Grass isn’t always greener..

‘I know you are unhappy, you are working far to hard and not playing anywhere near harder enough for everything to be ok’

So above are the wise words of my mum.. Mums know everything don’t they?

Seeing as those words are still ringing in my ears I thought there is no better way to get the monkey off my back as to how and why my mum came to say such a thing to me.. Sit tight because this might be an uncomfortable ride!!!

The simplest answer is this – I am unhappy..

I miss eventing..

I had the pleasure of riding a 13.2hh pony in its first ODE in a 80T at Burgie Horse Trials in the most unbelievable snow at the weekend, to some people it would have felt like a waste of a Sunday – I mean I was HC and will more than likely never ride the pony again but Sunday reminded me just how much I miss riding horses at competitions, it’s as simple as this – I like myself when I am on horse..
The pony I rode didn’t (very sensibly!!) see the point in going on the bit much in the dressage warm up but she buckled down and produced a lovely test for a mark of 33, I did my best not to annoy her in the warm up and let her see we could meet at a middle ground.. Which we did and I was honestly proud of her and the fact she had worked with me.
So on to the showjumping – By this point it was snowing so much it was really hard to see where we were going!
My pony hated every second of the snow covered ground yet every time I kicked on a stride she pricked her cute little ears and came up for me.. Not once did I stop kicking, trying to give her every little bit of the confidence I had in her to her..

You see if people believe in you you achieve.. Simply as that..

By the time we were going XC I couldn’t quite believe they hadn’t pulled the plug on the whole event!! But hey ho.. Off we went anyways! My super cool pony grew in confidence with every jump she jumped, that was until the coffin..
I took a pull just before the ditch to let her have a look at it, she duly slowed herself to have a look only to slip on the wet ground and scare herself..
I tried twice to get her over it but I knew the damage was done. So I put my hand up and asked the fence judge if I could play around the fence till the next horse came, I was fully expecting him to say no – but to my amazement he said yes!!

Fantastic I thought.. So I trotted around to the landing side of the ditch so she could see it was safe to jump to the landing side of scary hole in the ground, a couple of turns and boom she popped over it. In a green way but in that spilt second I knew she had learnt far more than if I’d stood there trying to force her over.. She was genuinely worried..
I gave her a pat and walked home a happy rider, I had given her a great experience..
Maybe on paper it won’t look like a great result but I know in my head and hers it was.
There is always another day and I know on that ‘another day’ she will be totally on side.

On my flight home I couldn’t stop thinking about the odd feeling I had felt all day watching others riding just the day before.

But I hadn’t landed and I was getting my kit ready for an event with the flying cow.. The flying cow has been called her fair share of names since she did her very best to kill me last April..
I’m sure you will have all seen the fall, basically she made a mistake – a pretty epic mistake but still it was just a mistake, just one of those things.
She is one of the best and guttiest jumpers I have ever ridden.. Yes she is limited scope wise but she lacks nothing in heart and guts..
She honestly gave me an amazing ride XC, just as brave and as bold as you would want, at every big one I asked her up on she came up.

And then that feeling came again..

It was jealousy.

I struggled watching other people ride horses I wanted to be riding..
I want to be riding 5 lovely horses at an event every weekend..

But and this is a big but.. Am I unhappy enough with my life to totally change it all for what I want deep down in my heart?
The answer is no – I have a wonderful life, I love my job and work with great people.. Same goes for my teaching.. I love it, love meeting new people and trying to help them with there horses.

Away from horses I don’t like myself much – I mean what do I have going for me? Not much but it is fine, I do after all spend nearly 12 hours a day every day on horse back. So not much time to dis like myself really!!
This is no ‘poor little me’ cry out for someone to pat me on the back or massage my ego.
I’m just being honest.

But back to me being unhappy – yes I’m not as happy as I would be if I had a yard with 15 eventers and point to pointers in it and it was ticking a long nicely and I didn’t have to worry about the bills being paid – but I don’t have a yard with 15 eventers and point to pointers in it ticking along nicely.. Also I have been there, done it and got the T -shirt and whilst I whole heartedly believe life is what you make it, it however is not and will never be a fairy tale..

So I took a deep breath today and shook myself down – I asked myself this..

Are you happy enough to settle with what you have not what you want OR are you unhappy enough to go after what you want and not settle for what you have?

Truth is even if I feel a prang of jealously every now and again I still love my life, I truly believe I have the best of both worlds and I am not prepared to give that all up..
So I not only refuse but have no reason to be bitter.

But as always I shall make the most of what I have because a little of what you have is often so much better than a lot of what you don’t have.. Simply the grass isn’t always greener..

Remember thou – there is a massive difference between not being unhappy enough to give up what you have to go after what you want and being too afraid to give up what you have and grab what you need..

