Bad Blogger is Bad

Bad blogger is also tired.

Here. Photo dump. Cannot brain anymore. Have teh dumb.

I had tiny mews for a few days until I found them a foster. Long story. They were adorable and had the biggest purr motors ever.
My aunt’s little piece of heaven, graced by a gorgeous rainbow.
Cute. He has it.
Rail trail-ing it up. We have discovered we CAN gait faster without flailing into a pace. Also, canter button: mostly installed.
Pepper Pig snoozing on the lawn.
Last but not least…HI MY NAME IS AMANDA AND I AM FIVE.

VCMBH: Why Do You Keep Riding?

This is a question I get a lot from “normal” people. I mean, I can’t blame them…I purposely climb on top of 1000 lb animal on a regular basis and have “discussions” with it and call it fun. Sometimes I get tossed off and get right back on. If that ain’t crazy, I’m not sure what is.

Honestly, *I* keep asking myself this a lot lately, especially with all the crap I’ve been giving myself over Simba.

Why? What IS the point of me continuing to climb up on top of a 1000 lb animal and duke it out in the name of fun?

I’m not sure anymore.

It’s a passion, that’s for sure. The inability to just “step away” proves that. The antsy feeling I get when I don’t lay my hands on a horse for a few days, or the unfulfilled, disatisfied blanket that settles over me when it’s gorgeous out and I can’t ride proves that too. Horses are really my only “thing”. I don’t have much else to sustain me, because horses have always been The Reason. Photography has snuck its way in, but even that is wrapped around all things horse, and my day job is all horses, all the time. I used to feel incomplete when my day didn’t have some sort of horse component. It is who I am.

 I feel disenchanted with the whole thing. Riding, horses, and everything in between. I find myself not wanting to play anymore. I thought it was just me and that I was defective in some way. I used to be happy climbing up on anything and going for a ride — didn’t care when, where, how, why, or what. If it was a horse and it wasn’t going to kill me, I would ride it.

Then GP happened. Then Image happened. Something broke. I *allowed* something to break. I don’t know how to fix it and how to get that spark back. I thought for a little while that I was just getting lazy, that I didn’t want to fight for it or chase the sun because Jesus Christ it’s a lot of fucking work…but it’s so much more than that right now. I feel blocked and unable to reach that part of me.

Then, last week, M handed the reins to her opinionated, funny, one-person-only horse over to me and I climbed on — in PJ pants and Ariat terrains in a Wintec Pro dressage saddle that was MUCH too small for my giant ass — and I smiled. It felt real. I felt “it” again, and even though Pride and I aren’t bestest buddies, I would have happily toodled around on him for another hour or so. It was uncomplicated and there was no pressure from M or myself or anything and the light in my heart lit briefly and feebly.

So, it’s there. I just need to rekindle it. I keep riding because of the beautiful, frustrating, indescribable, maddening, challenging, fulfilling thing in the world and I love it, even when I hate it.

I’ve been slacking lately on the update front. There have been ups and downs, per usual, but yesterday we had a really nice 7 mile ride that was mostly at a gait (hellloooo, rail trail!). He is such a funny horse, and he really is such a good boy…he’s just not “my” boy.

Friday Foto

Vacation’s over, Simba…Chad cleared him to go back to work today and said his leg looks just fine. We took a 15 minute bareback jaunt and I took another 10 lbs of fur off of him.

Happy weekend, everyone!

"Maaaaahmmm…I’m Stucccckkk!"

Warning: I swear in this one. A lot.

Sometimes, I truly wonder why the ever loving FUCK I continue to bother with horses.

I have come to terms with my decision to find Simba a better match. At the end of the day, he needs a different rider and I need a different horse. It is what it is and now it’s time to focus on helping him be the best horse he can be for his next person.

Of course, just as I finally allow myself some peace over the decision and buckle down on getting him into tip top shape…this happened! *headdesk*

Saturday was a Big Day. I got up, tended to the critters at the house I was house sitting at, tossed my unsuspecting horse on a trailer, plopped him in the middle of a strange new place, threw his tack on, and went for a ride with two strange horses (and D and Tory). It was a lot of sudden stimuli all at once, and I readied myself for an explosion of some sort.

