Tuesday, January 10, 2012

New Chapter

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 tuckerthewunderkind@gmail.com.


  1. Eva and I have been Ammys helping Ammys for years now-- I can only imagine how much more helpful it would be if we boarded together. Sounds like a GREAT move to me! I'm in a similar situation with weekday riding. The whole working professional financing riding thing doesn't leave toooo much time for riding and training, so we just have to learn to take it slow and enjoy what we do :) Good Luck to you and Tucker too!

  2. I think you and Tucker will like your new place, it's always nice to have a friend who can help. Good luck in your new adventure.

    Not having a trainer all the time is sort of nice sometimes. As you say it allows you and your horse to figure things out on your own. After years and years of different trainers (some good, some not so good) my daughter and I just stopped taking lessons. She went a step further and researched and researched and studied different philosophies of riding until she had an idea of what sort of horse-person she was most comfortable being and how she wanted to ride. I've benefited from her studies and when I need a lesson I go to her. It's handy having a talented trainer in the family!

  3. Very fun!! I do have a trainer at the moment, but it is super fun to actually have other like minded people to ride with. I bet you'll have a blast.

    Your barn sounds great. I'm sure they'll have no trouble filling another stall. ;-)

  4. Good luck with the next step in your journey! It's always hard to leave a good barn, but it sounds like the right move for you two :)

  5. Whatttttt??? The question is, are you closer or further from my parents house, because that's ultimately all that matters, haha...Just kidding, I'm excited for you guys! Sounds like youre making a wise choice and a great move!

  6. A break from lessons can be very useful - like you said, time to integrate what you've learned on your own. Sounds like a good (but hard!) choice: two great places!

    It will be fun to have a riding practice buddy to work with too. Due to a change in work hours, I lost my riding practice buddy, and sorely miss her. We helped each other a lot, and had a blast.

    Have fun!!

  7. Wow! I am excited for you. We have so much stress in our lives and Amateurs-Helping-Amateurs experiment sounds like it will be a stress-reduced environment for learning while still having fun with friends. Best wishes!

  8. Ooooh, big changes! I've been riding rogue for the last *cough* way too many years, and I don't think my riding has suffered too terribly for it. It's really nice to step back, take a breather, and enjoy riding without the pressures of meeting a trainer's expectations.

    I'm also considering moving barns, even though I love where Pony is currently at. I couldn't as for better care, but the commute there is killing me. It really dampens my motivation to ride. I hate driving an hour RT, when all Pony sometimes needs is a 20 min ride.


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