I am off to ride my last horse of the day then I have to pack my top and tails in the lorry for Withington Advanced at the weekend with Jimmy Shoo.. I might not have what I want but I have far more than I need..

Remember – be better not bitter and don’t complain about something you can but either don’t want to or don’t have the heart to change..
What you have might not be everything you want but there will be someone out there dreaming of having half of what you have so be grateful or change it.. Either way make the most of it as nothing lasts or is around forever..

Over and out till next time.

P xx

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The captain always goes down with his ship..

So I’m back.. Are you all ready? I hope so!!
This blog had been sitting in my drafts waiting to be posted for a week or two now but the time just hasn’t felt right.. Until now that is..

Jimmy Shoo is 3 events in to his event season but in his last run he faced his biggest chanellenge, a very strong advanced at Burnham Market… His previous 2 runs had been at events that are well and truly in his comfort zone course and ground wise.
So going to Burnham Market knowing that not only that the course would be the toughest he had faced to date but that he would hate the tacky ground, if I’m honest didn’t hold out much hope of getting round!!

In the dressage Jimmy was wild but he has always been a horse that has never had even the tiniest bit of sparkle in the dressage and he is always such hard work.. So the fact he is now a little full of himself is great!!

I mean I have spent forever trying to get him more off my leg so I can’t be cross that he is now to much off my leg can I?!?! Instead I tell him what a good boy he is, trying to keep him jolly and enjoying the dressage and hopefully that will spill out in the other 2 phases..
In the showjumping the ground was terribly tacky, holding and dead, as I have said many times before – Jimmy has so much ability but only puts it in when it suits and he doesn’t like to try to hard.. Having ridden him like a total idiot to the first fence and landed him on the back rail I got hold of myself and up’d the canter to help him get out of the ground and I have to give credit where credit is due! Jimmy busted a gut round the rest of the course
That is something I have never ever felt Jimmy do!! Try!!

I was still feeling pretty confident he wouldn’t jump round the cross country, I know you may think that’s a bad mind set to have and maybe it is but it is how Jimmy has made me feel but and this is a massive but for all my slightly negative feelings I still have full confidence in his ability and rode him out the start box like a good thing and you know what – he jumped like a good thing..
Don’t get me wrong he hated every second of the ground but I tried to ride with my head..
I kept him on the best of the ground in-between fences and made a huge fuss of him after every fence, I mean we all need a little pat on the back from our boss when we are doing our best for them don’t we?
At the more difficult fences I could honestly feel Jimmy almost looking to me to help him..

No ‘f**k this I’m finding it hard so I won’t bother trying’

I did what I do best, I kept positive and just kept my head down and kicked forwards and I have to say I loved the feeling that we had worked together to jump a clear round.

Jimmy had tried his hardest for me on ground he hated and I tried my hardest for him by not getting in the way and keeping him straight and keeping his engine running when he was unsure.

It was such a great feeling pulling up, that feeling that a horse has genuinely tried there best for you, after all that’s all we want isn’t it? For our horses to try there best for us?
I really am not sure if Jimmy’s mind set has truly changed but I’m ever the optimist and love a dream so here’s to kicking on to Bramham and hopefully Burghley..

So on to what else I have planned – pointing..

Yep that’s right – I must be mad but I miss training pointer to pointers and have decided to get two horses to train and run this coming season.. I mean I still have a certain Foxhunters at Aintree to jump round!! So anyone with any nice racehorses looking for a new home or change of scenery get in touch..

Part of the reason for me getting the pointers is because I still want to live the dream and still chase the dragon.. I’m not ready to grow up and do what all my friends have done – get real jobs, get married and have kids..
One of my friends and the last of my not growing up friends has just got a proper job aboard..

It hit me so hard if I’m honest, I felt a bit lost.. I mean I’m the last one still playing at life or as my friend put it – the captain always goes down with his ship.

But you know what my ship is pretty fun one to be on even if I’m on it alone most of the time.

It doesn’t stop me feeling I’ve underachieved in my life thou, I have had so many chances to do amazing things and for one reason or another I haven’t always taken those chances but I’m still here, I’m still happy and I’m still chasing the dragon and looking for the next kick.
That’s what life is all about thou isn’t it?

So I’m sitting here thinking about the wonderful weekend I have planned in Aberdeen and how I think the time may just have come to have another pop at eventing properly again.. Maybe set up a yard again… But SHHHHH thou that’s top secret…
But more than anything I’m going to make good on some of those opportunities and friendships I have let pass me by.
In life I have learnt it is never to late to say sorry, sort what you should have sorted and make good on what you should have made good on before..

If you try and can’t then it never was truly ment to be sorted or to be made good.

If you want to try at or to do something – do.. It’s your ship and no one else’s..

So it’s onwards and upwards for now but just remember that you are the captain of your ship and you should go down with it as there’s no fun in being the one that bailed..

P Xx