Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Year's Resolutions

I don't make 'em. Not because I think they're silly, just because I don't generally think that far ahead. I tend to live in the present. Perhaps that's why I have more of an affinity for horses than my fellow humans. For a horse, the past is over, the future is uncertain and neither is really worth dwelling on.

That's not to say that I don't have goals or make plans. I do, I just don't have them set out for the rest of the year. I prefer to plan more immediate things, like my next ride. Even then, there's a level of uncertainty. I can't even begin to count the number of times I've set out with a goal for a ride and then ended up doing something completely different because my plan just was not working. That's the thing about working with animals, they have minds of their own and aren't necessarily going to fall in line with your plan.

I've actually been thinking a lot lately about what exactly it is I'm doing with this dressage thing. I'm not really all that goal oriented. I hate showing and I really couldn't care less about winning. So, why do I do this?

I work hard at training my horse, but that's because it is something I am passionate about. I also believe that I have an obligation to my horse to not half-ass his training. Anything less than my best is bad training, and bad training is unfair to him.

For me it's about the journey, not the result. Sure, I'd like to train Spider to Grand Prix. PSG is more realistic, given his age. But still, that's not really a goal, it's just a natural progression of the training. It's a result of the journey, but not a destination.

I enjoy riding and I enjoy dressage. And, for me, that's enough.


  1. I'm with 'ya on the resolutions. I usually just set one goal and TRY to achieve that!

  2. "I've actually been thinking a lot lately about what exactly it is I'm doing with this dressage thing."

    "I enjoy riding and I enjoy dressage. And, for me, that's enough."

    I think you asked and answered your own question. There is no better reason to be doing this thing than because you enjoy it. If we only make goals in order to be disappointed when we don't meet them then I think we should really ask ourselves why we are doing this. If the answer is not the same as yours because "I enjoy riding" then we may as well pack it up and call it quits. I am going to be completely honest with you when I first started reading this post I was thinking, wow, that is an awfully cinical way to look at goals but by the end I "got" it. Very profound! Very basic but very profound. Thanks for posting.

  3. I'm with you on the "why" of doing dressage. Jackson isn't ever going to be an FEI horse and I'm good with that. Shows stress me out. The times that my heart swells and my eyes water with joy occur in the arena, at home, when we get something right or he offers me something I didn't think he had yet. Like you said, it's definitely about the journey. And, I envy you being able to be in the present. I'm forever looking at the future. Aargh.

  4. I have shown up through Intermediare I, and somewhere along the way, I lost my taste for it. All the hassle, money and ups/downs of competition just lost their appeal.

    Like you, I do not tend to dwell on the past, nor do I look too far into the future. Plans have a way of going astray as circumstances change.

    Resolutions are fine for some people, but for me, they are too inhibiting. I want to train dressage because I find it a fascinating challenge and I know it makes my horses better rides and sounder. My one vet used to comment what good condition my old horse was in and attributed it to his dressage training.

    A well trained horse is more fun to ride, and trying to figure out how to get to "well trained" with each individual horse is an intriguing journey.

    I salute your approach. You seem to be thinking the same way I am at the moment (in the moment *G*).

  5. Dressage is absolutely a journey as opposed to the destination... good philosophy for life really, and that idea goes hand in hand with being in the moment.

    Plus dressage improves our horses health, physical + mental. They will move better and more comfortably into their older years. It does the same for us I think.

    On the same page Shannon :)

  6. Happy New Year! Our best wishes to all your family human and others non humans ^-^
    I had a fantastic new year eve, I was in bed by 11pm I watched the fireworks from bed. My ideal New Year Eve LOL!

    I like your idea about training. I think it is investing in our horses, like we invest in our children, it gives them a better future. Perhaps you are lucky you can keep your horses forever. In my case it might not be possible. But investing in my mare training, is me offering the possibility to have a nice future owner. A trained horse is a real pleasure. There are so few around!

  7. I couldn't agree with you more about your philosophy of training a horse. We owe it to them to help them be the best they can. I've only recently come to dressage but it appeals to me for the training aspect as well as the journey it takes us on with our partners. Not to say it wasn't the same in the hunter jumper world just a little different training. I'll probably never show again but I enjoy being with my horses and riding them so that's enough for now.

    As for resolutions, not for me. I'd rather take each day one at a time and get the most of out it that I can.


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