Competition season is over so it’s time for your reality check

bitofbritain-Week1

 

WARNING: Uncensored language. But all in fun.

 

Competition season is over so it’s time for your reality check

At this time of year, event riders everywhere are at a loose end. It can be a dangerous time financially-the temporary respite from astronomical event entry fees combined with things like Black Monday, can lead a rider to feel like they have a few quid burning a hole in their bank accounts. Between extreme boredom, event horse sales and fancy horsey winter wear catalogues, in no time at all you can have yourself convinced – and justified – that living on beans with no electricity for Christmas is a GREAT IDEA. Event schedules for the following year are up online, equine misdemeanours of the previous season long forgotten and timers are already set and counting down to 4:00 am on the 10th of March 2018. After the customary five minute long post-season holiday, you have approximately four months to try and convince your camels and llamas that they can improve their dressage, pick up their toes with better efficiency, and learn to potentially enjoy leaping gleefully over gaping abysses and monstrous timber things. It’s a strange time of year.

For some of us, it’s a time to take a long cold hard look at reality. Much like facing your mother in law whilst carrying a stinking hangover, this can be an unpleasant experience. An end of season overhaul and evaluation – with one eye on the following year – can leave some riders foaming at the bit and wishing Christmas would just bugger off already so they can get on with things. For others, it can be a rather more sorry state of affairs. Whilst most things are achievable or fixable, some things are not and that’s when it’s time to make changes.

An event horse at any stage of his education ultimately has to love going to work. It is not a sport for the work-shy, couch potato horse, nor is it a sport for the schizophrenic and/or entirely deranged horse. A good event prospect doesn’t really need wow paces and a flash jump. He doesn’t need a gold-plated pedigree or a massive price tag. He just needs to want to work, to try hard and to be genuine for his rider. After that, all things become possible. You can train the jump, you can grow the paces but you can’t replace or patch over a genuine desire to get stuck in and give it a go. The seemingly average horse can often go further than you could ever have imagined, and make at least some of your dreams come true.

 


 

In my lifetime thus far with horses, I have encountered brilliance and mediocrity many times over. I have seen spectacularly athletic and promising horses fail to deliver, and I have seen some alarmingly uninspiring horses go on to become absolute stars. I have ridden an impossible lunatic with a million issues, but who went on to be probably the safest and most reliable jumper I have ever had. I have prayed to every deity possible when facing a solid obstacle on a basic yak, only to find myself surprised, alive and still in the saddle when said yak performed with aplomb. I have occasionally hit the sweet spot of riding a talented, sane horse and briefly felt like I knew what I was doing, but that’s quite rare. I have every faith and patience for any horse who does his best, and luckily for the most part, the majority of horses fall into this category.

However. Some don’t.

I myself am currently not enjoying a necessary stroll down reality avenue. I have a horse in my yard who has god given talent, a massive and very careful jump and wonderful paces. However, as the saying goes – god gives, and he takes away. This horse is as dumb as a rock, and completely gutless. It is the single most frustrating animal I have ever encountered, and believe me, that’s saying something. My own confidence has been eroded and I feel like the only option left for the time being is to do pure dressage. Yes, you just read that. Fucking DRESSAGE. I have no objection to dressage as part of the sport of Eventing or Equestrian Triathlon or whatever it’s called now. But to pay ACTUAL MONEY to trot around a rectangle in the pissing rain as a full-time thing? Yeah. No to that. As a hysterical displacement activity, I have started perusing stallion brochures. I feel a bit like Dorothy in The Wizard Of Oz, taking the scarecrow to find a brain. Or the tin man to find a heart. Or a lion to find courage. Any and all works in this particular case…

So as the postman groans under the weight of your idle-handed purchases and the horses enjoy their brief downtime as feral gnus and buffalo, have a think. What do you need to work on? Did you meet your goals for 2017? Is your horse enjoying his job and making progress? Is he the right horse for you, or are you struggling horribly but not prepared to quit on him because he has talent? Or because you love him, and you’d feel somehow disloyal admitting defeat? Remember that it costs just as much to keep the wrong horse as it does to keep the right one, but the hours of your life you dedicate to each horse are non-refundable. If you do find yourself on the miserable end of a tough decision, it’s not all bad-it is the festive season after all, so drowning your sorrows in Eggnog and mince pies is entirely socially acceptable…

