Ah, the anticipation of a brand new season. Time to move on from the last, whether it was good, bad, or a healthy mix of both, and start mapping out your plans for the year. It’s always an interesting process, to have goals and formulate a plan to achieve them. Ryan Wood recently blogged about his strategy for picking events according to his horses’ needs, and it was great advice on strategy.
Along the lines of our emotions felt in anticipation of a dressage lesson, we thought we’d cycle through five emotions we all have when looking ahead to a new season. Bring it on, 2015!
Come on, we’re all excited to get this season underway. Whether you’ve got a new horse who is just starting its eventing career or a seasoned campaigner who is ready to take the next step up, there’s always so much hope and promise that surrounds this time of year. We’re ready to take on those cross country courses and nail those dressage tests!
2. Fear and Nervousness
As you peruse the omnibus in your area, you begin to wonder which events are the best fit. You may be considering a new event that you haven’t been to before — what should you expect? Will it be on par for your level, or will it present a bigger challenge?
You take a look at the new dressage tests for the upper levels and wonder if your horse can actually execute the maneuvers. Suddenly, you begin to feel those familiar start box nerves. You don’t want to make the wrong decision, but you also want to make sure you’re making progress.
3. Self Doubt
Ok, really, what are we actually thinking, trying to become event riders?? People actually ride more than one horse at these events? People do this for a living? What are we even doing here? Maybe we don’t belong. Maybe that Prelim course you had your eye on was just a pipe dream. Maybe you’d be better off sticking to straight dressage. Or hunters. You can still wear your C4 neck strap in hunters, right?
4. Elevated Blood Pressure
Chiropractor and massage therapist appointments to schedule, lessons and clinics to sign up for, entry fees to pay. Suddenly we remember a big reason why equestrians are perpetually poor — show season! There’s so much preparation that goes into competing at even the lowest levels, and while planning comes naturally to some, it causes great anxiety for others.
Not to mention the fact that even the best laid plans can derail in the blink of an eye. Welcome to the horse world! Corral the anxiety brought on by writing the checks and putting the finishing touches on your preparations, take a deep breath, and remember why we all do this in the first place.
It’s a cycle, really. Once we’ve made our plans, crossed our fingers and had Lisa Barry find us a handful of four leaf clovers for good measure, and done our best to prepare, the next step is to get out there and take the new year by the horns. Plans may unravel, our schedule may change, but at the end of the day we know how much we love our horses and this sport, and that keeps us coming back every day.
Put your chin up, heels down, and shoulders back, and have a great ride in 2015!