Burn Out…The Struggle is Real

As I wrote this post it felt like I was rambling. I’ve been working on it for several days, and struggling to focus. Deep down, I knew at some point this was going to happen. I’ve been pushing myself pretty hard the past few months and two weeks ago, I just hit a wall. From January until May 5, I have been working a full time job, travelling for said job, training two full size horses, training three miniature horses, attempting to tame a wild burro, trying to write at least one blog post every week, all while trying to be the best possible mom to my two year old. I’ve had to get creative with my training schedule to ensure it doesn’t interfere with family time. Training and writing usually take place after both Offspring and Darling Husband are snoring soundly in their beds.

After my horse show on May 5, I just lost all desire to do anything. For one thing it rained non-stop for a solid week in Central Texas post show. Currently, I don’t have the luxury of an onsite arena. All of my training happens in my back pasture. If it’s muddy I can’t afford to destroy my pasture to train my full size horses. Miniature horses tend to get more work, because their smaller size allows me to train when a full size horse would destroy my property, and often I’m driving them on paved roads to desensitize them to neighborhood activities anyway. Both of my next door neighbors have offered me the use of their large sand arenas, but even their arenas have spent a significant amount of time under water. I did trailer to the Expo center to use the indoor arena and salvage my training calendar, but I had already lost the momentum that had kept me driving forward this year.

The rain and mud triggered a mild depression that left me reluctant to do anything with any of my animals. In addition to the wet and the mess, Texas heat combined with wet soupy conditions equals super high humidity! I’m good with working in triple digit heat, but temperatures in the 90’s combined with 70-80% humidity is way outside of my comfort zone. It’s been miserable to be outside. My clothes feel like they are glued to me, and it’s difficult to breath. So there have been more than a few days, where I check on everyone, offer a few scratches/treats, feed, and retreat to the house.

Two weeks out from my second show of the season, one week which would be totally consumed by travel for my “day” job, I realized both of my show prospects had been on a two week vacation and one week of work pre-show, would not be enough time for an adequate tune up. Mainly, I just didn’t have the desire or energy to clip, bath, groom, and trailer to the show after being in Colorado all week. I’ve been struggling to get on the back of a horse. The thought of loading up all of my gear and the horse was just too much for me. So, I offered to volunteer at the show instead.

Over Memorial Day weekend, one of our good friends came to visit bringing her horse along for some weekend riding. While I wanted to ride, the thought of working on anything too demanding sucked the energy right out of me. So Sunday, I pulled Odessa out of the pasture for some bareback work. My big girl was like riding a couch after her two week vacation with an “all you can eat” buffet of Texas grass. On Memorial Day, we trailered Comanche and my friend’s horse, Mirage, to Falls county for a trail ride. It was nice not to be constantly working on gaits, transitions, and rhythm, but Comanche is not a relaxing trail horse. He wants to go full speed where ever we are headed. Despite the challenge that is Comanche, I’m beginning to think that maybe focusing on relaxing and more trail rides is what he needs more than arena work.

I’ve started to re-evaluate my 2019 goals. I don’t have any shows scheduled for the full size horses until later in the year which is good. Right now I’m struggling to find the desire to pull them out of the pasture. They’re perfectly fine with the arrangement because all horses love to chill and eat. My only expectations of them for the past two weeks is that they come when called for some treats and a quick check of their fly masks. I’m continuing to work the ponies, because I really want Beau to be in the 100th Belton Fourth of July Parade. For now Odessa, Comanche, and I will focus on some “fun time” rather than focusing on training. I’m not really a hard core competitor anyway we’ve really just been going to shows as validation for all of the training time I put in, and to play dress up.

I still plan to enter Odessa in her first walk, jog, lope classes this fall and hopefully will be taking Comanche cross country. We may not be as aggressive with his show entries this year as I had originally planned. Taking the ponies to a few driving events and maybe even a trail ride or two may replace some of the shows currently on my calendar. Horses are a lot of work, but once they begin to “feel” like work it’s time to rethink the relationship. Lately the self-imposed pressure I’ve been feeling are making my horses feel more like a job than a hobby. So it’s time for more self care and more enjoyable workouts for me and the horses.

Heels Down magazine/blog (not exactly sure what they’re classified as) had an entertainment piece about the virtues of an Adult Amateur Horse Camp versus the standard kids summer Horse Camp. The idea is genius! Horse Camp is one of my fondest childhood memories and something I eagerly anticipated every year. Adult Horse Camp would be so much better though, because Adult Camp would involve alcohol. One of my friends with a facility that could handle an Adult Horse Camp jumped on it instantly offering to assist with making this dream a reality. We’re in the early stages of planning a fun filled three day event for other horse owners looking for fun without all the “work” and competition. We’re gauging our target audience, reaching out to trainers/clinicians, and thinking about the entertainment/beverage offerings.

I’m crunching numbers to see what it would take to finance the event. Of course I live in Texas so summer camp is out of the question, but a Fall Fling may be the ticket! Theoretically planning such an event is an undertaking of more work instead of less, but it might just be what I need to pull myself out of this riding slump! So if you are reading this blog and located in Texas, stay tuned I might be hosting an event you would be interested in attending with horse clinics, trail riding, games, and of course booze.

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