While browsing through the site the other day, I realized it’s been awhile since I gave an update on life with my husband and Jim. I have to say things have been going well.
Recently I discovered a new fun thing to do: virtual dressage shows. I compete through Dressage Show Online. They post open shows and you video your ride and enter it. They have USEF and WDAA carded judges who then view the video, score it and place you. Jim and I recently took High Point Adult Amateur Western Dressage in this year’s August Championship show! We won both of our classes in WDAA Intro 3 AA and WDAA Intro 4 AA.
This year, Jim, my husband and I have been taking a step back from showing at every open show. On a tight budget (yup, adulting is terrible sometimes), we have been focusing on certain shows – particularly my dressage shows. Luckily my husband isn’t as competitive as I am and although he did a few traditional dressage tests, he isn’t really pushing to do many more. He would rather jump – I say he’s crazy.
Our show year is quickly coming to a close. With one schooling show and one dressage show left to compete in, my scores for AWSSR year-end awards are already in. I’m a bit sad to see this year end, but I am very happy with how far Jim and I have come.
Settling into western dressage as our discipline was the best decision I have made. Both my husband and I are back to working on Jim’s canter. (He gets a bit excited.) He’s very responsive and he has been working through his body and balancing much better than he did this time last year.
This year has definitely called for my husband and my teamwork to shine through as a married couple. We have made sacrifices because of budget reasons and we have come to those decisions together. One of the benefits of both being riders is that when tough decisions come up, we can make informed decisions. It’s not just “Your horse costs too much. It’s “OUR horse is costing us a lot!” I am thankful every day that I have a significant other who understands how important Jim is in my life and can work things out.
But now, it’s time to break out our fall and winter muck boots, get ready for weekend chores in the cold and start bundling Jim up in his wardrobe. Goodbye summer and hello fall!
It’s January and it’s time to sit down and collect our goals for the year. Most equestrians only have to focus on their personal goals and what they’d like their year to look like. In the case of being 1/2 of an equestrian couple, it’s a team effort.
Decisions such as what classes are we doing this year are broken down into “which ones can one person enter and which ones can the other?” Is one of us ready to move up a division and the other one stay in the same or are we both moving up? And it varies by show series. Some show series have certain classes while others don’t. Will I be the one to take Jim into the in hand classes or will my husband? Will he take him into Western Halter while I take him into English Halter? It goes on and on.
That’s on top of our usual personal goals and where we would like to see our riding this year. Luckily, him and I see very eye to eye on one thing with Jim: dressage. He tried dressage with Jim last year after I was ranting and raving about loving it. Now he’s just as hooked. Having dressage (both traditional and western) as one of our goals actually makes life easier since we can perform different tests. The trick is not performing more than allowed since some show series have rules on how many tests one horse can do at a single show.
Beside dressage this year, we set our eyes on one thing: our first overnight show. We took our budget from smaller shows last year and compiled it to focus on one, big September show – the New England Pinto Horse Association show in September. It will be the first time we have gone to a multi-day show where we don’t have to show off of our trailer. We set aside our vacation days from work for before and after so the horse show hangover won’t be so bad! And with it being in September, we have plenty of time to perfect our rides and train for it. Luckily we have trainers with us who support us in this goal and are ready to help us get there!
The show season begins early for us this year with a dressage show kick off in March (and maybe even a show before that!) I know we are ready and going to have so much fun this year because I can’t imagine anything more fun in the world than showing alongside my best friend and my horse.
These past few weeks have been all about respect for me. Jack and I have returned to a bit of groundwork focusing on respect and a bit more communication. He has gotten sassier as the winter has dragged on and it’s only the beginning of what may be a long New England cold snap.
But it’s been making me think about how respect also works in my marriage and showing mutual appreciation and respect for one another.
With Jack, respect has meant that he understands my personal space and that teeth and lips aren’t allowed on humans. I have to take a bit more of an alpha mare role, but also show that he’s safe with me. He has to trust me along with respecting what I ask of him. But it’s also a two-way street. I have to respect when he’s having a bad day and define what success means for that day. I have to understand when he’s in pain or when he’s being scared or insecure.
In my marriage, respect is also a two-way street. It’s a mutual respect of each other and our individual needs. I have to respect when he’s had a long day and also respect his judgment. (If he gets us up in the middle of the night because he thinks someone may or may not be breaking in and tells me to shush, I need to listen.) He also has to respect my moodiness and when I just need some quiet time or when I need him to be there for me.
Every day, I develop more and more respect for my husband and every time I work with Jack I have to build more and more respect. It takes constantly learning, being open to respect and also acknowledging when you’re being disrespectful to build the relationship up. When you are disrespectful, you have to realize it, acknowledge and commit yourself to not being disrespectful again.
Without mutual respect, both my marriage and my partnership with Jack wouldn’t work. It would fall apart at the seams. Respect binds the people (or person and animal) together in the relationship.