The universe is giving me a lot of lessons lately. I’ve heard my various trainers say things like, “The horse is really struggling with this exercise. Let’s change it to make it easier, and once he gets the easier thing, we’ll quit.” Or sometimes, we make the choice to quit before his frustration and mine go to an undesirable place. And while I’ve understood it intellectually, I’m getting a good dose now of understanding how the horse feels.
All this begs three questions: 1) why quit?, 2) how do I quit?, and 3) when do I come back?. You will notice that “Do I come back?” isn’t on the table. We’ll get to that later…
Why? Well, to begin with, the horse hunt is taking way more time than I anticipated, and we are still horseless. I found a great prospect, but he’s in Kentucky, and I’m in DC, so my trainer doesn’t think much of that idea. I haven’t had much in the way of lessons all summer because my barn shuts down their school lesson program for summer camp. I’ve caught an odd lesson here and there, but they’ve been sporadic at best. My attempts at a lease just aren’t working out. My (admittedly one) attempt at showing was less than desired — we just didn’t ride well. On top of that our barn contractor and the National Park Service are pointing fingers at each other about the things that need to be fixed at our facility, but still nothing is being done. And to top it all off, aren’t being allowed to take care of it ourselves. The barn was built a very long time ago, and as a result, it is in desperate need of some serious maintenance.
How do I quit? I’m off to a yoga retreat this weekend. I’ll be out of town, away from the barn, and scheduled to twist myself into a pretzel regularly for the next four days. During this time, I’m going to do my best not to think about horses at all. I will meditate, and breathe, and stretch, and hope that giving myself a physical break might give me a much needed mental break as well. With luck it will carry over to my riding when I come back.
When do I come back? This isn’t a forever thing, but I need to take some time away from my horse hunt (and work and family and everything else). Plus, I’m doing a hunter show in two weeks, and there are those family obligations to attend to. So there isn’t much more time to take off.
The “exercise” of my life isn’t going according to plan right now, and it’s frustrating. So instead of beating my head against a wall, I’m quitting. It may sound like I’m giving up. But honestly I just need a break. I’m done. I’m walking away…
Normally, horses are my refuge. I have a relatively high-stress day job. I have family obligations that are more stressful than the job. But the barn gives me a place where I can forget all that, and have some fun with friends, riding, and the horses themselves. So I’m taking some time off. Yes, it’s just a long weekend. I’m hoping that’s all I need. I’m hoping this will be the pause that refreshes.
I’ve been a horse junkie since I was 9 years old, when my Dad offered me horseback riding lessons in exchange for moving to Kentucky. (We moved a lot when I was a kid). I’ve been dreaming of owning my own horse for a very long time. I’m never going to completely give up my ponies. But although I love them, every now and again I really do need a break. As in just about everything, I’ll always need some time off.