Long time readers will know that a certain nerdy bay horse has been absent from this blog a lot this summer. Fear not, it’s not due to any hidden injury or drama that I can’t post about. Simon is being Simon, and things are going well.

The reason that I haven’t been blogging about him, is that my barn life isn’t really all that exciting right now. I haven’t put a saddle on my horse in three weeks, and although eventually I want to write about my progression with tackless riding (we are up to WTC with nothing but the bareback pad & neck rope) I’m waiting on some media to go along with that post. My competitive drive for horse showing is completely gone right now. This is due for a variety of reasons (including some big news I’ll be sharing in the near future), and at first I was a little confused by it.

If I don’t want to constantly take lessons to get ready for shows, and push myself in the show ring… where does that leave my relationship with my horse? How does that characterize me as a rider?

I guess right now, my horse is a well trained pet and my riding is pretty backyard. About twice a month I’ll take a jumping lesson with my trainer so Simon doesn’t turn feral and I don’t completely forget how to ride, but mostly we toodle.

This was a “fancy” day because we bothered to don a bridle.

A typical day afternoon at the barn goes like this:

“Hello beloved creature. How about I take a long time currying all your itchy spots?”

Yes you should do that because it’s been DAYS since I’ve seen you and I’ve been NEGLECTED and I am SO ITCHY I MIGHT DIE.

“I see you have a giant rip in your fly sheet. Didn’t I tell you that we were undergoing budget cuts?”

What mean “budget cuts?” Also I sure do love these fancy new fly boots and now I require them to live happily forever plzkthx.

“It’s really hot. How about I sponge your shoulders & neck down, and we do a bareback hack instead of tack up?”

This is one of reasons why I love you. The other is cookies.

“Let’s teach you how to neck rein and see how slow you can jog around.”

These tasks are below my talent level, but I will do them because they are easy.

“How about a little slow canter so I can improve my balance bareback?”

OH MY GOD WE ARE CANTERING AND I LOVE TO CANTER AND I CAN START SLOW I THINK MAYBE BUUUUUUUUUUUUUT I SHOULD PROBABLY GET FASTER NOW BECAUSE I AM A FAST RACEHORSE AND I CANTER CANTER CANTER HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY CANTER CANTER CANTER!

Then I activate every underused muscle in my flabby core to simmer my horse back down to a walk.

We go through this pattern a few times a week at least. Other rides with Simon’s half leaser are more intense for him, and occasionally I’ll make him perform proper flatwork to remind us that we both can. But overall right now, toodling is where it’s at for me. It calms my brain and makes my heart happy, and a little part of me thinks Simon says the same about our low key, hot afternoon rides.

19 COMMENTS

  1. Yea I hear ya. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how we define our identities as riders and horse people, and how that changes over time due to whatever various circumstances. Mostly, as far as I can tell, all that matters is that we enjoy the time we dedicate to the ponies, in whatever way we see fit. Seems like Simon is certainly up for whatever!

  2. I feel like you’re just really enjoying time with your boy. There’s so much more to horses than just getting ready to show (and showing). My most favorite rides these days are on Rio who also mostly just toodles. I still use tack cause I’m not brave, but otherwise it’s very similar to what you and Simon are up to. Enjoy your summer together!

  3. I love Simon posts especially! I think it’s perfectly fine to just toddle around. You do what you enjoy with your sweet guy!

  4. I haven’t really allowed myself to have any competitive goals for years now (unless you count keep the horse sound and show in some classes) and I have found so much enjoyment in the toodling part of riding. Then lately with a lack of horses offered to me to ride (show season gets everyone out to the barn!) and the boys being mostly retired I have found myself enjoying the daily tasks of having my boys at home – yes even cleaning stalls. Funny how much we can change!

  5. You know, you might be toodling, but I bet you’re getting benefits like a stronger core and leg with all that bareback riding. You might be surprised.

  6. No time with Simon is ill spent, no matter what you are doing. Giving your horse the best ride that you can is beneficial to both of you. No horse shows needed!

  7. I frequently just toodle. Hope on bareback, get bored with that, make Nilla coon jump things, sit around, watch my husband ride. To me, horses are for fun. Sometimes training is fun, sometimes toodling is fun. Sometimes it’s to hot to live and I only visit the barn at 8 at night to feed them and don’t ride at all. I’m glad you’re having fun with Simon; he’s such a good boy.

  8. Personally I think most horses would prefer to toodle rather than constantly have to do this right or learn that new skill.

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