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  1. #1

    Default Great Lesson -- But What's Wrong With Me?

    I just got back from a GREAT riding lesson. I had an absolute blast riding with an absolute Cadillac little OTTB mare. After years of H/J, I am starting at very beginner level dressage, and my lesson horse is a school master. (My own horses are still home for what remains of the winter.)

    My face is beaming, the smiles so wide. I just cannot say how much fun I had. And a much-needed break.

    However -- please tell me I am not the only one who does this -- before the lesson, I almost didn't go. I didn't want to go. Intellectually I wanted to go, but the rest of me did not want to go. I was not afraid, there is nothing to fear with this horse, riding at this level.

    I didn't want to change my clothes, pull on my boots, chaps, helmet. Get the horse out of the stall, groom her, pick hooves. Saddle pad, saddle, tighten the girth, bit & bridle.

    For some reason -- these just seemed like overwhelming tasks. And I nearly bailed out of the lesson.

    What's wrong with me? Am I just becoming very very lazy?? Does anyone have these thoughts before a lesson?

    I rode great today. Been working out all winter, and it is really paying off in my riding. And, the horse is just wonderful. It was overall just a lovely time. But I almost didn't go ... ideas?



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb. 19, 2009
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    4,662

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    I think this happens to me more when I've been riding a lot, or I'm really tired, or the weather is crappy. Or if my last ride was a crummy one. But really, the majority of it boils down to laziness. Sometimes the thought of getting dressed and driving out to the barn, despite really wanting to see my horse, is the last thing I want to do. Especially if its not convenient! But I usually suck it up and go anyway, and then I'm always so glad I did! Sounds like the same situation for you.

    Helps if I hit up the barn after work or something, because if I get home and let my butt hit that couch, its pretty much all over.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan. 16, 2007
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    2,169

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    I feel like that often. Sometimes it's just the difficulty of changing my attention, pulling it away from whatever task I'm on to all the prep for riding. I don't find the prep itself to be very enjoyable, including a rather long drive out to the barn.

    I've overcome the long drive part by getting the best possible audiobooks I can, so I look forward to the drive. The other parts, I just tell myself I'm not going to ride today, while I actually get up and do all the stuff I have to do to ride today. I find that telling myself I'm not going to do it gives me a sort of zen like relaxation about the whole thing. I'll be on the horse and starting to trot, and saying in my mind, "I'm just not going to ride today." Weird, huh? And then the process itself, which I love so much, takes over.

    Are you just bored with all the stuff like getting dressed, grooming, and such? I know I get bored and particularly irritated with pulling on those stretch breeches, cause they always twist up, lol. Low levels of annoyance, that I think can start to poison the whole process.

    Also, maybe there's still some tension, if not fear--maybe you are afraid of the lesson not going well, anticipating problems or thinking of times that didn't go well. Now you have a great lesson to use as a visualization, if that helps.

    At any rate, no you aren't the only one!



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug. 2, 2004
    Location
    Whidbey Is, Wash.
    Posts
    9,733

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    Winter blahs??

    I have them right now. I find all sorts of excuses and make promises to myself. "Oh, it's too windy, yuck, she'll be spooky and I HATE riding in the wind anyways," "Ugh, I'm on nights and have fitness goals for myself, and the gym is only open XYZ hours...when I go back to days, I'll ride more..."

    That's what happens to me. It's worse when I'm on nights too, because the weather is shitty; it's cold and wet and windy (and recently, snowy); I don't wake up until 1pm which is early and I'm tired, or 230pm and then there are only two hours of daylight this time of year; blah blah blah.
    Aisha, my heart from 03/06/1986 to 08/22/2008.

    COTH's official mini-donk enabler.
    Odie, aka the Evil Burrito, is on Facebook.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec. 20, 2007
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    814

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    I find that I'm much the same, although with my horse being off lately and only being allowed to lunge, my motivation was even less. Drive all the way out, get all his gear on, set up all the trot poles, lunge, take all his gear off, then clean up the arena :/

    It takes a LOT of effort to go out there for maybe 30 mins of working the horse, when the prep time takes longer than the actual work. I find the cold and dark are my biggest enemies. If I come home and I'm cold, I'm not getting out from under the blankets.

    However, we've had some sunny, nicer days lately which have upped my motivation. Now I can't wait for my guy to be sound again so I can get back on!



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan. 10, 2008
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    Western NY
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    5,868

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    I'm like that, especially in the winter... even tonight I used the excuse of "oh, it's cold, and I want to be home in time to watch the hockey game" to skip my ride. But as others have said--warmer weather and the reappearance of sun usually give me a good recharge!



