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!

 

 

A Chapter Closed

I haven’t gone into much detail about Dee’s owners because it’s a need to know basis right?  Dee is one of their 3 horses.  1 gorgeous baby hunter, 1 Grand Prix level jumper, and Dee.  With two teenagers riding and competing (in different arenas) and three horses on the docket you can see why they started looking for someone to lease Dee last year.  Since I have known them, and their horses for several years it was an obvious fit for me.  At the time my trainer was not convinced and pushed back.  Dee’s family and I didn’t back down and so began my lease; on a month by month basis to be sure it was the best fit.  


I went into the lease knowing that she would leave our area this August to go to college with the oldest daughter.  Now you can read back over our past 9 months together, but what I’m writing about today is that our lease has officially ended. 

 The families lovely Grand Prix horse hurt himself and is taking a 6 month vacation; leaving his very talented rider is horseless. So…you can see where this is going.  The girl would like the rides, and I understand that.  


I’ve said all along that what I have with Dee is very much a professional relationship.  And it’s true.  I was incredibly shocked by the emotions I felt when they told me that not only is the lease over as of today, but they are moving facilities.  They had their reasons and none of them were crazy or wild.  Losing some of my favorite people at the barn, and my favorite little mare is a doozy.    She’s been a bright spot in this rough few weeks at work, my partner in fitness and horse shows, and while she doesn’t give a fig about me, I do adore her.  


Tomorrow she’ll join her “big brothers” in the trailer and head off to her new home.  And while today I get to be a bit teary and slump around the house, I know that her people love her and will provide her all the best.  I’ve already told them that they won’t be able to get rid of me that easily, and we’ll just have to do drinks in lieu of rides for awhile. Plus a date to shove Dee full of cookies once they settle in.  

 I’d like to write about all the wonderful things that came out of my lease because there are so many…but not quite ready for that yet.  Obviously I knew the lease wasn’t permanent, but I have honestly no idea what is next for me.  I was hoping for a few more weeks to figure out a game plan, but I should’ve know planning around horses is useless, haha.  


And so ends the Demelia chapter of this riding adventure.  I wish her all the best, and hope that I get to see her someday soon!  It’s been a real pleasure having her in my life.  

Happy 6 Months Double Dee

DeeDee and I are celebrating 6 months as a riding duo this month!  As you may have noted, she has been in my life for a few years now, but I’m so glad that our lease situation has worked out and hopefully benefited us both.

On her owners priority was getting the mare out and about more often.  She gets fat on air, and naturally is a curvier lady, so plenty of exercise is important.  I’m loving the physical change in her since this past August.

First up: fat Dee

Recently: Dee

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Way less junk in that trunk.

 

Yes, it’s not night and day or anything, but I can see the difference.  Plus under tack, she has been going so much nicer.  And honestly, after my first few lessons we could only make it thru w/t/c and maybe a few jumps before we were donzo.  Fat mare is a tired mare.  That is not the case anymore!

Lessons about 5 months ago;

Jumping at the show:

Besides the physical changes over the past few months, we’ve gone on (short) road/trail walks, ridden bareback, participated in a horse show, and taken lessons galore!  Since this is my first lease as an adult I was anxious about everything, but it has been such a good fit for my lifestyle.   Dee is honest, smart, and patient.  I’m very lucky to have this little mare in my life!


Where Are We At?

First thing-thank you to everyone who left such kind words on my last post.  This community is one of a kind!

Anyway, I realized today that while I finally have rides to report on, I suddenly have no time to actually write them.  Kind of ironic eh?  Better planning is on my to do list.

So where are we at?  I’m still basking in the fact I have nice horse to hop on and enjoy.  Demelia has been nothing if not sweet, and good natured as I figure her out.  We had our first lesson, a mostly flat ride with lots of critique on my riding.  As I mentioned before, she’s very broke and the biggest issue is keeping her going.  Which means my bad habits have no place to hide.  Yikes.

Spent most of the ride trying to straighten my inside shoulder (and look less like a hunchback at the canter) and allow my wrists to give without opening my fingers.  The struggle is real.  Also, who knew cantering over 4 poles on the ground could be so hard?

As for my other rides, it’s just been a matter of getting into a groove again.  Figuring out what actually needs to stay at my locker at the barn, or what treat might lure DeeDee into coming to me in the field.  The little sausage comes when her Momma calls her–not so much luck for me as of yet.

The best things so far regarding this half lease, is the fact that one night I had to go out late due to things like a baby, and work, and laundry, and life.  I hopped on Dee and we took a perfect stroll around the property.  Just enjoying the fabulous weather and being able to ride.  We are so lucky to have these types of moments!

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And basically the rest of my life was consumed with binge watching the Olympics.  I’m still dealing with the withdrawals.

Half a Horse

There are things that I’ve kept off blog because:

1. It’s personal

2. It’s not set in stone, and things change fast

I’ve been playing with my budget and really toying with what I want long term.  A new horse is a huge commitment, and to a certain degree my life is too crazy to think of bringing in my next dream horse home right this second.

But.

You know I couldn’t just sit around right?

So thanks to some amazing friends, my great trainer and the husband of the year, I now have a half lease in place.

Half of this horse to be precise.

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Shhhh….A wild Deedee in her natural habitat.

Demelia and I have gotten to know each other a bit over the past few months, and like I mentioned before, I had a big ole crush on the little sausage warmblood.  When the situation worked out that she needed another consistent rider, and I was dying to find something to ride…well it’s a match!  The lease just kicked off, and both of us are going to be cardio-ing up for the first few weeks to get as fit as possible.  The mare is by far the most broke, and trained I’ve ridden consistently since high school, so I’m really excited to see what this partnership will bring.  And really?  Just look at that sweet face!