I used to do these little “what I learned” posts after every horse trial, but uh… I haven’t done a horse trial in almost 2 years so… yeah those posts tapered off. And while I still technically still didn’t do one myself, I was just there to watch my horse go, I still came away feeling like I learned a few things.
First and foremost, I need myself a damn Cricket. Hillary got this mini golf cart that is FREAKING ADORABLE, fits in a spot in the horse trailer, and is a total lifesaver at weekend shows like that one where everything is approximately 45 miles apart. I am legit obsessed with it and now I need one in either black or blue so that I can then put rainbow glitter over top and have the most badass lil golf cart known to mankind. Plus there was one particular incident where Hillary and I were going down the big hill between the RV parking and the stabling and the brakes went out, and Hillary was yelling “I HAVE NO BRAKES” in terror while frantically pumping her foot on the pedal, and I’m over there laughing maniacally and having a grand time. There are two kinds of people in this world, y’all, and clearly I’m the kind that’s just a wee bit off. The best part was when she finally had to turn the key to stop it and the Cricket skidded dramatically to a halt like some kind of Tokyo Drift shit in miniature. Anyway, 10/10 would recommend. I may or may not have told the SO about the Cricket for so long that I’m pretty sure he’s at least mostly convinced that we need one, even if it’s just to get me to shut the hell up. Hey, annoying the shit out of someone until they give in is totally a valid strategy to get what you want.
Speaking of Hillary, I also learned that there are few things more fun than watching friends figure out new horse. She’s got such a nice little horse in Lex, but boy is he very different from everything she’s ever had before. He’s quite an adjustment and there’s a big learning curve, but she’s been working hard at it, and it all really came together beautifully for her that weekend. It was so freaking fun to watch things click into place. She was riding better than I’ve ever seen, and on a horse that really has the potential to do everything she could possibly want. I am excited for her. Plus like, all I do is give Lex cookies and tell him how cute he is without demanding anything in return so he likes me more now. I have stolen the hony. Mine.
I also have to be honest, despite being away from the eventing horse show scene for almost 2 years, over that time I’ve struggled to feel like I really missed it. I think partly it was burnout… I have this tendency to go balls to the wall about things and burn myself out eventually, it’s a pattern I’ve repeated over and over throughout my life yet still can’t seem to break the cycle. But also it was partly because for so long we were working on getting Henry up the levels, always moving the bar higher, seeing what we could do, finding something else to reach for, etc etc. And then we found the upper limit of what was possible for him, and I ended up feeling a little aimless at that point. Honestly though, I really needed a break. I was mentally a bit tired and a bit over it. And then covid happened and gave me a really good excuse to take some time away and just enjoy horses again without any stipulations or expectations. Still though… as shows started happening again I just wasn’t feeling the FOMO the way I expected. And then I went to Texas Rose and over the course of the weekend I remembered why I really do love the sport, and the people, and why it’s worth the effort. I finally feel some of the fire returning, and I’m actually looking forward to getting back out there again now, whenever that may work out for me.
Another thing that really stuck out to me, and I’ve said this before on this blog I think, is how much I deeply enjoy being an owner. Like, no joke, I got just as much enjoyment out of watching Megan ride my horse than I would have if I’d been riding him myself (and uh, sometimes more, when he decided to be extra green – you’ll see tomorrow). Watching good riders ride your horse is freakin fun. Especially one you bred and are really invested in. If I had the kind of money it takes, I wouldn’t even hesitate for one second to get or breed a nice horse for a good pro just so I could go to shows and watch them ride it. New life goal for when I hit the lotto (note to self: start playing the lotto).
And last but not least, this was the first “public” thing I’ve done in over a year that didn’t require or really even necessitate masks. It was all outdoors and the showgrounds are huge, thus it was very easy to maintain plenty of distance from anyone who wasn’t in your friend group (yay for us already being vaccinated!) so we didn’t have to wear one. It was friggin weird that first day, y’all. WEIRD. It’s amazing how fast we acclimate to things, because I kept reaching for my mask or looking at someone’s naked face like AAAHHHH WHY CAN I SEE SO MUCH OF YOU (I definitely feel this way when I see people in the grocery store with no mask – thankfully they’re few and far between). But I have to admit, it was also really nice. The whole weekend almost felt like normal life again, as if 2020 had never really happened. I know I spent parts of last year wondering if life would ever feel normal again, and in a lot of ways it won’t (you definitely notice when someone from outside of your “pod” gets within 6′ of you and have that immediate instinct to move away), but getting a taste of it at the show definitely bolstered my spirits about the whole thing a little bit. I’m definitely still on the mask-wagon for anything indoors or crowded or where social distancing can’t be maintained, but it was nice to have a weekend outdoors without it while spending time doing something fun again. This is a long way from being over but I feel like there’s a light at the end of the tunnel at least. I’m glad that so many people (at least the ones that I know) are opting for the vaccine, and I hope that everyone who can have it is able to get it!