Monday, December 17, 2012

Going Without

First of all, thanks to everyone who's commented on my last post.  It has really helped to hear everyone's different experiences.

This post has two parts about going without.  The first one fun and the second one more serious.  Let's start with the fun, shall we?

After my bitching and moaning about not having fun, I once again decided to take matters into my own hands.  There were people at the arena so I couldn't do anything crazy, but I did make some decisions about what I was going to do with my horse.

The first thing I went without was my spurs.  I'm working on better communication with Tessa.  In my lessons, I don't mind wearing spurs.  I have someone watching over me and helping me be precise.  Don't get me wrong, I don't accidentally spur her all the time or anything when I'm not in a lesson.  It's just that I'm looking for a different kind of communication right now.  A softer, gentler communication for the most part.  So I left the spurs off.  I did have to actually take my legs completely off of her and wallop the CRAP out of her side at one point because she completely tuned me out.  But that one boot was enough and we didn't have any trouble after that.

Second thing I went without was my running martingale.  It's time.  I have to start letting to go of my crutches.  If I'm having a nervous day or she's super hot, I won't hesitate to return to it but it's time to step out of my comfort zone.  Things went fine.  She's pretty stiff and bracey when she wants to be, but the point is for me to learn how to maneuver her body, not how to yoink her face and head down with a running martingale.  And yes, I did say yoink.  It may not be a word yet, but it should be.

The third thing I went without was stirrups.  I did it at the end of my ride and I walked, trotted and cantered.  I crossed the stirrups up over her neck.  She did great.  I did great.  She didn't want to canter and kicked out at my leg and I didn't lose my security at all.  Yeah!  Also, that ten minutes didn't make me sore.  Which means I should go longer next time!

Now, let's talk about the other going without.  I know I've covered this before, but I have some new readers and fresh eyes, ears and input always helps.  We are not a wealthy family.  We do not own property.  We have to board my horse.  Nobody else in my family likes horses so the time is not shared time, it's just me time.  The closest place that I can afford to board at is about twenty five minutes from my house.  An average barn trip is about three hours when you factor in traffic time, grooming, saddling and riding.  This does not include washing feet, tails or cleaning tack well.  My average bill for the pony is about $900 a month.  This is not a small chunk of change for us.  We go without things (not necessities ever, but luxuries) so that I can have a horse of my own.

And lately, I've been able to ride two or three days maximum.  That's it.  Tessa often gets used the other days, but $900 for three days a week?  That works out be $75.00 every time I go to the barn.  Ouch.

I'd like to be out there more.  Left to my own devices, I'd spend seven days a week at the barn for hours on end.  But I have a six year old daughter.  And it's important that I be home for dinner and homework most nights.  It all feels worth it when I have a good ride on Tessa.  When she whinnies for me from her stall.  But some days (especially around the crazy holidays) when I'm frantically trying to decide if I need horse time or family time, it's hard to feel like the scales are balanced.

I won't get to ride this week until Thursday and then my jump clinic is this weekend.  Wish me luck!  I will try to solve my picture dilemma by then so maybe there will be photographic evidence.


  1. Is that the cheapest board you can find close??

    Have you ever thought about half leasing to help with cost and also provide more exercise for Tessa?

  2. Wow. That's high, but maybe normal for your area. I have six and they cost me MAYBE $375/month. But, I do have them at home so that cuts quite a bit of the extra expense.

    When I did have to board (just one!) I had a very similar time dilemma. A full-time job and a young'un who needed me home after work for dinner, homework and family time. Fortunately, I was boarding at a barn with very, very open hours for boarders so after I got my family time in and the kiddo in bed, I hit the barn. There were many, many nights when I was the only one at the barn at 11 p.m. Those were some of my favorite rides when I boarded...quiet solitude, just me and my horse, no pressure to get home or get out of someone's way in the grooming area, arena or wash stall. Maybe that's something you could consider, going to the barn AFTER the family time.

  3. What about trying to find someone to lease partially or fully. Keep them in a lesson or two a month (or week or whatever you're comfortable with) with your instructor if that makes you feel comfortable? The right person might be out there!

    1. ...That would help with cost, keep Tessa in work, and you would still get to go out and enjoy her. :) It's late!