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec. 21, 2010
    Location
    Down South
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    810

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    Quote Originally Posted by King's Ransom View Post
    I didn't want to change my clothes, pull on my boots, chaps, helmet. Get the horse out of the stall, groom her, pick hooves. Saddle pad, saddle, tighten the girth, bit & bridle.
    I started re-riding again on Sundays at the start of Dec. As I normally sleep in until noon on Sundays, getting up at 7 a.m. to get showered, dressed and packed to go to my lesson (an hour away) was unbearable. Well, not the doing part, but the thought of it was unbearable.

    As much as I loved riding -- once I was there -- getting up and going was torture. I blame the rain and cold we had -- even here in mild Ga. I only bailed on one lesson, and that was because the windchill was around 19 degrees that morning.

    BUT -- I will have to say, now that it's part of my routine, and the weather is warming up nicely, there's no hesitation (other than a couple of snooze alarm hits) to get me going and out the door.

    I'm sure some (most?) of it on my part is laziness, but I've had the same routine for a few years now. I actually felt, I don't know -- disgruntled? slighted? -- by the fact something new was suddenly on my schedule and demanded my attention on Sunday mornings.
    The dude abides ...



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun. 7, 2002
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    This happens to me when my horse is at the backyard barn. It's hard to get motivated, and some days I have to literally give myself a kick in the butt to go ride as opposed to just do barn chores and go home.
    But I am ALWAYS happy that I did get on and ride. Interestingly, my mare (ottb and can be a bit of a fruitloop some days) often gives me the best rides when I don't feel like riding!
    At the big indoor where my horse is now, I don't get that feeling even tho I am riding pretty much every day. It's a big, busy barn and I am very rarely alone in the indoor. It's good for motivation, since I ride alone a lot when at the other barn. I work better when people are watching!
    Case in point, it was 20 degrees and windy today, and I still rode.

    If you feel like that on a regular basis tho, maybe you need to find an activity you really look forward to?
    Ottbs - The finish line is only the beginning!



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun. 22, 2008
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    Outside Ocala FL - Horse Capital of the World
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    6,190

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    Quote Originally Posted by sophie View Post
    This happens to me when my horse is at the backyard barn. It's hard to get motivated, and some days I have to literally give myself a kick in the butt to go ride as opposed to just do barn chores and go home.
    But I am ALWAYS happy that I did get on and ride.
    I'm the same way and my horses are in my own backyard barn! I rode much more when they were at the boarding barn, and I think part of it was the barn aisle chit-chat, that made the grooming and saddling a bit less tedious. Now that I am alone in the barn, it all just seems like work. It is easier if my daughter is also going to ride, as I have someone to chat with then.
    There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams



  10. #10
    Join Date
    May. 5, 2006
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    2,863

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    This was a common feeling for me. It seemed like it was all just too much of a bother.

    But I started changing the way I talked to myself. Instead of falling into the "Gee, its time to get ready for my lesson and I need to stir myself enough to change my clothes, and my horse was a real sh*t last time and he'll be like that again and why do I continue to do this..." kind of self-talk I made a conscious effort to say things like "I am so lucky to have a horse of my own and my instructor is so great about motivating me to try new things and I am sooo close to getting the whole connection thing".

    It really has helped me a great deal. Sounds simple enough and it really is, but it has been a revolutionary experience for me.
    Sheilah



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb. 20, 2010
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    All 'round Canadia
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    Happens to me too, more often in winter but also in summer. Once I get out there I love every minute and am so happy to have gone, but some days I just can't get moving. I'll get out of my work clothes and just can't seem to make it into my riding ones

    Then again, happens with the gym too. Le sigh.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun. 24, 2005
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    Alabama
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    Since you've had a bunch of things happen lately that were very stressful, I would be surprised if you weren't a little tired and stressed. Maybe there are ways through organizing differently, or scheduling youf time a little differently that could make it less effort to get to your lesson. In my case I totally hate to exercise, so I have my clothes set up and ready to change into very quickly, and then I get tough with myself about just getting it done. And I think it will get easier when the time change happens (not too long from now), and everything else settles down a bit, plus it's been a very long, nasty winter so spring will help a ton.
    You can't fix stupid-Ron White



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr. 4, 2010
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    yonder a bit, GA
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    I've been lazy with working one of the horses lately because both of us need a tune-up (he needs the workout/discipline freshened up- but I need the tune-up for how the two of us go together). The last few times to the barn i've wimped out and just went on a trail ride! For me it's self discipline and planning on the exercises beforehand.

    Even though I love, love, love going to the barn and those days are my favorite of the week... Sometimes I just want to go back to bed or spend my day off at home in my pj's... but im always happier once i get there (or maybe it takes as long as 'once i catch the horse')
    A long drive (45 mins) adds to the feeling. But again, my favorite days of the week are those at the barn. So it's worth it!! No, you're not alone!
    Last edited by bits619; Mar. 3, 2011 at 08:18 PM. Reason: wrong word
    (A decidedly unhorsey) MrB knocks over a feed bucket at the tack shop and mutters, "Oh crap. I failed the stadium jumping phase."
    (he does listen!)



