Oh glorious daylight savings time! A bitter-sweet wake up this morning! I’ve had to down an extra cup or two of coffee thanks to the cut to my morning sleeping routine but I’m so excited to finally have enough time to ride AND get some of the chores done around the house after work!
Now here in the glorious pacific northwest it’s a bit of a catch 22. I mean really what is an extra hour right now when soon it’ll be getting dark at 1030 pm and light at 430 am (not even joking here!) but theres just something exciting about the time change. It means spring is here. My fruit trees are blooming, the grass is growing and I have flowers popping up everywhere around my place! Theres just something invigorating about spring isn’t there?
Alright my working equestrians! You know who you are! Your those normal people who have to work to support their love of horses! This next part is for you!
So I kinda had a break down Saturday morning. I have this really bad habit of over stressing myself and spreading myself way to thin with all the awesome things I want to do onto of my work schedule. Then I end up kinda spinning in circles not really knowing which project to tackle and somehow feeling guilty about not getting out to see my friends, and horses, and about 10 other things I feel I SHOULD be doing.
As many of you know I really want to get the boys going in eventing. A lot of my friends are already going for the season. They are out riding, showing and getting their horses in peak form already. Where are my horses? Muddy, chilling in the pasture as I slowly get it fenced piece by piece, and lucky to get ridden 2 to 3 days a week.
I fell into a trap of comparing myself and my horses to a lot of my friends and people I just follow in the horse world. The biggest difference between my friends and I is my work schedule.
As many of you know I’m a k9 handler. What I never put out is I’m a K9 handler in the US Navy. Well Uncle Sam really doesn’t care what my after work plans are, or what weekend jaunts I’m excited about doing. Do I have a set work schedule? Yup I do, but that doesn’t include a lot of stuff we HAVE to do to appease the CO. That doesn’t reflect if anyones gone for being sick, on deployment, leave or a heap of other tasks that we have to complete, and now we have to pick up their slack too. I don’t even want to mention being on call 24/7 when its my turn to be on duty. I’m not complaining here (ok maybe a little) I LOVE my job. There’s nothing else like it in the world BUT when it comes to riding my horses it puts a serious kink in it 9 times out of 10.
Most if not all of my horse friends are lucky enough to have a standard, wonderful job that sticks to its 8 hour work day or the even luckier ones are retired and have time to devote to their horses or their equine businesses!
I felt like I was behind the curve with my horses. That they weren’t where they should be and that I could be doing a whole lot more with them. That I was somehow being lazy and just not taking the time to work with them…. Well, that may be partially true but not completely. I took a deep breath and just had to go outside and just watch my boys graze and contemplate some things.
While they were happily munching I realized that my horses don’t have an agenda. They love to be worked and given attention. They happily meet me at the gate (ok it might be for the treats they know I have in my pocket.) They are the happiest when I re-arrange the temporary electric fence so they can graze. My horses only agenda is to eat, get loved on and beg for more treats.
I am the one with the agenda. I am the one stressing over how much I haven’t done with my horses. I am the one who feels like somehow I’ve failed my horses and myself. Do I want to compete my horses? Sure! Do I want to see them easily doing a novice dressage test and jumping 3 foot jumps with ease…hell yeah…. But what happens if I don’t get there? What happens if I don’t feel ready to go back on that cross country course? Absolutely nothing. The world doesn’t end. I don’t get labeled a pariah, and outcast from the horse community. I simply continue on. No judgment from my friends and family. Life just continues.
The biggest things we have to remind ourselves is:
A.) My horses are happy whether they’re grazing in the pasture or being ridden.
B. ) I sometimes don’t have the time or the energy to work them. Do you think it would be a good idea to jump on a horse after just working a 16 hour shift where all hell broke loose? hummmm nope. I need to take each day one step at a time and just focus on being happy with my horses. Just enjoying the moments I do get to spend with them.
I’m posting this mostly as a reminder to myself to not feel like the world is ending when I don’t get to work my horses much but also to a reminder to the working equestrians out there who feel they to may be behind the curve:
Don’t worry about it! Don’t feel like you’re being left behind. Are you having fun doing what you’re doing? Are your horses happy, healthy and eagerly meet you when you go see them? Then who cares how much you progress or compete? The only one who cares is you! Your horses are just as happy either way 😀
Until Next time!