What Next?

Wellllllllllll, alright game plan time.  

Since the husband and I made the decision to not pursue buying this year, I’m living the quiet riding lifestyle.  I’m stealing rides on some lovely beasts who reside at the barn and reading everyone else’s blogs to fill in my horse quota.  I’m kind of in a holding pattern until I can either find a new lease, or stumble upon a similar situation for my lessons.  I have great faith that something will come wandering by, but in the meantime I have been soaking up the extra quality time with family and friends.


So it looks as if I am going to rock out as life as a lesson kid again.  I’m sad to not be riding as much as I was with Dee, but it still feels good to be riding period.  That’s what I need to focus on.

My first real lesson as a free agent was this past week, and I was so pleasantly surprised!  I always worry that since I had been riding the same horse for a long time, that I’d struggle with a new mount.  Well, my trainer must have a sense of humor because she put me on a 17hh+ red giraffe masquading as a thoroughbred.  He is long, bouncy and jumps quiet and flat.  So essentially the only thing he has in common with Dee is his species.  Ha!  But I had a blast.  And by the end I figured out how to steer again and we had some nice moments.  Not sure he’ll be a permentant fixture in my life (he has a lesser), but I was very glad for the ride.  


I’m the worst at photos. Here’s the giraffe feasting after our ride.  

This week everything will settle into my new normal, lessons midweek and hopefully a borrowed ride during the weekends when they are available.  It’s going to be good.  

BUTttttttttt if anyone knows of a magical unicorn who wants to be leased by yours truly-just let me know!  

 

Celebrating Dee

Thank you for all the sweet and positive comments everyone left on my last post.  Now that I have a little distance I’m feeling a lot of peace about all things Dee related (as I hoped I would).  She was a fantastic ride, and did so much for me over the 9 months that I leased her from her family.

But.

I knew that regardless of college, or barn moving, that it was a short term arrangement, and the objective was that at the end of the lease everyone would continue to be friends, and I could continue to see Dee if I chose too.  Although it involves more of a drive now, I can say that all of those things are true.  As such, I am calling the lease a big success.

In the beginning the lease was all about:

  1. getting Dee fit
  2. seeing if I could manage my daughter along with more horse responsibility
  3. having something consistent to ride in lessons/shows etc.

Under item #1: great success — no other words necessary…just transformation pictures:

Item #2: You can read about some of my most upfront struggles, but generally I learned that I am capable of handling my half-lease commitments.  I should recognize that it won’t ever be as easy as it was pre-child.  (I know that’s an obvious “duh”, but worth noting.)  Dee served as my sounding board/ guinea pig for all things tiny human related.  Scared of this stroller?  Nope? Okay good.  Able to eat goldfish/cheerios and not my daughter’s little fat fingers?  Whew – a yes.

While she gave me the mostest of mare glares for some of my worst moments juggling everything, she was a rockstar and showed me that horses and small children can work.  With extreme planning and safety precautions…but what happens as the result is so worth it.

img_2848Hearing my little girl chattering at Dee, or having her bring us her “riding” boots at the house and say “dee – dee – dee” over and over again (her version of requesting to go the barn).  It’s the good stuff, and it’s worth the extra time I don’t get to spend in the saddle.  If anything it makes the time I do get even better.

As for item 3…When I first joined the trainer I ride with now, I came from a barn rat background where I had leases going every which way, riding sale horses, naughty school ponies whatever…It had been a very long time since I’d really ridden in a school program.  After O left, I had the baby and I worshiped the schoolies who brought me back to full strength.  However, my trainer doesn’t keep a huge string of lesson horses, as her business is primarily in buying/selling and maintaining her clients horses.  Lessons are mostly owners.

I have nothing against the cute horses that we currently have in the string, but I feel like I have no right to take their rides from the 9 year old who is doing up-down lessons.  That doesn’t seem right…and honestly I’d rather the little girl get her fix.  I’m not going anywhere, and I’m not in dire need of a horse fix all the time (at least not like a horse crazy 9 year old does).

Dee was a perfect fit for my situation.  She already lived at our facility – was barefoot – hardy – and pretty unflappable. Having something nice to ride every week was a huge load off my shoulders.  When you have that established you can really set some goals and objectives as a pair.  It felt so great to be a partnership again, and to feel confident in my riding.  I think it’s obvious as you reread my lesson posts that I was never let down by this little mare, and I feel good about not letting her down.

After looking at our unwritten goals for this lease, I feel so much pride and happiness now.  I can look back over the past months and be so glad I had this experience!  What an awesome little horse, I’m so glad I got to get to know her better.  Thank you so much to her family for sharing her with me!

My biggest takeaway from this lease though, is what I hope will continue to drive me forward.  It’s a thought that popped up a few days after she left.  There may be days where I’m dying to ride, or days I’m too busy to even consider riding, and that will be hard.  I know now that I will always make something work, and riding will always be there for me.  I don’t need to sell my soul for the future to get here faster – because riding will be waiting, whenever I am ready.  Dee helped show me that in some things you really have to continue to follow your heart.

As for the next chapter?  I have a post coming about that, but I will tell you I’ve already bargained for some awesome hacks on friends horses in the next few weeks.  That should keep me occupied for a bit!