A Note about Sugarbush Draft Horses

I see it over and over again, and no matter how many times it's said, it's still wrong. "Sugarbush Drafts are just an Appaloosa Draft Cross". Uh.... no. The Sugarbush Draft Horse was a breed created many years ago in Ohio. While the initial cross was made using Percherons to Appaloosas, in the many generations following, the breed has been solidified into a consistent type. Saying these horses are "just" a draft cross makes as much sense as saying that AQHA horses are "just" a Thoroughbred cross, American Cream Drafts are "just" a dilute Belgian, or that Morgans are "just" a grade.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Fear Friday: Motivation

Am I the only one that has problems getting my butt in gear?  I start off fine, working a few horses every day is not a problem.  Then something happens, and I lose the routine, and I find that I LIKE sitting around doing nothing.  So, I find an excuse to do more nothing, and then even more nothing.  Eventually I'm doing plenty of WORK, but very little of it is on the horse, and I realize I've lost my motivation.

I'm kinda in that situation right now.  It's hot here.  By 11am, it's over 100 degrees, and just getting hotter.  I'm getting up early, but with only about 4 hours of daylight, I'm not getting a whole lot of saddle time.  When you add in the riding students, that's even less saddle time for me.  I don't mind working when its hot, but when the horses start having problems, it's just not worth it.  I have horses that are dumping weight, covered in salt, and other common heat related problems, so I sure don't want to add heat stress to the mix.

Well, it looks like we have about a week of this.  I'm headed out to the barn in the wee hours of the night to get the stalls cleaned and such, and I still have to head out every 2 to 3 hours all day long to check water and make sure all the horses are up and sweating, so it's not like I'm being lazy and just goofing off.  But I know myself.  I know that as soon as it starts to cool down, I'll ride a horse here, or maybe a horse there, but it will take me days to get back into riding 4 horses each day again.

Even worse is the horses I'm working with.  Mostly they are my sale horses.  I rarely get the time to play with MY horses (you know, the "I will never ever sell you no matter what" horses).  Of course MY horses are the ones I trust the most.  The green horses, or the sale horses are the ones that tend to make me feel anxiety.  I can't really say I'm having FEAR issues lately, but I do have some anxiety problems still.

Some of those horses don't bother me at all.  I know they are good, and I trust them.  Like Lady here.  She's just an amazing horse, and FUN to be with.  There's a chance she might be coming back for some work.

I find that I get motivated when some one else is relying on me, but I tend to get lazy when it's only me and mine that need me.  It's easy to make excuses to myself.  Well this got me thinking.

Isn't motivation a part of what we need to overcome our fears?  I mean, when I feel like I can't, that's when I really want to prove the world wrong.  My motivation is to simply prove that I CAN.  Now that I'm in the no-man's land of "mostly over it" I'm having motivation problems.  I ride when I want to ride, but I don't always push myself as much as I should.  Maybe it's a 15 minute walk riding bareback.  What I should be doing is working on trotting bareback to build up my core strength and leg muscles.  Maybe it's a lap or 2 at the canter, when I should be doing caveletti at the canter.  Things like that.

I'm at the point right now, where I'm not feeling fear because I'm not doing things that make me afraid.  That's a good thing!  I call that progress, especially considering how much I'm able to do with the horses.  But there are some things that still get to me.  The thought of climbing up on a truly green horse makes my knees weak.  I'm not ready for that yet.  But I think I'm ready to climb up on a green horse that has had a few rides on it.  Baby steps.

Now I just need to get the motivation to ask for help with these things.  Before I ride a greenie, I want to stack the odds in my favor.  I want to make sure that I have the horse as safe as possible, just in case my anxiety sets the horse off.  In some cases, this means I will need a ground person.  So, I'm going to have Jae help me with that.  He does a great job of making me stay calm, simply because he's so calm mannered himself.  And he can read my body language as well as my horses can.  Jae has no problem calling my bluff and refusing to do something if I'm lieing to myself.

But what I'm lacking is the motivation.  I have the desire to do it.  I have the right mind set.  And yet this 110 degree weather makes me REALLY not want to go out and try it.  Have you ever had that problem?  You can easily sit inside thinking about how much you want to do something, but making yourself get up and go DO it is just not going to happen?  How do you get over that?

I figure that the heat is a really good excuse.  But, it's still just an excuse.  I could be riding a greenie in the morning instead of Poko, or Ash, or Boo - my super broke lesson horses.  But at the same time, I need to keep those horses worked up for the lesson students.  If they get bad habits, then it's a lot more work for me to fix it later.  Riding one of my green horses isn't as pressing, and can wait until its cooler out.

See, this is how I convince myself to sit on my butt and do nothing.  And doing nothing doesn't help me advance as a rider.  I want to be the best rider I can be - not the best in the world, simply living up to my own abilities.  I often think that this is where lessons are so great.  Scheduling lessons gives me the incentive to get up, get out, and RIDE.  I have some one else relying on me to be there, and to be on time. 

So, how do you get your motivation to do something?  How do you convince yourself that you just want to make it past this step in your progression?  How do you make the excuses not sound so good?  I think that this lack of motivation is the point where so many of us stop progressing.  We never tackle the rest of our fear issues, because we convince ourselves that something else is more pressing, or that we've done so good, we can rest now, or what ever excuse it is that gets to us.

