Raise your hand if you remember the beginning of this blog.
I was disciplined! I mapped out training sessions for every horse, all summer, on a spreadsheet. In January. I knew months in advance which horses would be trained on which days. In Aaruba’s case, I knew how far and fast we’d ride, over what kind of terrain. I scheduled 2-3 horses per evening, 6 on weekend days, with Friday’s off.
Some of you think I’m kidding. I assure you, I am not.
If it had worked, I’d be riding all the Barbs by now, and competing with four of them. It might have worked, had I been able to control the little things like weather and life. But I couldn’t, and it didn’t. Our springs turned windy and rainy, the round corral slick with mud. Aaruba developed chronic colic. I tore my hamstring. Consolation tied up. I got un-married. A job-related nightmare dragged on for months.
The thing about setting goals and failing to reach them is that you get discouraged. Impatient. You forget to enjoy the journey. You beat yourself up. And none of that gets anything done faster, unless you count burning yourself out. So, I finally got smart and quit planning so much. I set far more general goals and relaxed about the scramble toward them. I focused on other things. I took days off.
The thing is, that didn’t get the horses trained, either. So here I am, with Aaruba out of commission, Consolation as my reliable mount, Acey very green under saddle, and Ripple in the pre-riding groundwork phase. When anything goes wrong with Consolation, I’m out of the running for endurance rides, which are one of the major rewards for all this work. And I’ve had it. It’s time to polish up more horses.
Don’t worry; I won’t get out the spreadsheet. But I will resume some of my old, laser-focus…without sacrificing my newfound flexibility. At least, that’s the idea…
My major goals for this summer are to get Acey ready for competition and Ripple well started so she can compete next year. In that order. If I have time to train just one horse, it’ll typically be Acey. Ripple will be next in line. (All this remains within the context of Consolation’s conditioning, of course.) I’m going to be more adaptable when it comes to adverse weather. It’s amazing what you can accomplish despite wind and rain, if you put your mind to it.
Take yesterday, for example:
Rain until 10am. Stay inside for coffee, breakfast, and blogging. Round corral soaked. Catch Acey anyway. Note that she feels too “high” to safely ride out. Trim hooves, walk 1 mile on pavement (for hooves), practice trailer loading. Catch Consolation. Handgraze, trim hooves, practice trailer loading. Put her away and run inside just ahead of a storm. Hunker down with tea and a Mary Twelveponies book until rain finally stops at 3pm. Head back outside. Catch Ripple, who is extremely nervy. Take for brief walk along road. Back off and work on bending in the farmyard instead. Get Consolation back out, go for handwalk along the canal. Give her a massage. Finish just in time for thunderstorms and pouring rain. Work out indoors. Do chores in light rain. Make dinner and enjoy evening with Ironman.
See? It can be done! (Remind me I said that.)