Of course it helps that I'm absolutely loving this jumping thing. As a kid, I didn't get lessons and the barn I rode at was 'western'. Don't get me wrong, we had all sorts of fun - but there's only so much jumping you can do on a ring sour pony is a western saddle. That didn't stop us from going bareback, of course, and jumping all the logs and ditches on the trail, racing each other and pretending we were characters from our favorite horsey movies - but the barn's focus was really western. I drifted away from the local western show world very quickly, happy to keep to myself and learn the hard way. Once I got older, I had the funds for lessons, but not horses, so went through a long stretch of riding and owning babies and green horses that seemed to be sold once they were solid on the trails and knew the basics in the ring. Finally, along came Lainey, who I bought to fulfill my lifelong dream of eventing. We started her over fences, had fun, and toyed with the idea of getting her out to an event. Of course, then along came the young and wild Ginger, needing so much, and time for Lainey was suddenly in short supply. For the next two years or so, dressage lessons so I could learn to ride my 'spicy' pony were the order of the day. While we both learned and progressed, our confidence crept ever lower, me always feeling like I wasn't quite good enough and feeling the effects of all those green horses, and Ginger ever more anxious that she too, was doing it wrong. In retrospect, the confined and nitpicky dressage lessons were not what either Ginger and I really needed - we're so similar, her and I. I thought I was doing the right thing by starting her right and with help, but we really needed to just spend some time out of the spotlight enjoying each other without any pressure. A long break at home with many hours on the trails started to sort us both out, but then I got stuck in this funny schedule of contracts and Ginger has spent the majority of the past year on vacation. Ginger, of course, deserves her vacation, but I've had a rough year struggling with what I really want to do horse wise. I've been one more horse drama away from just bringing Ginger home and trail riding her til we're both old and grey. Not such a bad life, of course, but one that felt like more than a little compromise from the brave kid who wanted to do it all.
|Winter, 2014. Love the pic, but those uneven stirrups bother me :)|
I'm sorry for the novel, I'm just trying to put into words and give perspective on just how wonderful feels to hop on for a lesson these days and learn so much, but also have fun. To be that kid again who can't wait for Saturdays to come. I'm loving learning by doing, and having abstract goals, rather than the more definite, and just embracing the day's ride as it is, not how it should be in a perfect world. I'm taking this new and improved attitude home to the wonderful Gingersnap, and while I'm not sure she wants to be a jumper, or any type of show horse at all, I think for the first time I'm honestly OK with that. I'm back to the kid who just wants to have fun, and there's always fun to be had when Ginger is involved :) As for the jumping - I'm SO hooked - the combination of technical and fun is me all over. Those dressage lessons come in very handy, but we also get to practice flying like that kid on her pony I'm starting to remember again. The jury's still out on whether that means Ginger gets a new friend or not - I'm leaning towards yes, but for now I'm just going to keep enjoying my Saturdays :)
|Ginger is always game for some fun|