Since 2013 has officially now come to a close, and I’m sitting here one yet another New Year’s Day…it’s another time for reflection. Reflection of what I feel that I’ve accomplished in the year that has just ended. And what I plan to (try) to do or achieve moving forward. The coming year always seems to hold a great deal of promise from this particular day! I know that I usually find myself falling into the habit of making a list of goals for the year at this point. In fact, I already jotted down a few things, before I stopped myself…that first list is now crumpled up and sitting in my recycle bin. Those “goals” were way too specific, and I fear that I was setting myself up for some kind of disappointment if they didn’t happen when and how I was picturing them.
As an equestrian, I feel like I owe a responsibility to 1) improve my own riding, and 2) to keep each of my horses fit and happy. Each of ‘my boys’ are in a very different place in their life and training. Instead of setting far-reaching and specific goals for each of them, I want to be fair and realistic. I am most certainly going to have a different plan for my senior-ish horse then I am going to have for my two younger geldings; but my over-arching goal for all of them is that they are happy, healthy and fit. The how is what is going to differ.
Ripley, for example, has been in my life for over a decade. He was my very first horse, and we’ve had years together to see just about everything…I don’t really think there is much left for him to learn. Though he might still have some lessons left to teach me. Anyway, Ripley has now reached his early 20s, but is still in great health and loves to go out for rides. My goal is to keep him fit and happy, and only doing as much as he can handle; since I know him so well, this is certainly manageable.
As for my two youngsters, Mark and Rufus–at a high level, I obviously want both to progress in their training this year. I really don’t want to get any more specific than that though; every horse has a unique personality and their brains all work a little differently. Therefore they learn differently–by different methods and at different speeds. It is very tempting, and would certainly be very easy to say “I want so-and-so to be to their first starter trial by a certain date” BUT I am going to stop myself from doing this. One of the reasons that I decided to “grow my own” prospects was so that I could enjoy the journey. I love watching both Mark and Roo grow up from foals, so why not take my time with their training and enjoy every step, rather then rush to get to showing?
Personally, I think that we can stop and learn a lot from our horses. They usually always content and happy, and wait to face obstacles until they are set up in front of them. They don’t anticipate or worry about what is coming in the future, but seem to relax and enjoy each moment as it goes by (unless, of course, you are taking a little too long to get to their stall with their grain bucket!). They don’t sweat the small stuff (unless it’s a plastic bag floating around). This year, I’m going to try to take a lead from my horses, and keep things simple. My goal? Keep things simple. Enjoy each day. Work as hard as I can (and play as hard as I can!). Enjoy each step forward and celebrate the victory. And most importantly, HAVE FUN!
Go Keeping It Simple. Go Working & Playing Hard. Go Eventing.