You cannot be serious…


I’m writing as what has possibly been one of the most stressful weeks of my life draws to a close. To be fair it has been a pretty rough few months. Like many, I will be glad when the days get longer and warmer as we know how much a difference that makes.

Amongst other things I have had some pretty heated arguments with my OH, which has left me in a bit of a spin. I am sure I’m not the only one who has had heated words about the time spent with horses and the financial & family implications this has. I hasten to add this wasn’t the whole reason for our argument but it was one area which came up in our heated exchanges. Familiar exchanges like ‘the horses were here before you came along’ vs. ‘your family should come first’, ‘my horses need me to care for them properly’ vs. ‘how much are they costing you’?

I am sure that many of you reading this have heard some or all of these comments at one point or another. It led me to wonder if other sports are the same. Do keen amateur tennis players get accused of spending hours playing, go golfers get chastised if they spend literally thousands on kit? I can’t give an answer to this but it would be interesting to know. I think anyone owning a horse accepts it as a lifestyle decision; it just happens that the rest of their families have to go along with it too.

As the argument simmered, and the ranting stopped the conditions were laid down… one got me thinking… ‘I don’t think you should take your competing so seriously’. It was one of those statements that made the conversation that followed blur as I pondered over what was actually being said.

Taking it too seriously. What did he mean? Have I been just a little too fastidious mucking out? Was the yard just too clean and tidy, my tack always grease free and shiny, the horses polished for just too many hours a day? After some introspection and a few more choice words I got to the point. It was all about being slightly more casual across the board. Enjoying my horses but not letting their upkeep become a mountain of work, having pleasure in my chosen hobby and above all heading out with a competitive frame of mind not a stressed one.

I have been mulling this over all week. It’s true I work hard to make sure everything is tip top. I don’t feel right cutting corners; I have really high standards and don’t stop until the job is done. But does my riding and enjoyment suffer because of this? I think the answer is possibly, but the jury is out for now as it is something I am mulling over (I overthink things too which is another flaw). The question is do I need to spend hours when things can be done well, leaving me time for a family life outside of the yard? Can I go to competitions not feeling like it is all that matters? Can I not beat myself up if I can’t make a training session as planed? I wonder if I am alone here?

From what I can see it seems that appears amateur riders are taking a more ‘professional’ or absorbed approach to their training, their kit, performance and how they care about their horses. In many ways this is a positive thing, there is nothing wrong with putting the effort in. But at what cost, both financially and in terms of personal pleasure? I’ve spoken to a few riders recently who are really concerned about competing, beyond what I would call normal pre competition nerves. Some are putting massive training pressures on themselves and getting frustrated when they feel things aren’t progressing. Others who are doing without to spend a fortune on kit that in honesty isn’t really going to improve performance, or comfort but they feel they need it to compete well. Don’t get me wrong, I love beautiful kit and will never scrimp where safety is concerned but getting into debt over a hobby just adds to the pressure to perform.

So where do I go from here with the season looming? I’m not really that sure. I think I need to edit things down. Look for what’s important to me, the fun stuff, the things that put a smile on my face, make me LOL with big fat capitals. Above all just enjoy my little horse; she’s there for me as much as I am there for her.

And above all just chill out… you cannot be serious? Erm… yes I can!

See you in the start box

Xx

nik

little d xc me

4 thoughts on “You cannot be serious…

  1. Really enjoyed this post, very interesting! I’ve always felt that if I’m not enjoying it, I need to step back and remember why I was interested in horses in the first place 🙂
    Natalie

  2. Lots of food for thought here – we all want to do well but it is easy to forget it should be fun and most of it couldn’t do it without huge support from our families. Don’t be too hard on yourself x

  3. Great post as usual.
    I think now is a great time to stop and take stock of what you have and what you want to achieve this season. I think you are right, being an amateur isn’t the same as it was before. Facebook groups help us to connect, but also help us to feel as though we are lacking in some way – be it kit, training, hours spent planning, or even ambition.
    I’ve been able to spend more time with my horses this last year, but that has meant more money spent on them, more things I feel I should be doing. So rather than freeing up more family time, in fact it has become even more consuming.
    And you know what? People really can be complete cunts. Some people are not happy unless they are putting others down – sometimes it is family, supposed good friends, or even just acquaintances – but they do it to make themselves feel better, if they can pick holes in what you’re doing then it makes them feel they’re doing the better job. And parenting and horses seem to be the worst categories for this!

  4. honest post; I know that i have the least rows when I am indoors and cooking a meal when he comes home from work, and the most rows and sulks when I am in the school or at a show or event. I should not have married, i guess..

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