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A Kick in The Pants

Winter is always tough on my motivation. The seasonal change is the worst but the depression and headaches that always gives me seems to be over this year which is amazing. The winter is just tough because of the dark and cold.

At my previous barn it wasn't so bad since it was kept much warmer, closer to 50-60* so as soon as I got to the barn I was comfy and could wear just a light jacket. This barn is much chillier and probably kept closer to 32* just so it doesn't freeze. Certainly not complaining but as a huge freeze baby I have to admit that it's been tougher to make myself go to the barn this year.

Especially when we have weeks like this in early December
I've still been to the barn 3-4 days a week but I'm still aiming for 5 so that's a big difference. However on Tuesday H was able to make it to my lesson and it was an interesting evening that somehow left me feeling more motivated.

To start this off I want to preface by saying that I love H. She's been a friend since I was in my teens and she's really a good person. I really enjoy spending time with her especially since both of us are into dressage ponies so we have a lot to talk about. The thing is though, that she brings out all of my insecurities. That's not her fault but mine for letting who she is get into my head. 

H is really a triple threat, she's gorgeous, petit, a beautiful rider, and (the toughest for me to deal with) she rides at an absolutely amazing barn with an absolutely amazing instructor where she regularly gets the opportunity to bop around on a 4 year old Gold Premium filly, a schoolmaster(ish) level horse, and ride with clinicians like Janet Foy.

It's not the fact that I feel insecure around her because I really don't and we both have our own strengths. It's more that I'm jealous of her opportunities. Even as a kid she had a well trained pony, good instruction, and a trailer when I had a green broke and naughty horse that had only been on trail rides, no good instruction, and no trailer so no way to show or take lessons since there weren't any trainers nearby that had lesson horses. Every time I'm around her it's tough for me not to wish I had had the same opportunities in the past and that I could have the same opportunities now since I still don't have a trailer or a trainer who regularly shows throughout our region.

Don't get me wrong. At this point I would never trade and lesson with her instructor (who's a well known dressage judge) instead of Jane. He is amazing but I am at exactly the right place for me and Katai right now and  I wouldn't move even if I could. It's just tough every time I see or hear about her scribing and/or showing at large rated dressage shows and talking about all of the quirky show things or partying with our regions top riders after the show.

This time was especially difficult on me because her instructor, who's also a well respected breeder (as you can tell since he has a 4 year old Gold Premium filly that I believe he produced), has recently purchased no fewer than SIX GRPs. Two are older (3 and 6 I believe), four of them are just babies, and H will have the chance to play with, help break, train, and ride all of those gorgeous ponies. 

One of them in particular hurts because she's a Golden State baby (from the same barn/lines(?) as Forest Nymph) who I was drooling over for weeks before I heard she went to H's trainer. Of course I'm glad she's in such a good home and excited to meet her at some point but it still stings a bit. The fact that H was talking about all the ways that her trainer thinks this pony might be lacking for upper level dressage (obviously extremely nit-picky things since he has a Gold Premium baby) made it sting more especially since I have an amazing but free pony, with no specific breeding, no traceable bloodlines, and not even close to "fancy" movement. Insecurities talking again of course since I CERTAINLY wouldn't trade Katai even if the pony were offered to me tomorrow for free. Katai is amazing, she's my girl and my partner and she's really what I want.

Galaxie from Pics Of You Videos on Vimeo.

In the end, after already feeling like H had been a bit condescending about my ride during my lesson (those damn insecurities talking again) I had an emotional drive home. I was completely aware of how silly I'm being. I mean talk about a bunch of first world problems! I have a pony I adore, a trainer I love, and a barn that felt like home the moment I walked through the door and here I'm disappointed that I'm not at a show barn and don't have a 5 figure GRP. Even I know it's funny, it's the fact that H has all of that and she's about 6 years younger than me that leaves me feeling like all the air got knocked out of me.

I processed the whole way home coming up with all of the above conclusions and finally, about 10 minutes from home realized that action is the best thing. Instead of feeling jealous or less motivated I need to just get my butt to the barn, work extremely hard and make opportunities for myself. I need to stop allowing myself to run out of motivation and go to the barn 3-4 days a week and just go and ride my pony! I need to start working out again so that I have the strength to give her a good ride (I died a bit at my lesson on Tuesday which didn't help), and I need to make getting a trailer this year a priority. This isn't about saving up and getting a fancy pony for me (even though I want(ed) Galaxy so badly that it hurts), it's really about wanting more opportunities. Not to win, but at least to get out there and show and to continue to climb up the levels and that's something I just need to work for.


  1. I get this. I come from a similar background and ride my Bridget pony at an eventing/dressage barn. The event horses go out for the first time at the level I'd like to reach. The baby dressage horses seem to come pre-installed at second's all so easy for them. It's so tempting to look and wish for something that naturally talented and to have those opportunities. If it helps, the few I've ridden have still left me wishing for my Bridget pony at the end of the day, for one reason or another. Just cause they look perfect doesn't mean they are :)

  2. Totally understand where you're coming from 😔 it can be really hard not to let situations like that get you down. But your plan to focus on action sounds really solid!

  3. I definitely understand where you're coming from! Once in a while I get down about the fact that my pony is getting old, he's got way more mental baggage than most other horses, I had a terrible start riding as a kid, I don't even have daily access to an arena right now, and let's face it - we're not getting to the upper levels of ANYTHING! But you know what? I can also toss him on the trailer and go anywhere I want, try anything, and I know that he's going to be rock-solid and game for just about all of it. I never have to worry about him acting up and doing something dumb. He is FUN to ride, he is my best buddy, and I wouldn't trade that for anything! It 's also been very exciting to get more into fox hunting with him this year, as it seems to be the sport where we both truly shine and can ride right along with all of the more experienced pairs out there with no issues. So... I get it. But it's also important to be thankful for what you've got and find your own special niche where YOU succeed and shine!

  4. I think most of us have been here before. Some of us of are here all. the. time. It's so easy to only see how good someone else has it and what all your weaknesses are. It's great to use that as motivation to better yourself instead of letting it drag you down. I could use a little kick in the ass myself in that area!

  5. I get what you're feeling. I have a friend like that too, she has multiple horses, a brand new custom saddle, had much more formal dressage training than me, and just got an acreage to keep all her critters at. Sometimes things aren't as good as they seem from the outside though (like I know my friend has a lot more debt than me). You just need to focus on competing with only yourself and improving for the sake of improvement rather than beating anyone else. Hugs though. Good job for recognizing your insecurities for what they are and working to overcome them.


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