Friday, July 29, 2011

Another Step Closer

I rode the horse again last night. It was much, much better. My nerves were more under control. My trainer stayed around for me in case I needed the assist but I did it all independently. I even mounted by myself at the mounting block!

Again, horse was a gentleman. All I wanted to do was walk and trot and that's what we did for a half hour. I was tired after that but he never put a foot wrong the whole ride. I was relaxed but "in the moment" and enjoyed it for the first time since I was hurt. The knee brace is clumsy but doesn't irritate me and even the metal bars don't get in my way.

By the time I dismounted, which I have found I can do since horse lets me kind of slide a little to slow the hop to the ground. There is no pain from the impact when I dismount, it's just my knee is stiff from being bent and then having to straighten when I come off.

So in 3 rides I've already begun adapting. After last night, horse got his first personal nickname from me, too. I just started calling him "Smoochy". It seems to fit since he's always standing with his lower lip drooping (very relaxed fellow) and he's such a sweet guy. I have a few "generic" nicknames that all horses get from me such as all geldings are called "buddy" when I'm working with them. Horse earned his own nickname.

Horse has a name but almost nobody calls him by it. I don't care for it and everyone seems to have their own name for him, anyway. A horse with no real name. I kind of like that. I have a name chosen for him. But won't share unless he is passed by the vet.

Making that call today. Yes, I'm having him vet checked.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Now what do I do?

In the past week I have ridden a horse, again.


With my knee brace on and my heart in my throat. I have never felt so scared on a horse before. All my years of riding especially those spent with my hot,hot,hot thoroughbred mare have taught me how to ride calm while I'm freaking inside so the ride looks good to those watching but I wish I felt that way.

What horse have I ridden? This is a sale horse that my trainer called me out of the blue about. The horse showed up earlier in the month as a sale prospect. Nobody was even thinking of me as a prospective buyer until somebody mentioned it. My trainer began paying more attention to this horse and noticed how bombproof he was. He wasn't sure if I was even interested in looking, but this horse has kind of landed out of the blue and seems like an opportunity I shouldn't ignore.

He called me about the horse again when he was at a horse show where they brought the horse for one of the barn girls to just try him and see what he would do. Seems the horse was cantering on the rail when the guy delivering soda drove up, parked his truck next to the fence and lifted the back door of the truck just as this horse went by. And the horse just cantered calmly past as the metal door rattled up loudly right next to him. So my trainer says please just come out to the barn and look at him while one of the barn girls rides him and if I think I want to try riding him then he'll help me get on (and get off, dismounting with one good knee and one unpredictable one is also scary.)

And I am a sucker. Both times I've ridden him he's been very sweet. He's a gelding, comfy as a couch to ride, 6 or 7 years old and a little under 16.2 hands tall with a nice chunky build. He seems broke well in the basics but still green. I'm the friggin' mess. Four months nursing my knee has left me out of shape and the nerves expended when I'm in the saddle just drain me more. I'm scared of something happening and this knee either getting messed up further or causing something else to happen and I get more hurt. What am I doing? I'm supposed to have knee surgery and then rehab and then consider riding again.

I am afraid to admit I like this horse. And if he actually passes a vet and we can negotiate the price where I'm comfortable then what? I buy a horse, ride him for a few weeks, have surgery and hope my trainer will get one of his girls to exercise him so he stays in "horse with a job" mode? Where the hell was this horse four months ago? I'd be headed toward my first hunter pace this fall if he'd shown up then and this unfortunate mess hadn't happened to me.

So what do I do? I am so conflicted. :(

And I'm headed to the barn to ride him again tonight.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Goodbye, Libertyville Saddle Shop

I just got an email that the Libertyville Saddle Shop in Libertyville, IL is going out of business. They are closing up shop and liquidating their inventory. Here is the ad: Libertyville Saddle Shop store closing

I'm kind of bummed about this. I always liked that shop. I've never been to the actual store but I enjoyed their catalog and have ordered many items from them in the past. At one time I even had a line of store credit with them! They always had a unique selection of tack and items that you just couldn't find anywhere else. They also had very reasonable and competitive pricing.

I will miss their catalog and it feels like one more door closing on my horsey past. If any of you are in the Libertyville, IL area, check out their liquidation sale and give this great saddle shop some business for the last time.

And for those of you who might remember Miller's Harness Company, I just learned one of their founders has passed away about a month ago. Joseph Miller, Who Sold Horse Tack to the Well-Heeled, Dies at 93 I remember Miller's in their heyday. Back in the day, my local tack shop, "The Saddle Shop" owned by a man named Bernie Cohen (and now also just a memory) always carried the latest from Miller's line. I never got to visit Miller's Manhattan store (but I did go to Kaufmann's a few times during college) but I have heard it was worth the visit.

Video may not have killed the radio star but the internet and the economy sure have beaten up the local equestrian retailer. At least I still have Beval Saddlery. Their Gladstone store is my Mecca.