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.

A Professional Relationship

I will openly admit to being one to anthropomorphize my animals, especially horses.  It was easy with O because she was ridiculously affectionate, and truly loved people.  I found myself thinking of her in some ways as a kindred soul; she was transparent, sweet, and just dying for love.  She was also a huge baby about any “ouchies” or things she didn’t like. Simply a more emotional creature all around.  I thought she was the yin to my yang and all that, so when I sold O, I figured that I would struggle to find another horse whose personality meshed well with mine.  I loved to be needed. I loved to hold her hand.

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Dee is literally the opposite of everything I’ve written above (except the sweet part, she’s still very sweet).  She is confident, independent, and used to being correct.  She does not need me.  In fact, she humors me by allowing me to monkey around on her.  She sees every ride as a task, and while she’ll relax for a nice hack outside, it never alters the fact that she’s the kid at school, rolling her eyes because her Mom is making her hold hands.  It cracks me up.

 

I call her a professional.  And honestly, even though I adore the horse, what we have is a professional relationship.  I don’t need to baby talk to her about how big and brave she’s being (even though I do), and I definitely don’t need to remind her how good she is.  She knows.  I also don’t need to melt into a gooey pile of mush about how much I love her all the time.

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This sweet girl.  

We have a good thing.  I adore her, I watch out for her, I give lots of rewards, I ride her well, and I respect her.  I love to ride her, and I am and will be eternally grateful for the confidence and joy she’s bringing to my life. I was joking last week that Dee is one of my few high functioning adult relationships.  It’s true.

And she’s not mine, and she has a whole family who love her to death.  I know that come summer she’s off to her next adventure with one of her girls.  While I will very badly miss having her around, I know that when she leaves I will also be able to be happy for her.  If anything, I think that tells of the success of our relationship.

 

Anyone else out there have a professional horse in their life?

 

 

Tuesday, the new Monday

Besides having a great support system I place there is one giant thing that has really allowed me the ability to juggle all the pieces in my life.  It alone, swayed my husband on signing off on the lease of Dee at the end of the summer.

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Queen Dee on Halloween.

Tuesday is my new Monday.

As of a few weeks ago, I have been working 4 days a week.  32 hours versus 40.  While I salute all the women out there who stay home with their kids, this actually wasn’t originally a family based decision.  I work in an industry directly related to the oil industry which has taken a huge economic hit this year. I volunteered to reduce my hours.  Layoffs are not something anyone should go through, and I wanted to do my part to help.

Only once I had the opportunity to spend one more day a week getting stuff done, riding and hanging out with the baby….well you can see where this is going.

So it’s official now. And I love it.

 

It won’t get me more media because usually I’m practically alone out there, but it has given me so much peace of mind.  And joy.  Because riding during the day, while your baby feeds the barn cats cheerios is too good to resist.

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Blog Hop: F*%K Yeah!

I love seeing this fantastic blog hop going around, and wanted to share even if I’m a bit late to the gate!  From Beckz of I Will Jump Sweet Jumps…”there have definitely been times when you were like omg I am such a gangster at this. And I wanna see those pictures. The ones were you looked at them and went f%*k yea I am a bad ass horse rider.”

Showing up the day after the worst show ever, and riding my ass off. F*%k yeah!

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Riding on the ranch with the hubs with my favorite spotty boy.

Learning to turn and burn with the best bay boy in high school.

 

Because we were so cute together and survived her first show away from home.

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About 6 months pregnant, still riding this lovely warmblood.

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Back in the saddle 2-3months post-baby. Didn’t die=f*%k yeah!

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Oh and another from the olden days…holding on for dear life.Erv training

Cheers to many more moments like these!

Rage

Yesterday I felt rage.  Stupid, red faced, teeth gritting rage.  Because I came to a screeching conclusion that I really, really miss  O.

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Stupid, mean, ugly horse.

I am furious that I took a chance on her.  Spitting mad that she was such a sweet girl.  Furious at the fact she jumped so cute, and at how fun she could be. Frustrating at not knowing where to go next, and angry at myself for being scared.  Pissed at the idea that we were aiming and dreaming for the 3′ and maybe the 3’6″ ring someday.  And I feel so stupid for having all those dreams.

