Horses, Life, A Touch of Geek

Archive for the ‘Sports Psychology’ Category

Que Pasa?

Driving Thursday

Q is for Que Pasa. If you are joining me from Blogging A To Z, welcome! Since the blog is already daily, with topics for each day [About: Schedule], there is no specific A To Z theme. I may even skip a few letters. Gasp. Clutch the pearls. The goal for this year is less crazy, more visiting. [Ze State of Ze Blog 2014]

Warning: more whining. Mostly because I can’t think of anything else to go with Q. The photo from the show has not arrived to be used for Driving Thursday & Quite The Dude.

I’m having trouble shaking off my poor performance at the show earlier this month [Report]. It’s not that I placed badly. I hope I’m more evolved than that. (Oh, I wouldn’t rule out going behind the barn and kicking the wall a few times.) It’s that I rode so badly. Not only that, but I worked really hard in the weeks before the show to be that bad on the day. I just don’t know what I’m doing out there.

Plus, I was miserable most of the weekend: tears, insomnia, stomach aches. The nerves trifecta. I’m reaching the level of Why am I doing this to myself. To be clear, the nerves still aren’t following me into the ring. So there’s that. While I did ride and drive defensively, I was not the hot mess I am before I get on.

Yes, Rodney is starting to go better. Will it ever be enough to make up for the enormous amount of time I have wasted to date?

My point? No point. I will get over myself, probably sooner rather than later. Onwards!

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Keeping it Real

H is from the Heart. If you are joining me from Blogging A To Z, welcome! Since the blog is already daily, with topics for each day [About: Schedule], there is no specific A To Z theme. I may even skip a few letters. Gasp. Clutch the pearls. The goal for this year is less crazy, more visiting. [Ze State of Ze Blog 2014]

In The Imposter Syndrome: Health & Fitness, Stellar Fashion and Fitness considers what has elsewhere been called “curated” lives.

“There’s a lot of talk about what we see on social media and how it’s the ‘best’ side of us, not the ‘real’ side of us.”

Have I done that?

It has never been my intention to present my life as a rose-strewn path. (It is, and I have no right to complain, but I’m getting ahead of myself.)

Change is interesting. Lately, there have been small changes for the better.

The issues in my life are those of stagnation rather than tragedy (Thankfully!). Same old, same old. Moping doesn’t make for good narrative.

Finally, I have whined so long and so hard on this blog over the years, I figure no one wants to hear it anymore. I’m certainly tired of living it.

Bottom line:

Riding well is the only thing I’ve ever really wanted. When I look out at my pasture and see two beautiful horses that I can’t ride, I feel like a failure every day of my life.

Which leads to guilt. How dare I. The world is full of problems so very, very much more serious.

I run on failure and guilt. For real.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Looking for Rodney’s Silver Lining

For future reference.

Mr. Sensitivity demonstrates the art of sleep-eating.

Every character flaw has a corresponding virtue.

I am forthright.
You are inconsiderate.
He is rude.

I am helpful.
You are pushy.
He has boundary issues.

I am easy-going.
You are unmotivated.
He is lazy.

Rodney is sensitive. Those of us who have to deal with his reactions might say over-sensitive. At some point this is going to be a virtue. Brilliance in dressage? A close communion that allows me to read this thoughts on cross-country? Maybe we will never show (shudder) but will achieve some non-competitive goal that currently eludes me?

Someday, I will look back and all of this will make sense. Or maybe the whole thing is a pointless waste of time.

Wow, that got darker than I intended. I’m trying to see the up side, really, I am.


Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Rodney February 2017


Due to truck (yay! [Milton’s Chariot]), driving derby (yay!! [Show Report]), and several guest posts (yay!!! [Sights][Friendships][Why I Ride]), the home team was absent from the blog for most of February. The last Rodney post was on February 6 [Rodney Objects]. The last Milton post was at the end of January [Counterbalance], plus a mention in association with the truck. So, up to what have they been?

Same old, same old. Nothing bad, nothing brilliant.

I have been riding sitting on Rodney whenever we are home on the weekends. We are up to about 20 minutes of walking. We mosey along. We do big figure eights. We go big. We go slow. All on a long rein. He still curls up like a shrimp if I touch the reins. OTOH, he has (seems to have) mastered statue. He will stand in the middle of the ring and relax instead of stand and fidget. This is good. We have been needing a reset button. An iota of progress.

Rodney displays his command of chill

Rodney displays his command of chill

Groundwork during the week has not been as progress filled. I get frustrated, give in to despair, lose my motivation, and settle on taking them for walks [What Is Work?] instead of taking them into the ring for work. I know that if I were to be more motivated, I would have less to be frustrated about. It’s a circle with me in the center being vicious.


Both horses came through our local winter hay shortage thinner than I would like. (In January, they seemed ok [Rodney’s Hillwork: Horsekeeping note]. They haven’t changed weight as much as I’ve decided I don’t like where they are. The eye of the master & and all that.) The hay we could find was not wonderful, and we supplemented with hay cubes, which they did not love. Now that we can go further afield for hay, …


… it’s time to chub them up. Hay snacks for everyone!

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Show Reports, Winter Tournament #1 & # 2, 2016/2017

Saddle Seat Wednesday

Two for the price of one. Last month, holiday posts bumped coverage of Winter Tournament #1.

The question: Does Robert want to be an Academy Horse? [Looking Forward SSF]
The answer: Yes. Yes, he does.
In two shows, he is undefeated with one walk-trot rider, nearly so with the other, and has won a blue at both shows with me.

More importantly, he seems to be enjoying himself. The hours are longer. The first show was 6 classes, the second show was 8. He’s probably never done that in his life. However, an Academy day is still less intense than a single suit class.

