Louie has been having too much fun I think- all play and no work. I went out to visit him today briefly, to do his fall deworming and give him his flu/rhino booster. Wow, was he fat! Perhaps it was just the angle I was seeing him from, or the fact that I don't think he's been touched in a couple of months... but he looked like he was about to give birth. He's even got a little ridge down his hindquarters!
There have been a lot of reasons for his neglect lately. Obviously, having a 9-month-old baby takes up a lot of potential riding opportunity (I need that body double to watch her so I can go ride!), but we've also been very busy after moving to a new house about 3 months ago. We're still working on a lot of projects around the house, but that's finally starting to slow down. Finally, I think partly due to the above reasons and also due to the fact that Louie's been a bit of a butthead the past few times I've ridden (I think I've ridden 3-4 times since the Bill Woods clinic in June!), I've just lost some of my usual motivation.
Now, Louie being a booger and not being ridden is a vicious cycle. He's being naughty because of lack of work, and I'm more reluctant to ride him because I feel that one ride a month isn't enough to be able to really have any success in turning him around into a respectable mount as I need several rides back to back to make that sort of progress. He's not really being naughty, just doing expected things for a horse who's not had enough work- acting more spooky/looky, rushing, and "forgetting" how to stretch down into the bit and raise/relax his back.
I had debated just having Julie put a few rides on him before I get back to more regular riding, but I think what I really need is a jump start. Possibly literally. I need a little something to spur my motivation. Having kids and trying to do the horsie game is tough. Lack of time and childcare is just one issue, but also there's the competition between enjoying spending time with family and spending time with horses. It's been an easy excuse to stay home with Elsa, but I think I need to branch out just a bit.
So, I've been considering a few things. I decided I really miss riding saddle seat, and though I doubt Louie will ever be a saddle seat horse (maybe with the way he's been going lately!), that doesn't preclude me from taking a few saddle seat lessons without my dearest Louie boy. So, I might just do that at a local stable. It's close to home and if I can swing a decent time schedule it would make for an easy weekday evening outing for me.
Another idea is possibly trying to return to WSCA shows for next year. Elsa might be old enough to do a couple of leadline classes in the next couple of years, and I could show Louie in a more relaxed, less-maintenance-needed type environment, as a hunter, and maybe I could pursue some western bridlepath with the nice cantering he's been doing lately. I do have all of the gear for it... The open shows tend to make for a fun little half day show, with lower cost and a little bit more relaxed atmosphere.
My final idea is that I might get back to riding asking Julie if we can do some jumping to start out, rather than focusing so much on dressage. I'm not talking Grand Prix, just maybe trotting over some cavaletti and maybe some tiny little X's in the indoor arena. I think the obstacles would help us BOTH fight this little "burnout" that we've been facing.
I also really want to do a little trail ride, so I might even do that this week if I have enough time. I'm looking forward to getting back some "me time" with my favorite hobby and horsie again for this fall/winter.