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Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Hallelujah


Guess who has a custom saddle on order?



These guys!



 

I have no idea when it will actually arrive but it feels good to get the order put in.  Apparently it could be as early as late December but I’m not holding my breath, I also wouldn’t mind a bit more time to accumulate funds for the remaining balance…. :)

 

My saddle order was placed on November 9th, which is sort of a special date.  That’s the date that I sent an e-transfer to a complete stranger across the country for Henry five years ago.




I been reflecting a lot on how we’ve gone from unhandled/terrified weanling & noob weanling owner to sensible bareback citizen grown-up horse & slightly less nooby green horse rider. 






The journey between those two points has taught me so much about horsemanship and about myself as a human being.  I’m really proud of us when I think about it.   I will probably do a more in depth post in future on this when the thoughts have formulated more in my brain!








 




There certainly have been struggles, and we aren't perfect.  But if I could do it over again, I would do it all over again :)




I am so excited for 2018 and our new saddle!!


Monday, 6 November 2017

Avalanche

*Little bit of housekeeping first:  I'm going to title all my blog posts in November after Leonard Cohen songs/lyrics :)  He passed away November 10, 2016.  I loved his music, fiction and poetry, I was fortunate to see him at his last performance in my hometown.*










Thank you everyone for your kind comments on my post - My Greatest Fear.  It felt uncomfortable to write and I so appreciate the support.  I am still friendly with Coach D and maybe one day we will lesson together again.  Over our almost three year on-off student-teacher relationship she has never been anything but positive and supportive (save that one comment) so although I'm not immediately seeking her help with Henry, I'm not upset about the comment at this time.








Also thank you everyone for the bday wishes!  I had a great bday weekend (it included some pony photos, cupcakes, a cheese plate, a trail ride and a Stranger Things 2 marathon).












I want to give a few updates on some other things that were left hanging and post my goals for what remains of 2017.






Updates:


Horse Sharing (I had thought of letting a friend ride Mystic, which is weird for me because I am greedy) - this hasn't happened yet but I am still open to the idea.  There's been a bit of a cold snap recently I don't think my friend is keen to ride when it's -20.


Henry Custom Saddle - I am hoping to get it ordered this week. 


Mystic's Western Saddle - I sold it on the weekend.  I think I rushed into buying it because I just wanted a saddle so badly.  I didn't love riding it (it was too big for me) and I hurt my back trying to move it in and out of the truck (I have a horrible back and it was heavy as shit, like 40lbs+).  So no fancy diamond wool pad will be purchased to help it fit her better.


Horse Move to Cheaper Pasture - I spent a lot of time in the first half of October barn shopping.  Nothing really thrilled me.  I was trying to save money but I'm also very particular.  I think most likely everyone will stay put.  I would eventually like to bring Mystic to where the boys live, if my BO will give me a discount.  This means unfortunately that I won't have a ton of "fun money" for trailers and other big ticket items I was hoping to buy, but I can keep chipping away on those things.  I will still keep my eyes posted for the perfect spot.


Henry's Cough -  I didn't blog about this but Henry started to get quite a bad cough again and I gave him some time off (about a week and half).  Now he's 100%.  I think the weather changes kind of messed him up.


Groundwork - I am proud to say that I have been doing really well on adding more groundwork into all my horses routines.  Henry especially seems to enjoy it. 


Excessive Sleeping - I am still sleeping a lot.  But I'm starting to feel like a human being again.  I'm going to be adding a spin class to my routine and I hope it will jumpstart my energy levels a bit.










We only have 56 days left of 2017, where did the time go?!  2017 has not been my favorite year so far but I have a few goals to work on to finish up the year strong.


In the next 56 days I would like to:
1) Finish two books
2) Take 30 spin classes
3) Get back into the groove with ST lessons




My husband and I have booked a tropical holiday for late in December which I am SO looking forward to.  The last bit of 2017 is going to be the best bit :)



Monday, 30 October 2017

Apollo Appreciation Post



As of June 2017, I have owned Apollo for 10 years.  I wanted to write a post-celebrating our journey together back in June but things weren’t going well for me at that moment (broken nose and uncatchable Apollo returning from his failed “trail horse training”).  I just couldn’t find the right words. 

My favorite pic of us <3


Now as I celebrate my 32nd birthday (which was yesterday), I took some time to reflect on what Apollo and I have shared in the past 10 years.  He's been my horse for my last 10 birthdays, which makes me feel a bit old.






So here is my best effort to tell our story. :) Also prepare your eyeballs for photo spam because I found a whole bunch of the photos from his original sale ad (in addition to many old photos I had in my phone).

We don’t have an exciting show record or lots of satin (besides our sweet 4th place ribbons from a trot pole show in 2016 #baller) but this horse has carried me so carefully through some of the toughest days of my life, and I have learned so much by being his person.




It all started as I was gearing up to graduate college in May of 2007.  My loyal steed Blue had been diagnosed with navicular just before I started school in 2005.  He was on light riding duty for my two years of college, which worked great as I didn’t have a ton of time to ride anyhow.  But as school was coming to a close I decided it was time to start horse shopping for my next partner.


Original Sale Ad Photos






I found lots of potential matches but I kept coming back to this huge paint thing named Booger.  I actually didn’t like paints then (they looked too “western”) and I really hated blue eyes on a horse.  I wanted a younger version of Blue (tall dark and handsome TB-type).  Now I love paints but at the time they were not my favorite.


