So remember my last post when I was done with riding and so I was selling everything off?
Just as I decided I needed to stop pretending I was an equestrian, a ride has fallen in to my lap.
I am riding again! Like regularly riding!
I literally cleaned my spare tack and was organizing what to sell and what to keep when an unassuming conversation turned into the best thing ever!
I board Gen at a small backyard farm. There are only 6 stalls and 2 are occupied by the owner’s horses. At the moment, it is just myself and another boarder who has been there for years herself. I hardly ever see the boarder unless I swing by the barn on the weekends in the afternoon. A few months ago, on a weekend afternoon, I saw the other boarder getting ready for a winter trail ride. Her horse was very up, and I joked with her about how much braver she was than me. She laughed and did say it had been a while since he was ridden, so I asked her if she ever came up on the week to do anything with him. She said no, and then went on her way. I finished up with Gen and didn’t give our conversation a second thought.
A few days later I got a text that she needed to talk to me. It was during a busy day at work so I asked if it was an emergency, thinking she was at the barn and something was wrong with Gen (because why else would another horse person from the barn call :P) She said to just call when I had time. I spent much of the rest of day trying to figure out what she needed to talk to me about.
Imagine my surprise when I called her up and she asked if I wanted to ride her horse!!!
Of course I answered yes!
She said my question about riding during the week had her thinking. The more she was thinking about it, the more she realized that she just didn’t have time right now to ride during the week, but that her horse is the kind of horse that needs to be ridden regularly. She and her husband talked it over and agreed that they wanted to see if I wanted to ride him during the week!
I was (and still am) beyond excited about this. It is not a forever thing, but it is perfect for right now. Her life is very busy at the moment, but she doesn’t want to make any decision such as leasing, half-leasing or even selling her horse if her schedule being so full is just a temporary thing. That means that I get to stay on budget AND still ride! She never comes up during the week, so I get to ride whenever works best for my schedule!
And I cannot beat the cost…she is just letting me rider her horse! She knows it is tough to pay for one horse already so she is okay with just letting me ride. I literally am tearing up at her kindness as I write this. She is just a really nice (and practical person) and pointed out that this is something that works for both of us. She will (hopefully) get a better ride on the weekends because her horse will be more fit and more mentally engaged and I will get to ride without having to worry about cost or commitment!
I was on cloud 9…until I started to think about actually riding again. That is a story for another day though. I have been meaning to write this post for weeks now, but have been much too busy riding to be able to get it down 😉
Did I mention I am riding again?
Can you tell I am happy?
I may be able to live without riding but I am much happier with it in my life!!
Okay, so I know you are looking at a picture of my horse dressed up as cupid making a face for Valentine’s Day and assuming that I am about to gush. And I am! But not in the way you think! The truth is, I am actually not that crazy about Valentine’s Day, or “I Love You” Day as I like to call it. As a single person, I used to detest February 14th (the only holiday in America that people spend more on is Christmas) and now, as a newlywed, I think my friends and family can attest to the fact that I gush about how amazing my husband is on a very regular basis (I came home last week to a fridge full of chocolate covered strawberries that he made me just because he loves me, no occasion needed. That sort of stuff happens often and reminds me how lucky I am) so I don’t feel the need to go on and on about it today.
I decided that instead of gushing about romantic love, I want to take a moment to talk about the love between a girl and her horse. Everyone reading this knows that is a special kind of love.
I talk a lot about how much I love Gen, but I don’t often talk about the ways in which my horse loves me. In fact, I often joke that Gen doesn’t love me at all, but I know that isn’t true. My pony shows many ways in which he loves me, and knowing he does makes me feel like the luckiest girl in the world. Gen may not be always to be around easy or particular affectionate, but I am his person. I am sure some people may think I am crazy, or maybe just that I am anthropomorphizing, but I really feel like it is love.
I know Gen loves me when:
1. I hug him and he lets out a big sigh, licks and chews, closes his eyes and leans up against me. He reaches this level of contentment that lets me know that he trusts me completely and that he feels protected and loved in my arms.
2. He comes running over to me when I get to the barn. I thought he did it to everyone, but I found out that, he does come over to just about anyone who comes to see him, but the only person he gallops to the gate for is me. It doesn’t happen every day, and I know having a Thoroughbred gallop towards you at full speed may not be what everyone wants, but I love it and it makes me feel like feel like Gen has been thinking of me all day and can’t wait to see me.
3. He doesn’t feel good or is hurt and I go rushing to the barn and he hears me before he sees me and he lets out a huge nicker. I may not be able to make him feel any better, but knowing he is talking to me as soon as I get there makes me feel like I am all he wants when he doesn’t feel good.
4. When I bring someone to the barn and need to step away for moment, the second I walk out of his line of sight he gets super fussy and looks around for me. He will even whinny and cry for me (which is not something he does if he is in alone and I am there). It makes me feel like it isn’t just that he needs attention, but rather that he needs MY attention to make him happy.
