Don't get me wrong. I'm a fairly social guy, at least I think so. I especially like hanging out with horse people, and talking about horses and horsey pursuits and other horse people...I think my wife (non-rider) would agree. Many is the time when she had to tug at my sleeve to get me to wrap the evening up after telling (or listening to) yet another "horse story".
The thing is, when I ride, I really, really prefer to be just with my horse. It's something I've come to learn about myself. Being a member of the local horse community, I find myself getting invited frequently to equine group activities like group trail rides, hunter paces, beach rides, vinyard rides, and after some years of attending some of them and really NOT enjoying myself, I've come to the conclusion that when it's time to actuially RIDE, I just enjoy the undivided attention I can give AND receive when it's just me and him.
We have been doing low-level eventing (horse trials) for the past couple years and we both really love that. I don't mind the crowds at a horse trial and neither does he. But the riding consists of one horse-one rider-one judge. That's what we love. We socialize afterwards, and that's fine. But this is the first horse I've ever competed on, and we seem to get on really well and it's kind of like I don't want anything to get in the way of that.
I like working on stuff whenever I ride-even on trail. I like to practice whatever the issue of the day, week or month seems to be: Transitions, half-halts, uphill and downhill trots and canters, whatever. I like structure in my riding (funny, I'm not always so disciplined in other areas of life) and have a routine that I go through for dressage training day, stadium training day, and XC training day. I don't mind altering our routine to accomodate logistical problems or with issues my horse might have on a particular day, but I find myself decidedly NOT inclined to alter our program to accommodate another rider or riders. It's been suggested that sometimes I need to just go and have fun with my horse...but this really is what's fun for me, and as far as I can tell DannyBoy always enjoys himself also.
So I find myself turning down most invitations that include a number of horses and riders riding together. I'll go to someone else's horse show, cheer them on, go to a pace and be a helper on the ground...no problem. Just don't look for my horse...he'll be home until later, when we can go out and hit it together.
Does any of this make any sense? Am I nuts? Or does anyone else have similar feelings?
Completely agree 100%. Socializing is for afterwards....riding is the relationship between me and my horse. Although I do group events and such I find it unsettling and frustrating when there are too many in the group and the focus is elsewhere....makes me exhausted to deal with others most times.
I chose to ride with others after getting the newest horse this past year until I knew him better. Today we went out alone and it was wonderful.
"My treasures do not sparkle or glitter, they shine in the sunlight and nicker to me in the night"
I am the same when allowed the opportunity. I used to pretty much ride alone. Even still on the race track if I am on the pony watching a horse train or work I will place myself away from other people on horseback. If I am on a horse that stands on the track for a long time before galloping I will intentionall stand away from others and just be with the horse. Enjoy the horse. My favorite old horse I am usually draped around him with my face on his neck and my arms around his neck. He stands like a statue and has for years so I am confident he's not going to do anything stupid and drop me on my pointed head. THAT is my favorite time of the day. It's him and me. We've been in love for so long. I hate it when people have to get in on our time. It's special and private.
When I was yound I didn't care how cold or how deep the snow. I would hop on my horse bareback and go up the quiet dirt road down from our house. The silence, the beauty. The falling snow, the sound of the horse's hooves in the snow, the breathing, the puffs or air as the horse exhales. Sometimes I just get carried away by the silence and the beauty.
Alone time with your horse is something I hold dear!
Sounds like a good workman like attitude to me. Riding is not a social hour... that is after the horses are taken care of and put up. What is that George Morris says.... "You are not good enough to talk and ride". Jimmy Wofford also has a similar rant, and you can literally see the steam come from his ears if he sees someone riding with an ipod on. Nope, I don't think there is a thing wrong with you
Hah! You sound exactly like me, so I am going to declare you NOT crazy. Jury's still out on my social/anti-social status (according to Mr. CH, anyway), so no comment there.
I have my horses at home now and quite happily go about my solitary riding routine. Even when I was boarding, my weird schedule often had me riding when no-one else was around and that suited me fine. I will occasionally do a group trail ride, and that is sometimes fine, but I quickly get bored with the mosey-and-chitter-chatter ... my "fun" lies in the development of my horse and my riding skills.
I do do the i pod! Cuts down on the level of BS I have to listen too in a morning. In one ear, low volume. I can actually still hear horses coming up behind me. It's been catching on with the females on the track. I think we hear too many "Oh ya baby's" in a morning. There are an awful lot of asses in the air on the backside...
I'm the same way. I like to hack alone, I like private lessons better (not even for the attention factor, but just the lack of other people factor), and I like that our sport is an individual sport (at least in terms of people).
