Tonight was not a good night at the barn.
It wasn't because of the company. It was the usual cast, good friends all. The winter instructor's dog was there and he gave me a merry game of keep away in the tack room with the tennis ball. I was certainly happy to say hi to all of my favorite ponies, petting noses and handing out treats.
It wasn't the lesson. It's dressage week so Fi got to show off. And show off she did. She's really been improving by leaps and bounds over the last month or so and it showed today. Focusing on getting her responsive to my legs for lateral movement has made her much more adjustable and has made travelling straight a real possibility. Once you get her truly straight, her back lifts and the weight shifts back and it's all awesome.
It sure as hell wasn't the horse. The winter instructor was thrilled with her. She's now doing baby half passe (I call it baby because she's not strong enough to do the move in true collection, but she's travelling laterally in the direction of bend) at the trot and canter. We also did an exercise where we would canter on a twenty meter circle, then collapse it down to almost ten meters before opening it up again. I think our next new exercise addition will be shoulder in at the canter. I also need to work on cleaning up shoulder in at the trot and the walking pirouette.
So what the heck was the problem?
It's very hard to come to the end of a great lesson, fussing over your horse and telling her how good she was and how proud you are of her, and then answer questions about the timing for selling her. I need a video of her doing her First level test, so we need to coordinate time with a videographer and an empty ring. It's common knowledge at the barn now that Fiona will be moving on to a dressage home, so people are asking about it.
It's very hard to enjoy riding a horse this much and know that you'll be parting ways in the next couple months. The doubts and second guessing have started. Maybe I'm being hasty, maybe I should try a season as a dressage rider and see how I like it, how will I ever find a horse I enjoy as much as my princess? How will I ever find a horse that I can go to a sanctioned dressage show with (and even get a blue ribbon), then go on a hunter pace, then go race on the beach, then go trail riding, then take her just about anywhere for a clinic? But I'm already edgy because I can't jump and I know I'm losing my edge because of the way I struggled in my last lesson. Isn't it better for everyone if Fiona finds someone that won't feel resentful that they can't do what they really want?
This would be easier if it was because she was naughty, or scared me, or wasn't talented enough, or we had a personality clash. A lot of the reasons horses are sold would be easier, but I'm stuck in the unfortunate spot of owning a horse I adore and enjoy riding that isn't interested in pursuing the discipline I want. Let's be honest, we pay far too much money in this hobby to pursue anything other than exactly what we want.
I'm comforting myself that Fi won't go to anything other than a perfect situation and that she will be safe with me until that situation shows up. If no one wants her or she doesn't vet (a real possibility, since she's never been vetted), then she will just stay with me forever and we'll be dressage queens together.