A Groove or a Rut?

Ever since I can remember, I’ve had this nagging fear of being in a rut. College/medical school and residency suited me very well in that every semester in school and every month in residency saw a big change. New classes, a new rotation, new schedule. It was paradise.

My adult life has few opportunities for change. I’ve worked in the same building for 5 years doing the same stuff on the same schedule. Wyatt gets dropped off and picked up at the same time at the same place each day. Heck, even the weekends are pretty static: laundry on saturday mornings, grocery shopping sunday mornings, etc… It’s a lovely life and I am not complaining about getting to live this one. I’ve set it up this way and with work and a 6 year old, well, structure is a necessity.

Its just…well..there is that nagging little voice worrying about being in a rut.

A couple of months ago I listened to a podcast on this very subject. When looking at your life, are you in a groove chugging steadily along working towards something or are you stuck in a rut spinning your own wheels? It was one that really hit me hard mostly because at the end of the day, it all comes down to perspective.

Ignoring the rest of my middle aged angst, I want to focus this topic on my riding. Groove or Rut?

With Gem, I was very solidly in a rut. Sure we were making some progress and I was doing some things, but by that point in our relationship we were both pretty solidly stuck in our ways and I had neither the time, money or skills to advance her past some pretty major road blocks. So she got retired and is living, um…large…in the pasture happy as can be these days.

She has fully shed out for the year and is looking glossy and a bit round.

I refuse to be in a rut with H’Appy. Its all about the groove now folks. I find myself in an odd place currently with him. I’m a bit…gasp….bored. Wait, what?! No, I’m not bored with him as a horse. His potential and my future with him is currently limitless. I ride him and I can feel the future moving under me. Its amazing and motivating.

I have however moved past my own self prescribed “getting to know him” phase. Its taken longer than I anticipated and had more bumps that I would have preferred, but after my last several rides I can honestly say that I am comfortable with him, his base line reactions, and his ability to take pressure and deal. He isn’t always an easy horse. He has his days when he hates the world and everyone in it and oh by the way why don’t I take my ideas for the ride and shove them where the sun doesn’t shine. He also has his days where our guinea pig could ride him and he would do everything as asked. The thing is that now, I am finally comfortable with both of my bi polar horse’s personalities. Not always super effective or knowledgeable about riding him both ways, but comfortable with it. That is a big step for me.

Have I mentioned how nosy he is? I just missed snapping a pic of him resting his whole head on Dusty’s as Dusty attempted to work

It means that I’m ready to push beyond simple walk/trot/canter rides and single 2′ fences at home. Beyond the ground poles I can figure out how to set up and ride over. Most importantly, I am ready to push beyond “good enough” and into the real work of riding. Except…this is where my knowledge base and skills in this discipline run out. I’m out of ideas on my own. Out of things to do.

For that, I need a trainer. A real trainer versus an instructor. One who rides and competes and is able to hop on my horse on a bad day to get a feel for what I’m feeling. A trainer who is able to push me beyond my comfort zone but is also able to read when it is too much, too fast or my addled brain is getting confused at what I’m trying to do.

I really love my little herd. Each is unique in personality and all fit us perfectly

I’m finally ready to get serious. To start working in my groove towards something. Right now that something is a HT at amoeba level (w/t dressage, 18″ stadium, 18″ xc with only 3 mandatory fences and no time) though I may be convinced to try tadpole (BN dressage, 2′ stadium, 2′ xc with a full course and a time limit) if things are moving along nicely and we are doing ok in the canter work. The 2′ height doesn’t bother me, it is the canter work that has me feeling really iffy.

To that end, I will be on a mission this week, as the never ending thunderstorm continues to pummel the area leaving everything under water, to contact as many training facilities as I can find within a reachable drive to locate this mystery trainer. Someone who I can build a relationship with over time and who will help me reach my goals. It is time to stop meandering and start working!

16 thoughts on “A Groove or a Rut?”

  1. Finding a trainer is HARD. I struggled for years. But there simply are not many around me, so I feel your pain.
    that said, how awesome is that that is where you are right now? 😀 😀 (this is me stopping and smelling the flowers).


  2. The trainer I rode with this past Saturday at Windridge is really good. The only thing might be distance for you bc she’s up in Asheville. She’s got a great group of students that go to the various shows and have a good time! I can send you her info and if you can’t find anyone else maybe give her a try?


    1. I’m hoping to stay more local but that may not be possible. As you probably already know J is leaving RB this summer so I need to find someone else. 😞

      Being local would mean that I could lesson more. Asheville is over 2 hours away. I’d probably look at Aiken which is a much easier drive from my house. 25 all the way! Thank you though!!!!


      1. She is on the south side but it still would be a hike for you! I know another person who miiiiight be able to travel to you? But not 100% sure bc you are south of Greenville (right?) Is J for sure leaving? I know the bidding is open but last I heard she was 50/50 about staying or going. Just depended on if she was outbid or if they wanted to much money for her to stay.


      2. I’m South which puts me closer to Aiken than Asheville. I don’t know. Last I heard the money required was doubling and she was tired of the games every 3 years. I’d be out if I was in that position. Not worth that stress.


  3. good luck!! fwiw i’m not sure there’s a major difference in terms of who is “better” between trainers who ride and compete professionally, and those whose main professional focus is teaching lessons. those are two very different business models and income streams, and don’t necessarily reflect the pro’s abilities or likelihood of gelling with you. the key is finding a pro who works for you and your horse 😉


    1. I’m not saying one is better but I do want someone who is willing to hop on my horse for me. So far all the instructors who don’t actively ride/compete haven’t been willing to and around here those who do are willing to. I know a lot of people don’t want someone else to ever ride their horse. I love having other people ride my horse! It gives them a chance to feel what I am and it gives me a chance to watch and learn how they deal. Whether or not they are a pro isn’t the sticking point. It’s being able to hand over the reins for them as needed to give the horse a boost when I can’t.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I really hope your search proves fruitful and turns up a great person who can be that missing teammember you and H’Appy need to march forward with your new groove. Wishing you the best! And maybe a dry arena, too. 😉


  5. Honestly – it takes me an inordinate amount of time to get to know a horse, its why even though I am a capable rider, I wasn’t that great at IHSA (I did ok). So if you feel comfortable and knowledgeable in knowing H’Appy and the getting to know you phase is over that is a HUGE deal and you need to give yourself some major pats on the back. We all get through that part in a different amount of time (mine is just molasses slow haha). While it’s always nice to have a trainer who can hop on and feel what you feel do not discount the older than dirt trainers who don’t ride anymore they’ve seen it all under the sun and can still troubleshoot things from the ground. Though again it might not be the best solution for you, you never know until you try, but it’s worked out pretty well for me!


    1. Trainer M sounds great. I love how positive he is in the videos and he always sounds like he really cares during the lesson. If I could find a M out here I wouldn’t care if he rode or competed.


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