I've made it a point over the past few days to really sit down and think hard about what I *really* want out of my horses, what I want to be doing, and what I want them to be doing. Honestly, since I lost Gogo, I've sort of been whirling around without any serious goals to aim for, and sometimes I feel like I am really struggling to get back to that level of commitment. When I had her, everything in life completely revolved around her and our career together - we were like mac and cheese, we just went together and completed each other. There was never ANY question about what our collective goals were, and it was very hard when we lost that due to her injuries. I didn't really know what to do with myself at the time, and now, several years later, I don't really know how to quite get myself back to that pre-injury mindset that I had.
What do I WANT to be doing with my horses? What I really want, if I am honest with myself, is a horse who will win the dressage and skip around clean XC and stadium, and who will be capable of Prelim if we get there - who doesn't want that? Eventing is part of my very being, part of my identity, and trying to leave it completely is just not possible. I don't want to and I don't think I could.
What do I NOT want to do? I don't want to wind up in a situation where I an projecting my desires and dreams onto an animal that can't physically or mentally handle them. Immy, as the prime example, was not ever going to be mentally capable of being an event horse, as much as I tried and as much as I wanted her to be. I did the right thing and made sure she was in a situation where she would be comfortable and happy, even though it wasn't what I had originally planned. As for O, I'm on the fence. I feel as though I have put a huge deal of pressure on myself because of the close proximity of the AECs. I mean, they're right HERE! Why wouldn't I want to shoot for them, I can do it!
But at the same time, I don't want to set either of us up for disappointment. While I might be able to help her jumping form out, and her canter as well, there is only so much that I can do to really improve those things. I don't want to expect things from her that she isn't physically really capable of, and I don't want to be disappointed in her for something that isn't her fault. It makes me sound like a snob, but I just don't want to show unless I am going in there to win. I don't enjoy going into a show feeling unprepared or like we are going to make fools of ourselves, especially at expensive events, so I am quick to back away from it. I don't want to dive into this with her thinking it will be just like it was with Gogo, when it will not be anything like it was with Gogo (and shouldn't be). O is not Gogo and will not ever be anything like her. And somehow, the thought of eventing with her has just not brought out the same level of excitement in me that it ever did with Gogo.
Could she do it? Of course she could. To the level I want? I don't really know. Should I keep pursuing it, or pursue other things? I don't know that either.
What I do know is that there are so many other things that I want to do with her - the things I outlined in my last post. I find myself trying to rationalize wanting to do these things, for reasons that I don't really understand (i.e. why I should do them instead of eventing, which I feel that I *should* be doing, although I don't know why exactly I feel that I *should* be doing them other than they are the only things I know how to do). I think that is exactly what it boils down to.... eventing is the only horsey sport I really know how to do. It is the only thing I have ever done, for as long as I remember. It has always been what I have done.
Of course I still want to event. But, I need to have a horse that will be that knockout specialist in that sport to do it the way I really want and O doesn't fit that kind of mold. O is much more of a jack of all trades than say Tre, who is probably going to be REALLY great at eventing and really BAD at things like chasing cows, running barrels, and trotting for a million miles up the trail. (I mean you never know, but she is a very different mover and a very different personality!) O might not be that knockout dressage horse, but she can still do it. She might not be a fantastic jumper, but she can still do it. She might not be a specialist at anything, but she can do EVERYTHING. And seeing that in her - really stepping back and seeing that - is kind of exhilarating. I mean, what CAN'T we try and not expect to probably do reasonably well at?
So, I got brave. I signed us up for our first little endurance ride. It isn't even an LD (which is 25 miles), it is an intro ride that goes for more like 10 or 15 miles (the ultimate noob level). At this point, we can do that in our sleep, but this is a brand new experience for me. I've been grilling poor Funder for help, and if anyone else has some tips, I'd love to hear them! This is a big branch-out for me... I've never done anything quite like it before. I'm excited, and a little bit nervous! It is hard knowing I am going to walk onto a property and have literally NO idea where to start, aside from what I have been told to do.
Feel free to chime in and help or offer advice/encouragement/anything you want! It is on Nov 9th, so we have about two weeks to mentally prep for it. Holy moley, I can't believe I am doing this!
In other news, Miss Tre is turning out to be a super cute little mare. She is your typical dinky QH mover until you activate her and get her moving, and then she can be quite fancy. She is going to be an activate-activate-activate kind of ride, which is going to be a nice change. She has a beautiful, quiet, lopey canter - naturally, she wants to be a bit downhill, but when I have asked her to slow and gather herself on the lunge, she can practically canter in place. I haven't been on her since our first ride - I wanted to get a week or so worth of solid workouts on the lunge under our belts first, to better gauge her personality and attitude - but she has gotten better and quieter every day. Tomorrow is supposed to be nasty and stormy, but maybe I can sneak in a quick ride before the weather turns nasty!
Geez is she cute or what? If I can rotate that energy towards her hind end and lift her front end up, she'll be adorable in the dressage!