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Taking A Step Back

Posted on: October 12, 2023 by Megan Inglis
Selfie of woman with beautiful floral tattoo and her palomino Halflinger

Last year, I wrote a blog about my summer show goals and how I planned to achieve them. And over the past year, I competed in several small schooling events, and honestly, did well! This year, I think I’ve realized that I don’t have the desire to compete right now. Might that change again over the next year? Sure. But right now, this is what I need to do for me.

I always feel like I’m not good enough, not doing enough, not riding enough, not training enough. But I’m 37, I have a full-time job here at SmartPak speaking with our wonderful customers about their horses all day, and I live on the Jersey Shore where pasture space is non-existent—meaning my horses aren’t in my backyard. I also have other hobbies, expectations, pets, and a home to take care of. Riding every single day is not in the realm of possibility for me—unless someone wants to pay my bills. (Any takers?)

Now, I’ve come to realize that my sentiments about not being good enough are not true. You don’t have to be flying through LRK3DE to be an eventer, just like you don’t need to be riding Prix St. George tests to be considered a dressage queen.

But I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels slightly inadequate that I’ve never risen above this level of comfort I’ve plateaued at for the last 15 years.

Woman riding palomino Halflinger in English tack and apparel

This year, there were a lot of big changes, and with those changes came some realizations.

1.) My OTTB would benefit from a much braver and more talented rider than I am. And while I won’t be selling him, we will be putting him back to work to find him a leaser who wants to go fast and jump big.

2.) I just want to trail ride and pop over logs on my Haflinger pony (also on my OTTB, but he’s a little less agreeable to the slow and steady lifestyle—actually, the Haflinger is less agreeable, but he doesn’t have the energy to buck me off when he’s annoyed). And dabble in some dressage (the ***safe*** sport).

As I write this, I’ve come to the REAL realization here. I just want to ride to have fun again. It’s time to go back to basics and just enjoy being with and around my horses and find joy in being on a horse’s back again without any stress or pressure to be something or do something big.

Woman with flower tattoo on palomino Halflinger

Also, I’ve finally reached the age where all I can think is, “If I get hurt, it’s going to cause a lot of problems for me.”

I guess that was a lot of words for, “It’s time to take a break, and remember why I fell in love with horses.”

And that has nothing to do with competitions or good equitation or times or tests, and everything to do with just being on a horse and having fun.