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Because now she’s gone, and she took all my umpf away.  I have 100 different options available to me, yet I don’t know what to dream about, or even to plan for.  I poured in time, money, love, tears, and some of it feels wasted and I feel empty.

I am not saying I regret selling her; because I know that was what was right. But as I’m suddenly in this position where I have to make decisions, and new risks and ride unknown horses I realize how badly I wanted her to be my forever horse.  In the real world though, it doesn’t matter how badly you want something, that doesn’t change the truth.  What I can do is be mad.  And I’m going to be, for as long as it take to get this out of my system.  I shouldn’t have been so proud of myself for internalizing the whole selling process.  I thought I was being really mature about it all.  When really I just buried all my resentment, fears, and anger.

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Rage.

I’m done being okay with all of this.  I’m ready to be mad and deal with it.  Or cry about it tomorrow if I have to.  I’m mad, and I should be.  I didn’t get a chance at all of our dreams.  And that sucks.

Shoutout to my Sweetheart

Cheesy goodness to follow.

A shout out to the amazing guy that continues to put up with a plethora of erratic behaviors…such as:

  • Hanging around the house in my riding pants
  • Dragging arena dirt, poo, and God know what around our house
  • Polishing my boots in our living room
  • Storing 1 western saddle, 2 bridles, three blanket, two coolers and two totes full of random horse junk in the garage
  • Destroying the trunk of every car I’ve ever owned
  • My constant need to show him horses for sale online
  • Asking the hubs to  stand around for hours at horse shows he really probably hates
  • My constant need to show him pictures of little girls on horses/ponies and tell him that will be baby C’s future
  • Watching the baby while I go and listen in to clinics, lessons and horse shows
  • Oiling my saddle whilst drinking margaritas in the living room
  • Asking him to ride my mare for me when I just couldn’t get into the saddle

This guy is a wonderful father, a great friend, a fantastic rider, and the love of my life.  I’m so lucky to have him. Happy Valentine’s baby!

TRM Hop: Pet Peeves

Cathryn at That Red Mare has another blog hop for us today, and I’m actually on top of things enough to participate! Woo!

OMG he’s just too cute.

She asks….
What is your biggest horse related pet peeve? (Try and keep this one more about the horse itself. Things like spooking at nothing, dirty stoppers, refusing to load, etc.).

I would say that after owning one that has a pretty dirty stop, that it is definitely a pet peeve of mine.  Not fun at all.  However, I do have two other ones that actually came to mind before that.

  1. Horses who are aggressive towards people or other horses while being handled.  We recently had one come through our barn with some significant attitude while being handled.  It wasn’t okay with me.  I don’t want to feel threatened by something 1200lbs bigger than me, nor do I want my horse to be a victim.
  2. Horses who are always hard to catch.  I don’t mind the occasional “Oh my gosh, life is so good, let’s go run around instead of coming inside” moment some horses have.  But horses who are notorious for it…that’s annoying to me.

 

Secondly, what is your biggest equestrian related pet peeve? (This is less about the horse and more about the people in the industry. It can be anything from hating the aisleways in the barn not being swept, the wait times between classes, or even things like rollkur).

PEOPLE WHO ASSUME OTHER RIDERS DON’T HAVE A CLUE!  I had to work to ride as a junior, and there were hundreds of times that people would say incredibly dumb things to me assuming that I didn’t have a clue how to ride or handle myself in the tack.  Just because I’m mucking stalls, lady/gent/child, does not mean I don’t ride decently.  The worse part?  It continues even know.  A few months ago, someone had a discussion with me about how to halter a horse properly.  I honestly didn’t know what to do in the situation, so I just nodded and smiled.  Grrrrrrrrrr.

So really it’s also about people who assume they know everything or at least everything better than you do.

Whew.  That one apparently gets me pretty fired up.

Here’s a cute picture throw back to end on a high note.

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