I deliberately put competing and training (and sometimes even horses in general) on the back burner, for possibly the first time in my life. I needed a pressure release valve, and that was it (since I can't exactly not work all summer, or not pay bills all summer, or not move to a new town, or avoid any of my usual sources of stress). I needed something that was easy to take off my plate, something that wouldn't really have any consequences if I just didn't do it. Since Tucker had a little time off for his aforementioned injecting-all-the-things situation, and since we are right smack in the middle of First and Second levels in terms of our skills, this was a pretty easy choice.
|Not the least bit worried about his summer curriculum|
It gave me the freedom not to feel guilty if I had a few days in a row where I didn't make it to the barn, or if I had social, non-horse plans on the weekend, and to go on a week's vacation to the beach. I needed it. Things I did instead of showing:
|Hung out with my nieces|
|Took beach selfies|
|Saw lots of pretty sunsets|
|Went camping in the rain|
|Went swimming with baby dogs|
Of course, it also meant that I didn't have much material for blogging, but I kind of figured that would happen. The good news is that I'm still a crazy horse girl and even though I told myself I was under no obligation to do so, I still wanted to ride and work on our goals and spend as much time as humanly possible with this guy.
|I mean, look at him.|
So, I did. And even though we weren't really chasing goals, he has continued to thrive, and we have made tiny incremental progress toward the skills we need for Second Level. Shoulder-in is coming right along. I'm figuring out what a collected trot should feel like. His counter-canter is getting better and better. I'm struggling a little bit less with sitting his trot (but barely).
We've been working on canter-walk-canter transitions. Progress is very, very slow. A month ago, if I practiced them two days in a row, Tucker either threatened to rear or threw his head in the air and took off like a terrified camel. This past weekend, we did them Sunday and Monday, and Monday's transitions were better than Sunday's. So, he's slowly figuring it out. The next step is convincing him that after a canter-walk-canter transition, he can go forward again. Since the test will require him to do three in a row and then do a medium canter. Gulp.
We can now get through 2-1. It's pretty messy and not ready for public viewing yet and requires some extra circles on occasion, and we walk for way more steps than we will once we start showing in the canter-walk-canter transitions. But that means we'll be ready by next Spring when I'm going to pick up showing again. (See, even when I don't have goals, I still have goals. It's the blessing and curse of being Type-A.)
The other reason I haven't been blogging is that I started writing in my journal again. I had stopped writing when I was with Ethan, and I used to write almost every night. One of the signs of trouble in that relationship is that I was never allowed to be alone. I couldn't go sit in the other room and read, or write for a bit before bed, or just be by myself for a while, without causing a massive fight. Time to myself is something I've learned that I will always need, and will be non-negotiable in every relationship from now on.
I had a lot of things that I needed to write privately about. I needed to write about how the heck I ended up in the situation I found myself in last Spring. How did I turn into that person? How did I lose touch with all my friends? How did my life turn into constantly taking care of someone else, and forgetting to take care of myself? Where did my self-esteem run off to? Where did all this anxiety come from? Why did I always think everyone was mad at me?
My alone time has been my most favorite thing about this summer. I forgot how much I like my own company. But my mind can get a little too busy sometimes, so writing (especially before bed) helps me quiet it down. I write about Ethan, sometimes things that I wouldn't want to admit to anyone out loud, sometimes things that are a little too melodramatic for public consumption. I write about stuff from way back in my childhood and I'm making connections between old patterns and current patterns. You know, all that emotional/mental hard work it takes to be a just barely functional human.
|Fully functional cat. Complete lack of mental anguish.|
And I needed to write about a new someone, but this thing is so new that I can't really say anything about it here. All I will tell you is that I cannot even say his name without smiling. It's new and it's fun but I also have a truckload of baggage to work through. Trust me when I tell you that I needed to write about that privately.
So, unless they publish my memoirs posthumously, you'll probably never get to read all that stuff. But it was helpful for me to write, even if it never gets read. I missed you all though, as I always do when I take a break from blogging. And now the missing-you feeling has taken over the needing-to-be-alone feeling that I had a couple months ago. So you can expect that I'll be back to posting and reading and commenting. And telling you all about this boy. Who is still my heart and soul, wrapped up in a big brown package.