Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Full Trip Recap. LONG. (with photos!)

So.  Here is the long format of the trip recap, all organized and neat by days.  :)


The Sprinkler Bandit and I got through our respective workdays, hustled through respective packing and corgi-wrangling, and I arrived at her place around 1:15.  After some creative stuff-management that resembles the Wolf, Ducks, and Grain On A Boat puzzle, we got the rental car sorted out and loaded up.  It's a seriously swanky economy car, actually, a Chrysler 200.   It has an analog dash clock, even.

Oooo, swanky

I say! What time is it, old chap?

And off we went in the general direction of Bend, OR.  The drive was entirely uneventful, which was a good thing.   We discovered the fun and helpfulness of the talking GPS on TSB's magic talking box, too.  Eventually we decided that the box needed a name.  She has this slightly peeved sound when you take a wrong turn or do something she doesn't expect, and we got into a discussion of whether James Bond would ignore his GPS if he had one.  I posited that he does do so all the time -- he has M, who sounds like the GPS and is in charge, and he ignores her whenever it's convenient for him to do so.   Ergo, TSB's phone and GPS is now christened M.

M got us to the hotel in Redmond with no problem, where we unloaded the bags and the riding gear (gotta clean it, yknow, make a good impression), then got some much-anticipated dinner, then went back to the hotel to clean leather and watch as much of the Olympic opening ceremonies as we could.   We crashed around 11.  


Turns out the sun rises REALLY early in that area of Oregon.  TSB and I both woke up several times thinking we had slept through the alarm and were LATE!, only to discover that it was ungodly early and we could sleep a while longer.  Sheesh.

The drive from Redmond to Sisters was gorgeous, and M did a great job getting us where we were going.  Time to try the pony!   As a reminder, I had expected the pony to be interesting, but I wasn't expecting to adore him or hate him ... kept an open mind.

"So, you're a pony. How's that working for you?"  
"Swag, baby, swag."

The pony's owner and her mom were SO nice!  The pony was adorable and funny.  Little bit rotten with the ground manners, but it didn't seem like something that couldn't be dealt with after a few knock-down-drag-out pony vs. human fights.  :)   His owner rides very nicely, and the pony went great with her.  I had some inklings from the outset that this might not be the thing -- he's "exciting and fun," a very different ride from the owner's other horse, a steady-eddie, 21 year old thoroughbred schoolmaster.   Hmmm ...   TSB loved him from the start, thinking he'd be a great ride for her, and knowing that that meant that I probably wouldn't love him.  :)   

Saddle fit, when I got on him, was completely wrong.  It put me in a chair seat I couldn't get out of!  I couldn't feel the pony under me.   Which is ridiculous, because he was a lot of pony.

I seem to be headless and riding a saddle, not a
pony.  Wonder which is worse?
So we got my saddle out and changed the gullet to fit the pony.  Incidentally, that was some of the best advice TW gave me: take your own saddle along.  Thanks, TW!!   

Back to riding the pony. I think we just didn't speak the same language, as it were.  He's used to going on a looped rein, and his owner is significantly taller than me.  He kicked out and crowhopped some, just at the trot, pretty much just being a pony who knows what he likes and not getting it from his rider.  I decided this wasn't my ride.   Wonderful pony for a brave kid or someone who likes the fast pony ride, but not what I need.   So we said our thanks and goodbyes and turned toward Spanaway, WA to see the next horse.

I would absolutely recommend Miko to anyone who's looking for a spunky pony, though.  Nice people, cute pony, and nothing wrong with him.  Just not for me.

Thanks, pony!
M got us on the road to Spanaway, and boy did she choose a gorgeous drive for us!  :)  We went through Sisters, through some national forests, and past some amazing vistas.  I absolutely love living in the West, I tell you.   The trees in OR and WA can get a little claustrophobia-inducing for Idaho scruffies, used to being able to see their road way in front of them, but still.   Unspeakably beautiful.   I wanted to stay and relax for a week or two.

We arrived at Signature West Farms right at 5.  Alygator, an 11 year old thoroughbred, was waiting for us in the aisle, getting tacked up by a working student.   

Gator!  Not-old red guy with the awesomest
hatchet/knife-looking blaze.
Shannon at SWF is very very nice.  She was straightforward and pleasant and altogether good to talk and work with.   The horses seemed comfortable and the area was nice.

