A horse of my own?

Alright, so it appears I’m long overdue for an update yet again. I’ve had a lot on my mind lately…

One giant decision that has been looming over my head concerns the new boy I’ve been riding – who might soon be under my guardianship. This is a huuuuge deal for me. Since I was a little girl I’ve always dreamed of the day when I could have a horse to call my own. And that day might be drawing quite close. In fact, I’m planning on getting him vet checked in the next week or two!

However, I think I ought to take a step back and fill the gap between my last post and how I ended up at this point.

So I stopped co-boarding Gordon because of the terrible facilities that were impacting my ability to learn and grow. I decided to spend some time riding my friend Rachel’s horse Dodge. I had visited her recently and had a short ride on him and fell in love!

Dodge is a TB with decidedly warmblood movements. He’s 12 years old and spent most of his career as an eventer. And in the month I’ve been co-boarding him, I’ve fallen head over heels.

So far, I’ve fallen most in love with him in saddle. On the ground, Dodge can be a bit headstrong and cranky. But because we have such phenomenal rides together, we’ve really been bonding quickly and forming more of an on the ground connection too.

IMG_5164

So why do I feel like Dodge could be THE ONE?

One of the top reasons why this horse feels right for me is because I trust him 100%. As anyone following my adventures will know, I suffer from Nervous Nancy syndrome (not just in the saddle, either!). It takes a looonnggg time for me to trust a horse. Often my fear and anxiety prevents me from really enjoying my rides. So having a horse that I trust almost right away is very rare and is a huge deal! I even jumped a small course on him the other day and really enjoyed myself. A partnership like this could mean A LOT of progress and enjoyment for both of us!

IMG_5675

I’m also going to be getting a great deal on him because he’s being sold to me by a good friend. Although, my friend and I have been butting heads a bit lately for a few reasons. So I’m hoping that our friendship can at least remain stable through the sale process! (Perhaps a post on this issue will be forthcoming).

The only problem with this new development is the timing. I’m beginning my first, real grown-up job in January. This job is a high-pressure role – I’m in charge of the visual identity of a large organization. I’m also finishing the last leg of my Master’s, so I’ll have to take one course per semester over the next year, while finishing my degree All that combined with raising a puppy, dealing with some boyfriend issues, and keeping my house semi-sanitary, means that I will be a verrrrryyy stressed girl for four months. (The summer won’t be so bad because I’m doing a laid-back directed reading and dealing with course material that I’ve already tackled in a class I audited last summer)

Ultimately though I think it’s worth having a few months of burn out and hair pulling in order to end up with a horse that’s a great fit for me in the long term. Dodge is currently boarded at a co-op barn, but I figure it might be a good idea for my sanity to keep him at a full service barn for at least these four stressful months. Then if I can’t make it out some days, he’ll at least be properly looked after. That, or I’ll need to find a co-boarder willing to help out in exchange for their rides (rather than a monetary thing).

What are your thoughts, dear readers? I think it’s worth taking the leap of faith and going for this horse that’s near perfect for me, even if the timing is less than 100% ideal. Let me know your thoughts though! This is my first stab at horse ownership, so any input from a more experienced horse person would be invaluable 🙂
IMG_5681

 

The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair – and big horsey life decisions

My first experience at the Royal re-affirmed a huge horse-related life decision that I’ve recently made.

Which brings me to major horse update #1/3: I’m no longer co-boarding Gordon.
If you’ve been following my blog at all, you’ll know that this is a really big decision – because I love that horse!

Now I originally wrote a really long post tonight, relaying each everything about this decision in detail. I decided to delete it though because I don’t want to write bad things about good people on the internet.

My coach, and Gordon’s owner, is a lovely, lovely person. Her only flaw, and the thing that was really highlighted at the Royal today/yesterday, is that she’s too optimistic. She makes promises that can’t be kept because she sees the world through glasses that are too rosy – she’s overly idealistic to the point that she convinces herself that unattainable goals can be achieved.

This wouldn’t necessarily be a big issue if we were in a situation that supported this type of idealistic thinking. But we moved to a barn that doesn’t have the facilities to support these types of aspirations. She keeps making promises that can’t be upheld by a place with no arena (not even an outdoor), and not enough co-riders for support/motivation.

Again, I won’t dwell too much on any messy details on the internet, but a few weeks ago it became clear to me that I needed to find a new horsey situation. I was no longer learning, and I didn’t even feel comfortable enough to want to ride most days at this new place – not a combination that leads to progress or fun.

Which leads to horse update #2:
A new coach with a great sense of humour, and a keen focus on how the rider’s position and influences the horse. She only takes on really serious riders, and is a lovely person. Can’t wait to share more about her lessons soon.

Last update of the night is horse update #3: My new friend
unnamed-1
However, I’m going to keep you in suspense about this boy for another 24 hours (mainly due to post-event tiredness).

Hope everyone’s having a great, equine-filled weekend!

Provincial Championships

I have so much to fill you all in on! It’s been a really hectic fall at work and I’ve barely had time to stay on top of my life, let alone record it. However, I miss blogging and writing and am committed to start relaying things better.

So here we go! To start, it’s essential that I fell you in on the highlight of my competitive riding career to date: attending the 2014 Ontario provincial championships in September.

The day of championships dawned ominous and stormy. On the way to the show grounds we heard and saw lightning. We were nervous the entire day was going to get called off for safety reasons. Luckily, the lightning stopped just in time for the day not to get scrapped.

Our warm-up started in the pouring rain, although we were lucky that it stopped in time for our first class – which was our best of the season! It was training level test 3, and it was the only time that we’d done that test at a show. We scored a 66.2% and tied for third among judges, coaches, etc. (I was accidentally registered in the open division – oops!)

Our second class was a lot less hot. We came in seventh and only scored a 59%. The ring was right next to where Gordon’s friends Merv and Maggie were stabled and he spent the entire test calling. On top of his lack of focus, I clearly wasn’t focussed either, as I started doing the wrong test! The judges didn’t even notice I was off-course, oddly enough. I had to stop to tell them!

Anyway, this second test meant that we were definitely knocked off the radar and didn’t stand a chance of winning any division titles for the year. However, my top score combined with my teammates’ top scores (my coach and her ten-year old daughter) meant that our team placed second in the province!

All in all, it was a pretty great first experience at champs, although I look forward to performing better in upcoming years. I really can’t complain though given how much we improved over the span of the season – all while schooling in just a grass ring! In our first test we performed even better than we had done in our schooling sessions. Quite an accomplishment in my books!

1959832_10154636291390198_7519412509855536769_n

10593204_10154636292175198_8742010340323743245_n

10485309_10154636290065198_3271911562975889885_n

10703943_10154636290965198_167619159047373739_n