Over the hill or still climbing?

Posted by Sharon Labels:

“Congratulations on your retirement,” were the first words out the man's mouth when I answered the knock on the my door.

Retired? Not that I knew . . . and I didn’t even like the sound of it.

I had not seen Dave in many years and it was by pure chance that he stood at my door now. I was pretty surprised to see him and even more that he should think I was retired. I decided he had heard I had quit competing and, with a weak protest, left it at that. After he left, though, I thought about what he had said and why it was such a shock that he should think I was retired. When I decided to end my reining career (at least in the pen), I never once thought of it as retirement. Although I believed that I was ready to quit hauling to reining shows, I did not believe that I was ready to “retire”, at least not in my sense of the word. I am not “over the hill” yet.

I have been climbing that hill all my life, especially in the horse training world. From the time I was a child, I strived to be better. I knew I could improve all facets of my life and I embraced the challenges. I liked to learn, so learning became part of life. I don’t want that to change. I may not compete again but I will still ride, still train my horses, still reach for that goal that may always be just out of reach – to train the perfect horse to the highest level possible with the least effort. That means I will still study my breeding program and breed for better Quarter Horses every year. I will still ride some of those horses and critique my training methods, study others and always, always strive to do a better job. That being said, I am training my own horses in my riding arena every day. I have a two-year-old in training and I'm fine-tuning maneuvers on my four-year-old stallion. As I said, I like to learn so I am dabbling in something a little different. I heard about a new, mostly-exhibition event called Cowboy/Western Dressage and Walking With Wolves is my guinea pig for that - reining horse turned dressage. I don't pretend to know anything about dressage but I can learn - right? Here is a video of Little Wolf's first efforts (combined with reining maneuvers).

September 2011 - a great stop on Walking With Wolves in my arena.

Besides my horse business, I intend to pursue my “hobby” – creative writing. That’s what this blog is about – to keep the juices flowing. I have lots to learn and, like horse training, will never know it all!

As far as retirement goes, it doesn't feel much like I am retired. Looking after my  herd of horses, training them, hauling hay, fixing fence, putting in posts, cleaning pens and generally maintaining my property is more like WORK. Retirement may never happen. Over the hill? No. I may be approaching the top, but I prefer to think I am still climbing...