Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Making time...

There comes a time when you need to make some changes and make time for the things and people that matter most.  Ever since high school, I really can't remember a time when I was riding (other than right after having my boys) that I didn't have an outside horse in to train.  I've been blessed in working with some awesome people who provided me some amazing horses over the years to work with.  I'm so grateful for those that believed in me enough to entrust me with their horses.  This has been my life.  I love training horses and putting that solid foundation on them so that they can go on and excel with their owners and have a successful career long after they leave our barn.   Knowing that this summer was going to be busy with our two boys and getting back into the groove, I kept my outside horses to a minimum.  After sending my last outside horse home this last weekend, I was humbled as I read through my waiting list of horses to ride and of the continued support and belief people have in me and my program. This made my decision to not take in any more outside horses even harder to make.

I think back on some of the horses I've had the great privilege to throw my saddle on.  All of them I learned something on that helped mold me into the trainer and rider that I am today.   The experience and knowledge that I gained has been invaluable through these horses.  All the hard work, wear and tear on my body,  riding in the wind/rain/snow/heat/cold weather are all worth it as I hear about horses that have came through my barn go on to make nice barrel horses for their owners.  Some have brought home purple ribbons at the fair, are saddle winners, hitting the pro circuit, making the high school finals, whatever avenue they are in, it makes my heart happy to hear the updates from their owners.  

I realize though that my family is growing up too fast and all the time that I can spend with them now, I need to cherish it while it's there because it will be gone in the blink of an eye.  Not only our boys, but our own horse program is young and ready to go on with too. Our first colts are three and are in need of being first in line to be saddled instead of saddling that outside horse first.  The time has come for me to put my whole heart and soul into our own family and our horse program.  I'm excited to be able to spend this time on something that we've worked so hard for and seeing the results.  I'm excited to be able to spend more time with my boys, doing more things with them and not being rushed to do this and do that.  I'm thankful for my hard working husband for all he does so that it allows me to take this step back.

Now is the time...Now is the time, to make time for what matters most.  I'm not going to say that I'm done training for the public, but for now, my saddle is going on those O-O branded horses.  I'm happy, I'm hopeful, and I'm ready for this change.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Sink or Swim....

This summer has just been flying by and we've been doing our best to catch up with everything that needs done.  This summer has had it's up's and downs for me.  At the beginning of the summer, I thought I'd be much further in my barrel racing than I am at this point.  I've been struggling with my confidence and balance like never before.  My husband commented after a barrel race earlier this summer that it looked like I just had no confidence anymore and it was shot.  He is definitely right!  I certainly thought that coming back after baby number 2 that I'd have a much easier time getting back in the groove, after all I've done this before right? Not....

I've set myself up for failure in many ways.  With hauling a stud and trying to prove him, I feel like I'm always under the microscope and any false move or bad run, people will look down on my horse. There is nothing worse than to have people talk ill about your stallion and the program that you've spent most of your life on.  However, the other day as I was riding Elvis I was thinking, no one else knows the details of our journey.  No one else has ridden this horse to feel what he has, and no one else knows how little confidence I really have left.  Quite frankly, it doesn't matter what other people think or say at this point.  It's all a matter of going out there and doing what's best for my horse, myself, and my family.

Also while on this ride (I think the most clearly when I'm in the saddle), I started thinking of something that I have really struggled with about trainer vs competitor mode.  I am a perfectionist so I always feel like I'm in "trainer" mode.  However, if you always looking for perfection and never step out of your comfort zone, you can never really achieve that next level.  With this, it hit me...You can't ride a horse like a 4D rider and expect to come out in the 1D.  You have to be able to ride that horse with all you have, whether it be hustling or just setting there on a free runner. Ride that horse to the best of YOUR ability but most of all, you have to go into that arena, BELIEVING you're on a 1D horse.

For me, riding aggressive has been a down fall.  I like my horses to go out there and just do their job, but sometimes, especially on these ratey/turny horses I've been riding lately,  I'm seeing how badly I need to adjust my riding style to being aggressive and ride up all the way into the pocket. For those of you that personally know me, you more than likely know about a little sorrel mare named Vandy.  Vandy is one of my barrel horses that was on maternity leave like me this past year and finally I've weaned her colt and am getting her back into shape.  She is the perfect example of having to ride aggressive.  Either your ride aggressive or you'll knock a barrel or she'll flat out leave you in the dirt as she spins around a barrel.  She's quick, powerful and unlike Elvis, she has no mercy.  She has no problem leaving me high and dry where as Elvis has taken better care of me this year than he should for his young age.

I'm hoping that with getting back to running Vandy in the next couple of weeks that that absolute "need" to ride aggressive will in turn cross over to Elvis who desperately needs me to be aggressive and have more confidence.  I don't really have any answers on how to get out of trainer mode and onto competitor mode, but I'm sure hoping that Vandy gives me a good jump start into figuring it out!

It's time to sink or swim....