Along for the Ride – Post Vegas Crash

by Robyn Schiller

Robyn is the wife of horse (and people) trainer Warwick Schiller. She invites you to join her as she journeys through her life as trainer’s wife, mother, businesswoman and Internationally competitive rider.

There seems to be a bit of a trend going on.  I felt it after WEG as well. The post-event mental crash.

After Vegas, instead of feeling energized and inspired, I have been feeling out of sorts and non-committal.  As I write this, it’s a month after the event and I have not ridden once. This happened after WEG as well.

I’ve spent the month learning new things, reading books, taking a few online courses and trying to decide where my head is regarding the horses and competition and actually life in general.  A total detox, though, from actual riding.  

Where my head is.

I love competing – but I’m just not sure about the reining anymore.  The more I learn about horses, the less I want them to just be obedient.  Reining is the ultimate in obedience. The paragraph that explains what reining is says, “To rein a horse is not only to guide him BUT TO CONTROL HIS EVERY MOVEMENT.”  I don’t know how that sits with me anymore. 

I guess I care more about how they are feeling nowadays. I’ve concluded that I really don’t want to have to prepare a horse to be perfect, which is what we do in the reining, even though it’s never perfect in the show pen.  If they put a step wrong, we fix it. If they don’t spin fast enough we motivate them, if they don’t stop deep enough, we reinforce it. And watching that happen at a show now is hard. It’s hard because there are varying levels of how that all plays out in the warm-up pen and it’s never to the horse’s benefit, mostly it’s just heartbreaking for me to watch. 

I am blessed to have horses now that don’t need all of that.  We rarely work on maneuvers, we work more on their “gymnastics”.  Which is what I want. I guess I’ve figured out some things by just writing this. Maybe our “schtick” is to continue to live up to the meme…”Love the Animal First and the Sport Second.”  Showing others that this is doable and you can have success in other ways than winning a blue ribbon.  

I’ve been invited to submit a video for another large Invitational Freestyle event in mid-January.  Maybe this is a way for me to channel my creativity and love for my horses or to showcase what is possible with the connection I’ve built with them.  It’s flattering and tempting…and a very long trip across the rocky mountains in January. I’ll need a good song and routine that I can be inspired from and inspire others.  It gives me something to think about anyway.

I do appreciate the opportunity to get this out there, it has been cathartic just writing it down, so for that I am thankful. (I think that word is appropriate here).

Thanks for reading, humbled.