Wednesday, May 11, 2011

'Cause Patience isn't my Strong Suit...

I'm waiting. I'm waiting for the work day to end, so I can head off for my first riding lesson on Moon. You all know about it, since I've been prattling on like a 5 year old at Christmas. I'm excited! I'm anxious. And I'm more then a little impatient!

Sadly, sitting around thinking about ponies (instead of work), has made me realize that there's never enough money for horse-y folk. I'm fortunate to have Moon'er and a situation that makes covering his care quite financially feasible. I'm able to stow a little bit away in case of emergencies, and once in awhile (too often lately), by him a piece of tack that he needs.

Unfortunately, I'm pretty strung out on the finances, which means I must forgo a lot of things I really wish I could enjoy. Moon needs his teeth floated, which is going to take a good $130 out of my pocket. His vaccines arrived yesterday, and will run me $72, almost $22 more then I had anticipated. Riding lessons will run me another $130 a month, unless I can convince someone to join me, and save a couple of bucks per lesson. Then there's covering the gas to get to lessons, which is the least I can do for T who is kind enough to lend me the truck and trailer.

I still need to transfer ownership on Mr. Moon, which when you add in the yearly AQHA fee, and the Rider Program (since it's worth it when you have to buy an AQHA membership...which is worth it when you have to pay to transfer a horse!), is another $130.

There's a Dressage Winnipeg Clinic coming up in July that I'd LOVE to participate in, but at $400, there's no chance. I'd LOVE to audit it at the very least, which I thought was possible until I realized you need a Manitoba Horse Council Membership. That's $60. Plus the auditing fees of $40 to $100, depending on the number of days, and whether I want to bring my own meals or not. Let's just say that I won't be able to afford any clinics this year.

Now, even more, I'd love to take Moon to some schooling shows, but that again requires not only the MHC membership, but Dressage Winnipeg Memberships, Hunter/Jumper Memberships, and on top of that, stalling, bedding and showing fees. Which means a weekend show can run you well over $200.

His fast growing feet mean I shell out my $30 for farrier services every 6 weeks, and I'm looking at my mismatched tack thinking, man, it sure would be nice to ride in black leathers on a black saddle!

This morning I stitched up my old half-chaps, which I've had since my first Polo job, over 7 years ago. The elastic had torn clear in half, and I'm hoping my sewing job holds up. Worst case, I'll cut out the old elastic and sew in a new one. As long as the zippers hold on them, they'll last me a while longer.

Talk of the resourcefulness of the rider, I'm down to one pair of breeches. I love these breeches, but I've only the one pair, as my first set, the ones I bought for $70 from Canvasback when I was 17, finally wore out in the knee patches last year. At 9 years old, I can't part with these old On-Course', so I have them down in the basement, stitch ripping the knee patches off and making some replacements. Yes, my 9 year old breeches still fit, and yes, I fully plan on wearing them again. Cause I can't afford to buy replacements, and riding in jeans hurts...certain parts. ESPECIALLY when you're trotting without stirrups. OUCH!

Yes, we riders must be resourceful, as the horses eat the money out of our pockets, and loving them as we do, large sums of money disappear for their training and care. Thus you find us stitching old bridles by hand, hoping to get another year out of them. Wearing mismatched tack when we have to, loving the tack swaps and sales that are put on.

What amazes me, is that I'm not rich, but I'm certainly not poor. I have a good paying job, and not a ton of debt. Yet I find myself unable to pay for shows and memberships and clinics, yet so many others can. I remember being at some barns in the city where mothers took weekly lessons, their daughter took weekly lessons, they owned and boarded a fancy show horse, and the daughter regularly competed. Not only that, but they both always showed up in beautiful breeches and polo shirts, tall black boots, and a fancy tack box to boot. And SOMEHOW managed to find the spare change to buy $2000 for jumpers, AND one for dressage. And drive away in their Hummers and Mercedes and BMWs, leaving me speechless. $500/month in board, plus $50/month for shoes, plus $200/month in shows, plus $300/month in lessons and $120 in new breeches = $1400/month to ride!!! That's double my MORTGAGE! I just don't get it!

Probably not the point. I really could be doing much worse, as I know plenty of people who can't afford the lessons I'm starting in today. Who struggle to pay for farrier service, even at $30/month. Who ride bareback because they can't afford a saddle, not even a cheap one with mismatched stirrups. Who go in debt when their horse gets sick, and don't have a single pair of breeches, let alone paddock boots AND tall boots. I've no point complaining.

Really, I, like most of us out there with our horses, need to scale back my mind-set and my dream-set. Today is the first day of my lessons. Lessons. This isn't the start of my show career. This isn't us turning into champions. It's lessons. Our first goal, our number one goal, is to develop a better working relationship. To become better partners. I've been lately, exactly what drives me nuts in the fancy lesson barns: focused on COMPETING.

No, Mr. Moon and I need to learn to ride better together. He has so much to learn, that there's really no point in rushing him into the ring. We have plenty of time for that in the future. He's mine. I own him, and it's my responsibility to make this about us, not about ribbons. We'll get our ribbon in time, that I'm sure of.

So today, we ride to ride better. And I need to remind myself of that.

On a good note, I have Monday off, and the BF does not. Which means, Monday is a trail riding day (barring bad weather). We can start the day with a good grooming, trim that bridle path finally, maybe give ourselves a little 'mini' jump course in the paddock, and ride out. Far out. I'd love to ride him all the way out to the property, Get some pretty pics of him in the field.

Ah, sigh. So much horsey fun to be had, and I'm stuck in the office.

Last thing, though I'm sure my excitement will lead to more then one blog today (sadly, I forgot to bring my camera for tonight's lesson). Hopefully my boss will okay me starting later on Tuesday mornings (have spanish in the evening), and then I can fit in a morning ride once a week. I'd have 15 minutes for tack up and tack down, and 30 minutes of riding. WHICH if I can stick to my resolve, would mean Moon would be ridden:
Tuesday Morning Practice - 30 minutes
Wednesday Evening Lesson - 1 hour
Thursday Evening Practice - 1.5 hours

With each week including practicing trailering, being in a strange place and 3 days in a row of training. I have the resolve, especially now that we're in training?

Hey! We're actually 'In-Training'!!! How cool is that!! I've always been in lessons, never in training.

Is it 4 o'clock yet? 6 more hours to get through...

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