Balancing Act

Hi everyone!

Still here, still kicking. As mentioned in my last post, things have been a little crazy busy lately and I’ve had to carefully manage my commitments. I was hoping that taking a step back from blogging would do the trick, but I was still having a lot of stress around the clock and something else had to give.

And sadly, that has been barn time. It’s the last thing I want to cut back on, but the only thing within my control at the moment. So Francis and I haven’t had a lesson in a few weeks, and I’ve only gone out to the barn mayyybe 2x/week. He’s had a few pro rides, I’m letting him be used in a few lessons, and I’m making it out when I can so he’s still getting ridden with some consistency.

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And still bein’ super cute

At first I felt really guilty and bummed about this- I have such big plans for this show season! I want to ride! I don’t want other people riding my pony in lessons! My poor boy is being neglected by his mother!

But you know what? Life happens. Things will either calm down or I’ll learn to manage them better, and we can get back to our 5-6x/week training routine. This is part of being an adult ammy. Frankie absolutely doesn’t mind the relaxed training schedule, he’s probably thrilled!

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Even if he does make silly faces

And this is the part where I tell you just how grateful I am for my boy. Our rides lately have been chill WTC hacks- nothing advanced or difficult, just some equine therapy for yours truly. Francis has come out every single time with his sweet eye that I fell in love with the first time I saw him, happily bopped around with me, and soaked up my attention. It feels like he knows this is what I need right now. He’s been getting more and more powerful and “spicy” to the jumps lately (I use that term lightly, because Francis), so to feel him back himself off into My Little Pony really makes me emotional oh my gosh I’m tearing up as I write this because I love my horse so much.

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So many hugs and kisses for the sweetest

We even celebrated our 1 year anniversary of him joining the family! We wore matching hats, shared a bag of apples, and enjoyed a nice relaxing ride together. I’ll have to post my rambling introspection on how we’ve both changed over the last year in another post- there’s just way too much to say there. Needless to say, it’s been the best year of my life and I wouldn’t trade a single moment of it for anything.

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He was VERY unsure about the hat. Until he realized it was not for eating. Then he lost all interest and allowed me to wave it around and put it wherever.

Due to my lack of saddle time lately I decided to opt out of the show on 4/9 (competing at 1.10m after not jumping for a month seems…dicey), but I’m hoping to be back in the swing of things for the first week of Culpeper later in April! We’re planning on doing the High Adult division to lock in some more points, and tentatively (and I mean very tentatively) thinking of having either Trainer or Assistant Trainer take him in a 1.15m class to get some confidence-building miles at that height. I’d like him to navigate that height with a competent pilot up top before he has to jump that height AND deal with his mistake-prone mother. We school that height comfortably together at home, but we all know that shows are a whole different animal.

I’d love any advice you all may have on juggling different commitments as an ammy! Or if you don’t have any advice, I’d appreciate any good vibes you can send my way. Looking forward to making it out the other side of this craziness and getting back to my preferred craziness ❤

To My Human Friends

Dear two-legged friends,

I’m sorry. I haven’t been a very good friend to you for a while now. I’ve either (a) been unable to make plans in the first place or (b) cancelled plans on you. I know this, and I know it’s not a nice way to be, it’s not the kind of person that I want to be.

But maybe you can take solace in the fact that it isn’t just you. It’s everyone. I swear it isn’t personal, there isn’t anything wrong with our friendship besides me. I’m just being a jerk.

I know I have no right to ask this of you, but please let me explain why. I know you have more than an inkling, but please indulge me for a few paragraphs.

It’s the horse. You already knew this. You knew this from the fact that I wear my breeches to the office and take vacation days off work to go compete and only post pictures of my horse on social media and turn every conversation to how CUTE he is. This has been obvious. And you’ve been fantastic about offering to make plans on the days I’m NOT at the barn.

But there are some days when I’m not at the barn and I STILL don’t make/cancel plans. It’s because to be frank (no pun intended), I’m entirely broke and exhausted from juggling real life and the barn. Right now, real life is riding shotgun but isn’t driving. The barn is driving.

It’s not that I don’t want to spend time with you, or that I don’t want to go to that awesome winery, or that I don’t want to check out that new restaurant, or that I don’t want to get together to grill and shoot the breeze. All of those are things I love doing, and things I’d love to do with you! That’s why we’re friends.

The reason I’m not there with you is because I want something else even more right now. I’m not a naturally gifted rider like some. I don’t have that innate sense of how to make my horse go better and I have to work extremely hard to build enough muscle mass to keep my position stable. Some people can hop on 3x a week and be good, and I simply can’t. But I want to be good so badly. So badly.

That’s why I’m pouring my heart and soul and bank account and time and effort and everything I have into this sport. I want it. I’ll eat Cup o’ Noodles for a month so I can put my horse into a training program. I’ll cut back my expenses to pure survival if it means I can fit another show on the schedule.

I know this won’t last forever. At some point real life will have to take the reins back (no pun intended…again) and riding will have to come second. That’s why it’s coming first for me right now. I want it too badly to wait for “someday.”

You’ve been wonderfully supportive of this. Some of you get it, some of you aren’t quite sure what the appeal is, some of you have horses of your own, some of you don’t, but every single one of you has been absolutely lovely as I’ve thrown myself into this hobby-turned-lifestyle.

Thank you for this. Thank you for still talking to me, even when I’m not holding up my end of the friendship deal. I don’t expect you to wait around for me to be a better friend, because I don’t know when that will be. I have no plans of slowing down or cutting back any time soon.

Please know that I still love you and appreciate our friendship, and I pinky promise to try and make it next time.

I’m sorry in advance if I don’t.

With all my love,
Olivia