Not So Resolute About Resolutions This Year

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.

7 thoughts on “Not So Resolute About Resolutions This Year

  1. Might you look into clicker-training Piper, as a distraction from Shiloh’s activity? I know, it’s one more thing to eat up limited time/energy — but using this I can halter the most resistant horses at the barn and get the most impatient to stand calmly…

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  2. I hear you with all of this. I’ve never really done “resolutions” like most people have at the start of the new year, because you know – life happens haha. I’ve had even less desire for resolutions the past year, and this year is no different. I think my only desire is to get myself relatively fit enough to start riding again lol. Physical problems certainly make things doubly difficult when it comes to horses and how much you want to do. So I’m with you there! Hopefully you can play around with options in riding Shiloh while still keeping Piper relatively happy 🙂

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  3. I hear you. I love goal setting too, but I also pick one vision/word each year to help me focus.

    I hope you won’t abandon your trail ride theme for 2023. You have a Choice #4: teaching Piper to be comfortable being left alone and confident that you and Shiloh WILL return! It’s really achievable.

    I, too have 2 ponies that are besties (most of the time 😉 ) and they get really anxious (and jealous) being left alone when I take the other one out for training, a walk or some 1:1 time. Due to the stress of the one left behind I took them out less and less. And enjoyed doing so less and less, because I feel for the stressed out one being left behind.

    I eventually discovered that this was really a heavy emotional burden on myself. I wasn’t enjoying having two horses as much as I thought (it wasn’t double the fun, it was more double the burden and half the fun) until I found ways to teach the one that’s left behind (I switch taking them out) that it’s OK and not so much to worry about!

    It takes time to make a herd bound horse feel confident on their own and teach them you *will come back*, but it’s not impossible you know. 🙂

    Happy trail rides with Shiloh in 2023

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  4. I’m in the same boat with two pretty bonded ponies. It really does get better the more consistently you do it. They might never love being separated, but once they realize their friends always come back (and the good hay comes out when I take one away from the other) they settle a lot and the drama becomes a lot less worrying. I’m with you on ponying – not something I want to do every time. Goals – I don’t think there’s anything wrong sometimes with taking a time out to simply enjoying the good about where you’re at!

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  5. Have you ever thought of getting a goat?! Not a small/mini one, but a big one! We had one horses loved her. Goat would gallop around the paddock trying to keep up with my mini herd and she would also walk under my big mare. I have a friend that has 1 horse and a goat for company and they get on real well. When she takes her horse out and about the goat stays home and hangs out with her dog. Goats are really versatile animals and will form a bond with any living thing 😊

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    1. Hi, Chantal! That is a good idea. I used to know some horse people who have enjoyed keeping goats with horses. Unfortunately, my fence would likely not contain even a large goat. I have often regreted not getting a four rail fence as they allow for more versatility in the types of critters you can pen up safely than my three rail set up. I likely would have ended up with all sorts of barn yard species! In any case,, thank you so much for taking your time to read and comment!


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