Monday, August 22, 2016

Upping your ode to those that never stop pushing

Today an article from Eventing Nation popped up in my news feed and instantly the title drew me in: Up your game – Sometimes things get worse before they get better.

Success doenst always mean ribbons, but placing well is certainly a benefit
I have officially saved and printed this article to keep in my tack box. Most of us that compete have the drive to want to achieve more. We push ourselves, set goals and test our own limits. Sometimes that means stepping slightly out of your comfort zone or your horses...what makes a good horse person is knowing when to stop or to do that while keeping things positive.

Like knowing when to ask your trainer to hop on your horse for more insight

I have been living by the motto #progressnotperfection with that whole philosophy in mind. Sometimes, progress means having to take a step back or feeling a bit awful before the success or reaping the benefits. Lately, stepping up to Training level I have felt a bit self conscious and a plethora of other negative emotions along with it forcing me to question maybe I should not push to be doing Training level yet. I could reason why or why not all day long, but this article sums up much more concisely what i am trying to say in this post.

I am not perfect. Tillie and I definitely bring out many bad traits in one another sometimes so much so that I have questioned if we are the right fit for one another. I am sure many other fellow equestrians have also been there too. It comes with the territory when riding a living, breathing, evolving animal.

Oh the angst! 
I do pride myself on knowing my horse like the back of my hand, like most of us do. I know when she isnt quite right, I know how much to push her and when to back off and sometimes even against my better judgement I cave to my emotions and Tillie sets me straight telling me it wasnt fair...and I know when she will. I can tell if she is slightly off - sure not lame or unsound, but just isnt right. Sometimes I see lameness when there isnt any to see because I am so paranoid.

Like freaking out about her yawning at first...but now i know when she does it, what prompts it and when its abnormal.
The article resounded so much to me because Tillie and I are living it right now. I recently have stepped out of what feels comfortable to push to be better. Its disconcerting and can mentally get to you if you let it. I am lucky to have many people to talk me off the ledge...more importantly the backing of many trainers confirming what we are capable of. And yet, I all too easily let judgement of others creep in.

I can admit that from others looking in, not knowing our situation, its easy to think wow that was a fast move up. I am stating this because I've gotten those remarks...and I would be lying if I said they didn't bother me.

Our first event of the season at Beginner Novice

I have a pretty nasty habit of letting what others resonate and haunt me...some of it is assumed (so may be unfounded) some of it is definitely based on remarks that are pretty blantant. I know I can be sensitive when it comes to Tillie and what I am doing for soooo many reasons, but this, as many of you will understand, is my passion. So yea, I get a bit worked up about it.

I even take PTO and havent taken a vaca with own hubby to do things like go to K3DE
I have pretty big dreams and aspirations...I know it takes baby steps like the article says, sometimes millimeters before centimeters or inches, but its progress. I am incredibly self conscious about any progress we make...again way too much to delve into without this turning into a novel. But basically because I don't want anyone to feel like I brag.

Our first novice this season...and I might have bragged a little
But to all fellow equestrians out there that put in the work and try so hard to improve: You get to brag sometimes and its ok. You know why? Because like this article says, for every step forward it takes both an inner and outer struggle to get there. But you did it! Even if no one else sees it as step forward, YOU know.

This isnt an us against them post: but it is a believe in  yourself, cheesy, over-the-top, motivational one hopefully. We ALL have our own stuff to overcome. If your lucky you have a great support system to help you weed through the thick of it. If you arent, know you arent alone and someday you will find the right people to be your support.

Like finding the Dom Schramm clinic which has led to him becoming my trainer and a huge catalyst for us this season.

I currently am competing at the highest level I ever thought I would get to. Its a big deal to me. Only recently did I realize I have a horse that is capable of taking us further. No matter what, I know this because I have the trainers and coaching taking us through the growing pains Ive blogged about to get to the next level. I hope everyone out there reading...not that there are many of you...finds a way to push past the boundaries and just keep trying.

Like setting jumps like this!! I dont think Id ever set an oxer this high or wide for myself without my coach....and doing it never felt too much with their guidance but alone maybe...
Despite our recent events on paper, which read like bad or poor outcomes, I am so incredibly proud of them. I thought for sure the first Training level event Tillie ever would do would be with a trainer of my choosing on her back, not me. So you could say I am a bit proud of myself too (which you will NEVER hear me credit myself like this ever again.)

Competing in our first Training event
Its normal to doubt yourself...lately I have for silly reasons. I sometimes still doubt Tillie and its unfair to her. She is awesome. She has proven to me that with some resilience and determination, tenacity can get you somewhere.

Like I said, our Training debut and second attempt may not be a "win" on paper, but the very phase I was most concerned about with the move up (and is the most dangerous) has been the most petrifying, exhilarating and fun phase (in that exact order)...and dare I say it, has felt effortless. Tillie has been bold, confident and made my job easy which makes this whole experience way more fun.

Anyone that has overcome that struggle and mental hurdle knows the internal joy, but its never enough when you are hungry. I do think sometimes that drive for "more" can be judged as being too much. But I also think sometimes pushing the limits is needed. You'll learn by trying that too much is when its too long as you know when it is and when to let up. If you have great trainers they ride that line so you never exceed "too much" and always slowly test what is next. I dont believe Tillie and I have reached this is too much, but we are in a place of needing to adjust and get back on the same page. While we may be slightly in a transitional period, I trust in our training. I trust in the plan my trainers are telling us to do and she steps up to the plate when I need her to.

So getting off my pedestal now, this is meant for anyone out there doubting themselves. Know your horse, know yourself. Take the leap but only enough that it scares you just enough to be outside your comfort zone but doesn't shake your confidence. Sure we may not snag the ribbon, the approval of others or whatever your own stuff is...but be confident enough in your partnership with your horse to know when the improvements happen even when no one else notices.

Dont ever stop pushing. Dont stop dreaming. It may not turn out or look like the picture you originally thought of, but anyone that hinders that progress or dream is someone that will only hinder you. It may take longer than  you wanted, a different horse, a different coach or what ever...but dont ever stop believing. Its ok to be passionate. Its ok sometimes to brag and celebrate the win...and there always is one somewhere in the mess that is horse ownership.


  1. Love everything about this post! It makes me so happy to see how much you and Tillie have advanced in the time I've been reading your blog. It inspires me! :) For me working on my mounting block struggles has been a battle that I've fought by myself, and I'm really proud of how I've overcome my somewhat irrational fears haha. <3

    1. Thank you so much :) and you should feel proud no matter what the obstacle is you YOU it was a big one and it mattered. Im glad you have conquered some of those fears!