Bittersweet

In my last post I alluded to the fact that I am currently horseless and mentioned that the past few months have involved a lot of tears. “A lot of tears” might actually be an understatement – I’ve accessed quantities of tears that I honestly didn’t know I possessed.

The last time I wrote about Marley directly, I was leaning toward shipping him out to NJ. I was admittedly a little anxious about it – I wasn’t sure what my schedule might look like if or when I got a NYC-based job, and I was hesitant to bring him into a completely new climate knowing there was a good chance that I might only see him once or twice per week. So there was that, and then as I started getting really serious about planning, there was also the crushing financial reality of living in NYC. My husband and I are actively saving to buy, uh, a shack or whatever we can afford in this ridiculous area, and at some point there might be kids on the horizon, and there’s also the general concept of Being Responsible and saving money. If you’re reading this blog you probably don’t need me to tell you that horses in general are like digging an enormous pit, then depositing a chunk of your paycheck directly into said pit and setting the whole thing on fire. Bottom line – before I pulled the trigger on booking Marley a one-way trip to the East Coast I took a deep breath, put my Adulthood pants on, and really looked at how much it was going to cost.

Spoiler alert: it was going to cost a shitload of money and consume a ridiculous number of hours per week.

Between board, assumed farrier and vet care, training, etc. the dollar$ added up really fast.

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but for real, kill me.

Layer on top of that the insult of having to drive across the island of Manhattan and vomit tolls in the general direction of the Port Authority every time I go to the barn, things begin to look a little bleak. Layer on top of that the fact that I would likely only see him twice a week, didn’t have a ready lease situation on the East Coast, and was concerned about him adjusting to mud, humidity, [insert horrific weather situation here]. Layer on top of that and that the fact that driving to the barn would often be a 2+ hour battle and result in a 5-hour minimum roundtrip excursion…

As you’ve probably guessed, I made the decision to put feelers out and see if I could find that perfect home in California.

I’ll be totally honest – a big chunk of me was hoping that I wouldn’t find that home and I’d be “forced” to bring Marley out here in the spring, try to find a half leaser, put him into training, whatever – just make it work. I didn’t post his ad aggressively or really actively seek out buyers – I just put a listing back on the CANTER site and figured we’d see what happened.

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❤ you, M.

For a while nothing happened, and the horse crazy girl in my head was cheering loudly, starting to anticipate that I’d just bring him East in a few months. But then… the perfect situation came along. Totally out of the blue and something of a happy accident, but it was love at first sight for her, and after speaking with the potential new Marley’s Mom I knew she’d give him the most incredible life.

I held it together fairly well until this weekend, when Marley made the trip to his new barn. Reading updates about how the move was going and scrolling through pics that his new mom sent me was tremendously bittersweet. I have absolute confidence that Marley will be well cared for, loved, and ridden in a way that is perfect for him.

I’m so thrilled for his new owner and for him. I’m so thankful that I was able to dip my toe back into horse ownership with my big red monster.

I’m also more than a little heartbroken. What’s right isn’t always what’s easy.

 

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2017 Goals

It’s a requirement if you have a blog to write something about goals at the beginning of each year, right?

2017

Blog or not, I have been thinking a lot about my plans for 2017. The past 12 months have included a ton of change and while a lot of it has been rather painful and involved me sobbing on the couch (more on that in a later post… I’m looking at you, Marley!), I am consciously trying to focus on the opportunities that lie ahead.

Part of the reason I’ve struggled since moving back to NYC is that in some ways I feel as though I lost my horse-y identity. I of course enjoy taking lessons and spending any and all time at a barn – but I’ve come to get a tremendous amount of satisfaction and pride out of horse ownership. Obviously I knew this was a big part of my life, but I underestimated what a gaping hole it would leave. It’s been a challenge to find a new normal and start to navigate what my horse life can and should look like now.

All that said, I’m so happy to have found an incredible trainer and supportive, fun barn community. I have to drive a bit further than I would like to visit them, but it’s worth it! With that in mind, this year I’m hoping to:

  • Lesson 1x / Week
    • I would love to lesson more like twice per week but I’m starting a new job and am not sure what the realities of that schedule are going to be. For now, committing to getting to the barn for a lesson one day per week seems both reasonable and enough to ensure that I at least won’t slide too far backward in my riding.
  • Ride anything and everything
    • I’ve sort of been getting my sea legs at the new barn, but eventually I hope to be able to hack out in addition to taking official lessons.
    • While I’m bummed that I’m not currently a horse owner and am missing out on that long, slow burn of partnership building that is so incredible – I want to take advantage of this opportunity to ride a whole variety of horses.
  • Participate in at least one event or schooling show
    • Dressage show, combined training, actual event – I’m not going to be picky with this one because I don’t, um, currently have a horse. But that’s cool! I’ll find one somewhere along the way and hopefully get off property at least once.
  • Move them hips!
    • I have tight hips. Really tight hips. It’s a family curse and gets worse when I’m not riding regularly. New trainer has been great about giving me exercises to push me here, and I need to stay focused on maintaining that independent seat. I know I’m older than I once was, but I also know that I did at one time have a fantastic seat — so it’s possible!
  • Maximize out-of-saddle fitness
    • Given previous goals and comments about not getting as much riding time as I’d like… when I’m not riding I want to work on my fitness in a very focused way.
    • #1 – Cardiovascular fitness, aka running. Running is the second best thing for my brain after sticking my face in a horse’s neck. Need to do this 3x per week.
    • #2 – Core? What is core? My legs and arms are really strong, like freaky, not-totally-feminine strong. My core? Notsomuch. I’ve made progress here thanks to pilates and a horrifying torture class called BodyBurn – need to commit to 2 workout a week that really target my core and riding muscles.

Back on the, uh, horse.

Happy New Year! It’s been a busy and eventful couple of months. I’m hoping to update this space much more regularly now that we’re through the holidays and settling into a NYC-based routine.

I haven’t been able to ride quite as much as I’d like but I’ve made progress toward building a little bit of a life on the East Coast, which at this point is probably more important. I’m also feeling optimistic about the plan for 2017 in terms of maintaining involvement with the horse world in a way that is manageable.

Yesterday I had a lesson with my new trainer on a horse named Moo. He’s very appropriately named:

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I’ve ridden this guy maybe 4 or 5 times now and while he is really different from anything I’ve sat on in the past few years, I kind of love him. He’s getting up there in years, is a little creaky, tends to hang on the bit, and doesn’t let you get away with much – but he is sweet and honest and has a lot of spunk. And spots! How can you not love the spots?

More soon!