Yesterday Tucker and I completed the horsemanship challenge we began at the beginning of the year. The deal was pick one horse and get in 30 rides and 40 hours within the first 12 weeks. It averages out to about 2.5 rides and 3.3 hours per week which for me is not easy in the cold, dark, wet muddy months of Winter. We did it in 10!!!
I did the challenge last year as well and I really love it. I love that it pushes me to get out and ride on days that I normally wouldn’t. Days that it would be easy to find an excuse and come Spring, it means I have horse ready and fit to get out and go.
This year’s 30 rides brought a lot of joy. We took 3 lessons, went to 1 clinic, had a camping weekend, went on 9 trail rides and spent the rest of our rides here at home in our arena, pastures and road. I made some progress during the challenge as I became aware of feeling for his feet, timing my asks, improving our canter and having a better rider position.
My horse is a true pleasure to be with. I love riding him. Which sounds kind of silly to say it out loud, but when I read some of the posts from the other people participating in the challenge I realize how truly lucky I am. There are a lot of people that struggle in their horse relationships and often feel frustrated with their partners. Some work very hard to gain any common ground and it is a lot of WORK.
So I finish up the challenge feeling grateful. Grateful for the organizers of the challenge and all of the 1500 people that participate. For my hubs who never questions my need to get out and ride and fully supports the large amount of time, work and money it takes to make it happen. I’m thankful for my local riding friends, I’m so fortunate to have people I love to spend time off in the woods with.
Mostly at the end of this 10 weeks I am feeling grateful for my horse. A perfect match for me. I hope that on some level, whatever that may be for a horse, he knows that I put in this time for him too. I hope that it means something to him and that he has enjoyed it at least a little bit as much as I have.