It never came. He was a rockstar. Seriously. I was expecting a fractious, bargey, resistant butthead. I still had some resistance, but it all stemmed from muscle fatigue more than anything else. He was a golden boy — lead, followed, and brought up the caboose, CANTERED (holy bajeepers that is a canter!), walked past some utterly terrifying plastic cows on someone’s lawn (no seriously I was scared and he didn’t even flick an ear), gaited past some people standing on a roof, and walked home on a loose rein. He got uptight over a ridiculously huge farm with weird birds and a bunch of draft horses running around and dogs darting out at us, but seriously? He deserved to get wigged out over that.

N on Gracie in front, D on Summer next, my aunt on Tory next, and obviously Simba’s blue ears!

I am still blown away by how good he was. He needs some serious muscling before we can roll along with my coworkers’ gaited horses. His hind end is weak so he doesn’t have much power behind just yet. I’m hoping with muscling and work, that will improve and I can avoid pacing quite as much, because my back is certainly paying for it! Other than that, though? Gold star ride.

We got back to my coworker’s barn, untacked the horses, and settled them into the trailer with more hay than they knew what to do with. Simba loaded up without a problem and tucked right in, his fact stuffed in the manger with a look of bliss in his eyes. Good pony!

We went into the house for some lunch and were happily chitchatting. My poor aunt D got a good look into how we spend our days at work, and probably thinks we’re all a bunch of batshit insane, catty horse women (we are) with nothing better to do than gossip (we don’t). We were all laughing and juuuust getting ready to head out with my coworker’s son popped his head in.

“Uhh…there’s a horse trying to get out of the trailer…”

Immediate thought? “Oh fuckity fuck fuck it’s Tory.”

We rushed down into the yard and another fellow coworker was standing at my horse’s head as he stood with his front end hanging out of the trailer escape door, looking a little bemused at his entire situation.

Immediate thought? “Oh fuckity fuck FUCK it’s MY GODDAMN HORSE.”

Yes, I took a picture. It was still funny at this point…

He saw me and he pricked his ears, reaching his nose out towards me slightly.

In my head, I could CLEARLY hear him saying “Maaaahmm…hey maaahhhmm…I done fucked up and I’m stuuuuuck. Maahhhhmm…maaahmmm haaalllpp!!” Goddamnit, horse.

I calmly took the lead rope from C, who was patting Simba on the nose. He blinked at me quietly, and heaved a sigh. Coworker D, Aunt D and N all flitted about trying to figure out what, exactly, to do. It’s not obvious from the image, but Simba had managed to Superman over the TOP of the chest bar and got himself hung up by his hips.

Well.

That’s mighty special.

It was quickly determined that we couldn’t get the cotter pin undone with Simba on top of the chest bar the way he was. So, the first idea was to see if he could move himself backwards, even just a bit.

Bad idea. VERY bad idea.

He flailed, limbs flying all about. We all backed away and let him resituate himself. It was far less ideal when he came to rest. I couldn’t see his hind end, but his front end was off the ground completely, and he no longer had any purchase with his front legs. He trembled, huffing a groan that made my hair stand on end. All of his weight was situation on the chest bar now, and not supported by any of his legs. N commented that it might be time to call the fire department. I could not be of any help other than holding his head, so I stood there and stroked his face. For all the drama, he was so, SO good. He sat there quietly while we fussed around him, trying to figure out how to get the damn chest bar dropped.

Just as the decision was made to try and hammer the cotter pin out, Simba’s pain got the better of him and he began thrashing again. Flecks of blood peppered the lip of the trailer, and just as I was thinking “fuck it all, he’s going to break his legs and I’m going to be putting down ANOTHER horse”, he managed to boost himself back up into the trailer so his weight was balanced back on his feet.

