Monday, November 29, 2010

Dear Santa -

Dear Santa,

Remember all those times when I was little how I always asked for a horse? Remember how I promised I'd take good care of it and would love it forever? In your vast wisdom of how children work, you always saw to it that I received one or two beautiful Breyer horses, knowing they were the most I could handle at that age.
You know what, Santa, I kept my promise. I still have those Breyer horses. Even after all the years of our imaginary adventures and playtime they are clean, unbroken and stored neatly in dustproof bags. And you know what? Now they are slowly returning to being cherished playthings for my own children.
So Santa, I know it's been years, but this time I'm going to ask for the same thing again but as an adult, and as an adult who has proven she can take care of a real, live horse.

Santa, would you please find me a horse for Christmas? Trying to find the right one by myself is so hard. I know if anyone can do it, it's you.

And I promise, I'll take good care of it and love it forever.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanks - for what?

Okay, yes, I'm thankful for the typical things. My family, my health, my job, my friends, etc.

As far as the horses go, I'm still thankful for my passion for them. My memories are filled with some of my greatest moments of joy from having horses in my life.

Unfortunately, that love comes with a dark, painful side, of which I have been "blessed" with far too much lately, in my own opinion.

So, be thankful if you have not had to walk the path I have over the past two years.

If you have been there, then I am thankful I'm not alone, and that I can be there for you with total understanding.

And thank you, if you've stayed with "A Good Horse" through all of this.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Animals in War Memorial

A day late but still worth checking out. I came across this site awhile ago and thought the monument was lovely. Animals in War Memorial The web page is an interesting read and gives information about all the animals who served their countries in conflict.

This painting of "Goodbye Old Man" by Fortunino Matania is one of my bittersweet favorites.

This is the accompanying poem from the same page by the Great War poet Henry Chappell (1874-1937) called "A Soldier's Kiss":

Crying now? I am.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Awkward moment...

I'm at the barn grooming Ruby before saddling up. Another boarder is also tacking up and getting ready for her lesson. We're having polite conversation as she's also a student of my trainer and she's going on about her lesson and the show she's going to this weekend. Then she asks me about Ruby. Seems his owner comes to the barn at odd hours because of her schedule so the only person most of the boarders have come to associate with him is me. I explain how I'm just half-boarding him and while our trainer would like me to take him to a horse show, I feel uncomfortable doing it as he's not my horse and besides, what I really want to do again is hunter paces and maybe fox hunting.

Then she says to me, "Well, have you considered getting your own horse?"

That just stung. A most awkward moment, to say the least.

I know it was said in ignorance, and I explained my circumstances with as little dwelling on my whole horse related drama as I could. What I wanted to do was stomp my foot and say -

"Yes, you stupid twit! I can't think of anything else BUT having my own horse again. As a matter of fact, trying to find a horse on the budget I've been left with has all but broken my spirit as well as my heart. So take your big, handsome horse and do him the justice and the courtesy of riding him correctly and loving him for more than blue ribbons and bragging rights!"

It sucks to be me.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Horse Show Ribbon Pillow

That's what I Googled. I want to gather up the little handful of ribbons Monty and I earned in our time together and have something meaningful done with them. I think I have enough for a pillow but will need to search thoroughly to be sure.

Has anyone reading this had a pillow made from their horse show ribbons? Who crafted it for you? Were you happy with the end result? What was the approximate cost? I'm looking for references, contact information and prices and would really appreciate any help from the horse blog community. I have found a few websites of people who do this but would also like some actual commentary from anyone who had one made.

BTW, the pillow above is an example taken from Show

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

My autumn

Still half-boarding Ruby. Going into my 4th month as a half boarder. I ride my 3 days a week and I live for my Thursday, Friday and Saturdays at the stable.

How fast do horses form friendships? Within a month, as soon as he heard my voice when I walked into the barn and talked with people, he'd pop his head out over the dutch door and nicker a greeting! I suppose my generosity with treats doesn't hurt, but he'll do it even if I have no treat on me. How nice to have a horsey friend to greet me again, even if he's a "borrowed" friend.

The changes in weather have made Ruby very stiff and creaky. His owner has him on supplements to help but old age and lots of miles will still have their effect. I spend many rides just hacking on a loose rein for a half-hour with lots of walking and short trot/canter sessions in between. It's still more than I was doing with Rugby but there's a different feeling here. I have great respect for an old schoolmaster, who has paid his dues and has earned the right to not have to work hard. I want to do more but feel guilty to push him.

Ah, but the days when I come to ride and he works out of his stiffness are so fun. Taking a jumping lesson again with my instructor and finding that I haven't lost my eye to a line or the thrill of a jump (even a little jump) is uplifting. The flying changes across the diagonal, the turns on the haunches to reverse, riding on no rein contact and using my seat and legs to do figure 8's and riding in the grass field or the trails and not having him spook at every strange thing make me appreciate over and over the gift that a well trained and seasoned horse is.

I'm such a sucker that after his owner had him body clipped, I bought a quarter sheet so I could still ride the old guy on chilly days and his back, hips and haunches would be warm and help keep him from feeling too stiff.

Two more horse prospects have come along, funny that they are both also red horses. There is a chestnut working on the school line that my trainer thought might be a good boy for me but then the horse started acting up in lessons and his opinion of the horse changed. I also went to look at a horse that is for sale locally. He's a young chestnut TB and is currently healing from a hoof abscess. He's very cute and I told the owner that when she feels he's ready to go back to work I'd love to come and try riding him.

I dream that a year from now, I'll be writing on this blog that I'm preparing to enter my first hunter pace with my new horse friend, and the crisp fall air and crunch of leaves will bring joy and excitement instead of such a feeling of melancholy.