I admit it. I have a horse habit. It’s like a crack habit, but more expensive, more socially acceptable but just as intoxicating (and probably more expensive!).

So I haven’t jumped since 2008.  So I haven’t progressed like most riders riding my length of time has. So everyone else who has ridden for like a year or so seems inherently better at me – both at riding and horse stuff. So, I haven’t had anything to show for it in all my oh…11 years of riding (I try not to count anymore as it’s so pathetic). So, it’s really expensive – as in you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more expensive hobby or sport, especially in urban areas.

I admit, those things have made it a bit disenchanting.

But I still have a horse habit. Some people have a shoe habit. Some have purse habits. Some have  a jewellery habits. But not me, I have a horse habit! (By the way, I hate shoes that aren’t some sort of running shoe or boots, I hate purses – I use a sling bag as a purse and I hate jewellery…and make-up and other girly things).  But nope, not me. I have a horse habit, which probably costs more than all other habits combined! I normally wouldn’t have cared about money….except now I do because I have a horse habit! Some people want to buy a house…I apparently want an equid.

Unfortunately, I’m not sure how I’m going to keep my horse habit exactly, let alone progress in it because it really is an expensive sport. Not having a job does not help these matters. To top it off, I live in an urban area with no immediate plans to move (though possibly future plans to move) and I currently do not drive.  Now one day, one , some or even all of these things may change but until then everything is a balancing act.

I’m not quite sure what I want to do exactly.  I’ve been so out of jumping for so long that I’m not really into jumping anymore…I was always a bit too anxious for that anyway and the my fixating tendencies don’t really help me in this case. I always never really knew when the horse was going to jump…and I was always ever too ready for it or not ready at all. I did like jumping the very lazy Dory. But I never really enjoyed jumping anyone else. I was actually glad that it was over in many cases!

Low fences maybe I’ll consider hopping over once in awhile for something different (if I ever ride consistently) but on the whole, I’m not very confident over fences. I don’t know. Horses are such a big part of it. The right horse can change anything…like another Dory. I liked jumping Dory. I don’t know why but I never felt scared jumping her but I felt scared jumping with other horses.  But not Dory. If she got strong and tried to speed up towards the fence, I thought it was hilarious. If another horse did that, I would be scared. I only cantered tiny courses for 2 months (on Czar, and not that comfortably as he was rather…gung-ho about it) and I really only jumped for about a year before I started freaking out in general.  To be fair, at the time I was also scared of cantering too….for no apparent reason. So…

I like flatwork. It’s what I started with and it’s what I do. There is a rhythmic quality to it, to which unlike jumping, rarely differs until you make it so (ideally). I find the rhythm intoxicating. I am a creature of rhythm – the soft vibrations of the motor, the pacing, all of which I am lured to. Like jumping there can also be a focus…which is great or else I start daydreaming about all sort of things and worrying over random stuff (over-thinker is an understatement some would say). I don’t know…it just seems to suit me better somehow. I too originally wanted to jump big fences…but increasingly I’ve realized that it’s not really for me. I’m more comfortable with flatwork. It works a bit better in some ways, as I can do flatwork on my own.

I never had a horse suitable to really comment too much on dressage. I like leg-yielding though and have done it for…a really long time now! I was never able to get a horse on the bit consistently but to be fair, I only ride 1-2 times per week (currently 1 time per week) and the horses were either all school horses who are almost never asked to go round nor in some cases, really built for it. The other horse was 4 or 5 so he didn’t really know himself and stubborn so….that wasn’t happening much there either (we got a few seconds though). Then there’s also the issue that I’m kind of not the best rider….

I get where this person is coming from. But even then I still see that she has a horse (though unridable) and is leasing a young horse to ride….she still manages to ride more than once a week on a school horse. That she still manages to show.  That she HAS jumped big (I never have). That she can even train a horse a bit (I don’t know if I can train….not that I can tell since I only ride once per week!).

But I know what it feels like. To feel that you have been doing it for years and you love it. but you have nothing to show for it. That you are still trotting the same damn circle and it’s frankly not that much better than the last time.  That you are getting no where. That everyone is inherently better than you, rational or not. That you just plain suck.

It’s hard to find blogs in which someone chronicles a hobby that they love but struggle with…and I haven’t found another active struggling rider blog (to be fair, even I’m not comfortable making that public…I used to journal each ride and I might do it again, especially when I ride on my own more and/or more stuff happens but I probably won’t make it public!). Most of the other blogs are about achievements. Maybe this sounds selfish…but it hurts. It hurts to read others  progressing readily while you’re still struggling so much at the bottom.

Yet you still do it (it’s like crack remember?).

That is annoying. So annoying. But unfortunately, like all horse sports, it is a sports that one can buy into. That at the elite levels is not really about the best but who can afford the best, aside from the odd talented one that somehow managed to climb up there.

But I’m not rich and I highly doubt I’m very talented at riding.

I don’t know what I want to do. Sometimes I want to go off and just mosey around trails or something. Sometimes I want see how well trained and disciplined we can be, how we can dance and fill the air with the perfect rhythms of pounding hooves. One day.  Maybe.

But I don’t know. I’m tired of being the one that doesn’t belong. In anywhere. In anything. But sometimes  it doesn’t matter how untalented we are.  I wrap my arms the horse’s big neck, placing my face against the smooth coat, feeling the warmth of the touch – feeling the touch without the escalating overall awkwardness , the confusion over protocol and my hesitance in the confusion. That doesn’t matter.

I like horses (and ponies) as giant living teddy bears too.