Saturday, May 28, 2011

Missing horses, missing myself

I get tired of trying to be positive. I miss horses. I miss riding. I feel like a huge part of my existence has been simply ripped away and left in its' place is a huge gaping hole of depression. Every sunny day makes me feel bitter and sad because it's wasted on me. What I loved to do is fucking gone.

I have a family I have to function for so I suck it up and exist. But just existing sucks.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

A Passion For Horses Supersedes Sanity | The Chronicle of the Horse

This is what I'm going through right now. I am lost. I have no horse. I can't ride and don't know for how long before I can even try and even then, what horse do I attempt to get on? Excellent article for all who know what having a passion for horses truly means.

A Passion For Horses Supersedes Sanity | The Chronicle of the Horse

Monday, May 9, 2011

Day 7 of 30 Day Horse Challenge: Your favorite ribbon won at a show and why

Day 7 - Your favorite ribbon won at a show and why.

My favorite ribbon? Wow, another one I have a hard time answering. A few moments come to mind, though;

- Winning the "slow turtle" award for having the slowest time on a hunter pace. (but having a great time being the best loser)

- A 3rd place ribbon won at the Hampton Classic Horse Show in a class with 39 other riders.

- 3 blue ribbons and the championship in a hunt seat equitation Medal/Maclay division riding a school horse I leased a week before because my own horse was injured and I wanted to keep from losing all the points I'd worked so hard for with her. (by the way, that school horse was bought at an auction, had a myriad of health issues and was actually too small for me, but he was honest, brave, smart and swapped his leads effortlessly. I went on to win end of year coolers and ribbons with him as my horse healed and when show season was over, he was sold immediately to another adult rider who also won every time he competed with the horse. I had named the horse "Alternate Plan" as a joke for his show name, and it stuck and became his registered show name with his new owner.)

- My first ribbon ever, a second place won on my first horse in the Maiden hunt seat equitation division.

- Winning an over fences class riding Monty and besting a fancier horse that was tops in our zone.

- Ribbons won in a dressage test after finding my black mare scored perfect 10's on her halts! Her walks could be jiggly and her transitions a bit rushed but that mare could square at the halt like no horse I've ever ridden.

I'm sure there are more, but these are some of the best I can remember.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Day 6 of 30 Day Horse Challenge: All the tack and riding clothes you have (brand/color/other details)

Day 6 - All the tack and riding clothes you have (brand/color/other details)

I have been through 40 years worth of equipment. I have also sold a lot of things and added a lot of things over that time. The collection would change as my tastes and needs changed. I could never list it all. Without digging into the farthest reaches of my closets and tack trunks, I'll give the best of it.

Saddles - Wintec 2000 All Purpose saddle(old style) in brown and a Bruno DelGrange show jumping saddle.

Girth - Beval Saddlery Italian made anatomic synthetic girth. No longer being sold by Beval but a great girth for easy care and the quality of the workmanship is second to none.

Saddle Pad(s) - I loved to collect saddle pads when I had a horse. I have sheepskin ones for horse shows and all kinds of quilted squares for schooling. It would bore you to tears to list each and every!

Bridles - Beval Saddlery's Newport bridle in both horse and warmblood sizes (found amazing deal on ebay when they closed out of this style)

Show Clothes: My 2 wool hunt coats were both custom tailored and made by Grand Prix. One is a navy blue windowpane plaid and the other a charcoal gray pinstripe. I also have a vintage Tailored Sportsman hunt coat (made by TS many years before they became a status name) made from 100% polyester in navy blue with a red satin lining. It was my "horse shows in the rain" hunt coat.

My show breeches were Pikeur's "Winner" breeches. They are side zips with doeskin knee patches.

My show shirts are a few different brands, most of them are made by Essex in various colors to compliment the jackets. All have monogrammed collars.

I still have my custom Dehner boots from my hardcore horse show days. They are beautiful but no longer fit me. I can't bear to let them go yet. Otherwise I have a very nice pair of Mountain Horse field boots that serve me well if needed.