At the first show, I was next to the ingate when he came out, switched riders, and went back on the ring. His confusion was obvious. So was his willingness.

‘I’m going back in the ring?’
‘I’m going back in the ring!’

The attention and admiration of a show horse without the work of a performance horse. Sweet.

Show specifics
Winter Tournament #1
Heathermore Farm
Moody, AL
December 10, 2016

Victory at first show with Robert.

A post shared by @rodneyssaga on

Photo by Reagan Upton

Advance Horsemanship WTC Adult – 6th of 7 with Robert
Advanced Equitation WTC Adult (Pattern) – 6th of 7 with Sam
Pleasure Horse or Pony WTC Adult – 1st of 6 with Robert
Academy Driving – 1st of 1 with Alvin

Thank you to the Wamble, Huguley & Upton families.

First class. Too tentative. Not going for it. At ringside, Coach Courtney said I was reverting to hunter riding. Husband pointed out that wasn’t huntering. It was just bad riding.

Third class. Sent into the ring with the injunction to ride like I drive, i.e. More Alvin!

Robert got a break & I did the equitation class on Sam. Patterns on Robert require finesse. When I rode this way with Sam, he wanted to know in the name of little green apples I was playing at. Note to self: when switching horses, remember to switch plans.

Uncontested blue. Wheeeeee. Why do I bother with one-horse classes?
1) I’m competitive enough that it still feels like showing
2) It goes toward my 10,000 hours of mastery.
3) It’s fun.
Winter Tournament #2

ERA Stables and Elite Riding Academy [Facebook, Arab Tribune]
Arab, AL
January 14, 2017

Robert is feeling patriotic.

A post shared by @rodneyssaga on

Photo by Darren Casperian

Advance Horsemanship WTC Adult – 2nd of 6
Advanced Equitation WTC Adult (Pattern) – 1st of 6
Pleasure Horse or Pony WTC Adult – 4th of 6
All classes with Robert.

Thank you to the Upton & Huguley families.

… blue ribbon last time … better not f*ck it up this time … nice horse … if I screw up, it’s all me … we did this a month ago … so what … I still don’t speak Robert … what if he gets strong at the second canter like he did in my lesson? … no Sam for the pattern class … whaaa … Robert & I have never gotten all the way through the pattern …

We went in. Had three good-to-great classes. Made no major mistakes. Aced the pattern. One of my best patterns, including many that I have done with Sam.

This is why no one pays attention when I have a meltdown.
We take our showing very seriously at Team Stepping Stone.

I, rabbit. Photo by Michelle Duplichien.

I, rabbit.
Photo by Michelle Duplichien.

Yes, we do.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Looking Forward, Rodney

So this happened.


I have been riding sitting on Rodney bareback. One, to keep pressure off his back injury/scar, which is under the right-hand point of the saddle. Two, I like the idea of being able to slid off at the first sign of adversity. In a saddle, I tend to hang on until I’m in too deep rather than execute a timely emergency dismount. Three, bareback is more relaxing, right?

For a while now, my perceptive groundcrew has been after me to try using a saddle. I didn’t even consider the idea long enough to dismiss it. This is bareback. What horse doesn’t like bareback? Well, Rodney apparently. He thinks it’s weird. Rodney doesn’t do weird.

While I am more secure, Rodney is even more so. I’m not sensing the nervous vibe from him that I was getting before. Of course, the tension could have been originating from me, but I don’t think so. I think Rodney and I reverse the usual pattern. I pick up his nervousness, which my inner screaming monkeys turn into Sky-Is-Falling messages, which he then receives, amplifies and returns, and so on, and so on. Regardless of who starts the cycle, it’s on me to fix it.

“No matter what the problem is, whether it’s your fault or the horse’s fault, the solution is the same; ride better.”
Brain Training for Riders by Waldo (Trafalgar 2016)
[Reading Assignment]

So, we are still only walking and halting, but maybe, possibly, with a shade more ridability? The ultimate goals & underlying thesis remain the same.

Stratospheric dressage scores, smooth hunter rounds, scorching jump-offs, Finish on Dressage Score/Led From Dressage events.
[Haven’t I Been Here Before?]

Rodney has the talent to compete at introductory-level anything in his sleep. So, if we can get Rodney happy, he will be happy to work. That’s the theory.
[Stating the Obvious]

But seriously folks. Hacking in the backyard, maybe jumping a few fences. That would keep me content. For a while.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott


Saddle Seat Wednesday
December 6, 2016

December 6, 2016

Another competitor in Adult Academy used the hashtag #howmanydaystillnationals. I thinks to myself, I can answer that. So, when I updated the AEC counter ([AEC], link in the upper right corner), I added a Nationals countdown. Since that came out in months & weeks,
gave me the exact answer. As of yesterday, 324 daystillnationals. I remain adamantly ambivalent about the show itself.

My competitive side: Horse show! Horse show!
The sane part of me: No! No! No!

Competitive, adopting a wheedling tone: If I work reeeeeally hard at my equitation all year …
Sane: I can ride with no stirrups from now till October. I still won’t have the temperament for equitation.

Competitive, stomping feet: I want that Sunday blue!
Sane: It’s about the process, not the ribbons. Happiness is not tied to results.

Competitive: It’ll be good experience.
Sane: It’s been four years of good experience. Enough is enough.

Competitive: I got something else to do the last weekend in October?
Sane: —

Competitive: Horse show! Horse show!
Sane: I’m never going to be reasonable on this subject am I?

Competitive: HORSE SHOW!

In reality, until such time as I ride in a suit class, Nationals will remain an option. We’ve seen how good I am at resisting the siren song of the show ring [To Show or Not To Show].

At least I got a blog post out of it.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott