Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Things I Ponder When I'm Avoiding Work

I work at home which is wonderful since I have a five year old.  My job is very flexible and allows me time to go out to the barn most days and still be able to be home when the kidlet gets out of school.  But then there are those days when I just don't feeeeeel like working and when my brain starts pondering other things.  Today, I'm pondering my choice of horse.  I read a well written blog on buying/owning young horses over at  And it got me thinking.....bad idea.  Very. Bad. Idea.

The two things that I'm thinking about today are:  Is this the right horse for me?  Yes, I've had this inner monologue before and posted about not knowing if Tess was my 'heart horse'.  She will be six in May, but that's another few years before she's considered a solid citizen.  Which is a lot of ups and downs that I'm not sure I'm prepared for.  I read other blogs where people are excited about new goals.  Trail rides, schooling shows, jumping.  And I'm working on not letting my pony scare the every living daylights out of me and getting her to trot without throwing a hissy fit.  This is not my idea of fun.

So then I start fantasizing about buying an older, broke horse.  What would I do?  I think then I'd work more on myself.  Lessons without stirrups?  Yes, please!  Trail ride to the beach?  If you can trailer me, my horse and I would LOVE to go along!  Jumping some crossrails?  Sure, Old Dobbin here is a pro over crossrails and as quiet as can be.  Is this a fantasy?  Would I be bored?  Am I fooling myself?

The hard part is that selling horses right now is not easy.  There is ALWAYS a market for well trained, experienced horses but green bean Arabs with a problem going forward?  Not so much.  I can imagine showing Tess to potential buyers.  Oh, pick up her feet?  Well, I'm too chicken to pick up the back feet because she waves them around too much.  Yeah, there's a bit of bucking when you want to trot.  Or canter.  Or walk faster.  Oh, yeah she's still a bit spooky even though she's been ridden in the same damn arena for 9 months.  It's not that she's at the bottom of the barrel.  A confident rider would have her whipped into shape in one ride.  And her movement is lovely.  But she's a dime a dozen right now.  You can find one almost like her for FREE.  And I'm WAY WAY WAY too picky to just sell her to some yahoo looking for a cheap horse.

But if you came to my barn and said "I LOVE LOVE LOVE your horse and wish she was mine." I'm not sure I'd turn you away......  And then there's the 'other hand' where I think that I need to work through this issues or they will turn up WITH EVERY HORSE.  Since the pony bucks mostly just with me, it's obviously a ME issue.  Ahhhhh...the hamster on my brain wheel is getting veeerrry tired.

The second thought I've been thinking about is:  What is it that I really want to do with a horse?  I think the answer is everything.  I want to ride dressage and take some dressage and jumping lessons (tiny jumps.  baby hunter jumps, really.).  I want to ride on a trail ride if I want to.  Around the neighborhood if that's all the trail I got.  I want to go to the beach.  I want to have a horse that is game for whatever I want to try.  A partner in crime.  I want to ride English.  Or Western.  Or bareback!

My trainer really, truly believes that my horse has that potential in her.  That if I stick with her over the next few years we can get there.  But it's sure hard to see me striking out on a trail ride when I practically have panic attacks in the arena.  Monday I was riding her after our ride on a loose rein when she saw something scary and wheeled around and ran off.  She doesn't trust me yet and I don't trust her.  But given my confidence issues, will we ever get there?  Or are we a doomed relationship where we can only talk about each others 'potential' while we argue about what's happening 'right now'.

Now that I've got that off my chest, I am going to try and do something more working to pay for the saddle fitter who's coming out on Monday.  Yeah saddle fitter!

p.s. I totally had a dream about the saddle fitter last night and that she said ALL of the pony's problems were because her saddle was pinching her shoulders.  If this comes true, I will build a shrine to the saddle fitter.  No joke.  Complete with incense, candles and crystals.


  1. Mona: I don't think you are a doomed relashionship by anyone's standards. I do think that you have confidence issues and that your horse is green, which can definitely make for an interesting combination. Not necessarily a bad combination, but definitely quite the adventure. I guess what you really have to ask yourself is if you're up for said adventure...or do you want the type of horse that will you allow you to do all those things that you listed right here and right now? Are you truly in love with your mare? Or maybe you feel that maybe it's not the match made in heaven?

    I personally feel as though you're doing a great job with her, but my opinion doesn't matter worth crap. All that matters if how you feel about your situation with your horse.