Oh, you wanted to hear about the horse?  Right.

He was quiet and calm in the cross-ties, very sweet and interested in cuddles.  I noticed he had a very odd conformation in his hind end, a high and short croup with a weak loin.  He kind of looked under-conditioned in general. The working student got on him first, although apparently that came as a surprise?  Shannon talked about how he comes out stiff and works out of it; I'm prepared for that and don't mind.   He was stiff, and he worked out of it. Working student jumped him over a bunch of stuff up to about 2'9, and he was good.

My turn -- starting in my own saddle this time, which fit fine -- and as soon as I got on him, I thought "ooooh.  I LIKE this one."  Walk, trot, canter ... yep, I liked him.  I got what I asked for when I asked for it.  His gaits were comfortable to me, if a bit short; and short is okay at first.

Canter; I'm shortening my reins here.
I swear I ride better than this.

A better trot, if inverted.

And then on to the jumping.   I put him over a little cavaletto, and he was totally fine.  So I took him over some cross rails, and it was ... was ... FUN!!   I wanted to find more jumps to jump!  So I did.  Vertical, brush box, more cross rails.  Nothing higher than 2' this time, but fun.  I never felt threatened or run away with, and he kept a lovely rhythm between fences.  He took a long spot, chipped in, and I still went with him.  I haven't felt that great over fences in a LONG time.  Certainly not a bunch of fences all run together.  ;)

Here are some videos:  

Then I took him around a little walking path at the barn.   He wasn't keen on the big dumpster that was positioned so it looked like a giant hole in the ground from where we were, but that's okay.

Whew, we're past the scary dumpster

So we helped groom him, said our goodbyes, and headed on out to stay over with Pia's and Prairie's Mom, where we'd meet Wildponybeast and Supermom and P2's husband.   What an awesome group of people!   Everyone was so gracious and kind, and I got introduced to cucumber spears with lime, salt, and cayenne and to candied bacon.  NOM.  I look forward to going out there sometime when I'm not distracted by horse shopping and getting to socialize properly!     I crashed out before TSB or P2 did, and I spent a blissful night sleeping.


The rest of the house got up early, either to get ready for a show or just because, and I slept until the alarm went off.  Bliss!   TSB and I headed out to catch the first class at P2's show and meet her giant marebeast.  The giant marebeast is SO gorgeous!  Beautiful!  Impressive!  Noble!  And HUGE!   She trotted politely around her hunter course, and we said our goodbyes and thanks, and headed out to see Mambo, the Standardbred/Paint cross.  

The farm he's at, Traumhof Dressage, is beyond words.  Utterly beautiful, idyllic, and absolutely the fulfillment of a dream.  100% amazing.  And then some.  The trainer is nice, and professional.  The seller/owner was kind and friendly.  Mambo himself was handsome, well-behaved, and obviously cared for impeccably.   

Y halo thar.

He was a lovely mover, lovely horse, even with some spooking and concern about his very terrifying owner in the corner.  :)   When the trainer went to jump him, he stopped to inspect the cross rail the first time, then jumped with great enthusiasm thereafter.  That cross rail was NOT going to leap up and bite him, and he was  going to JUMP it, by God.   When I got on, we discovered that he doesn't quite understand aids that happen from on top of the saddle pad.  ;)   I am very short, y'see.  But once we got the canter aid figured out, things went nicely!   He's so on the bit.  So different!    

It's easier to look good riding when the horse is nice ...

Jumping him wasn't as fun as jumping Gator, at all.  And Mambo's gaits, although beautiful, were a little bit jackhammer-esque.   All this adds up to me not loving him as much as I expected to.  Not as much as I loved Gator.  This shocked me no end.  On paper, Mambo is everything I should like.  And Gator ... isn't.  And yet.

Anyway, so after riding Mambo, we headed out to Olson's to experience big-city tack shopping.  :)  Neither TSB nor I bought much -- a bit for her and a bit sizer and spur straps for me -- but it was nice to shop in the amazing store.   Meanwhile, I'd talked to TW about Gator, telling her what I thought and asking advice on what to do next.  Advice was to try him in as close a situation to cross-country as I could, so I put in a call to Shannon seeing what we could arrange.  

And then off to lunch, and to meet TSB's longtime friend and the friend's BF and his small daughter.  I suspect the pizza place had to milk the cow, make the cheese, grind the wheat, et cetera, based on how long everything took.   Good folks, though -- the friend and her BF were funny and kind, and the daughter was remarkably smart and engaging!   

