Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Moving forward.



Hello faithful listeners, it's been a year since I've blogged so anyone reading now must actually be faithful, or have nothing better to do!

I wanted to use my decrepit blog to muddle through some things, get some stuff off my chest, vent a little, maybe cry a bit.

In October of last year my former barn manager, and friend of over a decade, fell off her gelding, suffered a catastrophic injury, and never woke up, eventually being released from this world to go wherever it is people go when they die.  It was an emotionally challenging time.  People have a lot of reactions to the death of a friend, especially when they die doing their daily joy of swinging a leg over a horse.  For me I threw myself into the task of rehoming 19  horses.  She took great care of her horses, was lousy at selling any, and there was no way I was going to let them end up on a truck to Mexico.  The community really came together, and in a few weeks most of the horses were gone off the property, with the last and the oldest leaving with a great person who knew it was probably hospice.   I think many of the people that took time out of their lives to load up senior citizens knew that the horses weren't coming back home yet they showed up anyway.   They called me at all hours asking how they could help take care of her horses.  Not having a will complicated matters, but luckily for the horses she didn't have a lot of bills and there isn't a lot of value for old broodmares.  I tried to place horses in the right homes, with the right people.  People who would get them going under saddle again and rehome them.  People who could start a few of the younger horses and make them productive citizens.  People who didn't mind picking up a 34 year old mare with no teeth.  It was something we felt we owed my friend, for being so active in the community.  To take care of her horses when she couldn't.


Winter moved into the farm quickly, and before I had fully sorted out the horse situation it was dark at 5pm, we didn't have any money to fix things that broke, the property flooded frequently (at one point I was trying to keep my horse fit in a 50x50 patch because my indoor had gotten snow inside, which melted, then froze), and I was stuck in a state of depression that left me with no desire to ride, no desire to own a farm, and sitting in my arena sand sobbing because a gate fell off the hinges.  Stella was in varying stages of crazy due to lack of work, or lame with abscesses.   Pulling her rear shoes for winter backfired horribly.  I don't care who gets mad, but having an indoor arena doesn't matter when it's 20 degrees outside.  I cancelled lessons.  I showed up at lessons with no real desire to ride.  I was pretty sure I was going to sell the farm in the spring, what fun is a farm if you can't ride?  You question your sanity when it's 20 degrees and a good friend fell off a horse and died.  People fall off horses all the time.  People die doing it.  But not people you are close to.  I think I went a month without riding.  It made me sad.  But then I didn't want to ride anyway.  That made me even more sad.  I didn't want to get on a fresh horse after working at a job I hated and have a bad ride.  I didn't want to fall off.  I didn't want to.

For some reason I am a person that just keeps moving.  Even when it feels like I'm pushing a rope up a hill.  Maybe because I don't know how to do anything else.  Maybe because I'm too stupid to realize that I should just quit riding.

Even when life says "take up golf"


When I tell a trainer I want to quit riding my entirely unsuitable green horse I got dumped off of weekly and just ride lesson horses, then I have a panic attack riding said saintly lesson horse due to my being dumped weekly by another horse.  Then that trainer dumps me as a student, and tells my friends that I'm going to ruin her lesson horses and maybe I should just take up dressage.

When another trainer tells me that they don't think I've made any progress

When the super talented mare I bought.... green.... because of course.... ends up not being a suitable match for me over fences and I finally have to look at the writing on the wall.  Talented horse with the right rider.  Which I'm not.  Can't even keep my leg on to the base.  Cause I sure don't tend to improve as a rider even with weekly lessons with qualified instruction.

I keep moving.  I'm not sure it's exactly moving forward, since people say I don't make any progress in my riding.  But what's the alternative?  Golf?  Sewing?

When my friend died I inherited one of her horses, an 8 year old gelding who hadn't been off the farm but once in his life.  I'd started him, he'd been for 30 days of training, and then he just sat.  So last winter instead of taking Stella for a lesson (she was lame) I took him.  He spooked at A LOT OF STUFF.  He still spooks.

I had thought I'd sell him.  When he's not being quirky he's safe, and quiet, and in general willing to please and put up with mistakes.   I struggled with that because I'm clearly no horse trainer, despite what my friends say other people say different.   I'm no pro.  I've had people tell me I have no business pretending I can train green horses.

But.... he's safe and quiet and in general willing to please and put up with mistakes.  He jumps my crossrails.  I put flying changes on him in one ride.  He's a good boy.  Will I get to BN?  Given my previous history, I'm gonna go with a firm NO.  But screw it.

I keep moving.

So I take lessons and probably give my trainers nightmares about my stunning lack of progress, and I go to shows and jump my crossrails and get a sunburn and go home and take a nap and take care of my mudfarm.

I'm not sure I'll keep up my blog, I don't feel like there's much interest in mediocre riders with green ponies but I wanted to update for the sake of moving forward.

5 comments:

  1. Thank you for the update. I am so very sorry for the loss of your friend. I am also so very sorry that you are in the place you are. I know the exhaustion of dealing with a property in the winter and things are just going wrong. It sucks. The gelding sounds like a gem.

    Here's some things from my perspective: I struggled to improve my riding for years with Irish. years. My instructor said something similar to yours. Two things came from that: 1. is that I discovered that the saddle didn't fit me, so I was never going to be in a good position because the saddle was working against me.
    2. I needed a new coach. Someone who understood that I was trying my best, even when failing. Someone who wouldn't reinforce that I was a failure but instead help me focus on what I can do now.
    3. I took some cantered riding lessons. honest to god they can be transformational.

    I will also point out that dressage is not just for people who are afraid to jump. It's a great way to get feel and balance in riding.

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  2. Good to see you blog again! Your work to place all those horses was nothing short of heroic <3 Hope you find balance and direction in all things soon.

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  3. I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your friend, that’s so awful :( I’m glad you keep moving tho. Keep on putting one step in front of another and it’ll eventually lead somewhere, right?

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  4. I was in awe at how you handled Cathy and that entire situation. She would be so proud of you. And whomever those "coaches" are that have said those things to you, do not deserve you as a client. You don't work for them, they work for you. Fire them. You can ride girl. I have seen it with my own eyes. Maybe Stella isn't going to be your eventer, who knows. that's ok if she isn't. But keep kicking on, do what makes you happy. Maybe pursue Al (he is CUTE). You will find your path. :)

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  5. foreward is good, sorry to hear about losing your friend fo a riding accident, you are a
    true heart to have rehomed her horses.

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Moving forward.

Hello faithful listeners, it's been a year since I've blogged so anyone reading now must actually be faithful, or have nothing bet...