Blue + Apollo sandwich



Something about this guy grabbed me...




I decided the best way to get him out of my mind was to go ride him.  So I did.  First I went with my mom.  The sheer size of him was a little bit intimidating.  According to the seller a lot of cowboys had come out to try him but had been too afraid to actually ride once they saw him in person.  He’s actually only 16.2(and a half)hh but he is gigantic and has a higher neck set, so easily seems 17hh+.  A goat ran underneath him as we walked up and he didn’t even flinch, so I figured he must be quiet enough.  I hopped on.  We did walk/trot/canter…. At random moments that were in no way based on cues from me.  I was like “hmm maybe too big of a project for me”. 








But I found myself going out again, this time with my dad.  My dad rode him too and wasn’t super thrilled with him.  He found him quite forward a bit rude (and obviously greeeeeen). I rode him again too and had more fun than the first time.  I was a lot more assertive than my first ride.  But still felt like he was maybe too much horse for me.









I went again, by myself.  Rode again.  And made an offer, which was accepted.  He cost exactly what remained on my student loan (which I am still paying off hah).   I also decided to change his name to Apollo.  He deserved a more regal name.




OG Horse Loaf



We certainly have had our share of struggles since then… from saddle fit to poor instruction, alsike clover poisoning to hard-to-catch antics. 






But when I put Blue down in February of 2008, he kept me from completely falling apart.  I had to keep going to the barn to take care of him and had to keep going to work to pay for him.  Many tears were cried into his salt and pepper mane. 





After I witnessed a horrible mounting block accident and developed huge fears around the mounting block he stood patiently for me as I worked up the courage mount again. 







He has given me his best effort with a lot of instructors who asked us to do things that he didn’t understand or struggled with. 






He taught me everything a person needs to know about catching a hard-to-catch horse (starting with patience and humility). 











He has taught me to listen to horses and not just assume they are being “bad”, sometimes something hurts and they are trying to tell you the best way they know how. 



Being a big bro




He has made me a better horsewoman and a better human being.





I feel so blessed to be his person.  He has carried me so proudly and carefully these last 10 years.


Our first day together (with his image on a DQ cake)




I love you big pony <3



I hope we have many more birthdays together but I wanted to take some time to stroll down memory lane and appreciate my best friend.  I have some Apollo-inspired tattoo ideas in the works but haven't been able to commit to anything yet.  I hope that in 2018 he can finally come and live in my backyard!


Thursday, 26 October 2017

My Greatest Fear

My greatest fear has always existed deep in the back of mind. I never knew the exact words for it until about four months ago.  I didn’t really want to post about this (and I clearly haven't until today) but I’m having a bit of a brave moment today I guess.



Memba little Henry at his trot pole show?!




I had mentioned to Coach D about breaking my nose and the trouble I was having with Henry back in June.  I reached out to her for some extra help with Henry (outside of my lessons with ST, just for extra input and ideas). I suggested maybe arranging to haul him to her barn during the week instead of doing my school horse lesson.


For a little background - she has only given me one lesson on Henry (he was a bareback saint) and there was a point in time when she was somewhat interested in buying him. That didn’t work out for a number of reasons.  I’ve taken lessons at her barn with school horses on and off for the past two years.  I have taken a few lessons with her and Apollo at my barn but the scheduling was very tricky (I kind of need lessons to be on the weekends and she has very busy weekends).



#1 Horseloaf


 
She told me that I needed to have this new natural horsemanship trainer/cowboy-type come and ride Henry.  That he would work through his issues.  I was hesitant because of budget constraints and due to my recently horrible experience with RK (another natural horsemanship/cowboy-type).  I said I would keep the NH’s trainer number but wasn’t quite there yet.


She sent this in a text to me (and I am paraphrasing some of this as I deleted the text):


“……Once a horse learns to buck he will never forget.  You need to have NH trainer work with him.  Henry is such a nice horse, it would be a shame if you ruined him.”

And I felt like someone punched me.  But now I had the words.  My worst fear is “ruining” my horses.





I was pretty upset about it at first.  I discussed it a bit with my husband and he thought it sounded like she probably was just worried about my safety (now and in future – fair point), and that I shouldn’t take it too personally. 


I continued to take lessons from her with school horses for a few more weeks but eventually decided due to some shift changes at my part-time job that I didn’t have time for school horse lessons anymore.  I never responded to that portion of her text, I just re-directed to other topics and have not approached her again for further help with Henry. 






Coach D is a wonderful human (who I am currently financing Mystic’s new saddle through) and I don’t think she intended to hurt my feelings.  I think she said what a lot of people have probably thought.


But I would like to take a moment to respond to the idea of “ruining” my horse.  A fear that I too have worried about.   I am a greenish ammy with limited financial resources.  I am riding green horses (mainly without saddles) and trying not to die. 

Here goes:


Fuck that. 


That’s the only rebuttal I currently have.  There are so many other things I want to say.  I want to cite examples of riding green as grass baby horses with no saddles.  I want to post photos of myself riding Mystic all over countryside bareback.  But really I am living my rebuttal to anyone (even myself sometimes) who thinks I’m “ruining” my horses - because I am not quitting.  I am determined to improve as a rider and am not going to give up.




Peace.