I am, along with at least one other blogger, currently struggling with the move up to second level and really have been since last fall. At first it was because I was getting a lot of attitude from Katai as she also struggled with the new expectations but then it became more because we were consistently derailed. First by saddle fit, then ulcers, then SAD, then more saddle fit issues, then my anxiety, then a new boyfriend, then a new puppy, then the weather, then a barn move, then a longer drive, then more expensive lessons, then the weather again…
|This weather? Making riding difficult? No that can't be...|
|Delicious blueberry, spinach smoothies are one way |
to make the high heat and humidity tolerable
So what am I doing to fix it?
When I stepped back and analyzed why I was really struggling a couple months ago I found that I’ve added the following:
An additional commute in the morning of 10-15 minutes
An additional commute in the evening of 20-50 minutes
An additional commute to the barn each way of at least 20 minutes
Additional time spent walking puppies (I used to be able to let Veggie out in the backyard) of 10-15 minutes 3-4 times per day
Additional time with my bf
If you completely cut out the time with my bf that’s an additional hour – hour and 45 minutes for days I don’t go to the barn and an additional hour and 40 minutes to 2 hours and 15 minutes on days when I do go to the barn from how my schedule used to be. When you add in time with bf at home and time with bf doing events that pull me away from home that’s a considerable change from my previously quiet (but also lonely :) schedule.
|Lots of days like this with huge thunderheads as our weather wildly swings|
With looking at the above there are a lot of things that I can’t control but there are a couple of things that I can control and one of those is the barn where I’m boarding Katai. So yep, you guessed it, I’m moving again. The new barn is cheaper by a good bit, and much closer. I’ll easily save 30-50 minutes each time I go to the barn between the shorter drive and the setup of the barn. I found it through my horse network since, like Jane’s place, it doesn’t have any online presence. I’ll do a post specifically about the barn soon, I’m getting so good at them at this point..
|One of the busy weekends spent up north with my bf and his family|
I really like this guy.
There are a couple of other plans in the works to help with reducing my scheduled time but right now they’re just in the beginning stages so nothing I’m comfortable sharing yet. It is making me feel like there is a light at the end of the tunnel though. Work has also gotten better in the last couple of weeks thanks to a shift in how our department workflows function and because we added some additional staff. I’m also receiving a promotion which is fantastic :) That all means that my stress should be far lower when I get home which will make for less need to veg and more ability to do the things I want to do.
|Another busy weekend spent in NC with my bf for one of his friend's wedding|
As far as what I’m doing to help with my riding?
I love my current trainer. She’s an amazing person and the tools she gave me to help with Katai’s ground work have made a significant difference. As long as I keep doing my homework I’m confident that next time I show I’ll have a much easier time getting through to Katai which was exactly what I hoped to gain from her. However, she has seemed to me to be uncomfortable helping me get to 2nd level and has encouraged me to clinic vs. taking dressage lessons with her. I truly appreciate her honesty, and, it’s then tough to feel like it makes sense to invest in many lessons with her.
At the new barn there is a dressage instructor that I follow on social media and who is riding at least a couple levels above me. In addition, there is another, locally well known, dressage instructor nearby who has a history of bringing riders up the levels. At this point I’m still comfortable mainly going it alone for a while both to help with my current level of burnout (weekly lessons just aren’t a thing I can do right now) and because we still really need to build strength more than anything else. However, being able to take a lesson a month or as needed to ensure we’re headed in the right directly would be amazing.
Of course it’s also going to be extremely helpful to be so much closer to the barn. That will help reduce my burnout, increase my motivation to go, and make it easier to get there even when I have more limited time. More than anything I need to get back into a 5 day routine since Katai is not doing well on the 2-3 days a week that I’ve been managing for the past couple of crazy months. So, I finally feel like I have at least the beginning of a plan in place.
Hopefully the reduction in stress and increase in available time will mean I can increase my blogging as well but my first goal is to get my riding back to where it needs to be and then hopefully the blogging will follow!