A second ride on Gator was arranged, albeit just in a pasture at his barn because no close XC course was open.  Bummer.  But yay for riding again!  I got to warm him up this time, and I got to feel his stiffness and when he worked out of the worst of it.  Then, on to jumping!

I ride his canter decently
I ride his very short, inverted trot decently
I took him out to the pasture to try him in open space next.  The pasture was pretty rocky, so I chose not to do much in the way of speed.  There was one moment when a couple of dogs came charging up toward the fence, barking quite aggressively, and Gator spooked to the right ... I went ACK PANIC, until I realized that nothing was happening.   Um, okay, let's go on then.  :)   He was a very good boy.  Ridable and kind.

Horse R gud?   Yes, horse R gud.
(I think this might be my favorite picture of the set)
 We untacked, took some conformation shots, skritched, and then headed on out to take TSB's friend back to her place and then get on the road for home.

I has bad hind end, I know,
but maybe I can has person of my own anyway?

Oooh, teh skritchiez

 All I will say about the drive home was that it was long and tiring and happened later than I planned it to, but sometimes ya roll with it.   We rolled in around 3:15 and reversed the car rental/stuff puzzle, and I finally got home around 4:30.  Hungry and tired beyond words, but happy that we had a great trip!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Recap in bullets

Briefly - more soon, but wanted to jot a few thoughts down:

  • Excellent trip. Very successful and fun. TSB is a great road trip companion. 
  • Met some wonderful people, to whom I will link soon. I am so grateful and happy to have met them!
  • As for the horses, not a single one was what I expected.  I didn't love the one I expected to adore, hated one I expected to be meh on, and adored the one I expected to be terrified by. 
  • The description of my ideal horse turns out to be very similar to what I adored - substitute chestnut thoroughbred and 11 years old, and you have Gator. Shock!
  • Lovely tack shop, that Olson's. 
  • I love living in the West. Majestic shit, y'all. What a great place to be a native of. 
  • I haven't pulled an all-nighter in 13 years or so. Don't think I will do it again if I can avoid it. 
  • I think I might rename Gator. I get why he's named what he is, being an Alydar grandson, but I just don't like it. We'll see. Current name in mind: Rubico, barn name Red.  Expansion on this later. 

Now, lunch and work and getting corgis. :)

Friday, July 27, 2012

Like a white rabbit, running around

So much to do, so little time!

Work, pack, dishes, load corgis, go to barn, leave corgis, get saddle and saddle cleaner, go by store for soda, water, cookies, and a USB adapter for the car, maybe eat, go to TSB's, sort out rental car, get everything loaded, and head out.   I have an audio book for the trip when we get tired of horse-geeking.  And plans.  Lots of plans and directions.

Sounds SO simple ... and it really kind of is, but still.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Riding the old red guy and a bonus

Well.  Yesterday evening was fun, instructive, and very, very hot.

I should point out right now that TSB was correct: I definitely needed to get on Cuna and see what that ride felt like, if only for a reference point.   I really did need to get on a non-Reveille horse.    And as it happens, I got on TWO non-Reveille horses.  :)    MT and TW were also correct about the sort of horse I'd like.   I'm thinking that putting horse hunting in TW's hands might be a brilliant idea, but it's not like she's dead busy or anything.  ;)    Anyway, on with the story:

We got Cuna and Corvi, the new schoolie mare that TSB was riding, tacked up and sorted out, and headed down to the arena, where Cuna and I proceeded to walk, trot, canter, and hop over a tiny crossrail while Corvi and TSB watched and coached.   I didn't get any pictures, but I think TSB did get a couple.  None of me on the giant red guy, though.

