Blog Hop: Dealbreakers

Thank you for the great writing idea Amanda.  This is a topic that I’ve been stewing over since O left in 2016, and honestly will probably continue to change and evolve even more before I do any serious horse acquisition.  But I want to keep it pretty concise today.

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Because she’s adorable.

General thoughts:

I’m not the worst rider on the planet, so I don’t mind a ride that requires some thought, or that keeps you on your toes.  Since my roots are firmly in hunterland, I will avoid something that jumps in dangerous form, or isn’t neat with it’s legs.  I’m good at hurting myself without any help from my 4-legged partner, so it has to help me out a little in this area.  In my selfish ways, I just don’t think I can do greys – because I do not have time to manage that.  I like things to be pretty…or at least brown so I don’t know how dirty they are.

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So dirty and gross – but you can’t tell (except the socks)!

Safety:

I hope this is fairly self explanatory, but I am done with the days of riding anything that something hands me the reins to.  I want to ride something that I feel like I can handle and not fear for my life the whole time.  That is not enjoyable.  So that’s a hard nope to anything that makes me question my safety.

Poor Work Ethic:

I cannot have another horse with who does not like it’s job.  It is my above all else dealbreaker.  I had a horse, who I loved, which had a bad work ethic and didn’t really enjoy her work.  Summary – it didn’t turn out well, and it totally broke my heart after months of trying and trying to convince her to enjoy the work.  I will not do that again.  Whatever horse I have next will show up for me, and be interested in it’s work.  Obviously no horse wakes up and says “golly, I’d like to work on lengthening”, but they have to play the game.  In return they will be loved, rewarded and ridden with as much skill as I can muster.

Why can’t horse sale sites have a box to search for that quality?

Should I find myself with another horse who decides it does not like it’s job, I will find it a job it does enjoy; whether it’s with me, or with another owner.  It’s not fair to do anything otherwise.

If the horse has to live inside.

Even in the Midwestern ice storms, and the summer sun, I know that to get my husband to even entertain the idea of another horse in the family that is must live the majority of it’s life outside.  I’m not interested in a great debate, he is passionate about this aspect, so I am adding it to my list.  If horse has to live inside 24/7, that is a dealbreaker.

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Doesn’t like kids.

I have one, and she’s pretty important.  I realize that she probably won’t be in the saddle as much as I am (duh), but it’s a dealbreaker if the horse is not friendly on the ground, or is difficult to manage.  I want to be able to share my riding and horses with my daughter, and I can’t do that if I am stressing the entire time horse and child are near each other.

Share your dealbreakers and join the hop!

I Had Forgotten

Since having my daughter, I've been in a consistent riding program. That all ended about a month ago when work priorities took over (for better or worse). After a week or two, I feel like my obsessive "must ride something now" kind of waned.

I was incredibly busy, and horses suddenly seemed like the one thing totally not worth it. Usually I have those moments while waiting on a vet bill, or after I couldn't catch my horse for an hour–the usual equestrian doubts. Having these doubts while just sitting at my house was a bit scary.

As I mentioned before, I'm attempting to revamp my priorities and get some time back for my goals outside of the workplace. Horses are the core of those. So back to lessons I went-no excuses.

Tacking up Cooper today, I actually felt anxious. Cooper had been inside for a few days because of all the rain, so naturally he would be a wild stallion right? (Spoiler alert-nope) Stupid thoughts. Sending my toddler with her grandpa, I swung up and warmed up the giraffe as usual.

The lesson was incredibly hard, a technical ride. Cooper was feeling spicy, but I don't mind a little play as long as it's not stupid. By the end I openly admitted that I was exhausted.

But then as soon as I loaded up the car, gave the kid some snacks, and headed home I could actually feel the buzz. Better than champagne, I kept thinking over my ride; how I could do better, what I can do in the gym to get my fitness back and so on. I realized that in the weeks away I had forgotten how much I love the smell of the barn, the satisfaction of patting your horse after your ride, or the sheer joy of sharing the place you love the most. Essentially I forgot that I do belong with horses, and on horses. It is a part of who I am, and while life is an insane roller coaster I am so lucky to continue to have horses in my world. So next time I forget, and am having all these insane-o thoughts about horses not being worth it, I should reread this post. Because they are.

