Apr 25, 2010

Building on the Pieces

On Horsetales the other day, one of the trainers brought up the topic of measuring one's success to that of other people; an unfortunate part of human nature we all seem to explore occasionally. It seems we do a lot of that in the horse world. I imagine people have similar thoughts in other hobbies as well.

I posted the following thoughts on the subject to the group and one of the members suggested my post was a blog-worthy, if for no other reason than to save the thoughts that I articulated about myself. I thanked him for the suggestion and will share it with you. This was my response to a Horsetales thread titled Building the Pieces.

Riding Jugg in 2002

"Thinking about Terri's post about "building the pieces", as a rider, there were times I felt like that when I first started getting active with others in the horse world. I felt like my horses would never do what that person's horse does. It will never be as pretty or as smart. I'll never be as good of a rider as her or him. It wasn't long after that first Cowgirl Weekend and the beginning of Horsetales that I finally figured out that I am putting too much work into trying to find the right horse to do all those things instead of making myself happy with what I want to do. I had a herd of green broke horses at best and there was no way I was doing them any good. I needed to pick a horse and stick with it."

Blue & I - circa 2003

"And I also came to accept the fact that I started this hobby-sport-obsession way too late in life to really worry too much about becoming a superstar. That I really just needed to be happy with what I'm doing and be as safe as I can. I fixed the pretty part. :) And then I took some lesson to try to fix me. Knowing I'll never make up for the decades I missed and knowing also that I have a full-time job and full-time kids and other obligations - I can only do the best I can with the time and horse and knowledge that I have. And if I'm still having fun at the end of the day, that is all that matters. And the last time I checked, as long as it isn't 15 below zero with snow up the butt, I am still having fun."

Riding Jo in 2004

"I have my moments. I have those same kind of moments in unhorse-related things. It is called life. Things aren't always perfect & if you say they are, you are a liar. It's how you deal with them that matters. The girl struggling the other night ended up walking her horse back. I don't know if she considered it a "bad moment" or if she was ready to hang up her spurs. But last year I recall a few rides early in the season where I left the group and walked it off. I wasn't necessarily having fun at that moment and I had reached a point where I knew I wasn't doing myself or my horse any good. And after a half an hour of cooling off, we were able to join the ride again, both of us a lot more level. Goes with the territory. Riding that same horse weeks later, flying down that muddy hill at the CTR with my heart in my throat and tears in my eyes, I never loved her or trusted her more."

My 5th season with Windy - 2009

"Whether we are trainers or riders, we do it because there is a connection to the horse. Some gene we have not unlike those Hobby Lobby ladies and their scrapbook gene, I presume. And we aren't doing it to look good because the horse can make us look like an ass pretty quick. We get dirty, we don't have pretty clothes, we have no extra spending money, and to the rest of the world, we stink. Who could ask for anything more?"


  1. Great post, Tammy. I'll never forget our ride in 2009, and riding with you and John, and Tom needing to trot "fast" back to the barns. lol

    We all start somewhere and we all go somewhere. I started knowing what I know, when I was about 12, but dedicating myself to horses when I was about 40. Now at 50 something, I think I know a few things! lol

    Stay dedicated, and it will be amazing what you know when you look back on this 10 years in the future. There's always people who know less and people who know more. I'm sure you are going to be one of those people in the latter group!

  2. Excellent! And your beautiful smile says it all, Tammy. So very true!


  3. Tammy? You will never know, just how you have articulated most of my thoughts on the same matters!

    I am 57, and there is no way on Gods green earth, will I ever look good, win any major events, but I decided some time ago, that its not what you look like etc, its how you feel. The more I play about with horses, and when I think I have a handle on it? The horse kicks (not literally) it out of me!
    So that was a great blog! It must come with wisdom! And the first step to wisdom is honesty.

  4. You sure have helped me rethink things, why didn't I do that a long time ago, and you sure are right, be happy with what I have and what I am doing.

  5. Anonymous5:53 AM

    Thanks for an excellent post - it's something we all need reminding about!

  6. Great post Tammy. For years I felt the same way: never be good enough, smart enough, look great etc... Didn't help that I had a trainer who never missed a time to tell me that I started riding too late and would never be as good as my daughter, my friend so and so, yada yada yada! After I finally left there and reassessed my situation I realized I didn't want to do shows anymore, I only wanted to ride correctly (for the horse and myself) and mainly I wanted to have fun doing it. I'm at that point now where there is little pressure to excel and it's a nice place to be.
    Dusty and I have a long way to go but I'm up for the challenge.

    You're right though life happens. I have obligations to my family, with grandchildren to babysit a day or two during the week and a house, husband, dogs, barn and horses to look after time slips away too quickly to worry about nonsense. It's time to start enjoying every minute we can with our horses.

  7. I'm so glad you put this here. You've written down exactly why I don't ride more. In this area especially it seems like everyone who rides has been doing it since they could walk and/or they have tons of money to buy a push button horse.

    It makes me afraid to get up and get out there and have fun. You inspire me. :)

  8. Good post!
    I have always felt inferior as a horseman- my horses aren't trained enough, I don't ride well enough, I can't do what others can do, etc. etc. etc.
    I have that scrapbooking/horse loving gene though so I think I will always have horses around. My current horses are part of the family, whether I ride them or just enjoy being around them, it doesn't matter, the key is, I enjoy having and being with them.


I am so glad you stopped by and look forward to hearing from you! Do come again.