This is where I am now.  And I admit that I'm a bit stuck.  Granted, the weather sure isn't helping any, but one day I want to get back to my own version of normal.  I know that I will never be as brave as I once was, and I'm ok with that, but I'd like to be able to train green horses again with out needing a stiff drink first!


  1. Oh, you are right on target with this one. If it is something you really don't want to do, it is so much easier to make excuses, find some other pressing issue and just not address it. I pull that all of the time - and yes, it might be due to lack of confidence. The few times I have pushed past that, I've had a fabulous ride and come out with tons more energy. I try to remind myself of that when I get caught in the morass of apathy.

  2. Quoting you:
    "You can easily sit inside thinking about how much you want to do something, but making yourself get up and go DO it is just not going to happen? How do you get over that?"
    "I think that this lack of motivation is the point where so many of us stop progressing. We never tackle the rest of our fear issues, because we convince ourselves that something else is more pressing, or that we've done so good, we can rest now, or what ever excuse it is that gets to us."

    So incredibly well said. I relate so well that I feel like you've been spying on me.
    Yet another great post!!

  3. FernvalleyappaloosasAugust 5, 2011 at 10:50 AM

    very frustrated here, with the weather, my health and time, I am not getting much done either.Sigh

  4. I've been lurking on this posts, and wanted to say they are all extremely important and right on. This one, however, is smacking me upside my head. It made me think, "Jen why, exactly, have you not cantered that big mare of yours?". I've had all the excuses, first was "she's not ready", now it's "The first time I was asking for canter she fell with me on her". It scared me, rattled me. I'm almost over the panic every time she trips.

    This post is exactly the kick in the butt I needed to realize that I've been making excuses which is exactly "motivation".

    I've set a goal for Training level 1 next June with Rosie. Which means I MUST canter. Sooner than later. Motivation...

  5. I say it is too hot here. In the hundreds, and I have too much work to do, hard on the horses...blah, blah, blah...any excuse to not even try to mount up. I guess there is no motivation on my part.

  6. Are you talking to me??? LOL. That is exactly how I am. Part of my problem is gaining about 100 lbs in the last few years and I don't want to get on my horses. The other is, exactly what you said..motivation. I will mostly ride by myself at my own place. My boyfriend loves the horses, but, he is working outside in this heat. he does not want to go out and watch me ride at night (if he is even awake). Also, he is a very cautious person, so, if a green horse does something weird, he will say..."get off". I did finally ride a horse a few weeks ago, I pushed him to move out and he bucked and turned and threw me off. Down to the ground I went. I haven't fallen in 10 years. I needed that fall though, to know that my 49 yr old beat up body can still take a beating. So, when this heat breaks, outside I will go. Now, if I can only get the motivation to go out after I start back to teaching in a few weeks.

    Thanks for your posts, Heather....I really makes me think "I can do it, I can do it"

  7. I agree that it's so easy to come up with excuses (good ones too ;) ).
    - I'm working in town until 6 or 7 at night so by the time I come home and have dinner, it's late. All I want to do is surf the internet or watch some tv before going to bed.
    - Many days, it's raining or has rained, so that it's muddy in the arena.
    - My horse visiting time is usually their feeding time. I don't think they would appreciate a ride on an empty stomach.
    - I need to clean and oil my saddles before I use them.
    - I have no one to ride with so I don't want to ride away from the barn since my fall.
    - On the weekends, I need to run errands, go shopping, etc. during the day.
    - I just don't feel like it. I'm tired. etc.
    - blah, blah, blah

    I need someone to say- let's go ride! Last summer, I gave riding lessons on Saturday mornings. It worked out great- I got a little pocket money and two horses got worked!
    hmmm, I really should consider doing that again- however, summer's almost over...

  8. Laughing Orca RanchAugust 9, 2011 at 2:04 AM

    Your days are already shorter now? Only 4 hours of daylight?! We've got daylight from 6am-8:30pm. Pretty soon that will change, though, as summer wanes. But I have no good excuses why why I'm not riding. I just don't have the motivation. And I just don't like to ride at home by myself, because all of my horse-related injuries have all happened at home, so I'm paranoid about riding at home.
    But motivation is key, for sure. I had to see a goal to work towards for me to get back into the saddle again, and that was wanting to ride in a local ACTHA CTC. I had to prove it to myself that I could still do it. And it was empowering that I did it. But my next goal isn't until mid-September, so I've not been doing much besides lessons and hanging out with my kids.


  9. Oh no, the days are LONG.... the time that I can safely work the horses with out killing them is short. Temperatures have been well over 100, and hovering around 110. I currently have 3 horses being pampered to prevent anhydrosis!

    Since I posted this, it's been a steady schedule of go out, hose off horses, water, wait 2 hours, and repeat! This heat wave thing is unreal, even for here.

  10. I agree that motivation is much more difficult to come by when the temps are in the triple digits (ugh!) I ended up working one of our greenies at 1 in the afternoon yesterday for about 15 minutes - it was actually more tolerable then than it was at 7a.m. (go figure :o)