Saturday, December 31, 2016

At Year's End

And so it is time for that annual ritual of reflecting on the past year and setting goals for the future.  I kind of suck at the whole summary of great (and not so great) things because for me, I've already moved on (also my memory is one of the many things that seems to be going as I get older).  I also am terrible at setting goals because I have learned that stuff that seems like a good idea when I first think of it becomes horrifying in the light of day (why did I think it would be a good idea to drag out the elliptical and commit to working out on it 30 minutes for 5 days a week???).  But, just for the fun of it, I did a quick scan of my posts for 2016.  And they brought back a flood of memories, but also a reminder that my journey with Nimo is not the linear path I once thought it would be.

This past year, in particular, has brought about some significant changes in my thinking and an almost end to the endurance branch of the trail entirely.  But, try as I might to write the post that releases me from my commitment to pursuing endurance with Nimo, I cannot do it.  There are some very valid reasons for me to move on to other things.  I'd love to spend more time working on driving with Nimo and take away some of the pressure to condition out on the trails.  I even tried out my "So, I'm not doing the whole endurance thing anymore" with a few close friends and my husband.  My husband's reaction was the one that surprised me the most.  I really thought he would look relieved, and think, if not say, how it would be nice not to have me gone so much on the weekends for riding.  But instead, he looked almost disappointed when I told him.  I explained I would have more time to spend with our daughter on the weekends so he could get more breaks from the childcare role.  And he told me that I shouldn't be worried about it and that he was fine with all the time he spends with her and that I shouldn't be quitting endurance for that reason.  That was kind of a big "wow!" moment for me.  I had assumed he was growing internally increasingly bitter with all the time I was away and the increase in responsibility he had for caring for our daughter.  But it turns out that was all in my head.  And it definitely made me reconsider my decision.  (Note to self:  Talk to husband more than 5 minutes a day and discuss things other than the child's bathroom habits and what we need at the grocery store.)

Especially because I discovered that without the next endurance ride looming in my future, my motivation starts to wither away.  There is so much that the world of endurance has to offer and it constantly challenges my thinking about feeding, nutrition, hoof care, saddle fit, communication, and fitness (for horse and rider) that I have found that I cannot yet live without that challenge, even if all we are doing is really low level intro rides.  Not to mention that I love so many of the endurance bloggers and riders in the community.

And so, I do plan to stick with at least a little endurance (is that even possible?) during the upcoming year.  I also plan to continue the Science of Motion work with Nimo and I'm taking yet another class (this one focused on bodywork) to expand my knowledge of the equine body.  I hope to publish some more posts about nutrition and at least learn more, even if I don't develop any conclusions.

But most importantly, I will continue to blog.  There was a time earlier this year when I thought about giving it up because of the time it takes, and if you are a regular reader, I'm sure you noticed my posts were few and far between for a significant part of the year.  As I discovered this month, though, blogging is one of the most helpful things I can do to keep me motivated and in pursuit of knowledge.  In fact, I wish I had blogged more during the time when I was really struggling with how to proceed because it might have helped me figure out the right path, or at least get some encouraging words from my readers (you are simply amazing and never cease to impress me with your knowledge and kindness and support!).

I started out 2016 with a post called A Changed Mind.  I am in a completely different place now than I was when I wrote that post, but the idea behind it is still so, so important to me.  I want to continue to learn and write and think and experiment and keep my mind open to endless possibilities.  I have a wonderful horse, a wonderful family, and a wonderful network of friends and fellow riders, and all I can hope is that 2017 brings lots of new ideas and changes:)  I wish all of you an amazing new year!

A random picture from April that I took out at the barn.  The light was so beautiful that night and I don't think I ever posted the picture.  It reminds me of a happy night with Nimo:)


  1. Happy New Year!
    I've come to be a regular reader over the last year, but don't think that I've commented before. I'm really glad to see that you'll keep blogging; I find it somewhat like a personal loss when a good blog goes silent. Your stories have made me consider whether endurance is something that I can do (no worries about my horses, they're energizer bunnies wearing saddles). Our winters are legit, nothing half-assed about them, so I will ponder on it a couple more months, but I see a possibility. Long roads call to me...

    1. Thanks for reading and for commenting, Mrs Shoes! I hope you can at least give endurance a try (especially if you have energetic horses!). You may decide it isn't for you or you may love it - either way, it is worth the effort.

      And I agree with you about losing a blog. Bloggers share so much about themselves and can become like friends in a way because of how they open themselves up. When I started blogging, I never really expected any strangers to read my blog and every time someone makes a comment and I get a notification email, it feels like getting a present:)

  2. I, too, struggle to move forward with training when I don't have a ride to look forward to! Endurance or no, I will continue to read your blog! I think driving sounds incredibly interesting, too, so I'd eat that kind of thing up if you did move in that direction. =)

    1. Yes on the driving! I must find a way to make that work!:)

  3. Isn't it funny how we project our fears on our spouses regarding the amount of time we spend at the barn with our horses while they're at home with the kids? I told my husband with my personal endurance goals this year, I needed 1, preferably 2 nights, a week at the barn and 1 weekend day. He said he was fine with it and "Go do your thing." Now to overcome my own guilt. That seems harder.

    I also agree without a ride on the calendar, I tend to flounder or spend time in the saddle just piddling around. I love it. I love being with my horses, but I'm not making forward progress.

    So, I took a suggestion from Mel Newton who got it from Funder; WRITE it on the calendar. Write down conditioning rides. Endurance rides. I put it all on the calendar now, and only work or emergencies shall alter my plans.

    Happy New Year to you and Nemo! You two are an inspiration. And, even if you do Intros or keep working in the LDs, you're an inspirational pair. :)

    1. Thanks, shayla:) And yes, you are so right about the ride calendar. I started one after I saw it on Funder's blog and it is an amazing motivator. I switched to a journal last year and it just isn't the same. Thanks for the reminder - I think I'll get a giant one again for this year to help keep me on track:)