That might have been because I was SO uncomfortable and out-of-place on him, though.   Walk and trot went well.  Cuna was patient and had this feeling of rolling his eyes the whole way through -- "oh good grief, another deranged monkey on my back.  Great." -- but was cooperative.   His canter, though ... yoiks!  Indeed, it felt so very different.  :)   MUCH faster than Rev's.  I felt like I had a lot less control.   I did NOT like it, Sam I Am, did not like it at all at first.  TSB poked and prodded me into doing more and more canter transitions, and things got much better as time went on.  After a while, I felt like I could actually make it work if I were to invest time and effort ... but Cuna wouldn't be my first choice of ride.  Especially when jumping -- I got the "clinging like a deranged monkey" thing going pretty well.  :)

However!  TSB pointed out that the fact that I came out, hopped on a huge unfamiliar horse, and went walk-trot-canter-jump was (my word: slightly) impressive in the first place, so I didn't feel quite as bad about not clicking with him in the least.  ;)   And after the jumping, I was D. O. N. E. done.  Hot, sweaty, a little nauseated ... heh, I should have drunk more water at work.  So I pulled the ripcord and said no more until I've gotten some water and cooled down a little.   TSB was teh awsomest and went and got water while I sat in the shade and boiled.

She also handed me the reins to Corvi, who was happy to stand in the shade and be cute while I boiled and drank.  TSB had said how little she likes to ride Corvi and how unattractive she thinks Corvi is ... heh.  I thought she was utterly adorable and funny.  Granted, she doesn't have a pretty head like Cuna, but she has the cutest roaning on her eyebrows and has such a nice expression.   She's not nearly as tall as Cuna, maybe 15.2 or 3, and a dark bay.   Some sort of warmblood, 14 years old, and intended to be a schoolie for TSB's teacher.  So Corvi and I sat and talked and drank water.

Since Cuna unsettled me so much, I ended up hopping on Corvi for our short trail ride.

Can you see where this is going?

Yeah.  I <3ed her.  She was calm and polite and didn't intimidate me one bit.  She even came down and onto the bit, even though I was stuck in a really crap saddle and couldn't really use my leg or weight.  She was supposed to be a kick-on ride, but I didn't find her too bad at all.  Of course, this was on a trail, so it might be different in the arena.   We did a little canter, even, and that was fun!  Trot was easy and comfortable, she wasn't too stiff laterally, etc.  And she has funny huge mare ears.  :)

I need to find out if she's for sale, and ride her a little more ...   I swear, if she ends up being the surprise perfect horse and I buy her, TSB will kill me, and then we will laugh ourselves sick.   I am -- as usual -- trying to not get my hopes up.

So yeah.  TSB took pity on overheated me and whisked the tack off the horses and rinsed them while I drank another couple of liters of water.   I knew there was a reason I ride in the indoor when it's this hot!  It's out of the sun!!  I can cope with hot, or sun, but not hot + sun + not enough water.    We fed and tidied, and then off to Sonic for a very cold slushie.  :)

An instructive evening!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Exciting, peeves, and ideal

Exciting: I get to ride the old red man tonight!   This ought to be fun.  I haven't gone on a pure trail ride in ... ages.  Love it!

So.  I have been looking at a LOT of horse ads lately.  And I've developed some serious pet peeves regarding ads.  I know you're dying to hear what they are, too:

Advertising your horse as BEAUTIFUL or LOVELY or AMAZING.   Look, people, all horses are beautiful.  They're horses.  Some are more beautiful than others, but a kind eye and a willing expression go a long way.  Saying that your horse is beautiful is completely un-useful to someone shopping for a sport horse!! I don't care if your beast is green with purple spots and only has one leg if it's rocking around Training courses and is safe!   I will look at it and try it and if I feel safe and we click, I will buy it.  So instead of talking about how lovely and amazing and beautiful and what a looker your horse is, start with what your horse can DO.

Advertising that your horse can jump when you've only done cross-rails and ground poles in a halter.  Granted, this is enough for some disciplines.  However, it's not accurate to call that horse a jumper.  

By the same token, "eventing" means the Olympic discipline of three-day eventing.  Specifically.  It doesn't mean "some events at 4-H or rodeos."   It means dressage, sometimes endurance, cross-country, and showjumping.  All in the same weekend.   Sure, all a horse needs to have potential to be a competent eventer is soundness and bravery, but that doesn't MAKE a horse an eventer.  There's training involved.

By the same token again (this token is getting a lot of use), "good gaits" does not mean what you think it means.  It doesn't mean the horse walks, trots, and canters.  That's great, but ... is the gait pure?  Is the horse obviously lame?!  Is the canter clearly three-beat?  Does the walk overtrack?  Is there suspension in the trot?   Are the gaits free, forward, and easy to watch and to ride?    

It's a little disingenuous to post a video and plaster "This rider has never ridden this horse before!" all over it when the rider is skilled and experienced.  MT or TD can get on a horse they've never seen before in their lives and make the horse look amazing.   

