Friday, October 10, 2014

Sorry In Advance!

Lauren, this may be my version of What You Would Say On Your Blog.

As I'm working out the quirks that come with a new saddle, trying to figure out how to manage arthritis this winter, and preparing to head to The Future of Horsemanship Parelli tour tomorrow morning, I feel a bit overwhelmed.

Not two years ago I was completely focused on the Parelli program and everything that came with natural horsemanship. I had set my competitive dreams aside and was learning everything I possibly could about horse psychology and how to to work alongside it.
At that point I found it hard to acknowledge any other form of training. Only the Parelli way was right and I refused to pick up any other method or instructor.
Somewhere in between then and now I started to realize that not everyone else was so wrong after all.

Slowly it went from there. Lady and I had a very solid foundation with Pat Parelli's method and I still fall back on that a lot even now, but I do a lot of listening and learning now, from various different forms of horsemanship. I took the first big step a few months back and invested some money into a few training books that now sit alongside my Parelli collection.

But sometimes, like the last week, I feel overwhelmed.
I want to bring my competitive dreams up to the fore front again, but regardless of training method, Lady is not ready for competition.

I just bought my second saddle this year. I'm still having some weird issues with Lady even though the saddle fits her fine and yet if I try to ask questions (online forums) people blame me with "bad saddle fit" and "get a new saddle that your horse likes!" and it just makes me want to cry because there is absolutely NO way that I can afford to change saddles again so this one just has to work.

I want to have a really good position and be clear with my aids to Lady, but then I ride again and realize just how confused I must sound to her. I ask for the canter and lose my right stirrup for the six hundredth time after exactly the same amount of strides.

I live in a Western community and get asked the question "So, why did you choose to ride English?" and inevitably I sigh heavily and start to try and explain and still get a clueless expression. (Not an insult to my local friends reading, just something that comes with the territory.)

People who do know horses, when they find out my horse is a "senior" and has arthritis, ask me why I don't retire her, sell her, find a younger easier project, work her through it, etc.  I want to fight back and tell them that I am most definitely not a bad horse owner. Who are you to deny my horse's happiness??

I've never had a good relationship with a vet because of how many questions I ask and my more natural view of health, so no my horse has not been to a vet in almost 2 years. I'm still not a bad horse mom.

My horse is completely barefoot and gets trimmed every 4-6 months. So what? She stays sound.

I try to convince myself that despite all the naysayers, my horse is healthy, well-mannered and I ride decently.
But then I go outside, she gives me a NQR ride, or I constantly mess up my posting trot, or she just plain refuses to behave, and then I remember everything I read and what others said and I know they're right.
I'm doing a terrible job.

I love my horse to death, but sometimes its so hard to go on.


  1. Everyone makes horse care mistakes no matter how much they love their horse! Earlier this year, I ignored some funky stuff going on with Moe's eye (it was runny, he was blinking it a lot, etc.) because I thought the wind was bothering him. (Which it does sometimes.) After a few weeks, I called the vet only to find out he had an ulcer on his eye! Fortunately it wasn't too bad and was easily cleared up, but my negligence could have cost my very favorite horse an eye! I felt like the worst horse owner ever.

    It can be difficult to feel good about ANYTHING you're doing when you consult The Internet. Take the things you read with a grain of salt and try to apply what feels appropriate for you and Lady! My horses are positively elderly (19 & 17) compared to what most of my friends are riding, but they're sound, in good health, and seem happy to keep going, so I keep them in work. You just do you and let everyone else do them!

    1. Not to imply anything you're doing is a mistake- if it's working for you, it's working! Also, I find that feeding my two MSM (which is super cheap) helps with their creaks and stiffness. :)

    2. Thank you... :) And glad to know that Moe got all better! Being a college student (aka always broke) makes it specially hard sometimes because I can't just jump on every option because its not always possible for me however much I might want to do it. Thank you for the encouragement.

      I have Lady on some stuff right now, but MSM is definitely what I'm adding next if it gets worse! Thanks for the recommendation :)

  2. a *big hug* is all I can offer, its hard to fight opinions, and its hard to go with the flow no matter what.

  3. My motto is: some people suck. End of story. Do not let people drag you down. Keep your chin up and go cuddle your pony :)

  4. Horses are tough -- wouldn't it be so much easier if they could just talk and tell us what's going on? Sometimes you just have to hang in there and muddle through the tough times to get back to the fun, good times <3

  5. You can only do what works for y'all. If it works, then ignore what people say. If it isn't working and you're not happy, maybe time to re-evaluate some things... but only if you and your horse aren't happy.

  6. sorry you're dealing with so many conflicting feelings! just try to remember when people start telling you what you're doing 'wrong' or how they would be different: nobody will care about your horse more than you do.