Friday, March 25, 2011

being the best you can be is always something to aspire to

Its raining again, so I'm reduced to sitting inside feeling useless. Usually i ride in the rain, but after three days of the nasty stuff, even my most surefooted horses are slipping around like there on skates, so every ones having a day off. It been weather wise, one of the strangest 6 months, i don't like what all this wet weather means for the coming winter.. But on another topic..

I went to the ballet the other night, I'm not a huge dance enthusiast, but i love to watch anything where someone has pushed themselves to the limit of physical ability and strives to be the best they can be, it really inspires me in what i do. My brother, just competed in his first world championships at age 16, in his chosen sport, the work he put in, hours, driving, everything he gave up to push himself to the top, inspired me. I would go watch some his training with a guy who was a multi world champion himself, the work they did, always left me wanting to push myself that little bit harder. There is something so special in watching any athlete push themselves, that drive, seeking perfection, pushing their body, watching someone at the top of any discipline is to me truly amzing. Because i know how hard it is to strive to achieve at any level.

Same with horses, watching a horse & rider jump a Grand Prix round, or a dressage rider go through their freestyle at the Olympic games, is amazing. It's not just the performance they put in at that moment. It is thinking of all the hours training, literally the years of of work to get to that point, and all that people to sacrifice. It really is amazing the dedication, the drive, and the sheer physical ability of both the horse and rider at this level. Beautiful to watch

But i also find it inspiring those, who may never ride, compete, dance at the top level, but push themselves to be the best they can be anyway. Someone who develops complete harmony with their horse or maybe the less talented horse that gives his heart out jumping for his rider, to me is still an amazing acheivement. I know my last eventing horse and i, got to 2** level together, he was physically not very talented, not fast, didn't move very well, and was small, yet we won the national series for young riders, and managed to beat out far better horses on many occasions. This little horse taught me alot about how much heart counts. He tried harder than anything i have ever ridden since, and more importantly, looked after me, i was always safe on him, he gave everything i asked his best effort and more.

I made the heartbreaking decision to sell him, putting him on the plane to another country, knowing i'd probably never see him again, i cried my heart out, and over a year later i still miss him. With another young horse about to step up to that level again, i remember this horse more than ever because to me he achieved more, physically, it was so much harder for him, than it is for the new one. Every ribbon i won on my little underdog, will always have a special place in my heart, because i know how much more blood sweat, tears and importantly heart went into it. ( this special horse is now teaching another young girl in Australia, who loves him to, they send me photos, of him taking her around the cross country, it makes me happy seeing him do low level and never having to strain himself again, enjoying asn easy life after all he did for me)

I know I'm a sucker for the underdog, the not so glamorous horse. the one that everyone else looks past. I think its part of the reason i applied to get wild horses. I'm also of the belief, that any horse can be trained, and good horses are only ever as good as the person who trains them. I am lucky enough that i learned from people who were of similar mindset to me. i would love to show with these wild horses that, you can achieve so much with your horse through understanding, hard work, and dedication. Achievement is not always that Olympic medal, but developing yourself, and your horse, to the best of your physical abilities, and having a connection and understanding together.

But i can not stand the people who ruin the achievement of others by tainting a sport, whether, by using steroids, cheating the rules, or especially in horse sports through the use of cruel or abusive training techniques. There is no achievement and no beauty in something created through pain. Whether using horrible bits on a horse soft mouth, hyper flexing them until their tongues turn blue, racking their legs, anything that causes pain to encourage performance,or this that i read today on Fugly Horse of The Day, you are an arsehole, horses will do so much for you, yet like using steroids people try and find shortcuts to success, usually with hideous consequences! Thank god we dont even have the the sport, mentioned in Fugly, in this country!!

What will these two become?? One thing for sure as long as there with me i will never subject them to any cruelty, but i will aspire to continue to improve them through good training, patience and time.