Like a child hiding behind your tombstone

Ha, weird title but I liked it- from a song on my Spotify play list last week. As I mentioned earlier, this has just been a tough week for many in my personal life- my friend’s horse being euthanized with a broken leg, my one trainer has to put her beloved dog down on Wednesday as well, and just…. My heart aches for them. I have faced loss before, and I know how horrible and deep it is. Just so challenging.

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From last spring! 

I also had a marathon week of lessons for me and dear Oats! Kind of mixed too. Not like, over the moon amazing at all. But ok! He had a lesson with his beginner rider on Tuesday (he does not have to work that hard), and a jump lesson with me on Wed (we worked on canter-in bounce grid gymnastics, which was HARD work!) and then another jump lesson for me last night- I was sooooooooooo late, I got to the barn as my lesson was supposed to be ending… Great. I got stuck in a huge traffic jam for TWO HOURS. Eff my life. Fortunately my trainer was aware and waited for me, and my friend helped me tack up in a big rush and off we were!

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Remember this from last spring? SO good! 

I will admit to feeling super frazzled, ha. I was having trouble connecting with Oats, feeling rushed and really tired, and I haven’t been feeling well this week at all either, along with having trouble sleeping. = success?? Ha, no. I ate mane! I disconnected and misjudged a take off spot and just straight up jumped up his neck. At a crosspole. Facepalm.
Oats, while a fabulous teacher, will still make you work for it and he does not really give many freebies. Whoops!

I tried again and since he has a heart of gold, he was like, ah yes why didn’t you say so! Jumped perfectly.

He was however kind of lazy and tired last night, and combined with me being tired and frazzled, led to a lot of miscommunications, disconnects and breaking into trot! Argh!

Oh well, the exercise we worked on was really cool- lots of slicing jumps, and jumping an ‘arrow’ shape- both into the arrow, and with the arrow. Jumping into the arrow is interesting because it’s one narrow point! Have to be straight,  very straight. Oats had no problems with it 🙂

Dressage lesson tonight, and then Oats has his beginner lesson on Saturday as she had to do a make-up ride from the storm incident last week. Phew Oats! It is good that he is getting out every day though, because of the pretty bad weather we have had this winter the horses are not getting turned out- the paddocks are like slippery swamps.

Alone time

Took last night off from riding, to give Oats a day off, and I got a text from a friend asking if I was heading to the stables. I responded no, and I was immediately wondering what was up…My friends do look to/expect me there on Mondays but won’t text if I’m not, so I knew something was going down.

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Willie would let Oats disrobe him, and play bite face all day.

And it was. It was really bad. Our mutual friend’s horse, who had been recovering from a lameness (from a kick or something. X-rayed and everything, which were clear), had a broken leg.

😦

That is every horse person’s worst nightmare, along with colic, or what I had- when Oats choked and went into shock.

I was stunned. This is her horse, who I have known for 8 years. He is Oaty’s best friend, his horse neighbour, his buddy. He is my friend’s competition partner, her friend, her companion. They had their ups and downs- who doesn’t? But to have this happen, oh man.

Apparently he had a hairline fracture that did not show up on the X-rays, took a funny step, and BOOM! A broken leg. Everyone is just devastated. How terrible. Incidents like this really bring it home to me, to every horse person. Life is so fragile, and can change in an instant. Horses are not the everlasting, sturdy pains in the asses that we so often rely on. They break, sometimes forever.

It reminds me that the time I have with Oats is precious. I have been feeling that way more and more lately. A few months ago I would finish a ride or a lesson, take Oats back up to the crossties, and want to cry- not because I felt unhappy, but because this all felt so fleeting, there are no guarantees. And I want a guarantee. I love him so much, and it feels so tenuous, risky, vulnerable. Like wearing your heart outside your body.

I feel sad as a reflection of what is happening to my friend. I feel lucky because I’m not having to face it myself.

Every night you’ve got to save me

So, polo not happening tonight- can’t get off early enough for it. Luckily there is a Sunday opportunity that I will be taking advantage of 🙂

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Had a challenging but fairly decent dressage lesson last night, where we worked on transitions and MAN it was hard. HARD. Transitions upwards were great, but our collection sucked out loud and my transitions downward were…special. To the point that we are going to have to devote a good ride to only downward transitions. Oh well! Kind of does burst my ‘we’re moving up!’ bubble by feeling fairly incompetent during a basic ride. HA.

And I had an excellent equine counseling session on Monday- I had been trying to manage some strange emotions/feelings of anger, angst and disappointment when Buster passed away. I wanted my family to acknowledge my loss and my grief, and they didn’t. It made me very angry and I wanted to explore why, and why that was coming up so strongly in the wake of his passing. It was a good session that made me experience/feel the need for acknowledgement and be able to *mostly* let it go. (I say mostly, because I need the emotional peace it brings, but know myself too well to let things go entirely, ahh).