I will happily go watch and applaud someone else's round at a horse show, but when I'm showing, I don't want anyone to be there. It's not nerves (trust me, stage fright and I parted ways a long time ago). I just don't like to feel like I have to interact with others before or after a round. I like to be in my head, or have my trainer in my head, and between the two of us, there just isn't room for anyone else. It's like that for lessons, too.
I also feel like I do better work when I'm alone- I get the whole ring to maneuver as I please, and I don't feel like I have to do any certain thing while hacking just to seem a certain way to anyone else.
Why in the WORLD would you want to be by yourself with just your horse for company? Not choosing to partake in the boistrous, unpredictable antics of others? I mean, come ON, man. You're getting bumped from behind, beside, and getting stopped in front of. You're getting to listen to folks getting onto their younguns, watching folks ruin perfectly good horses by their stupid, thoughtless riding. You'd be missing out on those times you want to stand and enjoy a certain aspect of the trail and knowing that your horse will absolutely not allow himself to be behind. Not to mention all those folks who like to take that group opportunity to race each other and come snorting and pounding down on your horse's backside w/NO care WHATsoever that your greenie is bolting and plunging and half-rearing.
Oh wait, on second thought... that sounds like a heart attack waiting to happen, doesn't it?
Yeah. You go ahead and be anti-social. You'll live longer!
Never explain yourself to someone who is committed to misunderstanding you.
Nah. You sound like a normal person with a well balanced perspective on things. I could use more of your philosophy and less of the "socialness" aspect. I'd probably get a lot more done in a day if I just went to the barn and focused on my horse, rather than blabbing on and on with others. I do enjoy the group rides when time allows.
Goodness! Me too! It's oneof the nicest things about keeping my horse at home. It's just him and me. Nobody else to chit chat to, nobody to ask me why I'm doing that, nobody to distract me, nobody to offer to "help," nobody to ask me to help them, nobody to keep up with, nobody to pressure me. No gossip, no criticism, no time lost chatting.
I'm very in to my horse, and he's very in to me. Except for an occasional clinic, show, lesson, or visitor; I prefer solitude!
Actually, I am the total opposite. I don't like to ride alone. Heck, I never minded being the only adult in group lessons! Didn't like showing as a kid, but as an adult I enjoy just being out and hanging out with my horse and other people.
Having said that--nope, I don't think you are crazy in the least or anti-social. Riding for a great many of us is an enjoyable great escape, so I think it goes to whatever makes you happy!
\"Tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it.\" Anne of Green Gables
Well, if OP is "crazy" or "anti-social", so am I (and my husband).
I rode alone for many years, mostly out on the trail, and absolutely preferred it over going in a group. No non-stop chattering or having to deal with someone else's idiosyncrasies (or their horse's "idiot"syncrasies).
Fast-forward a few years to my second round of horseownership after retiring my first horse. I got a new mare, hubby got his first horse, and I now had a riding partner that I could stand for more than 10 minutes.
We tried the group trail ride thing, and that lasted all of 15 minutes. Nothing like being in a string of horses in various states of unrest/ill control while the air was filled with endless chatter. Enjoying the tranquility and wildlife on the trail? Not possible in the group scene for us.
When hubby and I head out, we vary our distance between each other constantly. Sometimes we ride together; other times we may lose sight of each other for brief periods. We switch off who's in the lead, which was difficult at first since hubby's gelding is a leader while my mare was a follower. But now both are comfy in either position.
We talk very little and have been rewarded on most rides by coming upon some wonderful wildlife sightings which we silently point to or, if close enough, quietly say something like "deer", "eagle", etc.
I once sent some trail ride pics to a friend - beautiful shots of a fall forest with my hubby and his horse WAY up ahead on the long, straight trail. She asked why we don't "ride together". I told her the air quality was a bit better when distancing myself from the rear ends of a guy and his gelding.
That said, we're planning on trying some judged trail or poker rides since those are self-paced and could be pretty interesting.
definitely a dressage rider in the making! I can't tell you how many times I've boarded at a "Coffee Cake" dressage barn, where the same hens happily spend a decade at training level, but had wonderful lifelong friendships....ugh!!!That's not what it's about for me!!! (yes, I'm anti-social too)
.drove me to my own farm. Where I built my own arena just for me and my horses!!! Just me and them (one in particular) and quiet
You are in love with your horse! it's ok. we understand!
Yup! I enjoy visiting with the barn folks, and certainly a dinner & drinks after a day at the barn is pleasant, but when I'm riding, I'm RIDING. The occasional hack out with one or two others is all right, but I do hate crowds. Showing's fun, and I run into people there I don't see any other time, but if I choose not to chat with people till after my rides, that's my business.