The Art of letting go

Winterfair and I competing Prix St Georges

As I’ve come to the end of another Regional Championship, I want to reflect on why I keeping getting up and riding every day.  I Love horses.  I’m passionate about them.  They bring me much joy.  In the past though they have also stressed me out to the point that I believe I stressed the horses and I know I’ve stressed my family.  My husband told me one time: “Andrea, you need to see yourself winning” I was incredulous.  I’m like ‘well of course I see myself winning why else would I do this.’ 

I’m going to have to reexamine that last statement.  I didn’t win this week(end).  Far from it.  I was almost last more times than I want to count.  Interestingly enough my husband told me at about day 3 that he was having the most fun he’d ever had at championships.  When asked why he said “you seem so relaxed”.  My horse Winterfair also seemed to pick up on the vibes.  While she normally stops eating as the show progresses, she ate her grain for the whole show.  She is normally a very stoic horse who doesn’t crave human attention.  Not so at this show.  She was often found not only interacting with the humans around her but seeking out the attention by moving into their space. 

2020 has been a very tough year.  We have the isolation of Covid-19 and the uncertainty that goes along with that.  I’d been traveling 5 hours north of me to train with Lyndon Rife at LTR Dressage every 5-6 weeks.  That stopped in March, bummer.   I have been fortunate to continue working with my longtime coach Rebekah Wesatzke several times a week which has been a big help.  There were so many expectations that this was Winterfair’s and my year to show what we could become.  Not just winning in the warm up arena but really strutting our stuff in front of the judges. 

So, as I take in the changes that have brought us here, I have to say, “just let it go.”  Have the desire.  Try for the gold ring.  At the end of the day the horse doesn’t care and frankly neither does your family.  What they both want is a calm person around them.  I’ve chastised people before who have pitched fits because they didn’t get the blue ribbon or the score, they felt they deserved.  I need to look to myself and say that while I might not have said that out loud, I’ve certainly said it to myself.  I speak of manifesting what you want.  I do believe that we should strive to be our best.  My issue is that I’ve felt the rush of an 8 lengthening.  I’ve received an 8 on the canter pirouette.  I’ve just not accomplished all of those in one test or even in one show.

What does it take to achieve consistency?  Perfect practice. An attention to detail. Knowing what is really right and being able to achieve it.  (note: that goes back to perfect practice).  I’ve had opportunities for great help.  I’ve stressed over letting Winterfair go to someone else so that she can learn and come home to teach me.  Before championships I felt that was the right answer.  It still might be but for now I’m going to try the letting go approach to see where this takes me.  I have hope!

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