What do you do when life gets in the way of your riding?  Sometimes it’s work, sometimes it’s illness, sometimes it’s family, sometimes it’s weather, sometimes it’s _______________ (fill in the blank).   And no matter what it is, it’s frustrating.

I go through periods where I feel my riding is in “fits and spurts”.  I’ll have a couple of weeks or even a month when I’m getting to the barn 5 times a week regularly and totally in the groove.  But then we hit trade show season and I’m on the road a lot.  Or I have a day like today where the head and chest cold that I’ve been avoiding for the better part of the week finally catches me and I’m a runny-nose-sneezing-can’t-catch-my-breath-mess.

And looking ahead, I’m leaving in a week for the holidays and prior to that I need to wrap gifts, see my hairdresser (my gray is a bit out of control – BIG understatement), try to have my eye surgeon fit me in (to see about cataract surgery in January) , pack…….and starting Monday (of course), the solar panels are being installed on the house – and yes, someone has to be there the entire time for that.

So does it even make sense for me to attempt to get to the barn, stand on the cold concrete and do anything?  I know for a fact that I could push myself to ride.  But I also know that I’ll regret it for days as it will tax my system further.  But it’s been a week – a solid week of not being there due to work and not being able to get out on time to get there, ride and still get home at a reasonable time.

What do you do when you have these problems?  Or do you even have them?  Is it just me?

I know many folks just soldier on and ride.  I don’t know if it makes them any sicker, as it does me, but either way my hat is off to them.  In the end, I’m sure it’s better for your horse and for you.  And that brings me to the next item – that I’m not being fair to my horse in all of this.  To have him in work and then have a week off and then go back to work, have two weeks off – even if we aren’t doing anything major, we also aren’t making any progress.

It drives me crazy.  And I feel like a failure at times.  It’s not like I’m going out with friends instead of going to ride………in fact I’m  usually walking through the door of my house checking the clock (again) to see if I just might make it to the barn, realizing I can’t, and then being grumpy  the rest of the night.

So what to do?

For me, I’ve had to make peace with two things about this situation:

  1. I can only do what I can do – nothing more, and certainly nothing less. To this end, that means that I do go to the barn on which ever day/night I can get there and not be an inconvenience to the owner (who lives next to the barn and is subject to car lights in her windows any time someone arrives or leaves)  By the way, the owner is super and very encouraging.  But I just don’t want to be that boarder- the one that is ALWAYS keeping everyone up, etc.   And Cinemax and I will work on what ever – it doesn’t matter – that we are doing something together is the main thing.
  2. Being at the barn, no matter if it’s every day or three times in a month is good for me – the inside of me and the outside. And my soul needs it.  It doesn’t matter if I come and stay for 10 minutes or go through a full ride and tack cleaning session.  Being there does me good, if only to re train those mental tracks that say “you don’t have enough time to go to the barn”.   I’m amazingly blessed at this time with a horse that can go for days of no work, be tacked up and will be ready to work – no antics.  He’s a God send.

So, we may not make it to a show next summer, and my goal of working without stirrups all winter may have days of great work and days of no work at all – but no matter what, I’m not going to let my guilty conscience keep me from going there, even if it turns out to be the only day this week.