Life is funny. Any of you fellow bloggers know that some of your blog/Facebook friends become *real* friends, whether you ever meet face to face or not. Some you hope to meet and make plans for it to happen, some you would like to meet but figure it's not going to happen for one reason or another, and some you're okay remaining "computer friends" with. Well a couple weeks ago I met a fellow blogger that I've been friends with for eight years now, one that I figured it wouldn't be likely that I'd ever meet even though I wanted to. (I just don't get to travel much!) Anyway it all started over, what else, horses. She had a horse that didn't fit in her program and she didn't want to just sell him on the open market. One night we were chatting and she offered him to me, and I'll admit I thought it was a joke at first. We chatted about it off and on over the late winter/early spring and the I realized, I had a trade for her! Tavi and I just didn't get along, and he's a nice enough horse that someone experienced could bring out his potential better than I would be able to, not to mention the whole butting heads made him the last horse I wanted to ride. We fleshed out a plan, originally we were going to meet but then she said it's not that much further just to come all the way to Saskatoon. Well okay then, the best part was we'd get an actual visit in not just a quick meet and trade! So two weeks ago she rolled into my yard late one night. I met her down at the barn and as she climbed out of her truck she said "I'd hug you but I'm smelly from traveling" (or something along those lines) and I said "Hey I just did chores!", and that's how BEC and I met face to face for the first time! lol We got Frosty unloaded and settled then went up the the house where Hubster had a very late supper waiting for us. The three of us ended up talking til 2AM then we chatted all the way into the city while we got BEC to her hotel. The next morning we rode and visited. Marge (my equine body worker) came over and talked to BEC about some maintenance stuff for Frosty and then they both rode him, that's right Marge got on before I did! lol Later on BEC and I rode some more, she tried Tavi and I rode Lefta. (thanks for the tips BEC!) and of course we visited a ton. Then early that evening we realized we had no pics! So I got Hubster to take a pic of the four of us :)
Hoss tradin' ;)
Hubster, BEC & I went out for supper that night and visited pretty late again. Then the next morning there was a short visit before BEC and Tavi loaded up to head back stateside. It was a short visit, and it sure flew by, but it was awesome to meet in person and have it go so well! Especially when we had both joked we felt a bit of "first date" jitters lol
It's funny how horses can do that. My confidence has never been super high, and from time to time something will happen that makes all of us take a step back and look at your horse life. My biggest 'stumble' as far as confidence was the whole debacle with Quinn. My confidence in myself as a horse person was at an all time low but thankfully I rebuilt and ended up more confident than before. However there are times and horses that bring you down a peg and for me recently that is Tavi.
He's not a bad horse but the two of us together are like firecrackers. We just set each other on edge, maybe if he was my only horse I'd dedicate more time to working through things but I have plenty of others to ride which makes it really hard to chose the tough horse, especially when horses are my "fun" thing. (don't get me wrong, there are plenty of challenging times with the others!);)
Tavi is six now and not getting used anywhere near enough and I hate to see him wasting as a pasture ornament, especially as he's matured into a really nice looking horse that seems to have more athletic ability than what I would have thought if you'd asked me about him a year ago. He was bought to be Hubster's horse, but that's not quite working out either. Hubs has medical issues that have become very serious these last few months. Not to mention he never did find time for more riding lessons, which he would need with a green broke horse. So last year I had decided I wanted to sell Tavi. Hubster didn't agree, and as it was his horse I agreed to keep him and try some more.
Coach put another month on him for me. I rode him at her place (I also take lessons with her) and he was fine but something just didn't feel right. Then I tried to ride him at home and it was fireworks again. aargh!!
Now here's where the confidence takes a hit... I really don't know why Tavi and I have such a bad relationship. Actually to be specific it's a bad riding relationship, we're fine on the ground. Other people ride him, and some are not very good riders, and everything is fine. As a matter of fact a friend got on him after he'd been sitting since last fall and he was peachy keen. That kind of thing really makes you take a look at yourself, am I that bad a rider?! Are my other horses just way more patient or forgiving than him and put up with me? Very humbling.
Instead I choose to think that it's like any other relationship... not every pairing of people get along, even when both of them are lovely people... not all horses get along with each other... not every rider and every horse get along.
So where is this all going? After all this Hubster has finally agreed that IF the right situation were to come along Tavi could move on and through a twist of fate that might just be happening. So while my confidence has taken a hit it's also about to be challenged and hopefully like last time I'll have come out with more confidence!
If you've read my blog for any length of time, or picked out the labels for barrel racing, you'll know I barrel race but on a low level of the sport. I don't rodeo, I don't futurity, I do compete in a provincial organization that is based on a 3D format (there are some 4D events as well).
Why? Well there's a variety of reasons but chief among them is I don't have the time or money to rodeo - heck it ain't cheap! Nor do I have a horse that would be competitive at that level - although maybe one day that won't be a factor. (sidenote, you can spend $8K to get a 2-3D jackpot horse in my area, and that's on the low end)
Another big reason for me is that horses are my hobby not my career, they're supposed to be fun - and usually they are, but of course there are 'those days'. (I need to bring my competitive side out more - as per some friends - and trying to find the balance between that and fun is a whole 'nother blog post!)
Every once in awhile some discussion will pop up in some form or another regarding barrel racing and the D system and often in these discussions there will be some disparaging comments about the girls that place in the bottom Ds, things like "they could be 1 or 2 D if they worked harder".
Now there may be some that take it lightly or don't put much effort in, but there are others that do take it seriously (even if, like me, it's "just for fun"). They may not be able to afford the kind of athlete that places in the 1D so they take the horses they CAN afford and make them what they can. They train, take clinics, take lessons, read, study and devour everything barrel racing that they can get their hands on. They study feed, supplements, and therapies. They work to keep their horses conditioned and in shape. They work their butts off.
Comments about 1D (and sometimes 2D) riders and horses *deserving*better prizes/payout because they work harder may not be outright calling down on the 3/4D horses but it is belittling and saying they don't deserve the same for their achievements and is really disheartening for those riders to hear.
Now I'm not saying give everyone a participation ribbon, but if someone places they deserve to be treated like a winner because in their D they are!
Another one of the comments that is ugly is that because they're "only" 3 or 4 D they aren't really barrel racers - and to that I say excuse me, I've got a buckle that says otherwise ;) :p
(let's hope it's less than 20 seconds!)
What upsets me about this type of thinking, other than the fact that it's small, petty, and mean, is that in the grand scheme of things the horse world is a small place and it is widely acknowledged that equestrian sport (or heck even just owning and/or riding without competitive goals) faces a decline of new people - those baby boomers are aging out, who is stepping up to take their place!?
We need to do what we can to promote our sport and encourage others to give it a shot, which is exactly what the D system was designed to do! It creates a chance for riders and horses of any calibre to get some experience and maybe earn some cash/prizes/bragging rights. Instead of belittling or negating the achievements of the lower D people we need to encourage them... heck some of those "little" 3D racers ARE going to be 1D and rodeo winners some day! Might as well be on friendly terms with your competition ;)
Some of the stuff I liked and took away:
* check out different reasons for the issue: maybe your horse needs some down time, maybe it's a pain or medical issue.
* stay ready to run but keep relaxed while you're waiting. It won't kill you to not visit your friends for a few minutes.
* some horses need to move to stay relaxed, it doesn't take a lot of space to keep them moving
* try to avoid turning around if you get held up
* ride like you train! If you train with hands low, keep them low and vice versa
* keep yourself relaxed, did y'all catch how her horse reacted when she 'tensed up'?