Making grown-up decisions

I have sad news, folks. Ultimately, Dodge and I aren’t going to be long-term partners. Part of me is completely heart broken, but by the same token I know that I’m making the best possible decision.

Here’s why:
1. His owner decided she didn’t want to sell him, only full lease.
2. His owner is difficult to get along with.
I get along with literally everyone, I’ve almost never experienced conflict with anyone, and yet we butt heads near constantly. She’s the type of person that invites drama, and that’s not the best person to be connected to in such a close way long-term.
3. I switched bits.
Dodge was in a kimberwick when I started riding him, and things were perfect. I switched him out to a snaffle recently and he turned into a freight train: super heavy and difficult to slow down. This wasn’t necessarily a deal breaker on it’s own though, instead it just leads to…
4. I didn’t want to put in all the work that was required, just to have him taken away from me.
His owner is moving back to Calgary, and since she was still his owner, she would’ve called the shots. She would have been able to arrange for Dodge to be shipped out whenever it suited her, no matter the blood, sweat, and tears that I had invested in the horse. She started mentioning that shipping out west was cheaper than she thought, which was a red flag right away.
5. Dodge is a little older than my ideal horse.
Not that 12 is old – it’s not! But 12 is a bit old when he needs so much work (as point three revealed) and when he isn’t even my own horse. Plus, and most importantly, –
6. The timing was off. (Aka I don’t have enough time at this point in time).
I knew this from the beginning but I thought that if it was for a long-term partnership it would be worth the sacrifice and hair-pulling for six months. However, for a (presumably) shorter-term free lease, I won’t have the time to commit to proper, dedicated schooling until Dodge is 13. I also wouldn’t have as much time to visit and offer up TLC, which just isn’t fair to Dodge.
7. I need to focus on my career for the next year.
I’m entering into my first real grown-up role, and it’s a doozy. I’m going to be working in a marketing job that’s definitely not your average entry-level position. I’m thrilled and super excited, but I know from working in a co-op position there for eight months, that a lot of dedication and over-time will be required. Plus, my colleague (in a partner position) just announced he’s retiring in early January, so I’ll need to cover some of his workload too, and likely manage more co-op students than expected.
8. Not to mention finishing my Master’s degree.
On top of that, to finish off my Master’s I’ll need to take one course each term over the next year. Again, not conducive to spending time with a new equine partner.
9. My relationship is a little on-edge.
My boyfriend and I have had some issues lately (namely, his lack of life direction) and I just don’t want to acquire another responsibility during a slightly tempestuous time. If we break up, I’ll have to commit a lot more time and energy to my new puppy that I got a few months back. As is, he’s home a lot and is able to provide a lot of the care in terms of walks and training. I would need to cut back on barn time and prioritize puppy time for awhile if we had to go our separate ways.
10. I have a tendency to get stressed very easily.
So all of the above is naturally a recipe for complete and utter disaster.

So, as you can see, the situation with Dodge did not end up being the fit I was hoping for. I love that horse and I think we had the potential to be an amazing pair, but there were just too many factors that weren’t close to ideal. All of it combined to give me that nervous, anxious, bad stomach feeling for a number of days. My gut is usually (and literally) pretty good at telling me when a decision is not right.

My next plan of attack is to scale back on riding a little over the next few (chilly) months in order to not give myself a nervy b. I’m still going to ride, don’t get me wrong (couldn’t live without it), but I’m going to just take one or two lessons per week with my fantastic new coach on one of her mounts until life calms down with work/school.

At the same time I’m going to save up for my own horse since I’ll be earning a real salary and not leasing/co-boarding for the first time in a dog’s age. Next year at this time I’m hoping to find the fit that is right for me, while I continue to learn and improve my knowledge in and out of the saddle with Erica (the new coach).

As sad as it will be to see Dodge go (back to Calgary) on Wednesday, I know that I’m making the right choice for all parties. I still have to say that making grown-up decisions does suck sometimes. Having my own lovely horse (finally!) would have been so nice. One day!

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