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug. 31, 2006
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    I think it has a lot to do with the effort required to change gears. Business is very stressful right now, and once I get "in the groove" of working, it's hard for me relax and walk away. Maybe it's equally hard for me to just switch gears and do another kind of "work."

    The riding is not work. It's the prep for the riding that's work. I was looking forward to the ride, but not to the prep.

    I also HAVE had a very tough couple of weeks here, so perhaps am just mentally stressed.

    I had decided earlier this year that THIS is the year I am going to become the rider I want to be. I am gearing up to keep up with my own OTTB, Cooper. So, next week I am going to sit down with my trainer and make some solid goals -- things that she and I agree will be challenging to accomplish, but reasonable, attainable goals. And a plan to achieve them.

    I think (hope) that will give me the motivation to get over the "hump" mentally, and switch gears from work/work to horse play!



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug. 10, 2009
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    902

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    I'm do glad I'm not the only one! I keep my horse at home and barely see him, let alone ride. (I have someone who does the daily feeding, mucking, etc- he's not neglected!)

    I recently made the decision to move him to a boarding barn where I will have indoor and outdoor rings, in house shows, as well as a large amount of people to bond and ride with. While I will miss being able to see him out my window, I feel like I will actually spend more quality time with him this way. Or maybe I am just ready to throw in the towel. This is kind of my last ditch effort to see if the passion is still there.



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul. 4, 2006
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    New Hampshire
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    I feel like this often. However, I'm usually pretty happy to have the lessons scheduled as they keep me on track and keep my week somewhat structured. There are many times when I otherwise wouldn't have ridden because I was tired and/or overwhelmed from work or life, but because I had that lesson scheduled, I go. And having a lesson or two to anchor my week motivates me for the other days because I want to work on stuff, or I want to hack so my horse isn't so keyed up or tense or whatever for the next time. Or because I want to forget about how much I suck at Dressage.
    -Debbie / NH

    My Blog: http://deborahsulli.blogspot.com/



  17. #17
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    Dec. 12, 2010
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    Kansas
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    This happens to me too... not so much lately, but it used to happen A LOT a few years ago. (Meaning: pretty much every time I rode.) Granted, my mare was a pain in the butt to ride and I wasn't confident enough to deal with her... so it was just a hassle. But now that I can control her and she trusts me more and I also have my very easy going gelding to ride, I try to ride as much as possible! It's just fun now! Though I must admit that it has been a bit hard for me to go work the horses lately because of the weather. I need to get back into the swing of things and realize that spring is on it's way and the horses want to get out and stretch their legs!
    http://www.youtube.com/user/NBChoice http://nbchoice.blogspot.com/
    The New Banner's Choice- 1994 ASB Mare
    Dennis The Menace Too- 1999 ASB Gelding
    Dreamacres Sublime- 2008 ASB Gelding



  18. #18
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    Jan. 25, 2009
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    I feel like that sometimes. Sometimes I just feel like sitting on the couch and reading or watching tv. To be honest, though, it is good for me to get out. I usually feel better after I've had a lesson or dinner with a friend or a walk. Before I go, though, I have lazy feelings all of the time. I try to push myself, at least a little bit, to do things.



  19. #19
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    May. 2, 2006
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    Chicagoland
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    Oh this definitely happens to me! Moreso in the winter, sometimes in the summer, and rarely in the spring and fall. I am not a big cold weather fan, so the prospect of pulling on all the layers and going to the barn, when it's cold and dark and icy and snowy, is just...ugh. It is very easy to find excuses not to go to the barn in winter. But, like everyone else, once I'm there I'm a lot more motivated.

    Sometimes in the hot hot days of summer I don't feel like riding, but I usually still want to go to the barn and bathe my horse and handgraze or something. It's the winter that is the hardest for me because I never feel like doing ANYTHING. I've been terrible this winter especially. I've spent more time sacked out on the couch than I ever remember doing. I've also been very tired all the time this winter. When I'm fighting to stay awake at my desk at 2 pm, the thought of riding is exhausting. My motivation has been creeping back though, especially this past week. It's starting to get a little warmer, it's sunnier, it's almost Daylight Savings!!! and I'm hoping come spring my energy and motivation will be up.

    I don't ever remember feeling unmotivated to ride when I was a kid though. It's something that came on with adulthood.



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jul. 15, 2005
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    Cambridge Springs, PA
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    For me it has everything to do with the temperature. If it's 30 or lower it's really hard for me to get motivated to go spend hours in the barn. I actually love grooming and tacking up. It's just the dang COLD! As soon as it's warmer my whole attitude changes.

    Sometimes it's better not even to think about it.. just do it! Before you know it you're having fun and you skipped all the hemming and hawwing part of things

    Good Luck! But yeah.. I think we all go through this sometimes!
    www.hogbackhillfarm.com



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