What Is Work?

I get myself into the state wherein if I am not working 110% every day, then I am not working hard enough, and am therefore a failure. It’s fun being me.

Greg pointed out that the horses may have a different definition of work. I think work is riding, or jumping, or intense groundwork. They think work is anything that takes them away from hay, or grazing, or napping.

Anytime a human puts a halter on a horse and imposes her will over his (or his will over hers, or hers over hers, or … when will we arrive at a generally-agreed-on, gender-neutral, third person singular pronoun? Impose their will over them? Ones will over one? But I digress.), the horse is being trained, i.e. doing work.

Which is a roundabout way of saying the horses and I have been doing a lot of walking around the field lately. Rodney continues to handle it without stressing [Hillwork]. Milton continues to plod along [Counterbalance]. While he would rather give Rodney his dinner than admit this, I think Milton enjoys the attention. The part of me that is not screaming with frustration is enjoying the low-key, off-season work.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

6 thoughts on “What Is Work?

  1. Boy, can I relate to those feelings; it’s loads of fun being me, too. I think slow work is better than no work. At least that’s what I try and tell myself – that is, when I’m not busy berating my own self for lack of progress. I guess a related question could be: “What is progress?” I spend a lot more time reading, researching, and planning, than I do… er, *doing*. I’ve been wanting to change that for some time now. I suppose the research/planning and all of that is some sort of progress – better than nothing? I tell myself it will help a lot when I finally *do* things – but still, I feel like I need more action to start happening.

  2. I think it’s important to schedule “fun” time. I’ve been keeping my nose to the grindstone all winter. Writing that board check really keeps me focused and honest. Rode 6 days a week (with a weekly lesson) since Dec 1st. before I finally hit the wall. (How did I know I’d hit the wall? I shed tears of frustration at the end of a lesson) This week I’m taking a break. Did some fun liberty stuff and just having some quality ‘hang time’ here and there. Rode bareback (walk, a little trot) today. Keeping it light, simple and no lesson. I’ll do this until I feel like I’m ready to go back to the work routine. The horse really doesn’t seem to care one way or the other.

      1. Not sure I understand. I’d find it hard to believe my horse much cares if I school her every single ride, take a weekly lesson or just putter around. Does she have an opinion day to day? Sometimes, and if she voices a strong one it shows and I “listen.” But beyond that I’m pretty hard-pressed to see much difference in her attitude from ride to ride or session to session based on what I choose to do. Overall, she seems happy, willing and engaged no matter what I ask her to do with me. The one thing I DO know is that if given a choice she’d probably much rather just stand around in her pasture all day and eat. Eating is really big with her. But she gets to do that about 23 hours a day, all year round. In exchange for that, I don’t ever feel too bad about asking her to do something with me for an hour or so every day. Gosh, I should be so lucky to have 23 hours a day to do what I want to do most. 😉

  3. 23 hours. I say this to my horses a lot. Yes, it’s the water trough. You have the entire rest of the day to get a drink. You are not expiring from thirst. Keep moving.

    Things we care about that horses don’t: fancy paneling in barns, instructors with accents, trophies & ribbons. Although, I do think horses like to win. They know when they done good.

    Our previous two had definite opinions about work. Caesar was always best the first day back. Then he lost patience. He always got the day before a show off. Matilda got better as the week went along. If I had a dressage lesson on Friday, I made a point of riding her Mon thru Thurs. Rodney is like Mathilda – steady application to task. Milton appears to be cool either way.

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