Thursday, February 13, 2014
Finding my own ruler......
"Dreams come a size too big so we can grow into them"
Let's see where did I leave off....Jasmine had moved to Minnesota and we were starting our journey together. In a lot of ways we are still at that point. As everyone is way too well aware this winter has been cold, snowy and long. Even though the barn has an indoor arena, we don't ride if it is zero or below, and MN just came off the longest streak of below zero weather in recorded history (just saw that lovely statistic this morning). That combined with my work travel and some health issues (mine not hers) have limited us riding much (think I have about 6 rides in over the last 10 weeks). But in its own way it has been a gift too, we have had a lot of time to just hang out, bond, groom and chat.
Despite much time in the saddle I am 100% confident I found the right horse. I could not be happier with her. She is sweet, dedicated, she loves people (and cookies) and she enjoys the attention I give her. Funny moment the other night when I went to answer a text on my phone (which required stopping petting her) she repeatedly kept trying to grab my sleeve to put my hand back on her. She knows I am her person, and that makes my heart smile. Of the 4 horses I have primarily had in my life (Cheyenne, Joker, B and now Jasmine) she is the one who seems to want the attention the most. Joker put up with it well, but Jas wants it. And that works for me!
For the little riding we have done I can also say she is the most talented horse I have ridden. She knows her job, she doesn't cheat and she wants to do it well. She also learned very quickly that I needed her to help me when I am in the saddle. She does a great job staying under me and that was something B' and I never really clicked on. She is patient with me learning her cues, and that is proving to be a steep curve for me. In a lot of ways I feel like I am learning to ride all over again. Some days I am totally ok with that, some days I feel frustrated with myself over it. But it is reality. And with reality comes decisions and I am spinning on some, which of course is what lead me to writing.
I am struggling, as I have my whole life, with giving myself permission to take things at a pace I am comfortable with, vs worrying about what others will think of me. A battle I have fought my whole life. Growing up there was a lot of expectations to have the highest grades, to be the smartest and to have the best. And if you couldn't reach those goals you were expected to pretend you were. Image above all else. Getting a B was never good enough, why wasn't it an A, if you came in second what did you do wrong that you weren't first. What little positive support there was in our home was withheld unless you were meeting that ideal standard. And if you fell below that you were discarded. I have carried that fear of being abandoned for being imperfect with me my whole life. It has gotten better with age, and as I have narrowed my circle of whose view of me really matters. But it is never far from sight. And right now I can feel it on my heels.
Show season is getting here, I am watching more and more FB posts of friends in warmer climates who are heading to shows. The first big MN show is in March and most shows start in May. Three months that will go by in a flash. And I am struggling with my feelings on it.
I have shown the last two years, on two different horses, and I did it because I wanted to, I never felt forced, but part of me also did it before I was really ready (skills wise) because I feared not meeting what I thought others expected of me. I had a good horse, I was taking lessons, I could ride, I should be showing. The result was mixed. Joker and I did better than I thought, but never beyond walk/trot. And that success looking back came at a price to me. I was so busy rushing through my learning to meet this goal I had set of showing that I never fully learned what I needed to. I could get by, I could do it, but I never really got it, it never became natural.
Now I find myself at a similar cross roads, as I said in a previous post, life gave me a "do-over" when I found Jasmine. A chance to do it right. But at the end of the day I have to decide whether to take that gift or not. And at the moment that decision comes down to showing this year. I know it is expected of me by many, especially having just bought a world class horse and I fear the reactions if I don't go down that path, if we take a year off to learn each other the right now. But I don't feel ready, my heart isn't in it and maybe it is selfish but I want to take this at my pace. If I need 6 months for us to figure each other out at the walk, then I want it to be ok to do that. I want it to be ok to just enjoy my horse and not feel like I am going to be looked down on for making that choice. But that little girl inside me isn't sure I can handle when the looks and comments do come.
And when I stand and watch my friends show this summer and feel I didn't measure up. The voices are already there talking at me "you bought a show horse, you bought an expensive show horse, you could have bought any horse if you were going to just stay home and ride, what will the people who helped you find her think, they put a lot of effort into finding you a great show horse that now you don't want to show this year". I beat myself up as well as anyone.
But as I was mulling this over the other night sitting in the corner of Jasmine's stall, I had a realization. She truly could care less if she was riding around at home or in the Justin Arena in Fort Worth. She is happy being a horse, chasing her paddock mates away from "her" round bale, having her human come and love on her and bring cookies (never ever forget the cookies, mom!) and taking care of me. She didn't complain last night that we only walked and didn't trot or lope, she wanted to be loved on afterwards just the same. And realizing that made the picture a lot clearer.
I don't know what will end up happening, no show season this year, a limited only a ground class or two season, or trying to do it all. Ask me on any given day and the answer changes. How much permission I give myself just to be myself changes.
But in the end I know whatever I decide I am going into it with a partner who has no expectations of me other than to love her and bring those cookies! I can easily meet that goal!