, the scared, the buckers, the stoppers, the very green, the tall, the short, the fat, the skinny, the long giraffes, the well trained horses, the hunters, the jumpers, the dressage horses, the race horses, the not-so-well trained horses, the horses with baggage, the horses with a clean slate. All these horses will be your greatest teachers.
The ability and inclination to learn to be a better horseman, a better rider, and a better caretaker. You’ll never stop learning, and if you do, it’s a real problem. Learn from mistakes, learn from watching others, learn from those you respect and who respect you, learn from success and learn from failure. A wise man once told me, “When you hear a horse person tell you they know everything, it’s a sure sign they’re a dumbass.”
A sense of humor so you can live through the bad days along with the good, and tolerate the abscess from hell just as much as a clear round on cross country.
The patience to think in six month, twelve month, eighteen month increments. The intellectual ability to see tiny building blocks and stack them accordingly for the finished product that will appear in several years. The patience not to skip steps because they are boring or seem unnecessary.
Emotional distance to realize that difficulties you encounter along the way are absolutely not personal and instead just a puzzle you haven’t solved yet.
The connections, friendships and partnerships who are genuinely interested in your success as much as theirs. People who will guide you truthfully. Cheerleaders from all corners. Trainers who know and respect you, vets who are invested in the journey (and maybe great at stitching), and a farrier that might grumble at your horse’s tricky feet but works with you for a solution.
And last, but not least, knowing what a good horse for YOU is. Know what you can realistically ride, what feeling you enjoy in the saddle, and what personality traits work for your personality. A good horse for me is not a good horse for a lot of other riders, and vice versa. Don’t get sucked in by pretty markings or a flashy trot if the stuff that really matters isn’t there.
Happy Thursday everyone, and hopefully I’ll be back tomorrow with a show recap!