Rocking E Blog Hop: 10 Questions

Thank you to Allie for the fun content!

  1. What is your earliest, clearest horse memory? My little pony everything?  Or that box of horse figurines with all the breeds!  (anyone remember that!?)  That was a gift from my great grandmother when was I was 5.  I carried them everywhere.  I can’t seem to find them for sale anywhere now, but they were similar to the pic below. First living horse memory would have to be a friends little grey Arabian who we used to torture with bareback rides and kisses.can delete
  2. Describe the perfect summer day.  It wouldn’t be “too” hot, so I could go out, ride my hunter mare who I leased in high school, who would miraculously be 9 again and we could bound over some fences (and she would squeal/buck).  Then I would take the baby and the husband to a pool with a lazy river, where we could float and drink frozen cocktails (baby would not partake).  Eventually we would be served Chipotle and cold stone ice cream for dessert (birthday cake remix).  Open a nice bottle of white wine to end the night.
  3. Are you reading anything right now? Tell me about it! I don’t have anything exciting to read right now, last really good one I read was Girl on a Train.  I like mystery novels.
  4. Do you follow a celebrity (horsey or non) that you’re embarrassed to say fascinates you? Tell me. NOW. I don’t follow much in celebrity news except for whatever I see on social media or something?  I think Beezie Madden is super fascinating person but not sure I necessarily follow her?
  5. What is your single most biggest horsey dream or goal? Uhh…buy my next horse.  Not exciting, but right now it’s where I’m at.
  6. If you were at Starbucks right now, what would you order? Hot vanilla creme – I do not do coffee.
  7. What is your biggest equine pet peeve? Biggest?  Dang, that’s hard.  Probably just not being taken seriously as an adult rider.
  8. With everything going on politically and in the media, tell me, do you follow it religiously? Tune it out? Or something in between? I went to college thinking I wanted to become a journalist. Now I’m terrified of who is actually saying the right thing versus the true things?  I mostly tune it out so I don’t get ulcers.
  9. If you had to show your horse to a song, what would you choose? Alone by Heart….because I’m horseless.
  10. What are you most looking forward to this summer? Spending more time at the lake with family, floating on the boat, and drinking all the margaritas.

    Tube is good fun too.

Lessons with the Giraffe

Thank you for all the opinions and ideas for prizes on my last post!  I appreciate it.  

As it turns out the teenage leaser of the big red giraffe from my lesson a few weeks ago, is out of town a lot this month.  I got to take him for a spin this week in my lesson, and he was such a good boy.

He’s a tall drink of water


Last lesson it was one of the first really hot days and he’d been ridden the day before.  Cue big tired giraffe.  This lesson was the polar opposite, he was fresh!  I got the opportunity to remember how to ride a much more forward mount and test out whether my roeckl gloves could hold up.  Big dude wants you to hold him and can get very heavy in your hands. The first few laps around our indoor my brain wouldn’t stop screaming that he was running away with me.  Ugh.  This is exactly why it’s good to ride new horses! 

I did manage chill out and had a killer time with the big guy.  (His name is actually Cooper) The fences were low, so essentially he just loped around the courses, but he did do his changes for me which made me smile.  He just recently came back from his former life as a equitation horse, so I was kind of giggling about how he jumps.  It was very flat and minimalistic; I felt like the whole front end of the horse never moves.  I still am waiting for Dee’s big, round jump; so the first time I about rammed my face into his mane.  Lesson learned. 

A different borrowed chestnut thoroughbred


I don’t know how much he’ll be available for lessons, but I really enjoyed riding something so different and once I figured him out, he was so good for me.  I couldn’t just drop him or float the reins, he needed someone actively supporting him.  And there’s a lot of horse there to support!

Lesson Kid Fails

I was apparently feeling a little big for my lesson kid britches after my lesson on the red giraffe.  This week I headed to my usual Wednesday night lesson outing, and after a rough few days at work, I was really excited to ride.  I listened to some jams to survive rush hour, had my riding clothes all packed up, leftovers were in the fridge for husband and child…I was feeling real good about life.

