Friday, January 20, 2012

Plans, Plans and Liebsters.

So I spend too much time planning as it is, and of course with horses, the decisions are plenty and frequent.

Today, I'm wondering about where we're going this Spring/Summer. This morning, that meant which fairs/competitions, but this afternoon, it's where to board.

Yesterday, and the days previous, it seemed like there were too many good options, each with its advantages and disadvantages. I'd say I have plenty of time to make these decisions and just let time sort it out, but I don't. January is nearing it's end and that means 2 months until our possible earliest move, 3 if I drag my feet. If we are going to move, I want to be settled by May 1st so that Moon has some time to adjust before our first shows. Ideally I'd still be at W's when we start showing but...that probably won't happen. So now I'm perusing my opportunities, trying to chose what will be the next, best place for us (not the next-best, but the next, best)...

I also found some more awesome news in my mailbox today. Another email from Bee, loving the idea of me hauling Moon over to her barn for our EC lessons/levels this summer. The nice thing about this is that testing has no additional charge when your coach is a qualified examiner, up until 5th or 6th level when someone other then your coach has to test you. Just a surcharge to have the marks entered in the national database. Score. The more I think about being under her coaching umbrella again, the more excited I get. Mare, a blog-friend was posting about feeling like she was 'cheating' on her BO/Coach when she agreed to take lessons elsewhere. This should never be the case, but often is. We can't grow as riders if we ever only learn one style of riding, from one person with a specific set of experiences and training. Diversity.

I should add, as I think she's not the only one who needs to give consideration (I myself was struggling the very same recently), that your choices should not be based on making or not making other people happy. Only two things matter: Your horse's happiness and health, and your health and happiness. Horse's first, your own second. Now granted, we all must stay within our financial constraints, but must also chose the best long-term care.

Moon and I headed to Wendy's for lessons because we needed to build confidence, experience and basic dressage. When I went there, I actually wanted someone with some jumping experience that could help us in that area as well. I think I also mentioned the EC levels. But what we needed at the time, was basic dressage training. We still need it, but Bee is able to expand on our skillset. She's a hunter/jumper judge and knows a ton about western riding. I would LOVE to try some trail classes and there's no doubt I want to finally get that low-jumping-course goal off my list. There always needs to be progression. Some people like to focus REALLY hard on one thing and become masters at it. That's W. She's incredible at dressage and very focussed. I'm kinda...whimsical. Probably why I wound up with a jack-of-all-trades, master-of-nothing sort of horse. He could do everything, kinda. But will never (could be my fault) become a champion at any of them. Being a champion is boring. I'm more of an experience sort of person. Try everything. Learn what you're good at. Learn what you like. Learn what your horse likes. Discover every activity out there. Keep it interesting and ever-changing.

The first summer I rode with Bee she started me doing showmanship. Then trail. Then dressage, jumping and barrels. Oh, and keyhole. She even hung riding equipment on the fence and made me ride to it, pick it up, identify it correctly and then relocate it somewhere else. I learned to lunge. I trained a horse to jump. It was the ultimate schooling for the true ADHD individual and horse. Of all my coaching and riding, she still sticks out in my mind.

We've already started our Spring planning. Yes, I like planning.

May 1st, we'll decide where we'll be summer boarded. There's a lot of options here.

How do I chose? I wrote a ridiculously long dialogue and diatribe of all my thoughts and the longer I wrote, the more obvious my decision was. I KNOW what I want for Moon. I know what I want for his feed, for his supplements, his farrier, his conditioning, his riding, his care. All of it. It may have taken a year of ownership to figure out, but I've got it now. I also know what I NEED. To improve my training, to get lessons, for new experiences, to compel me to get out to the barn. Let's face it. It's hard to get to the barn. Some day's I'm lazy. Some days it's raining. Sometimes, well, sometimes it just doesn't happen. But we all need a motivator. Find yours. Set it up. And do it. Those of you who wake up every morning, bounce out of bed and down to the barn even when it's freezing cold out, or raining or miserable, well, good on you. You're a bit of a freak of nature and I envy you a bit. But the rest like me, make it easy for yourself.

I in the end, have a few greatest fears and few greatest desires. And a personal pet-peeve that I can use to get me out to the barn more in the spring...And relieve a bit of my guilt while I'm at it.

I know in my gut, as it's not the first time I've contemplated it, that it's the best move for both of us. But like Mare, I'm hesitant because of all the outside factors. Guess what? Being responsible for your horse and your life means sticking by your gut.

Other then the future move, I plan on making some changes to my lesson program. I'm going to drop to 3 lessons a month and need to still decide how to divide them up. A lot of that decision will be based on how things go with Bee. I'm currently thinking 1 lesson/month with Bee doing EC levels, and 2 lessons/month with W doing dressage schooling. However, if focusing more on my EC levels with Bee is more advantageous then my Dressage schooling with W, I'll swap the 1-2 lessons. Regardless, I'll be dropping the 4th lesson/month to cover Bee's higher fees and account for all the showing we're planning. The EC levels make me more nervous then showing, since I'm starting to wonder how well Moon and I will actually do with this whole "Rider Level" thing. It's one thing to go to a show, compete against others and not a get a ribbon. It just means that they're better at it. It's another to say "Here's the foundation for good riding and horsemanship...and you failed". Ouch.