5. When he lets me kiss him on the nose. Gen HATES getting kisses on the nose, but he has this sweet copper colored marking right on the softest spot. He will let most people kiss him on the forehead, but I am the only person that he will let kiss him on the nose. Letting me do something because he knows I love it even though he hates it? Now that is love.
So how do you know that your horse(s) love you? Is it something you horse does or something about the way they make you feel? What is it about a horses love that just makes everything better?
I think that Tack Hoarding is a pretty common affliction, and I feel like it is usually those of us who have to skrimp and save to buy everything who refuse to throw away anything.
Gen was retired in 2007. That is 10 years for those of you keeping count. I have not ridden regularly myself since the end of 2013.
How does someone who has a retired horse who has barely ridden in over three years have so much horse stuff still, I mean, I have four dressage bridles alone! Four!
I kept thinking that I needed to save everything, that I would use it all on the next horse. The longer that time has gone on without me riding though, the more I have started to re-think how I feel about all that horse stuff. When I first stopped riding Lucky, I figured I would take a little break and get back in to riding within a year. I would take some lessons, find some catch rides and just ride when I could, assuming that my next half lease was right around the corner. At some point, I realized that I was fine with taking a break from riding. I didn’t have the drive to fight for every ride anymore. I could see my bank account growing, had more time to sleep and of course found the love of my life and got married.
Even knowing that I wasn’t looking to ride again right away, I still couldn’t bring myself to think about getting rid of anything. What if another horse fell in to my lap? What if Gen suddenly was medically cleared to be ridden again? What if I suddenly needed my horse trailer?
Don’t get me wrong, sometimes having 3 of everything comes in handy, like when Gen broke the butt strap on his blanket, I could just go and grab another one and change it out, but even if Gen suddenly becomes healthy or I get a new horse, would I ever really need 4 dressage bridles? My tack hoarder side says yes, which is why I have them (and my two jumping bridles in addition to a friends bridle that I need to return). Just because I have the space for 7 bridles in the storage area in my basement doesn’t mean that I should have 7 bridles there right?
I got Gen the summer I graduated college. He is my first horse. I went right from college into graduate school so when I got Gen I had no money. I had wanted his colors to be black and red only, but since my budget was next to nothing, everything I got for him was literally the cheapest I could find of what I needed. That means not only do I have 7 of some things, I bet that at least 1 of everything was dirt cheap and potentially not good quality.
The more I have been thinking about it, the more I am realizing that I am just hanging on to stuff because I don’t want to let it go, not because I think I will actually need it.
That realization was a slow one to come, but was solidified when I went down to the storage area in my basement and realized that about half the stuff in there was horse stuff. My husband literally has one storage container down there and two pieces of luggage. I have 7 large plastic trunks of horse stuff, 3 saddles, 7 bridles, 5 halters (of which Gen will go through all 5 this year I am sure) and literally over 20 saddle pads. That isn’t even counting the standing closet rack with all of my show clothes and boots. I know some people are worse about tack hoarding than I am, but everyone I know who is a haorder like this is actually RIDING.
So I have set myself a goal. By April, I want to thin down my horse stuff so that my hoard is only half of what it is now. I need to be more realistic about what is actually useful and what is not. Do I really need 18 pairs of Sports Medicine Boots in case Gen gets hurt again? Why am I hanging on to a horse trailer that needs about $1,000 of repairs? I know it is not the most exciting thing in the world, but I will document my thinning of my horse stuff hoard. Wish me luck as I try and and become more rational with what I think my horse future would hold.
I am amazed that my pony is 25! I was thrilled when he made it to 20! Now he is at a more normal age for being retired and it is finally age appropriate to act like a grumpy old man! I went to the barn to give him treats and wish him a happy birthday…he thinks carrot cake is stupid and that I have too much free time.
He was happy with the carrots once I removed the carrot cake from the plate.
I hope all the other race horses had a good birthday as well!
Today was unseasonably warm, like record-breaking warm where I live. I know my car temperature gage is not always accurate, but it had it is 88° today! That is craziness for being less than two weeks away from Halloween.
I decided that I was going to leave work on time and rush to the barn to give my handsome pony a bath. I normally can get one bath in during the fall, but this year it is even better than normal because it is still going to be relatively warm overnight!
Typically, the last bath of the year involves a cooler and lots of hand walking to make sure that Gen doesn’t catch a chill, but with it still being so nice overnight I was able to let my pony just graze and relax while he dried.
When I go and see my horse every day, it is usually not for longer than an hour. Today I decided to just kick back and relax and hang out while Gen dried. It took about two hours for him to dry through with his winter coat, but it was two hours well spent. We played with the barn cats, we get scared by some deer, and we just got to enjoy each other’s company. Well, I enjoyed Gen’s company, he mostly just ate 😉
He finally dried all the way through just as the sun was setting. As I put everything away at the now darken barn I couldn’t help but smile and think about how lucky I am to have a horse 🙂 and a clean one at that! I know it is supposed to rain tomorrow so this won’t last, but at least he was clean for today!