There is only one week left in January. Yes, you read that correctly: JANUARY HAS ONE WEEK LEFT! Where in the world has the time gone, and how are we almost 1/12 of the way through 2015?! I feel like it was just yesterday that I was writing my season recap, and now I’m barreling down on my first event of the year like a runaway semi without brakes. I also came to the realization that my first competition of 2015 is one week away!
No, I have not migrated South for the winter — I am stuck in good ole Southern Illinois, staring out at the frost covered ground, and stalking results from Rocking Horse and Full Gallop as I drink my coffee. While all of our lucky friends have been posting pictures of their horses in fly sheets, sending SnapChats of sunshine, and watching the ICP and U18 clinics I have been breaking ice out of buckets, changing layers upon layers on my horses, and trying to find somewhere to ride when I cannot haul off of the property.
Needless to say, winter in the Midwest is difficult. Last year when I left for Aiken in the middle of February we had just over two inches of ice on the ground and had to improvise, rolling out a carpet of used shavings to give our horses traction so we could load them.
This year has (knock on wood) been much more pleasant and I have been able to ride quite consistently since moving back to Cobden and no longer having an indoor. I have passed the time enjoying an exciting year of football, although for my Packers the season was cut a couple of weeks short. Alas me not having to worry about a Super Bowl game means that I can now attend a schooling jumper show next Sunday- coincidence, I think not!
I have also spent the last several weeks mapping out possibilities for my spring schedule. I downloaded a countdown app which allows up to six events with daily countdowns- hello Opening and Event Dates! This makes getting out of bed in sub-20 degree temperatures a little bit easier knowing that my first event is 6 weeks away.
To really keep my motivation I have taken some tips from other posts and set small goals for myself and my horse. I have slowly been working on getting my spring break plans in place, and just knowing that I am headed south helps to keep me riding as well.
I am excited to take another step in my riding education as I will be lessoning with Doug and Jessica Payne while in Aiken this spring. I am always interested in learning from someone new and I have always been impressed with both Doug and Jessica’s riding style and the horses they have produced. I was fortunate enough to call them in a bind at Richland last year, so they have both seen the Goose-man and I already.
A major part of my motivation this winter has come from my friends. I have always heard that the best way to stay on a workout plan is to take a buddy. Well, the friends who are keeping me motivated are doing it through text messages and phone calls, but it is still working!
I have a couple of friends in St. Louis who are trucking right along with me in the cold, and whether it is inspiration to ride, complete homework, or head to the gym they are inspiring and it keeps me from hiding in my recliner with coffee and a good book. We also have a wonderful group at the barn who are all beginning to gear up for the show season as well, and discussing plans with them gets me excited to bundle up and ride as well!
The key to all of this for me is to stay excited! While it may look cold and nasty out there, it probably is, but I just keep telling myself that I do this sport because I love it and my horses. Once I get into the barn and going I am usually ok, it is finding the motivation to get out there. Make a calendar, start a countdown, write in a big goal for the end of the spring/year, and get a good support base- all of these things will keep you going through the cold winter months! Best of luck!