We talk about goals a lot, but there is another side to that coin. Do you have any limits when it comes to riding, like how much you’ll ride, what horses you’re willing to ride, or what you’re willing to do when you ride?
I have never set limits related to fence height or level of competition. The horses I have access to, time, and the money I have to spend set those limits for me for the most part. But some other things limit me, by my choice.
Not gonna lie, age is starting to be a factor for me. Most days I don’t feel much different from when I was 26, not physically (but mentally is a whole ‘nother story). However, with age comes more responsibility, so I can’t realistically just get on whatever someone throws at me and hope for the best. Being able to ride my own horse is important to me. Consequently, I mostly just ride my own horse because I know what I’m getting into. The thought of injury as a result of riding a different horse and leaving Eli riderless genuinely bothers me. Not that people are throwing horses at me to ride–they aren’t. But I am at a place in my life where if offered, I am very likely to turn down a ride on a horse other than my own. That I am even at a point in my riding that I am more likely to turn down an offer than take it surprises me, because I never thought I would get here. Even just a few years ago, I wasn’t here.
One other thing I consider — I know what I like to ride and I can ride what I like because I own exactly the right horse for that. I don’t have a kick ride in me. I feel too big and long in the torso for ponies and cobs. I don’t like to be dragged around or taking a strong feel. It’s one thing to be paid to exercise ride a horse–compensation changes the dynamic entirely, of course, in a very humbling way (I am not at all saying I won’t ride a horse unless I am paid, far from that!). But if someone offered a hack on their really nice but totally dead-sided mount, I would probably turn it down. How selfish, entitled, and inconsiderate of me? Yes. I know. Why decline such generosity? When so many people are begging for rides and willing to get on anything, why shouldn’t I have the same attitude? Honestly, because I am almost 40, not 14. I have ridden a lot over the years. I did have that attitude for a long time. But now, I do not have any immediate goals other than to enjoy my horse, which is easy. I would much rather cheer people on from the ground, and help people to enjoy their own riding.
So, those are my limits–simply a recognition of my own mortality and knowing what I like.
What are yours?