And so on.   I like an ad to have a good picture of the horse doing whatever it is it's advertised to do, a description of the horse's experience, a bit about its temperament, and all the pertinent details -- height, age, breed, color, etc.  If a horse has a particular vice like cribbing, I'd like to know up front.  I can deal with cribbing and weaving and whatnot, but it's good to know going in.

If I were going to describe my ideal, fantasy-world horse, it would be a 15.2 red or black leopard spotted Knabstrupper gelding, maybe 14 years old, with a kind, calm temperament that could take a joke and be patient, confidence-builder, has evented up to Prelim, is ready to drop down to BN-N-T, is sound but might need some basic maintenance like hock injections or Adequan, can rock the dressage while not giving away the ride, isn't spooky on XC, is careful in showjumping, and enjoys his job as an eventer!    All that and is in my price range, too.  ;)

Note that I said this would be in a fantasy world.  ;)   In the real world, I'll take anything between 14.2 and 15.3, any breed that isn't an Arabian or Saddlebred, any color, mare or gelding, any age between about 10 and 18 but not firm if the right horse came along outside that range, experienced in eventing and ready to give a confidence-building ride, and isn't spooky. 

The level of soundness isn't negotiable, though.  I'm willing to do maintenance, even a little rehab like KR did with Brego, and I don't have a problem with some arthritis.  But navicular or other impending lameness is a deal-breaker.    If I get on and I feel like I'm on a lit but not exploded ACME rocket, a la Wile E. Coyote, that's a deal-breaker too.  

Basically, something sound, experienced, with the right blend of chill and forward, and with that inexplicable CLICK factor.  In my price range.   :)

Monday, July 23, 2012

Next steps

So.  I am still sad and still have moments of "Oh my God, what have I done?!", but I am moving forward mentally and emotionally.  I've ridden little Rhett a few times while I've been home (went to Houston to visit family this last weekend), and I'm ready to go try horses this coming weekend!   I'm trusting that Reveille is in a good home and that they'll figure her out.  And that there's something awesome coming down the pike for me too.

Little Rhett!

Also, thank you all for your kind comments, here and in person, and support.  I am so grateful to hear from you -- it helps to know other people have been there and understand.

So The Sprinkler Bandit (and maybe Ellie, and we're planning to meet Vera's Person and Pia's Person and someone who doesn't have a blog) and I are heading west and north on Friday.  :)   There are three candidates for the position of My New Horse so far that make the cut between "interesting ad" and "I must try this one!"   In order of when we'll see them, here they are (and I'm trusting that nobody is going to snap them up before I see them this weekend!!):

Miko, a 14.2, 13 year old Haflinger gelding that has started eventing and appears to really like it.   He's unspeakably adorable, as Haffies tend to be.   Pros:  Good size, good age, good breed, likely to be sound, has some experience in eventing and plenty of experience in the hunter/jumper ring.   Cons:  Might not dressage as well as some, might not be able to afford him, could be a little too drafty-type of a Haffie.   TW says "Interesting!  Worth a look."  I'm really excited to ride him and see how he goes.     His DreamHorse ad is here.

Gator, a 15.3ish, maybe?, 12ish maybe? Thoroughbred gelding that has been eventing with TSB's teacher and her clients for a good while and is now at a hunter/jumper barn to be sold.  Handsome fellow for sure and has gone Training.   Pros:  Known quantity -- owned and ridden and trained by friends and even tried by another friend when she was looking for something to buy, proven ability/track record, almost certainly affordable, supposed to be utterly calm and unflappable, nice forward.   Cons:  Friend who tried him thought he was kind of spooky/looky in the xc field, hasn't sold in a year or more of being for sale, might be too tall for me, might need careful maintenance to keep weight on, current trainer said something about him being sore in the back, might be too quick for me, TSB's trainer says he moves a little like a sewing machine.    I'm definitely interested in riding him and seeing if we click.  I would love to come out saying OMG I LOVE HIM! but I am not counting on it either.  TW has heard less promising things, but I'm keeping an open mind.