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I’m a natural (wallaby) mother!

Anyways, it just made me realize that the only communication I need to have with family can be talking about my own very lovely family, which consists of (GASP) animals! My horse! My dog! (and the other animal, my husband, hahaha). And since they don’t care, I don’t have to care either= a natural limitation on our communication. It’s a relief.

They have made it very clear that once I came out (they forced my hand in the most ridiculous, emotionally abusive way) as childfree by choice, they could also choose to hate my animals.

So, feel free! I am living the life I always wanted- or close to it, I could always have a guinea pig farm with a mini donkey, and a mini horse to pull a cart; some riding horses, maybe chickens for my husband…Yeeps!

A life well lived requires no apologies.

Your Best American Girl

So, yeah. What happened was…

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  • I got deployed to assist with wildfire emergency communications in Prince George again. So, two weeks out of my summer were up there.
  • When I got home, I was immediately on vacation, that started horribly and tragically. It wasn’t good.
  • Got back from vacation, and still had some time off, so I mourned Buster, rode Oats, rode in a lesson, prepared for a dressage show on Saturday, and rode in a polo ‘slow chukka’
  • And now I am back at work, with a dressage lesson tonight, a successful dressage show in the books, and a polo night tomorrow, with jumping on Thursday.

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The show went super well, it was just a scored ‘ride a test’ where you ride the test, the judge comes out to run you through some exercises based on what she saw during the test, and then you had an opportunity to try the test again, maybe improve on what you worked on.

I did Training 2 & 3, and this time I finally had the correct Training 3 test (unlike last time, where I was kind of a disorganized mess…) and things went SO well. Oats was a tad spooky in the beginning but it was easily worked through and he gave me some really quality and consistent work.

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And our tests were scored fairly, the judge was so nice and very complimentary. She said we should be doing First Level, so I am going to talk to my dressage trainer tonight to see what she says. I was immensely flattered! Just to think, Oats and I getting these kind comments!

I’ve really been basking in kind judge comments. Our first dressage show of the season, the judge even wanted to know what kind of pony Oats was! 🙂

For a girl that prefers jumping, I am starting to wonder if I should be taking dressage a little more seriously or what these days? I am seeing some real progress with Oats in it.

When bad things happen to good people

I don’t want to write a lot about this, mainly because it’s not my story to tell. But I can’t just let it go on and leave everything ‘sunshiney’ and happy, because that’s not life and it’s not reality. My friend’s parents were recently involved in a tragic accident and her father passed away.

I found out shortly after finishing my race up in Cedar, and was in shock when I found out. These were great lovely people, who I knew through living with my friend on and off over the years. Fun, adventure-loving parents who meant the world to their daughters. They had retired and were living the life! And then this happens.

I have been sharing what happened with others close to me (my sister, my parents, my husband) because I feel like I can’t shoulder this news myself. I need others to hear it, hear what happened and understand. It’s so very sad, and sudden, and horrible.

It feels like these things happen in waves, and it seems so strange to me that the people close to me are caught in this wave. My heart goes out to my friend and her sister, who are facing this heartbreaking reality day-to-day. In just one day, one moment, their lives were changed forever.

I want to help, want to make a difference, but don’t want to interfere or anything.

I miss you.

This morning, I learned that my mentor and friend passed away.

This was not a surprise. It’s been a long time coming, but that makes it no less sad. She had been struggling for so long, and she was finally where she wanted to be. She was tired.

I feel guilty for wishing she was still around. I feel greedy for wanting more of her. I feel disappointed that she wanted to go.

Why would she make this choice? Doesn’t she know how people need her?

And then there’s this weird grief- in her mind, I think she wouldn’t want people to grieve for her, because she’s finally where she wanted to be. But, she’s not with us (or her family) anymore.

And then there’s this strange impermanence of our existence that really bothers me. Why do things keep going when someone’s life is snuffed out? Shouldn’t the world stop too?

And this is going to sound really ridiculous, but when I experienced grief (my grandmother dying, putting my beloved pets down), I felt like everything should stop. Go away. Furniture that existed before them, and continues to exist beyond them, shouldn’t. Nothing should.

And yet I want things to go back to ‘business as usual’ as fast as possible. When people are nice and sweet, and understanding, and sad too, it makes it so much worse! Stop being so understanding! Can’t we move on? Forget?

The one time I was really upset and went in to work after putting down my pig Perrie, I went to work because being at home, alone, was the worst alternative. I sat silently at work, trying to hold it together. A coworker was joking around and noticed I wasn’t really responding, and she came to ask why. I told her, expecting her to be sort of like ‘well, it’s just a pet’ but she was so understanding. She said grief is grief, there’s no trump card with it, we all experience it. It’s no less for you today.

I totally lost it at work, collapsed in a shower of tears.

Why can’t it be business as usual? Because people are nicer than that.