Except, you know, there were no lessons planned for that night.  But I didn’t know that.  Trainer was trying to get out of town to horse show.  I probably would known that if I had been a good lesson kid and checked the lesson board.  But that was a big nope.

Guys, it was so embarrassing.  Mainly because I kind of got choked up about it.  I wanted to ride so bad, but the show horses were all shipping out, lesson ponies had the day off, Dee was gone.  So you know, the smallest violin ever started playing for me.

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Thanks for the image google

Waving off my trainers apologies (because clearly not her fault) I made a mad dash to go hide in car in case I actually cried over my missed lesson.

I made it just about .5 mile down the road when I started getting texts from trainer.


This is why you pay them the “big bucks”. Because they get it.  They get how badly you might need to ride.

My trainer hung around until I got changed into riding clothes, tacked up her adorable schoolie, and hoped on.  Since I wasn’t sure what the plan was, I was even more excited when she stayed late for a private lesson for me.


This schoolie was new to me, and is such a classy gentlemen.  He was a tall, slim, flea-bit grey thoroughbred, who quietly loped around a little 2′ course with me, swapping his leads and happy ears the entire ride.  There were no great revelations from the lesson, other than to keep my leg on, but that wasn’t the point.  The point was that my trainer was right.  I needed to get on a horse.  To cool him out, she shooed us outside and we took a nice solo wander around the barn property.  It was exactly what I needed.  Trainer is on the road for a bit, but there are local shows to cheer on friends at soon and that will be the perfect distraction!

He got all the pets and treats for giving up his night off for me to ride!

 

Horses Handed Down

It was an assumed part of having a child with my husbands background that said child would need to, at minimum, be able to handle horses, or sit quietly enough in a saddle to get drug along with a group.  His family still actively use their horses for work on the ranch, and we always planned on any kids we have being able to contribute as well.  From my perspective, though, I dreamed of cross rail classes and braids and bows.

Getting to ride Dad’s horse.


That was until recently.  A friend of mine, whose teenage daughter had caught the horse bug from her Mom early on… she had trained relentlessly for her first Grand Prix with the horse of a lifetime.  The girl is an amazing rider and she was more than ready.

Yet, just weeks before their big moment, her handsome gelding started acting off.  Fast forward to an intensive vet appointment that left the young rider, her coaches, her mother, and even the vets in tears.  Her gelding was done, they weren’t sure if he’d come back to be riding sound, let alone jumped again.

Always interested in Dee.


Everything in my soul ached for her.  All those years of dreaming and suddenly it was all over.  I watched her mother experience it all right with her; the heartbreak was palpable.  Obviously her gelding is living out his days as a very attractive lawn ornament, but where does it leave his rider?

My point here is that the night I learned about all of this, I swore up and down that I could never let my daughter get into sport horses.  The highest of the highs could not be worth the lows, right?  I didn’t know if I could support the heartbreak, the one you know will come.  They are horses after all.

Who doesn’t love a teeny pony?

 

I want to know, would you pass down you love of horses?  But risk watching and experiencing the heartbreak with them?

Every day I bring my daughter to the barn it becomes more of what she knows.  She’s happy there, and people are constantly offering me lead line mounts.  I’m pretty sure my trainer has a pony in mind for her (shh don’t tell my husband) down the line.  But I’m terrified for her.  Not just of her being trampled on, or falling off, but of having her heart crushed by these beautiful animals.  I know all sports can be brutal, but there is something so deeply emotional about horses.  They really become a part of you; which is wonderful until the moment it’s not.  I can barely handle it for myself, I cannot imagine watching your child go through it.

Yet right now, it’s safe to dream and allow her to love horses as much as an one year old can.  And I’m trying not to stress about the future, whether it holds cross rails or soccer practice (or God forbid both).  We’ve got a long ways to go until she has Grand Prix dreams, and that is a huge relief.  For now we’ll continue celebrating days that she stays in the saddle for more than a few seconds.

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!