The Man in the Arena

Thank you for your comments and condolences on yesterday’s post. After fifteen years of horsemanship, losing one never gets any easier. I now hug Nibbles every time I see her, even if I am in a bad mood… and it actually usually lifts that bad mood. Funny how that works. 😉

Oh man, first barn-selfie!

Oh man, first barn-selfie!

I’ve seen this quote before and stumbled upon it again this morning. I think it’s really relevant to many equestrians, especially those who are online a lot.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Theodore Roosevelt

I personally haven’t had this problem as, frankly, I’m a baby very part-time blogger. But I know others have dealt with this. In particular, I think Facebook is vicious – with the anonymity of the internet, riders are quick to penalize other riders, judge them and otherwise fault what they’re doing. There is a time and place for constructive criticism but I think there’s something to be said about the many amazing equestrians out there who work their tails off week in and week out. I’m looking at all the fellow adult amateurs here! We may not be the country’s best riders and we certainly don’t have it all figured out – but I’ll be darned that we aren’t out there as often as we can squeeze in around work/school, putting in the time for the horse(s) we love. And I think that it’s important to remember that’s important, too. Not just the height of the jumps or color of your satin.

Wet pony.

Wet pony.

Last night when I was 10 minutes away from the barn on my hour long commute after work, the heavens split and it started pouring. When I got to the barn, it had lightened up but was still raining. Nibbles was soaked and was literally rolling in the mud when I pulled up. I was so tempted to throw my hands up, maybe brush her and call it a night. After all, I’d been up since 5:00am, worked 9 hours, and I was tired.

I’m so glad I didn’t do that. I switched my white saddle pad for the black air pad and got all the mud off I could. Other than that, into the rain we went – no indoor at this farm. Nibbles was awesome. This is her third ride since April and maybe her 15th ever. It was her third ride without an assistant. She now understands to move off my seat and also halt off my seat. We have lateral yields (just flexing her nose to her ribs), we have hindquarter disengagement (yay safety), and we have some semblance of steering. Her first ride “back” (since spring), forward was a real struggle. She just didn’t understand that she should walk out with me on her and not being lead. Last night, I think she felt confident in what I wanted. We made big circles and figure eights, checked out the corners of the arena, changed direction. She’s starting to respond like a big girl! It won’t be long now that she’ll be ready to trot in the arena. Trotting on the lunge with me up was no big deal so I’m really excited (and a bit nervous) to try it out. I wish I had a round pen but you work with what you’ve got, right?


2 thoughts on “The Man in the Arena

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