Springtime: Equestrian Expectation vs. Reality

The long winter has (for the most part) come to an end! And if you’re anything like me, you’re already leaping to conclusions about what spring has in hold for you as an equestrian.

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Generally in life, it’s a good idea to try to manage your expectations. That’s not to say you shouldn’t set lofty goals and dream big… but it’s also important to “keep it real.” No time is more critical to practice this expectation management than springtime at the barn.

Expectation: Mapping out your seasonal route through all of your favorite competitions, and throwing in a few new ones for good measure. This is your year to shine!

Reality: You look at one show bill and realize you’ll be spending about 60% of your bi-weekly paycheck just on the classes alone.

Expectation: Whatever is happening in this video, which is probably some form of witchcraft:

(As an aside, don’t you LOVE it when some non-horsey viral site shares a horse-related video, and then your non-horsey friends share it to your wall about 500 times? They mean well.)

Reality: There is no one magical tool, people — just a lot of elbow grease, not to mention dirt plastered to your knuckles and fingertips and loose hair stuck to every article of clothing you’re wearing, including the fleece you stupidly wore to the barn today. Did you just put on chapstick? Bad call, my friend.

Expectation: Wildflowers, singing birds, your horse trotting up to meet you at the pasture gate on a mild, sunny afternoon…

Reality: “Spring” is just a cute word for the generally mucky thawing-out process. All you’ve done is replaced snow with rain and ice with mud. And your horse can’t trot over to meet you because he’s literally knee-deep in a puddle with his shoes gradually getting sucked off.

Expectation: Cantering across a perfect meadow, the brilliant green turf just the right amount of springiness under your horse’s hooves, the breeze blowing his mane into your face as you move as one, totally free with nary a fence in sight.

Reality: It’s going to take an awful lot of lunging and careful laps around the actual arena before you should even think about wide-open spaces, kids:

Expectation: This is the year it’s all going to come together — you’re going to make a time schedule for yourself and keep all your plates at once between housework, the day job, spending time with friends, family and significant others, and the barn.

Reality: It’s 9:05 PM, do you know where your equestrian is? (Spoiler: it’s not housework, the day job or spending time with anyone other than her horse.)

Go springtime. Go riding.

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