Happy New Year! Or even better….buh bye 2020!
2020 has definitely been a dumpster fire, wouldn’t you agree? Well out with the old, and in with the new! And for me, 2021 is going to be a bit of a transformation of a year.
For a little while now I have been in a funk with my riding. I thought once I got my dream Voltaire saddle, everything would just sort of fall into place. But after I got my saddle, rode in it, and continued to ride.
I thought if I got my dream saddle, then everything would just magically work out. I guess that’s what you get from watching way to many movies. My favorite example of this is the movie Sylvester. Melissa Gilbert just decided one day that she is going to train a horse to be a Prelim level eventer in about a month.
I know, very Hollywood, not very realistic in real life. But hey, you gotta have dreams right?
And when my saddle came, and I put it on Pleazant, nothing magical happened. Sure it’s a great saddle, but it wasn’t a magic saddle. I just wasn’t having the joy that I assumed would go along with said saddle. Sure it’s a nice saddle, but it wasn’t the magic puzzle piece that I thought it would be.
And then I cam upon an opportunity, a dressage saddle that I had ridden in a lot when I lived in Washington. And it wasn’t a fancy saddle. Nope, it was a synthetic one made by Dover’s a really long time ago. I talked a lot about it in an earlier blog post.
And finding that saddle, and then an affordable saddle pad, and bridle, and using these things, I found a new found sense of excitement again. The saddle was so comfortable, and I felt secure in it. The bridle is synthetic material too. So both the saddle and the bridle take minimal care. Less time caring for my tools, more time riding. That’s a good thing!
And Plezant is a dressage horse. This is what a good portion of his life he spent doing, so he knows it, and knows it very well.
But then I watched a Fallon Taylor video. Do you know who she is? She is a pretty amazing woman who just happens to be a world champion barrel racer.
And after watching a handful of her videos, it brought something back for me. Taking me back to my beginnings with horses, and that was riding western.
You see, when I was a kid growing up with horses, everyone where I lived rode western. 4H was western, my local riding clubs were western, everything was western. And I loved it.
So for the past month or so, I have been really looking into what makes me happy with my horses. And in all of my soul searching I found that the time has come to go back to western riding.
I want to go out on the trails with Plezant. I want to go on long trail rides with my horsey friends, and I want to be comfortable doing it. It isn’t about having the latest an greatest. It’s about having fun.
It’s frustrating to want to buy something new and it costs hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. And it seems that anything in the hunter jumper world is this way. I don’t know why I felt like I had to go down this road of riding. Maybe it was because I thought if I had all of the ‘stuff’ then I would be a great rider. Or maybe if I could dress my horses in the best of the best, I would enjoy riding more. But I haven’t felt that at all.
Sure there are some aspects of the tack that I really do like, and will be bringing over to my western riding. But mostly, riding the hunter jumper style was me always chasing bigger and better. Which is one of the reasons I started building horse jumps in the first place.
Find What Makes YOU Happy
Maybe it’s because I’ve grown up, or gotten wiser. But mostly its because I want the moments that cause me happiness, not the stuff. It’s funny, I go through this period every year this time. But I think I have finally determined what brings me true joy, and I’m ok with that. It’s not about keeping up with what everyone else is doing. It’s about doing what makes you happy. And riding my horses the way I want to ride really makes me happy.
So ask yourself, are you truly happy with the riding discipline you have chosen? If you can’t answer a resound and instantaneous YES, then maybe it’s time for you to rethink your discipline too.