May 26, 2022

Slowing Down and Enjoying the Storm

I was sitting in the rocking chairs on my barn's porch with CGP last Saturday, drinking wine and listening to the steady drum of rain on the roof and thunder in the distance. She was staying at my house all weekend to coach people at a local show, and we had just started an in-person lesson, her first visit to my barn ever, when a tornadic thunderstorm blew through. So the only logical thing to do was to put Connor back in his stall, grab a glass of wine and enjoy the storm.

Same view, different day this week. It's storm season.

It was safe enough to restart the lesson, but it was obvious that neither of us wanted to break the spell of alcohol, conversation and relaxation that had fallen over us. I said, "You know, I think I'd rather just sit here and drink wine with you than do that lesson," and she said, "This is the most relaxing afternoon I've had in years, no kidding, and I was thinking the same thing. I never get to just sit and talk like this, and don't have a porch like this to watch storms from. This is amazing."

We watched the rain in silence for a while before I said, "I'm just not that motivated to train or show right now, and I'm really not fussed about it at all," I confessed. "Third doesn't come easily to either one of us, and I have [a lot going on in my personal life] to deal with. It's all I can do to ride a couple of times a week, and I'm okay with that, I'm not beating myself up over it."

Staring into the ravine on our property on a hack

She said, "You know, that's okay, I think that's very smart. There's nothing wrong with taking a step back and enjoying your horse. You're still learning and progressing, there's more to all of this than medals and scores."

She went on to talk about when she went through a similar period of time with her first GP horse, about times she's had to have tough conversations with students about putting the horse first when they were chasing a big show goal, about what it was like balancing horses and her previous non-horsey career. It was the deepest and most soul-baring conversation I've ever had with her, and it was incredible. It was validating and honest and mattered so much to hear that from her.

Bareback toodling is training, right?

And then the following Tuesday in my virtual lesson, she asked me to move him laterally in both directions at the canter, and HE GAVE ME AN EFFORTLESS CANTER HALF PASS, which I have never ridden before in my life. I actually stopped him and was like holy shit holy shit WHAT WAS THAT! I'm not sure any lateral work has ever felt that effortless, let alone a movement I've never ridden before.

It was all such a good reminder that there's nothing wrong with slowing down and listening to your horse, that slow is fast with horses, and that sometimes a good conversation over a glass of wine in the rain matters more than pushing forward with training for the sake of it.

Life is good.

No filter - the Midwest is just gorgeous sometimes


  1. There is so much wisdom in this post. thank you for writing it.

  2. Thanks for your honesty and I love that perspective. I've missed you over the past few months and hoped you were doing ok! Sending lots of hugs and happy thoughts :)

  3. This is the perspective I missed as a teenager when it was all showing-showing-training-showing and a huge part of what contributed to my burnout. I'm barely doing more than walking right now and in the past I'd be stressed about it, but right now I'm like who cares? I'm just grateful to be back on my horse. (Ok, I DO miss jumping, but...)
    But I could do with a little less rain here.

  4. I always try to remember this mindset when I have a setback, things come in due time.

  5. Yes to all of this! It took stepping away from showing (not really by choice) to realize there's so much more to riding than just getting to the next competition. I love learning and riding just as much whether or not I have a show on the calendar. Glad things with Connor are still going great, even with a slow down.

  6. Going with the flow sometimes: priceless.

  7. That afternoon sounds perfect! Glad you are still making some exciting progress and enjoying your horse!