Scroll for more top stories on Eventing Connect

11 reasons the holidays are better with horses | Eventing Connect   11 reasons the holidays are better with horses Christmas is rapidly approaching, so we are well into the holiday season. You have to be a real Scrooge to deny the fact that there is not something merry about this time of year. Even though in many parts of the world it is bitterly cold out, the parties, food,…

Why can’t all unplanned dismounts be this graceful? – VIDEO Break | Eventing Connect   Why can’t all unplanned dismounts be this graceful? – VIDEO Break Whenever you get on a horse you will eventually have to get off. And we all hope that the dismount will be intentional. However, we have all suffered through some unplanned dismounts which usually result with our bums in the dirt. But this rid…

Eastern Hay 770x170-March

Sunday’s SCOOP from Eastern Hay | Eventing Connect   Sunday’s SCOOP from Eastern Hay Today’s SCOOP sponsor: Eastern Hay is the premier source of hay bales in Eastern USA.   Events in North America this weekend: United States: Partners of the Park Schooling Show (FL) [Website] [Times]   Worldwide bits and bites United Kingdom: …

The perfect storm: White line disease and founder – The hard journey through rehab | Eventing Connect   The perfect storm: White line disease and founder – The hard journey through rehab Amy Gibbs is an American eventer who fell in love with an off the track Thoroughbred, Denali. He provided comfort for her during a dark period in her life so when his soundness was on the line, Amy stepped up and did everythin…

Your votes have been counted – Check out the ‘five-star’ eventers from Grand Oaks | Eventing Connect   Your votes have been counted – Check out the ‘five-star’ eventers from Grand Oaks On Tuesday, we asked you to vote for the ‘five-star’ Novice jumper at Grand Oaks Schooling Horse Trials. Over 3,000 votes were cast for which duo our readers thought jumped the fence out of the water on cross-country the bes…

So small but extra sassy – VIDEO Break | Eventing Connect   So small but extra sassy – VIDEO Break This miniature pony might lack in size but he certainly doesn’t lack in sass. It’s a good thing he isn’t a full-sized horse or else his handler would have his work cut out for him… Have you ever met a miniature pony quite like this?     How cute…

Cocaine is becoming a problem in Eventing – Riders need help, not persecution | Eventing Connect   Cocaine is becoming a problem in Eventing – Riders need help, not persecution In the past few months, I have received multiple requests to write a story about cocaine use in Eventing. Many people have reached out to Eventing Connect with concern and or disdain for riders who are using cocaine and jeopardiz…

Captions are in and so damn funny you will snort-laugh. Vote for your favourite! | Eventing Connect   Captions are in and so damn funny you will snort-laugh. Vote for your favourite! This year we have captured some remarkable images at horse trials all over North America. Last week, we asked our readers to caption the photo above for a chance to win a T-Shirt of their choice from Shop ATTITUDE. With over 200 …

BACK ON TRACK-1-770x170

When you’re such a bad pony that three police cruisers come for you – VIDEO Break | Eventing Connect   When you’re such a bad pony that three police cruisers come for you – VIDEO Break This little guy wins the naughty pony of the year award by a landslide. Turn your volume on and listen to his owner’s account of how three police cruisers ended up chasing him down when he got loose in a neighbourhood… You wi…

An important guide for all horse trainers and coaches: How to treat clients | Eventing Connect   An important guide for all horse trainers and coaches: How to treat clients Reflecting on this year’s season, sent me down memory lane and I started thinking about how my life with horses actually began. I started riding in the summer of 2005 and loved it. Before the end of the summer, my parents, who knew …

bitofbritain-Week1

Does your horse have the letter ‘D’ in its name? Enter to win a custom Perri’s halter | Eventing Connect   Does your horse have the letter ‘D’ in its name? Enter to win a custom Perri’s halter We are thrilled to partner with Perri’s Leather and bring you the latest monthly contest to celebrate horse names and have some fun. For the past few months, readers like you have have been winning beautiful halters by s…

