Well, just when I thought I had figured out how to keep all three horses and had a show goal for each of them, the plans change! I’ve been using Austin in lessons a few days a week, and one of the ladies that’s been riding him got herself the most wonderful Valentine’s Day present ever… her first horse!!
Someone else had actually found an old ad that I had put up for Austin. I didn’t realize there were even any ads still out there but I guess I missed one, and when she contacted me about him she really sounded like a perfect match for him so I figured I may as well see where that lead. When Lindsay found out that I was selling him, she decided she wanted him for herself! She’s been riding him for a few months now and really loves him, so I was thrilled that not only would she have her own horse after many years of dreaming about it, but also that he could stay in the barn! Lindsay has big goals for the two of them, including trail riding and competing, so we have a really fun season ahead and I’m looking forward to having her and Austin on my team this year.
As for me, I figure this is the best of all worlds. I didn’t have to watch Austin leave, which would have been hard, but now I also have a show budget so I can get Remy and Liam out this year and hopefully finally finish up my bronze medal and maybe even put a score or two towards the silver! I’m also going to make a few much-needed upgrades, starting with a phone, and I’m kinda eyeing the new Iphone with the amazing camera so I can easily get lots of good pictures and videos to post here! But I’m open to options phone-wise, if anyone has any suggestions. My only requirements are that it reliably make and receive texts/calls (which my current phone doesn’t…) and that it takes good pics and videos (which my current phone also doesn’t!…). My needs are really pretty simple 🙂
For the boys (now that it’s back to just the matching red tb’s for me), the first goal is to get back in shape! The winter’s been long and hard, and they’ve both lost fitness and muscle (and me as well), so we’ll spend a few weeks just slowly rebuilding. It’s reassuring to feel that they haven’t forgotten anything though, so I’m confident as the strength and stamina comes back everything will fall into place.
And maybe even be better than before. The one thing I was able to keep up throughout the winter from Hell was carrot stretches for Remy. He tends to get really tight, and the stretches have made a HUGE difference for him. I can feel it when I ride, and I can see how much further he can reach in every direction when he stretches for his treat. It’s amazing how a few minutes a day can make such a dramatic difference. I’m hoping as I rebuild him over the next few weeks, his increased flexibility will let him offer a better quality of work and help him put on correct muscles and stay more comfortable doing the work.
For Liam, I’d still like to try to get a few scores in the regular dressage ring just as a personal thing, but I’m thinking about having him take over some of the goals I had for Austin, including doing a western dressage test and a competitive trail obstacle competition. Liam loves the show ring, and loves to be the center of attention, and loves exploring the trails… I think he’d enjoy both jobs, and it’d actually be pretty cool (as an ottb fan) to have an ottb out there representing in both arenas!
Also, by participating in a bigger variety of events, I’ll be able to offer more options to my students, so hopefully there will be something for everyone. I firmly believe that anyone who doesn’t want to compete shouldn’t have to, but I also think that planning a “field trip” is a great way to set a goal with a deadline, then the rider is motivated to ride daily to have the horse fit and trained enough for the event, whatever type it is. I’m also hoping to spark some enthusiasm for more cross training! Dressage-types can get so obsessed with perfecting the arena work (yes, I absolutely include myself in that) that they forget to mix it up and have some fun sometimes! For our own mental health as well as our horse’s, we have to get out of the ring. Then we discover that it also makes us better riders by improving our seat, feel, and partnership with our horse, as well as helping our horses develop strength and balance by working over uneven terrain. There are soooo many benefits for everyone that it is a HUGE goal for me this year.
But alas, these are just dreams for the time being. We still have snow covering everything, and below-freezing temperatures for the foreseeable future. So we’ll just keep on keeping on for the next few weeks til spring gets here, cross-training in the snow when the temperature and footing permits…