What Motivates You?

driveway hack
I really need to get the snap fixed on my black DeNiros but these orange ones are so funny to me

The lack of horse showing has been upsetting for some people, and shows starting back up seem to be very popular — a few A shows in this area have “sold out,” meaning they are limiting entries and have already hit those limits for a few shows in mid-June. I completely understand that horse showing was and is a primary motivating force for riders, so it doesn’t surprise me that people are excited for showing to start back up. Even with major international tours canceling the rest of their dates, horse shows in the U.S. are pressing forward. Horse show ecosystems employ a lot of people and provide a fun social outlet for many, many riders. I am happy for all of those people whose lives will hopefully get back to “normal” or at least some kind of “new normal” very soon.

he gets to go for short grazes a lot
so my new favorite sun shirts are the Anique ones. SO FRIGGIN’ SOFT.

But horse shows don’t motivate me. Not at all. They may have at one time, but they don’t now and never really have in my adult life. So I’ve been thinking about what does motivate me, and whether I can even articulate this, or put some kind of label or name on the driving forces that get me to the barn almost every day. Strong emotional connections with animals calm me down on most days. Riding is good exercise. Being outdoors is a relief after a 9-hour slog at a desk. I am pretty sure even just looking at Eli lowers my blood pressure. (Unless he is sick or injured.) Cantering around over sticks is a fun thing. It looks like I have this laundry list of superficial motivations, but is that … it?

in front of a fan = must make faces
he is legit looking chubby

I am thinking the strong emotional connection to animals is the primary motivating force for me. I would much rather talk to my dog or my horse than a person. My big and small mammalian companions seem to get me, to accept me. Not that they really have a choice, of course. But early on with Eli especially I am fairly certain he wanted me to be his person. And the humans around us that saw us working together said all kinds of encouraging things a long these lines well before I owned him. I started worrying about his future if he didn’t have me in it. How can a horse make a person feel this way? Is it not odd? But what would a life without such empathetic creatures be?

fan again = faces again
that best view thing

I cannot remember a time when I did not feel an innate connection to animals. That I have had so many meaningful partnerships with horses continues to amaze me. Eli’s ability to communicate with me so clearly about all kinds of things amazes me, too. Secondary to the emotional connection I feel to this horse is perhaps the other motivating factor: what will Eli teach me next?

10 thoughts on “What Motivates You?

  1. Having a 14 month child has made the barn my escape. My two hours of me time in the evening. I also was lucky enough to find a horse and situation I really enjoy after selling my horse last August. I’ve enjoyed figuring things out again after not jumping for 6 years. At the end of the day though, spending time with the horses calms me. It grounds me after a stressful day. Even on days I don’t ride, I still enjoy grooming the horses and spending time with them. Showing isn’t a motivation for me at all. I haven’t shown in years. I wanted to go to a local show that was supposed to be this weekend actually but it got cancelled. My trainer and one student are going to start going to the rated shows again next month and they are having a hard time finding shows that don’t have wait lists. I think they’re going to Lamplight because they did have stalls, but not 100% certain on that.

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  2. I have a lot of fun at horse shows. But they are not my main motivator. learning things about how to ride better, how to understand my horse better and how to help him. Those things motivate me. Nice post Karen.

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  3. I want to like showing, but I just…don’t. I try and push myself on occasion because part of me feels like I should, but it’s really not my thing. More than anything, showing is an opportunity to get pictures or videos as I have someone watching me ride, but I get so stressed (all I do is local stuff). The stress just isn’t worth it to me. When finances are tight, I’d rather put money into more instruction vs showing.

    I’m just back in the saddle after 10 weeks off due to ulcers and while I missed riding and the stress due to ulcers was intense, being with my boys everyday is enough for me. Standing outside and getting my face licked (gross, I know) after a round of peppermints means the world to me. Or the faces on my boys when I bring out carrots. That’s why I have horses. The riding is secondary.

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  4. To an extent, competing is a motivator for me, but it’s not THE motivator. I’m a goal-oriented person so having something to work toward is helpful. But I haven’t been showing in over a year and that’s okay. I think my primary motivators are similar to yours. Building the connection/partnership with a horse is top, and a close second is that I am always learning. I will never NOT be learning with horses, and I love that.

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  5. I used to think showing was my biggest motivator. And I really do want to get back out there so badly! But since I haven’t really shown in what? Four years? I’ve realized that showing isn’t the main motivator. Just the horses themselves are enough for me. I love connecting with them. There’s just something really special when your horse recognizes your presence and seems to appreciate you being there. Different from how they look at others. It’s really special.

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    1. (might help if I actually click the arrow after I type a response 🙈) It truly is a good feeling when every time I walk in the barn Eli perks up and nicker-yells at me.

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