On Being Good Enough

When I first started horse hunting I immediately fell in love with one at MAHR. I had been riding this beast for years:

So it makes sense I was drawn to this beastette:

Chrome: check. Redhead: check. Chromey redheaded mare: triple check. And she was only three so I had visions of doing the Young Event Horse series with her. I promptly fell in love and couldn't wait to go out and try her.

Our trial couldn't have gone less to plan.

Don't get me wrong; she was as beautiful in person as her pictures led me to believe. She was quiet to be tacked up and definitely athletic. The good times stopped there. I don't know what was up her butt but whatever it was, it was up there sideways. She walked all over her handler, refused to stand for the mounting block, and leaped around with no regard for anyone else. The woman from MAHR got on her and she was just as batty under saddle.

I hadn't ridden consistently in months and I probably shouldn't have gotten on her but I really really wanted her. My poor dad who came with me was probably shitting himself but I buckled up a much too big cross country vest and got on.

She was cranky and nappy under saddle, swishing her tail and resisting my leg. Her canter was to die for, but all I could see in my mind was her stepping on the person leading her and I knew she wasn't going to work out. She was so beautiful and had such a nice canter and I wanted her so much, but I couldn't get past what I had seen. She and I just weren't meant to work out.

I got Runkle, so I think we can agree it ended up working out for me anyway, at least

I still follow MAHR on Facebook and I see them repost updates about her from her new owner. She's just as gorgeous and talented as I thought she was, and I have to give real props to the woman who ended up with her on doing such a fantastic job.

omg, drool.
I look at her though, and I wonder why I couldn't have done that. I could've easily bought that horse. Right now she's farther along than Runkle, and much younger. She doesn't seem to have the spazzy craziness that Runkle brings to the table at horse shows. I could go on and on listing things, comparing us. I don't even know the whole story, I just know the couple of updates her new life has shared. I should be fair to myself and not compare my full story to fragments of a success story from someone else.

I'm always trying to be the very best I can be. I take lessons, I watch videos, I audit clinics, I read. I train for half marathons to be in the best shape possible so I can be a more effective rider. I board at a very nice facility that isn't exactly close to me because I want Runkle to have the best care and training I can provide.

All those are things I can control. But at some point hard work runs out and all you have left is luck and talent. Sometimes I fear I don't have enough of those things to make a difference and get where I want to be. I worry that I'm short changing Runkle in ways that won't allow him to take me as far as I want to go. And I worry (and worry, and worry) about being good enough.

I have to remind myself daily that someone else could've gotten it very wrong with him. He has such severe performance anxiety that I have to take things extra slow, being as comforting and calm as possible so he can find pleasure and peace in his new job, not fear. I forget that we've had some serious, outside-of-our-control setbacks. I broke my pinky for pity's sake. He popped a splint that took three months to heal. Maybe this mare and her partner didn't face those kinds of issues.

I'll probably never think I'm good enough, but I'm deciding to look at it like that's one of my strengths. It keeps me humble, and keeps me working hard. So even when it's fifteen degrees and windy outside, and I've had to work late and am not getting to the barn until eight o'clock at night, I still give Runkle and our training 150%. I can't do anything less.



    That's really all I can say. Well done.

  2. Great post, girl. I totally relate. It's easy to get caught up in comparing ourselves or our horses to other partnerships in other circumstances. I think about it often, as one of the side effects of choosing to get an "older" green horse. You write tho that when hard luck runs out, all that's left is luck and talent. I agree - but would also add that our enjoyment is a critical piece of the puzzle. Someone who is loving every minute of the journey might arguably get farther than someone who has every advantage but none of that same fire.

    1. thats a REALLY good point. and definitely shouldn't be discounted. the fun of it is what gets me through the hard shit (say, months of hand walking and daily icing...)

  3. Learning to be happy with our best - even if it isn't The World's Best - takes so much maturity!

    1. hah and i suspect it might be a permanent struggle... worth it though!

  4. I definitely know these feels. And I totally agree that being aware of them makes them into a strength. I also think that talent doesn't win over hard work any day -- if you have the two combined, sure. Talent can't be taught, but it also leads people to get lazy. Hard work wins out any day, and you can change so much more about yourself than you realize through work.

    Luck, though, is a fickle mistress who cannot be tamed.

    1. yeah lucks a real bitch.

      I agree with you on the talent. altho I hate those lucky hoes that have both. and like, tons of money. that helps too :P

  5. I can slap together a couple of pictures and make Stinker look fabulous. But the reality is there is always a lot that isn't seen in the pictures. Sure I got a ribbon at the one show we went to, but that doesn't show that we were in last place by 10 points in an intro A dressage test....
    You and Runkle are a fun pair and I think you are well matched. Plus pinkygate happened....

  6. I definitely understand the sentiments ringing through this post.

  7. That mare is gorgeous! Wow! She reminds me of Push. Chestnut, chrome, three... and batty as hell. He ended up in a great program with Hay Fever, but first shit had to hit the fan with his owner. She couldn't handle him and got him despite the fact that I warned her he would be too much horse for her. You can't beat yourself up because somebody else worked with that particular horse. Besides, you don't know what's going on in between those flowery updates or what kind of struggles they face. At the risk of sounding jaded, you don't even know if the mare is drugged to make her look that good. The work you have done with Runkle is admirable and shows that you are more than good enough. He is a sensitive horse who most people would have no business riding and you have had so much success with him already, despite the set backs. If someone just looked at your photos and didn't read your blog, they would have no idea that it wasn't all smooth sailing either! Besides, you can never be too humble when it comes to horses! Great post, as usual!


Post a Comment

I love comments so much, it makes me want to give you a BIG hug.

Popular Posts