Once again, I have neglected my blog but after my recent return to the states for a wonderful vacation, I have a renewed desire to keep everyone updated of my shenanigans. The last time I blogged was two months ago so let me quickly catch everyone up to date.
The month of December was filled with horses and holidays. I will say one thing about the Irish people…They know how to celebrate Christmas. The holiday begins December 1st and ends after the New Year. I actually felt like I was running a holiday marathon and I was the only one who had not been training for the experience. You know how when you are away from home, the holidays just don’t seem as special? Well in this case, they seemed significantly MORE special. My wardrobe was inadequate for all the partying and so was my alcohol tolerance. By the end all I could think was, please let the partying stop.
After an Irish New Year, I went back to America for a couple weeks vacation. The trip could not have been better timed. I have found that January is that time of year when most horse people get this feeling I like to call “the hamster wheel syndrome”. We have just emerged from December. A month that is cold and a little boring but the holidays keep everybody’s spirits up and the prospect of a new year is exciting. Then January arrives, we start to move our horses South, or for others we keep our heads down and train away at home. But either way, this general sense of redundancy niggles at the back of our minds. Are we really going to go through this all over again? In this sport, April can be fantastic and by August, your dreams are shattered. The highs and lows of each year seem so daunting in January that so many people whisper in their minds, can I really handle this all again? We all feel like that damn hamster, potentially running towards absolutely nothing.
Now, luckily for everyone involved, the first competition of the season or perhaps that first really good lesson blows our negative thoughts away. We become reenergized and reconnected with the stubborn optimism that seems to be required of a rider. But I am not going to lie; January can be really tough. My trip helped me battle against this hamster wheel syndrome because it not only gave me a break from the grind, but I got to see all my friends training and planning for the year ahead.
I took a tour of the east coast with my cohort, Jennie Brannigan, and was really inspired by the training going on down in Ocala at Sharn Wordley and Scott Keach’s place. Jennie’s perpetual drive to take the next step in her career was just the motivation I needed. I think even if somebody told that girl she was running on a wheel she would say, “So? At least I am not standing still!” That’s the kind of attitude that makes a champion. And then of course the two of us got into plenty of trouble too. (See Jennie's Blog for details on how many things really went wrong in our travels)
So after catching up with everybody, I hoped on a plane and returned back to Ireland feeling very excited about getting back to the business at hand…training horses. Now, anyone who knows me knows that I have a tendency to jump the gun a bit. And in my typical fashion, I returned to Ireland thinking the season would be starting. In reality I found winter in full force. I am not sure why I thought I would come back to spring weather since Ireland actually doesn’t have spring (or summer for that matter). I’ve rebounded quickly though and have been riding around the indoor at Fernhill imagining myself to be in the main ring in Wellington. Don’t worry, I haven’t put the white britches on yet but I am considering it just to further my own delusions of grandeur. The only thing holding me back is that there is actually nothing I hate more than wearing white pants. (Who ever thought that was a good idea anyway?) Actually there is one thing I hate more…wearing white capris?
All joking aside, I am excited about the year to come even if I have no idea what it holds. So what is the next step? Hamster wheel or not, it is time to start running. (I mean that figuratively of course because in reality I hate running.) Stay tuned…