We're looking at 3 EC Sanctioned Dressage Shows. These are expensive to compete in, but an excellent opportunity to do something 'real' for just once. I'd like to do Training Level just once by the end of August.
I've chosen 4 local light horse shows (at Fairs) that would be reasonable to drive to and from past class-lists, have some interesting events for us. Events like Trail, English Pleasure (W-T-C), Cross Rail, Butterfly, W-T English Equitation and Egg&Spoon and Costume Class (why not?!)
I'd like to do 2 fun shows, probably with the IRC since I plan on attending their spring AGM next month. These are more about having a chance to go out and do something new, then get good at anything : P

Our 2012 Show Schedule:
May 12 - 13th - Dressage Winnipeg Bronze Show - Walk/Trot
June 16 - 17th - Dressage Winnipeg Bronze Show - Walk/Trot
July 6 - 8th - Carman Light Horse Show -
July 14 - 16th - Selkirk Light Horse Show
August 11 - 12th - Winkler Light Horse Show
August 20 - 21st - Dressage Winnipeg Bronze Show - Training Level

On an aside, the second half of my book order was listed as "Delivered" today, so it looks like I'm getting home to some new reading! I read a few more chapters in Dressage 101 and still LOVE the book. I actually feel like I learn a lot to take back with me from it. Yesterday's package included: "A Gymnastic Riding System" and "Equine Fitness" which seemed good on initial scan. I'm a little uncertain about "A Gymnastic Riding System" but think it needs more then a cursory scan that I gave it. : P The weather is still quite cold here (-27 F with a low of -36 F after the windchill) so I'm not sure if I'll continue to read my nights away or go visit the pony. Poor neglected pony...

Yesterday they were calling for a windchill that will freeze the skin in under 10 minutes, and while I really thought I SHOULD go, I chose to stay home and woodburn some plaques instead. At least I was still doing SOMETHING horse related. I didn't even pretend last night that I might go. Today...?? Well, if I walk to my car and crystalise on the way, I'm going home to a warm supper, burning another sign and reading my new books. Moon will understand. Right now it's...just -22 F with the windchill, and is supposed to feel like just -9 F by this evening. Stay posted on how this turns out...

Finally, the Liebster Award.

Liebster means “dearest” in German, and the award is intended to help up-and-coming blogs get the attention they deserve. Here are the rules:

1. Copy and paste the award on our blog.
2. Link back to the blogger who gave you the award
3. Pick your five favorite blogs with less than 200 followers, and leave a comment on their blog to let them know they have received the award.
4. Hope that the five blogs chosen will keep spreading the love and pass it on to five more blogs!

I got the award from Adventures with Shyloh! Who I read religiously. Ironically, reading her Liebster choices actually led to me following a few more blogs!

So MY choices, choosing some hidden gems that I LOVE reading are:
1) Simply Horse Crazy - She is. And the adventures of her and Missy always leave you rooting for them! Plus her photography is awesome.
2) Panic and the Pony: A horse-owner struggling to realize her own talents and those of her horse. Deeply personal and always honest, you just know she's doing better then she lets on.
3) My Equestrian World: Oh Edward. Charming and witty, this blog just keeps you coming back. Plus Pip's so cute!
4) R Lil Bit of Cash: Dear sweet Lilly. I'm addicted to this blog. I don't even ride western, but I can't stop reading!
5) The Good Kind of Bitter: Not a horse blog. A pointedly honest blog with just the right overlap of sarcastic humor. Just fantastic writing.


  1. Huh. It didn't really dawn on me until how much I've been thinking about making everyone else my expense. You are so right. I have to do what's best for myself and for Missy. The other people can worry about their own lives.

    Thank you. I needed that!

  2. Hi and thank you very much for the award, and thanks for the flattery ;) I will have to do a post about the liebster award with links as I have received it twice I guess I should do twice as many links.

    You sure do like planning and what a lot you have been doing, it’s good to see that you’re getting all this planned out I can see it all going well.

    When it comes to bringing myself to go down to the barn, or in my case yard, I have little choice as we do not keep our horses with other peoples so I’ve got to be there to look after them, but I can absolutely understand not wanting to go to the barn, especially with it being so cold were you are.

    And finally before I stop my droning, you mentioned jack-of-all-trades master-of-nothing, well a jack of all trades is just what will be good for you at this point, even some of the top dressage riders didn’t focus on dressage alone to start with, I think getting the basics of everything will be good and I am sure should you want to pursue becoming a pro at one of the disciplines it will make it that much easier.

  3. I'm a planner too, and I obsess over it! Making a list and getting it all down in writing helps calm my over-active brain. You have lots of new plans for this year and I hope you and Moon have a fantastic 2012! :)

    Thank you for the blog award as well!! We really appreciate it! :)