It seems that even I can't escape the tendency to start fresh at the start of a new year, even though I generally don't like the New Year's holiday and think resolutions are typically setting oneself up for failure... I digress. The point of this post is that Tucker and I are about to start a new chapter, one which hopefully you'll all enjoy following along with.
You may have noticed I haven't been blogging about taking lessons lately... that's because I haven't been. It started for financial reasons, and then I was really busy for a while, and then I got sick... long story short, I've been doing my own thing for the past few months, with the exception of attending a clinic once in October and once in November. I thought I'd be missing my lessons terribly, but the truth is, I don't. And that's not a dig at trainers or at anyone in particular, and that's in no way shape or form to be interpreted as saying I don't need help (because I do, and I will), I've just been really enjoying figuring things out myself. Which came as a surprise to me.
The thing about my schedule is that I work long hours during the week, so I don't get to the farm until around 7 or 8 pm. While I still try to give my horse a good solid ride, sometimes Tucker and I aren't doing much more than getting his parts moving and enjoying each others' company. Which is something I'm completely fine with, and enjoy. To be perfectly honest with myself and you, though, I really don't have the focus, the energy, or the time to have an in-depth training session during the week. So that means I do most of my "substantive" riding on the weekends.
I had to take a step back and slow things down a while to realize this. Now that I've had some time without taking lessons every weekend, I've realized that if I take a lesson or show every weekend, I'm not really practicing in between. The truth is I am still working on things that I learned in my clinics, and those were months ago. And since I haven't signed up for the Olympics, I'm really in no hurry and would rather figure things out right and really "fix" them before I move on to the next project.
Since I'm not taking lessons regularly though, it means I'm not jumping as much. I try to set jumps for myself, but I don't want to be in the way of the other riders, and I can only do so much getting on and off to adjust the fences for myself, so I usually end up setting something very simple, or just jumping whatever little fences are set up for the lessons. Again, not such a bad thing, since we've been practicing fundamentals like pace, rhythm and straightness, but if we are going to be ready to jump around a 3' course again in the Spring, we need to do a little more.
For that reason, I've made the somewhat difficult decision to move Tucker to a new farm.* This came as another surprise to me, because I love my current farm. The facility is great, they get tons of turnout, nice rings, access to trails, I get along with all the other boarders there, and Cindy takes excellent care of my boy. Plus, I love being the one making all the decisions about his feed, his program, what he needs and doesn't need, without feeling the need to conform to a trainer's "system" or "program." For the past year and a half, Tucker and I have been extremely happy there. So I've never considered moving him.
Then I started toying with the idea of getting an apartment of my own (which has since been abandoned because my roommate and I realized we'd be very unhappy if I did). One of the apartments I looked at was near the farm where my friend Kathleen boards, which sparked the conversation that a stall was opening up there, and got me to thinking about how this could be a great next move for Tucker and me. We'd have many of the same benefits we have now (great care, nice facility, trails, lots of turnout), and the added bonus of a fellow h/j amateur and friend on site. We can help each other with setting jumps, building courses and grids, and grooming at horse shows. Neither one of us is riding with a trainer on a regular basis at the moment, so we've got a similar mindset. We'll call it the Amateurs-Helping-Amateurs experiment!
So it's settled now, Tucker and I will be moving to our new home at the end of February. I am very excited to be starting the new leg of our journey. Sorry for the somewhat long-winded post, but I had a lot to catch you guys up on!
*This means a stall is opening up at my current farm. You've heard me rave about it, so if you are in the Mercer County NJ area and looking for affordable, quality boarding, email me at email@example.com.