Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Winter Blahs

I've got 'em.

Even Spider seems unmotivated.

I hate winter.  I hate the cold. I hate the snow. I hate the freezing rain. I hate the wind. I hate the mud. I hate the grey skies, the grey trees and the brown fields.  It's so un-inspiring.  Everything on my little farm is dormant, waiting for better weather.  I'm dormant, too.

I go out and ride, but I'm just going through the motions.  I tack up, I get on, I ride until I can't stand the cold anymore, then I call it a day.  We're not working on new things, we're not even working on the things we should be doing as 3rd level competitors... we're just putting one foot in front of the other.

I had a lesson last week.  I had hoped it would motivate me to get my tuckus in gear and start riding towards my Prix St. Georges goal.  It didn't, and this is why....

Going into my lesson, I figured I was going to get reamed.  I thought I deserved it, for slacking off.  But, I didn't get reamed.  My trainer asked us to perform exercises and, much to my surprise,  Spider and I were able to comply.  We even did a haunches in, to half-volte in shoulder in, to half pass!  And Spider had some of the best half passes I have ever felt from him.  They felt like my Warmblood Schoolmasters' half passes.... Light, but powerful. Controlled, but electric. And supple, so supple.

How the blankety-blank did we do that?  We haven't been working on it, but these were the best half-passes I'd ever gotten from Spider.  I was happy, but puzzled.

I thought about it for many days.  Well, I tried to think about it for many days.  I have two children, a two year old and a four year old.  They tend to distract me from devoting any amount of time to really thinking about something for long.

I was watching them play, and marveling at how easily they learn new ideas like numbers, letters and words. I don't actively teach them these things, but I do spend a lot of time with them. And then it hit me.  They learn these things from being around me while I use those ideas.  They're watching me, emulating me, and learning from me without me ever actively "teaching" them.

My horse is doing the same thing.  He's always watching me, always learning from me.  And, while I'm just doggedly putting one foot in front of the other, he's learning from that.  And that will get us there.

Another shameless brag.. Look at that neck!  He's like a stallion.


  1. We had a week of spring weather and I loved it. I rode regularly and even got a show in. This next week we are supposed to have snow. I am not happy. Like you, I can't get motivated when its cold and miserable outside.

  2. Spider looks awesome and so handsome in the double. There is no doubt from his appearance that you have been working him, even if it felt like you were just coasting.

    I think horses benefit from "blah time". I love lateral work, but I tend to go through phases, where I practice a bunch and then leave it alone for a while. Whenever we come back to it, I am surprised how easily my horse does it again.

  3. I hate winter as well. I can't wait for summer. I'm glad to hear that you two are doing so well!

  4. I've got those blah's too. Can hardly get motivated to do anything anymore.

  5. I know what you mean. I can't wait for some warmer weather!

  6. Count me among the Winter haters! We got lucky and Indiana threw in a 50 degree sunny day today...but tomorrow's high is supposed to be 28.

    Spider looks fantastic!

  7. I don't think anyone really likes the blahs of winter. I can tolerate the cold if it's a sunny day with no wind, at least you feel like doing something.

    Spider looks wonderful. It always amazes me that after I don't ride for a while I'll get on and the horses will be enthusiastic and do whatever I ask. Maybe they need a break once in a while too to recharge. They must hate winter even more than we do.

  8. I feel the exact same way you do about winter lol. I just try to remind myself that without winter we can't fully appreciate summer. :D

    Spider looks awesome and I'm glad things are going so well even with the cold weather. :D

  9. Ah, well, you are better than I am. I don't even bother getting on.

    I used to ride 12 months a year, almost always 5-6 days a week. No more.

    I'm not sure my horses care. *G*

    Spider is learning by osmosis. And perhaps, the fact that you simply put on the aids and did not complicate things by overthinking and overcueing him, mostly because you didn't really expect to have such dramatic results. Simplicity and clarity won the day!!


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