When New Year’s rolls around, so many of us are ready to hit the gym and get fit. In our sharp exercise outfits, we pop out of bed for our 5 a.m. “boot camp” and arrive early for warm-up. Despite the winter weather, we love it. Cut to five weeks in. Where did this darkness come from when the alarm goes off? Why do I feel so stiff and cold? Suddenly, you realize that it takes effort to get to the gym. You were so good about going in the beginning, it wouldn’t hurt if you just skipped one day. It will be warmer next week.?Like any relationship, fitness goals take work and as time goes on, it can become harder to find the motivation to do it.
The same holds true for dressage. However, I don’t think we talk about it in our sport as much as people discuss it in other circles. There is a stigma that comes with saying you don’t love your dressage every day. It somehow suggests that you don’t love your horse, that you don’t want to spend time with him. In a sport where “you have to love the every day aspect of it all,” it is hard to admit that on some days you don’t. Somehow it suggests that you aren’t committed or cut out to be a good rider.
Like any relationship, there are days where things feel like work. It is in accepting this that we become better. Whether you recognize that you are not in the right mindset to ride or push through and get yourself out to the barn, working through the bumps in the road are what make us stronger riders. Giving up without a plan, because it is too overwhelming, is the only thing that will slow you down in your goals.
So accept the fact that we don’t have to love every day as dressage riders. Day after day in the saddle is a huge commitment. Training and showing are exhausting. The key is to understand that you are doing this all because you love it the majority of the time and that is what will get you through the hard parts. So suck it up, get going and enjoy the ride … or don’t!