Before I knew it, the cotter pin had been hammered out (good, good, GOOD pony for letting us bang something loudly right beside him and he didn’t move a muscle), the chest bar dropped, and my horse was freed. I backed him carefully off the trailer, walked him over to a patch of grass, and began hosing the leg that had blood trickling down the cannon bone and fetlock.

My heart stuck in my throat when Coworker D ran her hand down his right front and noted that it was swollen and hot. Shit, shit, shit. Shit. We hosed it for a good twenty minutes, and N loaned me her standing wraps so he could travel home, and we loaded back up. I fully expected him to balk at getting back in the trailer…

Nope. He toodled right back on like nothing had happened and stuffed his face back in his hay.

*throws hands up in exasperation*

So, home we went and when I pulled him off the trailer. His leg was more of a tree trunk than anything else at that point, so with the advice of Chad the Vet on board, I launched into an intense period of hosing and icing and standing wraps and stall rest for the first 48 hours. He was VERY quiet and subdued the first day — scary quiet — so I knew he wasn’t feeling great. The second day he was feeling less punky, and with the addition of Ice Vibe boots from L, his leg looked better. It’s been a bit of a guessing game, but as of yesterday, things have healed quite well. He’s back out with his buddies, off of the bute (not that he ate much of it), and no more standing wraps at night after he decided to dismantle them with his teeth (that’s when I knew he was feeling better!). He wasn’t ever lame on it, and he walks/gaits/canters on it soundly without any sort of indication

I’m giving him the rest of the week off and if he lunges sound at the end of the weekend, I’ll be starting back up with walking rides. My heart was in my throat for a few days there, but everything seems like it’s going to be a-okay. I have lectured him firmly about trying to Superman out of the trailer…and from now on, we will be SHUTTING the escape door if he’s in there for any length of time. If I have the choice, I will leave him tied to the trailer and/or in a stall, as I’m not risking him having a mental breakdown in there if he feels the need to escape.

Good thing he’s cute, because he’s frigging head saves his neck!!

In other news, I got a little pony ride on this 17.3 hand beastie on Monday:

Excuse the sweatpants. It was not a “pretend to be a professional” day at work and I said “fuck it imma wear sweatpants”.

This is Raisin. He is big. He also has the smoothest trot I’ve ridden in years. Like, would almost make me consider giving up a gaited horse kind of trot. Getting down was a little special, but it was neat to be on such a big critter after spending so much time on my stocky little Walker! D walked up to grab my phone from me to take some pictures, and she didn’t even remotely come close to the top of her shoulder. I reached down and patted her head without thinking about who I was teasing…thankfully, she laughed instead of smacking me like I deserved!

The weather is starting to get better, so hopefully Simba is okay to start riding again by the end of the weekend. We shall see…!

Simba and Summer!

Facing Facts

The past week has been…well, special. Yeah, we’ll call it special.

Simba has been continuously improving, slowly and steadily, though in a “one step forward, two steps back” kind of way. On Sunday, he lead the whole way and while I wouldn’t call him “brave” (hah!), I’d say he was relatively solid with only two goofy spooks. He was his usual “ohmigawd MONSTERS EVERYWHERE” tense self, but he was listening and was able to ride on the buckle at the end of the ride. He has so much nervous energy, and now that we’re moving on the trail more often, he has somewhere to PUT said energy and is a better beastie for it. One step forward!

On Monday, all the horses were toolbags (D and Tory nearly ended up in my lap when Tory threw a big ole’ spook over nothing, Simba was a resistant butthead who did not know the meaning of “FORWARD, MARCH!” and M’s Clara….well, Clara was well behaved but she is eighteen and lovely so that’s to be expected). I have a feeling Simba was tired, too, because he was having a harder time maintaining his gait and we spent a lot of time rating him back from the pace. So…two steps back.

Tuesday it was cold, raw, and just depressing…so we fussed in the paddock a bit and he lunged beautifully at all three gaits (including maintaining his running walk on the circle consistently!) and we did a little bit of follow the leader liberty work. He was soft, compliant, and gave me an eye and an ear at all times. He was almost borderline sweet! I quit after he stayed with me as when I picked up a little jog, and we scraped some more fur off of him. I’m excited to report that there is DARKER FUR under that cream colored winter coat — I canNOT wait to see him all shed out! Again, one step forward.