Mambo, a 15.3, 16 year old Standardbred/Paint gelding that's been a dressage horse for the last few years but evented successfully up to Training (recognized) and maybe Prelim (unrecognized) several years ago.   I am actually most excited about this one.  I am trying very very hard to not get my hopes up.  I'm actually a little worried to even post about it, in case I jinx something!   (No, self, jinxes do not exist, if it's meant to be it will be, don't get any preformed notions.)  Anyway, his video and pictures are very very promising.  MT and TW agree that he's cute and I should try him.   Pros:  Proven experience, is absolutely capable of doing what I want to do eventing-wise, can rock the hell out of the dressage, likely to be sound, kept in consistent work and maintenance, well trained, not likely to be the sort to bolt around, almost certainly affordable.   Cons:  A little older and might need maintenance (almost certainly needs hocks injected), might be a little tall,  might be rusty as far as jumping goes, especially xc, but when I suggested that horses don't really forget going Prelim MT looked at me over the top of his glasses and said firmly "NO. They don't. I mean, would you?"     Overall, this looks like it could work, if I like riding him and he vets acceptable.  His DreamHorse ad is here.

And what's more, TSB is going to let me ride her mean-ass bastard horse this week too!!   Heehehehe.  I can't wait -- I must experience the most amazing horse she has ever ridden.  :)   Plus, she's so right in her reasoning for letting me ride him: he's a different ride from anything I've ridden in umpty years, and it'll be good for me to hop on a TB and know what to expect before we go shopping.  And since he's ENORMOUS, and I'm used to much smaller horses, it'll be a good experience for me to be way up there.  Nothing I'll see this weekend will seem big compared to Cuna.

I swear.  I have awesome friends.  :)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


In entirely unsurprising news, I can't sleep.  Here's why:

It's official: Reveille is going to be an EhCapa horse.  Her little girl and the girl's grandma picked her up this evening and took her straight to EhCapa practice.  I'd gotten her out a while early and spent some time just grooming her and petting her, giving her treats ... just saying goodbye, basically.   And a good thing I did, too -- as soon as the kids got there, Rev was just covered in petting and kisses.  

The grandmother mentioned that on the way over, the littlest girl was thinking out loud about how people kind of come and go in their lives, and it's sad, and even mommies and daddies come and go ... but horses stay and they're your friends forever.  

I think I heard my heart crack at  that.  Partially because my horse is going away, but partially because I am thrilled that the little sister, the brother, and the little girl are so utterly smitten with Rev.  Even the boy was petting and smooching.  :)   All of which Reveille definitely deserves, of course; just ask her!  Grandma said that Rev is going to be the little girl's best friend ... which is hugely important, because the little girl has a pile of risk factors against her.   I hope and pray that Rev will be that friend and that steadying influence for her, a reason to stay in school and keep out of trouble.   That's one of the highest, best things horses do for people, I think -- they give us a reason to fly right.  Here's hoping and praying for Rev and her new family.

I think the little girl will have some adjustment to do with handling Rev on the ground; when they went to load her up (last place in a four-horse slant, so no worries for Rev there -- except the big water barrel in the corner), the little girl kind of half heartedly led her onto the trailer.  Rev got two feet on and then the kid turned around and looked at her, expectantly ... nope, no dice.  There was no "leading" there, just a person holding a rope attached to her nose, so ... she waited.  Repeat with grandma, and I eventually helped out.  I didn't want Rev's first trailer to EhCapa to be traumatic!   So I took her by the lead and just ... walked her in the trailer.  You're with me, and we're going here.  Good girl.  :)  

It was a little heartbreaking on the trailer ...I gave her a pat and a hug, and she turned her head around to squeeze me into her neck.  I can't anthropomorphise too much here, but it really felt like she wanted reassurance that all was well, wanted to make sure I was there.  Which I will not be.   The fact that she trusts me to walk her onto a trailer -- or is trained to follow me where I lead, which is almost more likely -- is wonderful and heartbreaking all at once.   She trusts me -- and I sent her away.

But it's the right thing, in the end.  She will be so happy and so loved, and she'll do fun stuff.  She'll get to know the patterns better than her rider, and she'll take good care of her kid.   They'll call her Gypsy.  I don't know why, but it's okay -- I spent hours upon hours dreaming up names for my dream horse when I was eleven too.  I'm glad I could give another horse-crazy girl the chance to name her dream horse.

And I will find just the right horse for me, a BTDT horse who needs a soft landing or is on his way down the levels.  A horse that needs love and care and riding, but not too strenuous riding, and a fun job at lower level eventing.   And I'll probably give that horse a new name too, at least for show, unless the preinstalled name is really awesome.  :)

Now maybe I can sleep, having written that out.  I'm sad and happy and missing her already, but I'm not missing the anxiety over cross-country and stuff.   I love her very much and want the very best for her.  I hope this is it.   

