We had an amazing show in Lexington, VA. I would usually talk about our successes in the ring but would rather share some thoughts about two of our older riders- Mary and Drew.
Mary is getting ready to go to college and Drew is a sophomore in high school. Both have been riding with me since 2013. These two are completely different personalities.
Mary battles with high levels of anxiety but outwardly can put on a brave face and portray herself as an extrovert. This anxiety kept her from doing many social things as a younger teen. Mary is far from an extrovert. She enjoys being solo.
Drew is a laid back dude. He is a man of few words. He goes to the beat of his own drummer. He is very passionate but keeps a poker face at all times.
Both of these kids have not had an easy path in this sport. They didn’t take like a duck to water. Their body and form didn’t naturally fall into place. Feeling the horse consisted of nothing or so much that you could move a brick wall with it. In other words, they weren’t naturals (not even close.)
Their first two seasons consisted of more last place (or no place) ribbons. I think they may have won 5 academy classes (between the 2 of them) in 2 years. For every small accomplishment, we would tank on other issues.
Some of the issues that we look back and laugh about:
-So slow we stop randomly
-So fast all we can hear is Kathryn saying “pull back on the reins...”
-Lining up the wrong direction
-Trotting sideways to the point you would think the horse was born diagonally
-legs so straight you thought we were after skiing
...and the list goes on and on.....
I can remember my talks with Drew and Mary early on in their riding career about how they acted as their own worst enemy. Sometimes they rode as though a zombie took over the brain. Sometimes their body just wouldn’t do a single thing to help their communication with their horse. Sometimes the lack of passion, when they showed, was because they cared so much that they would just freeze and do the opposite of everything they would do consistently at home.
99% of their trials and tribulations early on were totally preventable. However, these two riders struggled with executing in the moment. Adapting and anticipating were two words that haunted both riders.
So why did Drew and Mary stick with it? Out of all of my riders, these two had every reason to throw in the towel. Other riders in our barn were extremely successful with a fraction of the commitment and passion. If success was measured by victory passes then Mary and Drew were not successful for a very long time.
Remember that Mary is always dealing with potentially life-altering anxiety. Drew is a soft-spoken kid that never shows a lot of emotion in any direction plus he has grown several feet since he started riding. These two could have easily quit showing or riding or both. Instead, they have both become the team captains of our riding program. They embraced that this sport mirrors life probably more than any other athletic endeavor. Why didn’t they quit when things were so tough for so long?
Riding is a process. Life is a process. Neither life or riding is black and white. Life and Riding is an entire array of grey tones. In riding (and life) there are a set of rules that have to be bent and altered second by second. You can practice and prepare for 1000’s of hours and still walk out of a class with no ribbon because of a miscommunication with your horse, equipment failure, or just maybe you both had an off day. You can win a worlds or nationals championship and the next show get beat. That’s the beauty and the beast of this sport.
So I ask again....why have Drew and Mary kept their nose to the grindstone? Why have they just kept powering forward? Why did they celebrate and learn from the lows and well as the highs?
I honestly don’t know why...
I do know that I’m terribly proud of them. They are amazing human beings. They both have a heart of gold and a work ethic made of platinum. Both approach and tackle challenges differently. However, they never run, duck or hide from a challenge.
I am a very passionate person that wants everyone I teach to embrace the process of life, challenges, success, and loss. I have high expectations for effort and commitment from my riders. For some people, this is a really good fit and for others, it is not. Mary and Drew did not start their riding career being a do-er or go-getter.... but the process of life and riding the way has molded into two extraordinary young people.
Drew and Mary aren’t in it for the blue ribbon but they enjoy the victory passes when they come. They are in it because they truly want to push themselves to get better at small stuff. Can you imagine if everyone (in all walk of life) would push themselves to get better at the small stuff?
There is a 24-hour cancellation policy.
If you cancel with less than a 24-hour notice, you will NOT be able to reschedule and you will not receive a refund. Please don’t ask and please don’t debate. I cannot fill your riding slot without ample notice. I understand that people get sick and emergencies arise. However, the policies of LF mirror those of other sport and personal service entities.
Thanks for your understanding
Late for your lesson?....
All riders should be prepared to ride 15 minutes before their lesson. Gloves, helmets, long pants and jodhpurs boots on. Riders above 7 years old should look at the list and make sure their horse is ready and has a saddle on. Michelle, Ashleigh, Brennan, and Rachel are always available to assist and mentor our new or younger riders.
Late arrivals will result in a shortened lesson. Kathryn has a very full lesson schedule and cannot add time to a student was late because of other scheduled clients. The same policy applies when a guest instructor is teaching in Kathryn’s place.
“In my own words”- Rachel B
A Rider’s Perspective
•Riding at LF in Saddleseat- A little over one Year
•Horse- leasing Shake Your Soul aka “Perry”
Leasing Perry has allowed me to grow a bond with my horse. Knowing that Perry and I are showing consistently together has helped me build confidence in the ring. It has allowed me to grow as a rider and focus on my form and provide some level of predictability from the horse. Establishing this bond with Perry has helped me focus on specific things I know I need to do to be successful. With my ability to spend more time with Perry, I know how to control him in most circumstances giving me the confidence to deal with unpredictable things that may happen in a show. I love working with Perry!
Summer Camp is Filling UP!!
LF will host 2 camps that are two days long. These camps are open to riders 5-12 years old and any experience level. These camps are the most hands-on in the triad. This is not a watered down horse camp. This is a true horse camp. We will ride 3 times both day. Horsemanship on the highest level with 2 lessons and a game on horseback daily. In addition, there will be a daily driving lesson(controlling the horse in a cart). Every camp has a cap of 12 riders. This cap allows for quality control and assures that it is not a factory atmosphere where riders sit around while being verbally lectured by the instructor. Horsemanship is about being involved directly with the horse and our camp promotes this theory. Riders will be divided into group classes with riders of similar abilities during the camp. The head trainer, Kathryn
Registration is filling up quickly and we don’t want you to miss out on the most “horsey” camp in the triad. Email today and reserve your spot. A non-refundable (non-transferable) deposit of a $75 can be made with Venmo, PayPal, or check. The total cost of the camp is $250. The remaining amount is due on the first day of camp.
Camp Dates July 1-2 and July 15-16
Horse Show Mania!
We would love you to join our JV or Varsity show teams. We have attended shows in KY, VA, and NC. Our show schedule is on the website. Email Kathryn for a meeting and more information.
Proper Equipment and Clothing Reminder
Just a reminder that our services do not include casual riding. All riders are working towards the goal of improvement through consistent lessons.
The proper equipment is mandatory for safety and productivity.
After the first month of lessons all riders must own the following equipment:
Jodhpur boots- These boots are specific for our discipline (style of riding). Tall boots, tennis shoes, rubber rain (muck) boots, crocks, and flip flops are not allowed. You will not be able to ride if you show up for your lesson in these items.
Long pants- no shorts, skirts, pants that end under the knee. Jeans and leggings are fine but not recommended. Bootcut riding pants or riding tights (breeches) are the most appropriate because of the knee patches and stretch in the pants. Kerrits brand our absolute favorite. Your rider will not have a lesson if they show up in shorts or skirt.
Riding helmet- Troxel and Ovation have beautifully fitting helmets at a great price. Helmets cannot be made for cycling or ATV riding.
Gloves- leather or synthetic gloves used for horseback riding. Summer gloves have ventilation. You will get blisters on your fingers without riding gloves.