Wednesday, July 25, 2018

All The Changes - Mindset

This is less a post about mindset and more of a post just listing some of the really positive things going on in my life right now since so many of my recent posts have been pretty overwhelmingly negative.

The BF

Not too surprisingly he's one of the shining beacons in my life right now. Being with him is everything I hoped a relationship would be (both the amazing and the tough) and more. He's supportive while also pushing me to be the best version of myself and he appreciates when I do the same for him as well.

Stopped at a light today I took this picture
of the place where we had our third date <3

New Barn

Not necessarily excited about the move but I am so, so, so excited to be closer which will help improve my motivation, and therefore how often I make it out there, and therefore how positive I feel about life :)

The Puppy

I've always loved and always will love Veggie but there's just something different about Moshy who's my little puppy soulmate. She is everything that I've ever wanted in a pet. She's just chill about everything and very calm, dainty, and sweet in a way that none of my other pets have been. I am all about rescuing animals and all of my other animals have always been rescues and I will absolutely rescue again but picking out the exact puppy, and breed I wanted means that she is just perfect for me.

Cleaning her tiny paws

I've still been watching through the Robert Dover clinics for tidbits to work on but in addition I discovered Oliva Tower's Dressage Youtube Channel. She's humble, funny, down to earth, and shares both the good and bad. She struggles/struggled with mindset so it's really enjoyable and motivating to watch her work to improve. I highly recommend all of her videos but the two below are some of my favorites.

Work Right Now

Work certainly wasn't one of the things on this list for a long time but thanks to an amazing manager who honestly asked for my feedback which gave my the ability to share how I was feeling some changes have been made which resulted in a promotion for me as well as a change in workflow. That has removed one of the most repetitive parts of my job and freed up time for me and my coworkers to actually get all of our work done and work on improving projects vs. just constantly struggling to keep our heads above water.

She also really heard me on not wanting to travel as much with some of the stuff I have going on in my life right now which means I haven't traveled since early this year which has been a nice break. I enjoy the travel and am looking forward to getting out to WA again but it's been really nice having a quieter year this year.

Monday, July 23, 2018

All The Changes - New Barn

We are finally getting nice summer weather!
This is going to be one of a series of catch up posts that I’ve written already and will post over the next week or so. Previously I’d been working on multiple updates but by the time I got back to working on the drafts they were always out of date. This way that won’t happen!

Where to start. I think where I automatically want to start is by explaining why I’m moving again since I’m embarrassed by the number of barns I’ve been at. However, every move has been for a good reason and I haven’t burned any bridges or had issues at any of the barns, I’ve just had really good, really different reasons for leaving each time and most of those were because of non-horse life changes that caused a ripple effect.

As mentioned in my last post the main reasons for this move were cost and location. These wouldn’t have been factors if it hadn’t been for all of the other things I have going on in my life right now and, while some of them I maybe could have planned for better, for the most part it took me being at my current barn to decide that it wasn’t going to work out.

The puppies playing/cuddling for T.
I'll have to do a whole post on them at some point :)
Cost and location are pretty clear reasons for a move, however, in addition there is also the fact that while moving to a barn that trailered to shows sounded ideal in practice it’s not necessarily working out for where Katai and I are right now. For one thing they only trailer to a very limited (3-4) number of rated shows per year. No schooling shows, and all of these are out of town, and require a full weekend and a hotel. That is not only costly but tough to make my current schedule align. Plus, right now I really need at least a few schooling shows to help Katai build confidence in being off property at that type of environment. I know, I know, beggars can’t be choosers but based on the shows they selected this year I haven’t been able to attend even one show and I’m concerned about my ability to next year as well. Since that was one of the primary reasons I moved here it was one of the things that caused me to re-evaluate.

When I did decide to re-evaluate I went back to the options I had listed prior to moving to this barn which were:
-Moving to an expensive show type barn that trailers to shows where I don’t need a trailer
-Moving to a cheaper, more bare bones barn that met my basic requirements where I could save some money and hopefully afford a trailer, and therefore more flexibility, in the future.