Bye, swee'pea.  Love you.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Sad. Fun.

I've been quiet lately, mostly deliberately.  Selling Reveille is an emotional process -- I don't know if I've posted this here yet, but if I have you can just skip to the end.

Selling this horse I've had for five years, trained from not steering to jumping 2'6-3'0, fallen off of, loved, hated, and always cared for is really, really difficult.  It honestly feels like I'm getting a divorce.  An amicable divorce, but a divorce nonetheless.  Like, it's not you, it's me -- I love you but it's just not working any more -- I want you to be free to do something you'll love, and I need to be free to be confident kind of thing.   I feel like I'm betraying my little mare, selling her to someone who won't love her as much as I do, someone who might not take as good care of her as I do, et cetera.

At the same time, I'm really looking forward to a horse I feel confident on, a horse that's been there, done that and isn't going to be surprised by anything I present him with (within reason).  I'm really looking forward to feeling like a rider again instead of a pile of suck in a saddle.   And I want Reveille to be blissfully, blissfully happy too.  I think she will be, but ... it doesn't quite silence the sad voice inside me.

In the end, I am making the right decision, even if it hurts.   She won't hold it against me, I hope.  Horses live in the moment, right?


I'll know tonight if she's sold.

Meanwhile, I'm looking toward finding a new horse.  I have three strong candidates right now: a Haflinger, a Paint/Standardbred, and a Thoroughbred.   I think -- I hope -- the TB is going to be the best of the batch, but I am trying hard not to get my hopes up.   I'm headed out on a horse-trying trip with The Sprinkler Bandit at the end of the month to try these three horses.  We have this vague hope that we'll both end up with handsome chestnut schoolmasters and be able to make posts about OLD RED MADNESS.   Post pictures of us, our chestnut geldings, our awesome rides, and our ribbons.

But mostly the awesome rides.  :)

In the more immediate meantime, I have a catch ride: a barn friend's little Arabian gelding.  Hee.   I am so not a fan of Arabians in general, but this little guy is just sweet.  And fun to ride!  Very different from Rev, but fun.  So I will post pictures of little Rhett in the next days, just for fun.

And tomorrow I'll be scribing for the Test of Choice night -- fun fun!

Monday, July 2, 2012


Ah, the miracles of modern medicine!  The culprit was, as usual, sinus issues that dropped into my chest -- I got antibiotics and steroids from the minor emergency doc, and things are clearing RIGHT up!  Hooray.

I was feeling good enough to head out to scribe for a dressage show this last Sunday, which was fun.  It's a small, friendly show, and the judge was one I've worked with before and like quite a lot.  Her scoring is fair and consistent, and she's easy to scribe for.  The people are fun, nice horses, etc.

The yellow jackets I could have done without, but ... if I had to get stung, I was in the perfect situation: already taken allergy medicine and steroid for the day, I always carry Benadryl in my truck emergency kit, and there was an EMT on site who happened to have a bee sting pain reducer thingy.  Plus I didn't get stung a jillion times, which would have been Bad(tm).

Talked to a couple of people there about Rev being for sale, whether they knew anyone who was looking for a horse like her or if they had a horse like what I'm looking for available.

Er.  Did I mention Rev is for sale?  She is.  Long period of introspection and weighing pros and cons, and I came up with "sell beloved horse to person who will rock her socks off, buy been-there-done-that sort of horse to get me miles and confidence."   If you know anyone who's looking for a horse like Rev (meaning short, young, talented, and sane -- brave if her rider is), here she is on DreamHorse!   (Price negotiable, especially to good home.)  And if you know anyone who's got a reasonably priced BTDT eventer for sale, one who'll give a less confident but relatively capable adult ammy something to work with, let me know.

So today the farrier came out; I'd scheduled for 10 AM, but he thought we were at 11, so I got to sneak a ride in.  I'd not been on since last week due to being flattened by Teh Sik, so she was a little squirrely but honestly, not bad.  That made me quite happy.   So: new pedicure, I managed to drag the fly mask out from my tack locker where it'd fallen behind my drawer set, fly spray, sunblock on her nose, and decent ride.   I'll call this a win, yeah?