My weeknights look something like this:
-Show up to barn, turn on all of the lights
-Greet Cho in her stall. Apparently she is still a little put out about me being gone for a week, so when I open her stall door she stands there and stares at me. “Want to put my halter on? Whatever, but I’m not taking a single step to help you.”
-Put her in the crossties for grooming and tacking up. Turn on the arena lights.
-Ride by myself, as usual.
-Talk to Cho a lot. And also respond to her as though she said something, like “yeah yeah, I know.”
When I was in Minnesota the barn was basically my source of social interaction. At home I talked to my cat. At the barn there was usually someone around to chat with.
It’s not that I mind having the arena to myself, but I have no one to share training ideas with, talk things out until they make sense to me. No lessons to watch and learn from. No group lessons for the sense of community. No one riding before or after me. No one to tool around the arena bareback with you when you really don’t feel like riding. No one to commiserate in your no stirrup November misery. No one for “longe me-longe you” seat sessions. Just me. And Cho.
I worry that riding and training in this vacuum is not going to work in our favor. We are heading into month 3 and I’m already starting to question why I do this, why I feel like I need to show second level, why I have goals at all, what the point of this is, why don’t I ride a slightly hotter horse, why does Cho take 20 minutes to warm up and really be on the aids every single ride (or “why does my horse need 20 minutes to be convinced that yes, she needs to go forward”).
Last night I wondered what if this stuff feels great but then we get to a show and it’s not actually great? And in the meantime my position has also gone to shit because I don’t have anyone yelling at me about these goddamn shoulders that won’t stay back and my weird right lower leg that just moves by itself?
In conclusion, being in a barn surrounded by a bunch of other like-minded people is inspiring. It helps keep you on track. When you start having thoughts of “Why the hell is this a thing I decided I should do?!” they are there to cheer you on. There was no lack of quiet moments with my horse, or rides with the arena to ourselves, but we also had a community of people for support and to learn from. And to vent to.
Also I am feeling very sorry for myself and had a not great (it wasn’t even bad, it just wasn’t great) ride on Cholula because I introduced this new exercise and for some really weird reason she didn’t magically have an extended trot at the end of it. And canter lengthenings are the bane of my existence but that is a story for another day. Basically don’t do a bunch of stuff your horse is just learning or is kind of bad at and then be disappointed that everything didn’t feel COMPLETELY AWESOME.