We talk a lot about having goals and making progress on this blog and in lessons, mostly because as a trainer it's my job to make sure you are learning and advancing. Goals are important–they serve to motivate us. But it can work the other way, too...we can end up serving our goals rather than them serving us. In other words, don't have your eye on the prize so much that you miss out everything along the way. Don't be in a rush to make it to the next Dressage level, the next higher jump course, the Olympics, whatever.
Maybe because I'm a mom now, I understand the importance of slowing down and savoring the moment. This moment is precious and will never come again. Just like how my baby will never be as small as she is right now, you'll never be at this exact point in your riding journey ever again.
Whether you're currently frustrated and struggling with something or you're on top of the world after a great lesson or show, it doesn't matter–you'll someday look back on this time fondly...when your horse is retired or gone, when you've perhaps moved on to other things, or when you make it to your final goal and now it's all over, and you have to decide wether or not to start all over again with a new horse. In any case, treasure this time. Life goes fast.
Some of us are lucky to have horses who we feel we have a once-in-a-lifetime connection with. For you lucky souls, you need to savor this time EXTRA HARD. You'll miss them someday.
Clay and I will never be at First/Second level again, and even while I aspire to make it much higher in the levels with him, I know that right now we are at a special spot in our time together. We know and trust each other, we're enjoying our work, we have some of the foundational battles behind us, and progress is starting to pick up speed. I'm purposefully taking it slow this summer to make sure I cherish this awesome time with him. I don't know if I'll ever be able to afford a horse like him again. He may be it for me. I'm in no rush for us to get to our goal and for this awesome ride to be over.
I hope you get out on a trail ride this summer, or spend a couple hours just grooming, or simply take your horse out to graze the lawn while you marvel at their cuteness. In fact, that's your official homework from me for between lessons. :)