Lauren, this may be my version of What You Would Say On Your Blog.
As I'm working out the quirks that come with a new saddle, trying to figure out how to manage arthritis this winter, and preparing to head to The Future of Horsemanship Parelli tour tomorrow morning, I feel a bit overwhelmed.
Not two years ago I was completely focused on the Parelli program and everything that came with natural horsemanship. I had set my competitive dreams aside and was learning everything I possibly could about horse psychology and how to to work alongside it.
At that point I found it hard to acknowledge any other form of training. Only the Parelli way was right and I refused to pick up any other method or instructor.
Somewhere in between then and now I started to realize that not everyone else was so wrong after all.
Slowly it went from there. Lady and I had a very solid foundation with Pat Parelli's method and I still fall back on that a lot even now, but I do a lot of listening and learning now, from various different forms of horsemanship. I took the first big step a few months back and invested some money into a few training books that now sit alongside my Parelli collection.
But sometimes, like the last week, I feel overwhelmed.
I want to bring my competitive dreams up to the fore front again, but regardless of training method, Lady is not ready for competition.
I just bought my second saddle this year. I'm still having some weird issues with Lady even though the saddle fits her fine and yet if I try to ask questions (online forums) people blame me with "bad saddle fit" and "get a new saddle that your horse likes!" and it just makes me want to cry because there is absolutely NO way that I can afford to change saddles again so this one just has to work.
I want to have a really good position and be clear with my aids to Lady, but then I ride again and realize just how confused I must sound to her. I ask for the canter and lose my right stirrup for the six hundredth time after exactly the same amount of strides.
I live in a Western community and get asked the question "So, why did you choose to ride English?" and inevitably I sigh heavily and start to try and explain and still get a clueless expression. (Not an insult to my local friends reading, just something that comes with the territory.)
People who do know horses, when they find out my horse is a "senior" and has arthritis, ask me why I don't retire her, sell her, find a younger easier project, work her through it, etc. I want to fight back and tell them that I am most definitely not a bad horse owner. Who are you to deny my horse's happiness??
I've never had a good relationship with a vet because of how many questions I ask and my more natural view of health, so no my horse has not been to a vet in almost 2 years. I'm still not a bad horse mom.
My horse is completely barefoot and gets trimmed every 4-6 months. So what? She stays sound.
I try to convince myself that despite all the naysayers, my horse is healthy, well-mannered and I ride decently.
But then I go outside, she gives me a NQR ride, or I constantly mess up my posting trot, or she just plain refuses to behave, and then I remember everything I read and what others said and I know they're right.
I'm doing a terrible job.
I love my horse to death, but sometimes its so hard to go on.