Winter is better thanks to these cute ponies frolicking in the snow – VIDEO Break | Eventing Connect   Winter is better thanks to these cute ponies frolicking in the snow – VIDEO Break Winter is here and that means there is plenty of snow in the North. Snow has its serious downsides such as constant shovelling, terrifying road conditions, etc. But there are also some benefits like watching cute little ponies …

SeminoleWellness2017_770x170

The science behind the products – What I discovered about equine nasal strips | Eventing Connect   There are so many products out there to help horses and humans live better and perform better. Sometimes, it is difficult to know what is based on facts and science and what is not. I have always been a sceptic about anything that is not obviously explained. I am a student of science and I love reading and di…

Men versus women at the 2017 CCI4* events: Are we really equal? – Sponsored by Back on Track | Eventing Connect   Great for muscles, ligaments, tendons and joints. Products for horses, dogs and people. Visit www.backontrackproducts.com   Men versus women at the 2017 CCI4* events: Are we really equal? – Sponsored by Back on Track Equestrian sports are the only Olympic disciplines where men and women compete against…

The top 20 photos from 2017 that will leave you amped for next season – Part 1: Show jumping | Eventing Connect   The top 20 photos from 2017 that will leave you amped for next season – Part 1: Show jumping The 2017 season has come to an end in North America. Eventing Connect’s ‘photographers’ attended many of the top events on the continent this season and captured some awesome shots. Our Christmas present to our reade…

Extreme hacking: Ditch edition – VIDEO Break | Eventing Connect   Extreme hacking: Ditch edition – VIDEO Break Hacking can be as boring or as exciting as you want it to be. You can just walk down a nice little trail and enjoy the great outdoors with your horse. Or you can add some difficulty to your hack by throwing in some jumping obstacles. This rider decided that jumpin…

Why you need social media for your 2018 riding goals – Sponsored by MD Barnmaster | Eventing Connect   Why you need social media for your 2018 riding goals – Sponsored by MD Barnmaster 2018 is almost here and with the arrival of a new year, we always attempt to reinvent ourselves with new self-commitments to improve our lives. Making changes is not easy and many New Year’s resolutions are often not kept after…

Tuesday’s Top 10 – Stupidest Christmas gifts for eventers | Eventing Connect   WARNING: Only read if you have a sense of humour Check in every Tuesday for our Top 10 list that could feature just about anyone or anything related to Eventing. No rider, owner, coach, or nation is off limits. Remember: “Life is a tragedy for those who feel and a comedy for those who think.”   …

Who is the ‘five-star’ Novice jumper at Grand Oaks Horse Trials? You decide…vote now. | Eventing Connect   Who is the ‘five-star’ Novice jumper at Grand Oaks Horse Trials? You decide…vote now. Over the weekend, riders in the Florida were competing at the Sneak Peek Grand Oaks Schooling Horse Trials. This exciting new event ran divisions ranging from Beginner Novice up to the Training level. I was not competing…

How Superman rides a horse – VIDEO Break | Eventing Connect   How Superman rides a horse – VIDEO Break The famous fictional superhero, Superman is known for flying around and using his superhuman strength to save the world. But what would happen if Superman saddled up a horse? I think this video explains it…

offbeatsafaris-4-770x170

A ‘grand’ new addition to the 2018 Eventing season – A show preview you must see | Eventing Connect   A ‘grand’ new addition to the 2018 Eventing season – A show preview you must see Eventing around the Ocala, Florida area has been steadily growing for years. Over the last two years, there have been three new events added to the area: Three Lakes Horse Trials, Exmoor Horse Trials, and most notably, …

Eventing Connect Classifieds are here – Post your ad FREE for 60 days | Eventing Connect   Eventing Connect Classifieds are here – Post your ad FREE for 60 days Eventing Connect is pleased to offer a Classified section to provide you with another platform to sell your horses, tack, services, property or whatever you may have for sale. Hundreds of thousands of readers visit us each month and we w…