This post today was supposed to be about having fun at the Tryon hunter Pace with a new friend. Instead I had a vomiting child and a migraine on the way and didn't go. Truth be told though, I wasn't really looking forward to it at all. Nothing against my new friend. We have been trying to get our schedules lined up to ride together since last winter and I was looking forward to riding with her.
It is just that I have lost most of my interest in riding at all right now. Which is odd because typically fall is my favorite riding season: warm, sapphire blue skies, and dry. And I adore the paces.
So what's with the reluctance to tack up and ride?
I thought a lot about it this weekend as I bailed on even going to the barn at all and stayed home with my little man then went to a pumpkin patch. I think I finally figured it out. I'm disappointed and a little disheartened right now.
You see, the R&T was a crap ton of fun except not really. The first half was a blast. I felt great running and Gem was forward, happy and sane. Then the second half happened and every time I was on my horse all I wanted was to get back off and run instead. She was being a lunatic and it was not fun. I asked Theresa at one point if Gem was being a spooky asshat for her or if it was just me and she informed me that Gem was in fact acting the same way for her. Good to know it wasn't just me.
I guess I was just excepting something else. She didn't spook one single time during the 18+ hours I rode her in May. Not. One. Time. Not a shy, not a look, not a turn. Nothing. She was forward. She was game on. She was great. We rode alone for the entire middle part and she was a lot of fun.
So I suppose I was just expecting that instead of the ride I got. There are any number of reasons Gem was being so gosh darn awful: she was mad at the start and stop ride, she knew there wasn't another horse anywhere near us, she was angry that she didn't get her typical 50 minute break at the half way spot, she was thirsty and had no water available. I don't know if it was all, any or none of those things, but I do know that she hadn't been that awful to ride in a very long time.
It got me thinking about where we came from and where I'd like to be now and head to in the future. The very first time I rode Gem solo at Clemson was January 2014. I wanted to ride for an hour, so I rode out 30 minutes then turned back around and came back. How far did we make it? Care to guess??
I shit you not: 1.5 miles. In 1 hour of riding.
So yes, we have came a very long way from that first solo trail ride to where we are today. Its just that I've been privy to the good rides. The times when she is having fun, is game on and moving well. My tolerance for the crap she pulls - dirty stops, spins, ducking her shoulder - has diminished and after such a ride I have very little motivation to take the time away from my family to deal with it.
Part of me thinks it would be a good idea to find someone to part lease her on site. Get her more exercise and more rides for the times when I just can't get out to ride her. That way she is in more consistent conditioning/training. But then I don't know who on earth would a) want to ride her and b) would be able to ride her the way she needs to be ridden to not undo all the hard work I've put in to get her to where she is today. She may be thick headed and stubborn, but she is sensitive and holds a grudge like none other. One misstep can undo a lot of effort.
Anyway....I'll go out and ride again some time. Maybe this weekend or the next. I'd like to return to some dressage lessons and focus on that through the winter and see if things don't improve next spring. My next endurance plans aren't until April when I'd like to finally make it to McCauley Farms for a multi day ride of two 50s and we have plenty of time to get our legs back under us before then. If I can convince Theresa to partner up again int he spring, I'd love to make some more R&T rides as well.
Until then Gem can enjoy being fat and healthy in her pasture as I take some deep breaths and garner up the motivation to hop on board the freight train again.