I tried the first and the only other options for barns like this would cost approx. $1000-$2600 per month (or even $3200 if I wanted them to groom and tack up Katai for me [which I very much do not just so we’re clear]) which is money I certainly don’t have. Plus, in those cases I’d likely be facing very similar problems to what I am right now except that they would be closer to my current location. 
The fairy princess looking like a princess
The second was tough mainly because the barns that I was looking at were very bare bones and were either just pasture board with no supplements fed which would be really tough, really far away which would be tough, or were so bare bones that they didn’t even have an indoor which basically would mean not riding for 4-5 months out of the year in MN.

I sat on this for a long time and had started contacting barns for tours since I knew that would help me make the decision. However, in the meantime I sent a completely unrelated message to a local dressage rider on Instagram commenting on a story she had posted about the gorgeous new rose gold OneK that I’ve been coveting. She actually responded and then I randomly asked her where she boarded since I didn’t recognize the location from the pictures. It turns out that she is the dressage trainer at a unadvertised local barn that met pretty much all of the requirements. Even better she sent me the contact info for the barn manager and when I wrote to the BM I found out that while they almost never have openings they happened to have a couple and were interviewing people that week. I managed to fit in an appointment and for the first time ever interviewed to get into a barn. 
and not looking quite as much like a fairy princess
It felt pretty intense especially since she gave me an idea of the “competition” I was up against but luckily it was determined that Katai and I would fit in well and so we got a spot for move in around mid-August.

This barn is much more in line with Jane’s on a sliding scale of small bare bones barns to fancy huge show barns which is perfect because Jane’s is still my favorite place I’ve boarded at. I may have even gone back to Jane’s except, something I never mentioned is that, it was for sale and sold shortly after I moved out. However, one big improvement is that this barn has two outdoor arenas and trails right on the property. Right down the road there are also additional trails and it’s pretty close to another dressage barn that also has a dressage instructor (because options are nice). There is a dressage instructor/trainer on site as well who I’m hoping to work with (the person I messaged) and I think that she and I will get along just based on following her Instagram for awhile J
Proof that sometimes we have a string of good days :)
There are other dressage people that board there who go to a decent number of local, rated shows and I know that the trainer is willing to haul so fingers crossed this will work out to be the best of both worlds. The indoor is quite small and not heated and the barn is also not heated which is going to be the worst part of the move but with how much closer it is and the other amenities I think it will balance out.

Overall I’d say I’m optimistic about the new barn. I’m not excited about it only because I’m dreading another move and the upheaval it causes and I’m wanting some stability in my life since I’m really over the gypsy lifestyle at this point. However, I’m already feeling motivated to work with Katai when I have a 25 minute drive vs. a 50 minute drive to the barn. I’m also excited about being able to work with another dressage instructor since I learn so much from each person I work with.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Exacerbated (long post feel free to skip)

While I know I haven’t done a good job of updating this blog this year I have still been reading all of the blogs I subscribe to. Reading a couple of posts recently made me want to post an update on what is going on more from my riding perspective and mind set than just a general update so here goes.

 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...
 Yeah, so while I’m certainly struggling with moving to 2nd level that’s been exacerbated by all of the other things going on in my life. It is a two way street though and while I’ve shared a lot about all of the other things there is certainly a component of the barn and riding no longer feeling entirely like my happy place, at least not to the extent that it did. The question then is whether I’m going to let myself continue to be derailed and just not focus on riding as much as I have been or completely let the blog go but I don’t want to do either of those things and honestly my life wouldn’t be complete without horses and working toward some sort of riding accomplishments.

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
Having laid that out I feel less guilty for not being able to get to the barn as much or guilty for our lack of progress. Then when I look at budget as well and that is also tight. Moving into the new apartment, needing to pay for parking every day, boarding at a more expensive barn without lessons included, a new puppy, a new (used) car, needing/wanting to go out on dates with my bf… All of these things were items that I took into account but it still feels tighter than I want which is annoying. The tighter budget means fewer lessons and less ability to do shows and/or clinics.

 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 have a couple of other ideas as well to help take some pressure off and bf is amazing as always since after I figured this out we had a long positive and supportive conversation about doing a food prep and chores day together. That way we could both get stuff ready together for our busy weeks since not having food to eat has been one of the huge stressors I’ve been dealing with. We’ve also talked about leaving more weekends open so that we can just veg and hang out together or do our own thing (riding for me and climbing for him) vs. always having stuff scheduled.

 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!


With my current decision to move I didn't have to think that long to decide which barn I would move to if I could. The barn I'm movi...