Jack of All Trades, Master of Fun
Some might say that taking my event pony to a western pleasure show is not conducive to improving and finding success in our chosen sport. The ideals of eventing and those of western pleasure are essentially complete opposites. Hopping from discipline to discipline could be seen as counter-productive, and even detrimental to our training as eventers. Thankfully my trainer doesn't think so and is fully supportive of the venture, though if she were more the 'serious competitor' type, she might've frowned upon my plans to debut in the western show pen next week.
But, you know what?
Dino's unending versatility and willingness to do whatever crazy thing I can think up for us to try is one of the traits I value most in him. I can literally compete this pony in the jumpers in the morning, give a lead line lesson on him in the afternoon, take him out hunting the next day, and then jog him around in a shank bit and western saddle the day after that. We may not be lighting the world on fire on the cross country course or in the dressage court, but we can do just about EVERYTHING just well enough to not totally embarrass ourselves.
And after last year's show season (and let's be real, the majority of 2015's season too) full of tears and frustration, getting out there and having fun doing whatever I feel like doing with my pony is doing my soul a world of good. So far I'm enjoying my show season in 2017 much, much more than I did last year, and I think that has a lot to do with the fact that I took the pressure off of Dino and I to run BN. While my ultimate goal is still to get back to that level, and beyond if we can, if we don't do it this year, that's okay. We've been extremely competitive at Elementary this year, and it's the first time since I started eventing that I feel like I can go to a horse trial with the expectation of winning instead of surviving.
|And riding in a neon blue side pull. Because we can.|
Instead, I'm embracing Dino's incredible versatility with open arms, and at his age I think it's important to enjoy him to the fullest possible extent while he's still healthy, sound, and happy in his work. I don't know how much longer he's going to be able to compete for me, and each day with him is precious. If enjoying Dino into his golden years means putting serious competition aspirations aside in favor of doing whatever sounds like fun, then that's what I'm going to do.
I'm having a hell of a time playing cow pony (and event pony, and hunt pony, and dressage pony...) with my best buddy, and I think he is too.