Thursday, September 8, 2011

Agenda-less Riding

I decided after looking at the show roster a second time and discovering that only Open Reining was offered instead of both it and Reining 1st/2nd Year as I had believed I saw, that I was not going to attend the Washington State Finals show coming up here in only a few short weeks. I had been looking forward to going to this particular show since October of last year, and as summer began coming to a close, I was beginning to get very excited for it. This show is the final one of the Washington State Horseman's B System series throughout the state, and it is the "must" event of the season. Everyone goes to it - many locals we have all known and competed against, and even those we dont know from the breed circuits come to vie for one of the many, many buckles offered. Needless to say, my final decision was a little hard to swallow.

Granted, there is nothing physically stopping me from going still, it's not like I "can't" go. Its that I dont see a real need to go. See, as I watched the Open Reiners beautiful runs at this last weekend's show and listened to their fantastic scores, I knew they were a league out of reach from me still. I am happy with where Milo and I have come in only a short span of time working with Sarah, but we are still not at the Open level. Sarah encouraged me saying that she believed I should still go to the Finals show. But why? Spend money on the class cost, the judges fees, the office fees, take time off of work, and pay in gas prices for the haul an hour and a half away. And even if I did haul in the morning-of and save on overnight fees and stall rental costs, would this big-ticket event be worth one class that I didnt feel I had a strong contention placing well in? Basically, a schooling show for me? The experience would be great, but the numbers dont seem to be adding up.

I've been mulling over my decision for the last two days since I finally voiced it, and I am feeling more and more secure about it. In fact, it seems, my agenda-less riding has improved. Suddenly, my horse wants to execute flying lead changes, he spins great, and our lope is continuing to develop nicely (more on this in another post). We feel more straight and connected than only a week ago. The poundage of stress for the impeding show seemed to have improved my riding. No longer am I riding thinking in terms of calendar days left before the "big show". Instead, I'm riding without a calendar, simply trying to improve upon my horsemanship.

In the last two days, I have been able to find connection on the groundwork again, find my left seat bone, and ride much more relaxed and quietly.

It's amazing how an agenda truly effects our outlook on riding. And you know what? I'm not too bummed about my decision, for there will always be another Finals show, and a whole winter series of schooling shows to look forward to now. Yippee!


Anonymous said...

Sometimes taking the pressure off is just the thing - that's where I am too right now.

in2paints said...

That exact thing has happened to me before as well. I think it just takes the tension out of my body (and mind) and it makes for a much better ride.

I would like to see you go to the show, but I understand how it just doesn't make sense right now. I've skipped a lot of shows for that reason too, and like you said, there are more coming!

An Image of Grace said...

I totally understand where you are coming from!

Story said...

Sounds like the right decision. It looks like you and Milo are getting to a point where more ring time probably wouldn't progress you that much. You both look comfortable and confident out there. Take a break from horse show countdown, and then you can get back to schooling maneuvers over the winter. Perfect those spins, stops, and rundowns for next year and then go out and kick butt.