When I opened this file to work on this blog, I saw that I started it back in mid May. I guess winter funks are just as yucky to write about as to experience. Plus, once spring hit, things started rolling along nicely, with more ups than downs, which makes this blog feel whiny and outdated—my apologies for being the downer. But an update is needed before I go into the good stuff that is happening, so here it is. Better late and one post-funk blog than several months of depressing dribble.
That said, last year was tough.
The quick 2012 synopsis: I decided to keep Sling and Secret, two super-fun horses, home from competition. They both had strength-related training issues, which are challenging because they resolve so gradually it’s hard to see the progress – unlike teaching changes or leg yield, where you can clearly tell when horses have that light-bulb moment and figures out how to sort out their legs. Strength, on the other hand, takes time. Flash, a super-moving re-train that I have spent a long time sorting out for her owner, fractured her jaw and missed the show season. Silly, my big, sentimental-purchase mare, gave me a beautiful foal, but she had a lousy labor and lost her colostrum, meaning 2 blood transfusions for Harry and a night with an IV bag for her. I put Venus on the A-team to get some show miles, but hitting the high-profile shows my student’s needed for their goals, combined with all of the quadrille practices, wasn’t the best plan for getting the best performances from her. My sweet, wonderful girl was a bit frazzled by the end of the summer. Eclipse’s PSG show season was compressed for financial reasons, resulting in scores going down instead of up, and a nice case of stomach ulcers. Then, to top it off, in October I found out that he was retiring as of January 1. Yes, the training level sales horses did really well in 2012, but I didn’t hang out my shingle to be the queen of training level.
Then, adding to this on a personal level, in December, my Grandpa passed away. The horse grandpa.
Needless to say, I spent the winter in a bit of a funk. Every time I heard the song “Some Nights” by the band Fun., I totally understood the lyrics.
Meanwhile, SFD has been doing well. Doug came on board last summer, and the barn is full. Maddy got promoted from Working Student to Assistant Trainer, and she and I filled our winter days with riding, teaching, and serving the needs of our clients.
Which helped me do the only thing I know to do when I get in a funk. I stay busy. I avoid thinking about one of my big fears – that I will get so caught up in running my business that I stagnate and become a “good enough” rider and trainer. I didn’t move so far from family and friends to settle for “good enough.”
I’d like to say the soundtrack had become was Billy Joel’s “Keeping the Faith,” but in reality it was closer to Fun.’s “One Step.”
I have some really super supportive people in my life, and they gently, and not-so-gently, kept the pressure on me to keep my goals in the fore front. Linda, who knows how much getting training help inspires me, insisted that I take Secret down to Scott’s regularly this winter, and of course I took Venus along (if I’m going for the day, get as much out of it as I can). For Christmas, my students sent me to FL for the FEI Trainer’s Symposium. These things kept me from falling into melancholy, but the funk-fog was still misting around the edges.
The supportive people in my life took it even further. Cara Klothe offered me her FEI mare, Ocarina, for the show season. I hemmed-and-hawed, and with Linda spouting all of the advantages of accepting Cara’s generous offer, I decided to accept. It was the right decision, as working with Cara’s super fun, very-clear-about-how-correctly-she-should-be-ridden mare has been a blast. I’d say more about this, but then I’d spoil a future blog post. Each time I sat on her this spring, the focus required to ride her well would push the funk further and further away.
Then, show season started. Secret and Sling both made it very, very clear that my decision to keep them home last year was the right call. They both have walked into the show ring like stars, ready to truly perform for the judges. But again, that’s another blog.
Now that the fog is lifted, I kept hemming-and-hawing about posting this blog. I didn’t want to write this over the winter since reading downer blogs is, well, a downer. But after enough comments from readers, I felt like I owed you guys an explanation as to why the blog has been quiet for so long. Plus it will help put the next few blogs in context.
The current soundtrack in my head? Jimmy Cliff’s “I can see clearly now.”