Yesterday and today, it poured…so I shuffled back to where I’m house sitting currently, tucked in the ponies there, and curled up with a fluffly blankie and my own thoughts.

Simba is a special horse, in a lot of ways. He can be a bit “speshul”, and he’s also special because he’s such a nice little critter. Even with just a little consistent work, he is a better beastie overall, even after such a short time. His groundwork has come leaps and bounds, he is a quiet boy on the crossties, he isn’t nearly as pushy over anything anymore, and his under saddle work is steadily becoming more and more reliable. He is goofy, but he is quick to learn. He is funny, curious, and a fun ride for the right rider, even during his stubborn, “I don’t wanna and you can’t make me!” moments.

Unfortunately, I have come to the conclusion that the right rider simply isn’t me.

For some, this is not news — it has been brewing for months and I have finally faced the facts. For others, especially those who watch on Facebook, this a little bit of a shock. I spent most of last week in a panic attack driven haze over this, and it’s taken me all that time to be able to stand up and say that I have broken my two golden rules: never ignore your gut and never bring an animal into your life that you are not 100% certain is meant to be there.

I ignored my gut. I brought an animal into my life that I wasn’t sure about. I don’t regret this horse (just like I never regretted Image, not for a second), and I don’t regret this experience, but I am kicking myself for not abiding by my own rules. That is where I went wrong, and that is my mistake.

This.

Simba’s particular personality and my particular personality do not mesh. There are a hundred different ways to explain this, but the bottom line is that there is nothing wrong with Simba. This is not about him. He is a good horse with the potential to be a great horse, and I feel like I could handle taking him there with the skills I already have and the arsenal of help I have at my finger tips without a problem…but I don’t want to. I hate, hate, hate, hate, HATE that I feel this way, but with the way our personalities simply don’t mesh, the training challenge is not rewarding with Simba. I find myself making excuses to not go to the barn or ride. When I do go, I’m pretty good at the “fake it ’til you make it” thing, but how fair is that to either of us? He deserves someone who enjoys working through his particular brand of stubborn, and he deserves someone who is head over heels in love with him. I am emotionally exhausted by the time I leave the barn and it’s not the mental space I should be in when it comes to horses, riding, the barn, and my horsey life. Horses are my one “thing”, and if it’s not fun, it’s not right. I expect bad days and I expect difficulties and I expect wanting to get out of horses all together when I’m feeling defeated…but when I find myself  counting down the days to when I DON’T have to be at the barn? That’s an issue.

I know the popular response to this is “well, you haven’t given it enough time!”. Usually, I’d agree…but something isn’t right. It was the same gut feeling I had when Image started going downhill. It may not provide everyone with the reasoning they want to hear, but it’s the truth. I thought I had learned a long time ago to listen to my gut.  I put my own selfish desires to have a freaking horse rightnowrightnow in front of everything else and ignored everything that my intuition was telling me. I mistook “pretty” for a spark of connection and allowed myself to listen to the opinions of others instead of thinking for myself, and that was just goddamn stupid.

So, as of right now, this funny yellow horse is on the hunt for the person he’s truly supposed to be with. There is a reason he ended up with me, regardless of everything else, and if that reason was to just have me a stepping stone to where he’s really meant to be, then that’s that. I did not purchase this horse with this particular plan of action in mind, but now that we’re here, I am going to keep working him like he wasn’t going anywhere. I will continue riding him, tormenting him with glitter and things, making him wear funny costumes, and making sure he wants for nothing. We’ll keep playing and adventuring together. He’s not in any danger…he just deserves more than what I can give him.

I don’t know what will be next for me if/when Simba sells. That is a bridge I’ll cross when I get to it.

For now, though…each day as it comes!

…including more sleep, please, instead of driving myself nuts with my own brain!