Do you have a riding dream? Spring brings me a fresh interest in my goals. Sure, I have my weekly plan. But something about this time of year brings me great joy but also great pain in my training plan. For you maybe it’s getting to the next level. Maybe it’s getting the correct canter lead. Maybe you want to post on the correct diagonal without having to look. Maybe you’re like me and you’re so close to your ultimate goal and then it just slips through your fingers and you don’t know why. I have a lot of riding goals. I work on many of them simultaneously.
However, I have what I call the ULTIMATE goal that I have had for years since my first dressage lesson. I want to get my USDF Gold Medal and my Gold Freestyle bars. To that end, I have made many a financial and personal sacrifice and bought a fantastic horse. I trained him up the levels with my good friend and trainer Jules Anderson. I’ve talked about Tony so much my family bought him Christmas gifts. He’s my mom’s ‘grand horse.’
And then one day he took his last step as my competition horse. I had the first show of the spring season printed out on my desk at home. It had the Grand Prix test selected - one each day. I was so excited. And there it was – that horrible popping sound in the last few minutes of a lesson, and Tony was lame. In an instant, it was over for him. He’s still alive and kicking but will never able to be ridden again.
I found and bought a school master that was within my super-limited budget. He was so much horse and taught me so much about the joys of a vertical posture and getting a horse light and engaged. I rode the Intermediare-2 with him. I bawled like a baby through most of the test I was so overwhelmed with doing piaffe and passage in the show ring. It wasn’t a great test but I did it.
Again, I chose the date for my first Grand Prix. I was so excited. And then he walked in lame from turnout just before Christmas. It was over. And now I’m working with my mare that’s not fond of changes. She’ll do them, but when she wants to. I have several young horses in training who are years away from Grand Prix dreams.
Some days it feels like I will never be riding any further than a steady leg yield or half pass. But I still dream. I still reach. I still work on those in-between goals that are part of the whole dream of my life of just riding, training, and getting off a wet horse with a smile on my face that we did something fun during the ride and learned something new together.
It’s discouraging, too, when you work so hard—and no one notices. Or you see others get opportunities handed to them so easily. Maybe I will never get there. But, I have the privilege of lots of wet saddle pads saying I tried. And that’s really what it boils down to for you – keep trying. No one knows my dream or how it feels to see it slip away but then again, I know and my horses know.
I know when I climb off a horse and we did something special. Those moments are what drive me forward. Those moments when you achieve something beautiful with your horse - no matter how small or how insignificant you feel it is—that should drive you. I don’t always ride for the ribbons. I ride for the moment when—even for a few stridesmy horses and I simply meld into one and dance. That’s when my soul sings and it’s a life moment that takes my breath away!
Stay tuned for next week’s Two-minute Training Tip! If you need help building a training plan you can always email me questions at email@example.com or check out revelationfarm.com for upcoming events. Like us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/RevelationFm!