  2. You have to ask yourself how quickly do you want to get to the trail riding, schooling shows, jumping portion? I expect you'll get there eventually on any horse, but how quickly do you want to get there? Do you want to wait a few years while you train your current horse, or do you want to go do it now?
    It might be more beneficial to get your confidence back on a been-there, done-that horse before working with a greenie, especially one who doesn't want to just get along and have a good time.
    For some perspective, this year I'm aiming for the championships of my dressage GMO. This time last year? I was freaking out about my horse trotting too fast as I had speed/confidence issues to get over. But, my horse wasn't doing anything dangerous, so it's slightly different.
    Do you want to have fun right now, or have less fun now and more fun later?

  3. I really respect you for thinking about what's right for the horse on par with what's right for you. So many people just say, "Well, it's not working out" and boot the horse on down the road. You're right--it's a dangerous place out there for green broke Arabians (or any breed...but especially Arabs).

    You are trying to do right by her. And I think that's pretty awesome.

    As a footnote, the stable I grew up riding at was owned by a nice guy who was just bat-shit crazy for Arabians. It was his belief that for the first few years of their saddle-life, you just had to ride the bejeezus out of them, all over the place, and you would have an incredible horse in the end. I actually tend to agree with his philosophy--and he had many nice horses to back it up--however there are a few hair-raising experiences that come with that line of thought!

    I know it's terrifying to think about getting out on the trail (I had to swallow my own fears about that earlier today), but I think it really can turn a horse around. Do you have anywhere around the barn you can ride, and anyone who would go with you?

  4. Mona - I have felt exactly as you are recently as last Spring, when my mare would rear, buck, and spin all at the same time. I got scared and that is a bad place to be with a green horse / green rider. I luckily have a very brave daughter that is fearless and rode my girl thru it. Now, at age 5, she is starting to settle. Not to say we don't have the occasional cow kick when she disagrees...but I see the future. As my daughter says "when she is good, she is good! But when she is bad...!

    I am truely in love with my mare - so I no longer have thoughts of selling her and getting a dead broke horse (don't think I have not gone there in my head before though). I think 'Mare' is right in her comment, that you do have to ask yourself that question, and make a commitment to work thru this.

    On the other hand, no one is going to blame you or think less of you should you make the decision to sell and go with a different horse. In the end, it is what is best for you.

  5. There is nothing wrong with thinking she may not be the right horse for you. Honestly, life is too short to spend it with a horse you are afraid of. If re training and what not is your passion and you enjoy the journey that is one thing, but there is something to be said to realizing this isn't making you happy and finding a horse you feel safe on and can have fun with.

    It doesn't make you any less of a rider, or horse owner. You could always try giving her away, sometimes that is the best way to ensure a good home. Maybe there are some brave kids in the area who need a new pony...there are always options. If you need the money to buy a new horse you could always look for a free lease situation. Lots of options out there.

    If you aren't enjoying your horse, then what is the point?

  6. Mona you guys have made so much progress. You guys are getting there but like anything its going to take time :p Its just like raising a child there are always going to be ups and downs we just have to learn to read our animals because unlike our kids they cant pull at our clothes and tell us what is wrong. I dont personally know you or Tess but you guys are making great progress from what you document on here... maybe a trip down memory lane and going through your old blog posts might make you feel better.
    But i do agree with the other posts, if you dont think that you and Tess are able to get past it and have the partnership you want to have with her maybe it is better to try to find her a more confident owner and a horse that is more suitable for what you want.

    Either way im sure you will make the right decision<3 you have lots of support in the blogging world.

  7. I'm a little late to the conversation, as I just found your blog and am reading through it, but I had to comment. I think I read the same post on Equestrian Ink and boy, I pretty much had the same reaction. "Is my horse the right horse for me?"

    My current horse is a 4 1/2 year old TB and I went from a steady 12 yr old Standardbred to a green, mind of a three year old, youngster... All I can say is - HI-uge learning curve!

    My instructor's advice when I told her about my doubts was to look at it this way ~ if my riding hasn't changed even though I am afraid {ie ~ can still sit like I am on an old bomb proof horse, thus not causing any extra problems with the youngin'} then I can keep working on him, give him a year to either click or not, and then decide if I still want to keep him or sell him on.

    If he does click with me at the end of the year, we'll see how we go from there, but if he doesn't; well, I will have put the best work I can into him during that year so that he will have the best chance he can have to find a good home.

    I do know what it's like to be struggling with doubt or fear or both, and some advice I thought was very sound was not to loose confidence in yourself as a rider. Sure, it may be harder work to ride your young greenie, but you can do it. Oh, and working the silliness out; try regularly riding for over an hour - preferably up to two hours to get the energy out. A wet saddle blanket often equals calm horse. Although, don't do this if you have a poor fitting saddle. Wait until the tack fits before trying that! : )

    Good luck Mona!

    bonita of A Riding Habit