In this photo, Shiloh has a look on his face that illustrates how I am feeling at the moment. Anybody else out there having trouble nailing down equestrian new year resolutions? Or even deciding if you want to make any in the first place?
I’ve long been a fan of making horse-related goals for each new calendar year. I realize there’s no rule that says “you have to make new year’s resolutions to be a fully completed human being.” Yet having some kind of goal can produce a motivating and organizing effect for me. I wouldn’t have had quite the fun with my horses over the years without setting goals and putting in the work towards meeting them.
But I must say, I struggle with making new goals for 2023. It’s hard to make goals when you feel like you don’t have a realistic vision of how you can actually accomplish them.
For example, I’d like to get my horse Shiloh out for more trail rides, but I have the issue of what to do with his herd mate, Piper, who continues to get upset when I even take Shiloh out of their shared paddock for so much as a farrier trim. With Shiloh just twenty-five feet away.
I do have the option of getting another horse to keep Piper company while I work with Shiloh. Maybe another full sized horse that I could also ride or a miniature for driving. But adding another horse means spending more money than I would like in this time of inflation.
There’s also the reality for me that adding another horse would increase my daily workload. And lately, I feel my fitness, strength and energy decline while my problems with arthritis and other body pain issues increase. I wonder how much can I push myself physically.
But if I don’t get another barnyard critter, I am starting to envision having three limiting choices for the new year. Choice #1: not riding Shiloh at all. Choice #2: Ponying Piper along with us on every single ride. Choice #3: Tie Piper up inside their shared paddock and only ride Shiloh in said paddock so that we are not too far away from Piper.
Considering my situation, creating a new theme(s) for myself in 2023 may be a more appealing prospect than creating goals. Last year, I wrote a post about setting themes instead of goals, an idea I gleaned from a podcast by horse professional Stacey Westfall. You can read that post HERE if you’d like.
In the midst of contemplating my options, I also read a blog post titled Visions vs. Resolutions from Heccateisis’s Blog. The post really resonated with me. I enjoyed reading the writer’s perspective. Very refreshing. I particularly liked the word that appeared at the bottom of her post, “meandering”.
So as we close in on the end of January, I continue to think things over. Goals and themes and lollipop dreams. Knowing I am somewhere in between. Between where I am and where I want to be. Struggling to arrive.