Helmet - I still have my ancient fiberglass shell velvet helmet. It is sun-bleached, the ribbon at the back is faded and hanging down, it has many scuffs in the velvet and the satin lining is rather... grungy. But I can't part with it, either. It is like the shield of a warrior, it's appearance is an unspoken testament to the hours spent training, competing, and giving all to my passion. The new style helmets don't age like those old velvet hunt caps. I remember when I got that deep black, plush velvet hat I longed for the day when it resembled the helmets worn by my heroes, Rodney Jenkins, Conrad Homfeld, Harry DeLeyer, Melanie Smith, and George Morris. (and if you only recognize the name George Morris as you read this, you are a youngster with a lot of horse show history to catch up on).

Its replacement, my old GPA helmet has passed the 5 year mark and it's still in my gear bag. It's supposed to be retired but I can't let it go, even as its replacement, a very attractive IRH Elite Ultra helmet waits to get some riding time.

Schooling Gear - Kerrits! Kerrits! Kerrits! I LOVE Kerrits! No matter what I buy from them it always fits and I love it. All my schooling breeches in all sorts of colors are Kerrits. I have a few Ariat shirts and some On Course cotton breeches but nothing beats my Kerrits. My Paddock boots are Ariat zip fronts and my half chaps are brown suede Ovations.

Hunt Clothes - I outfitted my dream before it became a reality. I have a few fox hunting pieces, specifically a black Melton coat and a reversible canary vest bought in my hopes of riding with the hunt one day. They are unworn and hanging in cedar bags. I hope I will wear them one day while riding a horse.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Day 5 of 30 Day Horse Challenge: Your first fall.

Day 5 - Your first fall.

Honestly, I don't exactly remember my first fall. I may have taken a tumble off the white pony I first rode when I took lunge line lessons in the very beginning as a 6 year old, but I can't describe it and I'm almost unsure it happened.

The next incidence where I hit the dirt is clearer, it happened in a riding lesson when I was about 8 years old. I was riding a big, draft cross leopard appy named "Dalmatian". He was being a pig and not wanting to go forward (as was usual). My trainer was telling me to tap him with my crop and squeeze him forward with my legs. So I was working on that when he trotted off, then pulled his big ugly head down at the bit, pulled me forward out of the tack and I slid right off down his shoulder. Thud! Right in the dirt.

I wasn't much hurt, but humiliated (it was a group lesson) and filthy. I did get back on. He did trot. And that was the last time I fell off of Dalmatian.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Goal: met and exceeded! and Day 4 of 30 Day Horse Challenge: A ride that impacted your life

Remember I said I had a goal last week that by Friday I'd be riding the exercise bike during my physical therapy session? Well, the therapist put me back on the bike on Monday and with the seat way up high I managed to gingerly get the full rotation of my right knee! It hurt, I had to compensate and we used no resistance but I did it! By this past Friday I was riding the bike at a comfortable seat height and making full rotation with very little pain! Yesterday I rode it pain free and even worked in a bit of resistance!

I saw the orthopedic surgeon today. He seemed pleased with my progress in just 2 weeks. But he wants more. Before he'll consider surgery, he wants full range of motion back in the knee. So he said he will see me in another 2 weeks and more PT for me.

Day 04 - A ride that impacted your life.

Well, in a lifetime spent in the saddle, this is hard. There are so many rides that I could say impacted my life. My first pony ride. My first riding lesson. The first horse I owned. My first horse show as a 10 year old (won a second place in Maiden equitation). All the rides in all the classes at all the horse shows.

A great ride was some of my most creative solutions that won me ribbons in the show ring, especially in the hunt seat equitation classes. So many experiences. The trail rides, the horse shows, the lessons, the schooling, the hacking, the dressage tests, the hunter paces, the fox hunts.

The fox hunts. Those were a blast. I was only fortunate enough to be a guest about 3 times with friends who were members of our local hunt but every ride was thrilling. I remember the first time I hunted, my friend asked if it would be okay if I rode first flight with him as he was one of the Masters. I will never forget the response from one of the other Masters, "well, all right, if you think she can keep up."

Ha! Not only did I keep up, afterwards, I was asked if I'd considered hunting and would be interested in joining the hunt.

Good times. I was some kind of rider back then. I was hoping with the right horse to finally return to fox hunting, although at this age I'll settle for riding second flight for awhile but everything has just gone wrong. I hope I will ride well enough again to not have to give this one up.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

So, you want to buy a horse?

I came across this today. This is funny, but sad because it is often true.

Oh, and if that's what she's charging for board, I wanna board there, too!