Friday, May 13, 2011

Old Entries, Before the Blog, Before the MoonSox.

For me, when I struggle with something, I like to write about it. It's my outlet, and I've at least 12 journals at home, all filled with adventures from about 7th grade right through today. Often, my mind will become stuck on a personal issue when I don't have access to a journal, and I'll take the time to type it out.

While cleaning my computer, I came across the following post. I wrote it before I had met MoonSox or T, though it would have been early 36February of 2010. Ironically, this is what started my drive back into horses, leading to my search for a free lease, and in turn, the discovery of T and MoonSox. I wouldn't say this is where it all began, but it's certainly where it all got focussed...

And yes, I really did seem more then a little shallow when it came to getting back into riding. Being with Moon has really reminded me that it's the relationship I love more then anything, but you need the right horse in your life to make you realize that. Same goes for the BF, who wound up buying me my pony, comes and watches the farrier work, helps put up fencing on the farm, and while he doesn't fully get it, he gets that I get something of it.


Well, I’m feeling impatient again. Wow is it ever hard to contain excitement and whatnot. And nervousness. I REALLY want to get back to group riding lessons. But I have this horrible feeling that there won’t be any space in any of the places I want to ride, and then I won’t get lessons like I want. Or that it won’t be what it once was.

But I’m really all excited, and just can’t wait till next month when I can afford taking lessons again. And STAYING with them. That’s something I’ve never gotten to do before. And even with B-A, it always came to an end when summer turned to fall. This time, I really didn’t want to continue. Last time I, to be honest, didn’t really want to continue. I guess I just really look forward to taking group lessons again, and getting that opportunity to chat with other horsey people. I wonder if maybe one will have an adult riding class? I guess I wanna meet people who are like me, and not champion riders, but rather finally have the opportunity to ride again. Oh, and then there’s the Equine Canada levels, that I really want to pursue.

Now tonight, it’s going to be about calling around, and seeing what I can find. I’m really banking on Misty River, though Meadow Green would be pretty sweet too. Guess it’s about me going to some posh barn and riding ponies like back in the day. Those were the days. Maybe I can even convince the BF to come watch? That was a downfall to B-A. The BF could never watch me ride, and I think that when he sees how much I love ponies, it’ll just make it that much easier to break the news that I’ll be getting a pony.

Of course, now I want a new helmet, because who wants to start taking lessons and be wearing this old helmet they got when they were 17? Not me! : P But at least I have nice paddocks and half chaps, though I’d like to replace them with field boots or some black ½ chaps and paddocks. Mix it up a bit. I really need to go through my closet too and see what sort of clothing options I have.

So this evening will have to be it. Get home, head downstairs with the phone and notebook and start making my calls. One by one. I mean, seriously, there’s only like 3 or 4 places I have to call. Can’t be that bad. Set up a couple of meetings, and let’s face it, I’ll likely only be meeting with one or two stables. Meet one next week, one the week after, and be in lessons at the start of March. Easy-peasy lemon squeezy. And I’ve never actually taken lessons in the summer at a group stable in the city. Or been at one when they had a schooling show. This could be really fun. Apparently Meadow Green sometimes takes their riders on trail rides for class, and Misty River does the occasional fox hunt. Just want to do something different from what I’ve been doing. I miss jumping lessons, and I guess I miss that whole group atmosphere. I’ll do both kinds within a year, and figure out what I really enjoy doing. Cause I’m still not sure.

I really do think I daydream too much. It’s not going to be what I remember it being. Heck, Meadow Green was actually horrible for me when I was a kid. I felt out of place, and poor and un-cool. Like I wasn’t good enough. Hated it. But Copall is long gone now, and I’m not sure it’ll be replaced anytime soon. Heard good things about Misty River, but that’s about it. Who knows?

I’m also nervous about calling my old boss' wife. I mean, I guess I’m nervous EVERY time I call them! Don’t know why. Guess just the whole history. Whatever. Maybe I can bargain him down to $100/month for 2 rides per week on Danny-boy. That’d be awesome. Especially if I did that and lessons. $226/month, isn’t much more then what I bargained for.

Who knows? I just need to control my nerves, work myself up to it, and just make the calls. I WANT TO RIDE. And I’m not going to get to unless I start calling around. . Why am I so phone shy? Shy in general?

I wonder if I’ll have to do an evaluation ride? Not sure how good I’d do, considering I’ve been out of the saddle for quite awhile now. W/e. Even if I wind up in a beginner’s class, I’m sure I won’t stay there for long. I expect to be like a level 3 or something in the EC levels, which won’t be filled with beginners. I just need some time to remember what the crap I’m doing. Like riding a bicycle.

Anyways, I guess that’s all from me for now. This weekend will be the snowmobile trip. Yipppeee.

February 9th, 2010

So I had a good conversation yesterday with the owner of Misty River Ranch. Co-owner I suppose. They moved out to Canada with a couple of their prize stallions, from a breeding farm called ‘Three Cup’ or something of that sort. Something about the British accent, easy conversation and jokes that ensued seemed to scream to me that this might well be the place I was after.

They have an adult riding class, which I think is pretty cool. The only thing that I’m unsure about is if I’ll enjoy the group long term. Horseback riding, to me anyways, is a funny thing. Unlike a lot of sports, that if you didn’t get into them as a child (like ballet or gymnastics), you can still make it to a competitive riding level (certainly not the Olympics, but heck, you might get to the Heart of the Continent) at a later age. As I told Sarah, the owner of Misty River yesterday, maybe I’ll make the Olympics when I’m 60. She replied, “Just like Ian Miller”. Anything’s possible.

So to me, that’s the thing. Apparently this adult group is a lot of social riders, which let’s face it, while I want my own grown-up ‘saddle club’, I want the saddle club that focuses on getting their rider levels and becoming talented riders, and jumping and competing. Which it doesn’t sound like this group does. But Sarah was awesome at making sure I knew that the group I began in, wasn’t the group I had to stay in. Funny, she said she liked to move people up levels, not down. Did that once at meadow green myself, and I’m still not sure it was the right move. But man, I just couldn’t work with that old instructor.

And thus, I think that is the way I will progress from here. Despite not actually talking to Meadow Green or Teske’s (the drive is longer, though the price is cheaper…though the lesson is shorter…), I think Misty River is the next place to ride. Who knows? Maybe Copall will open again, and I’ll move there? I just think that this place might be a nice fit. And after fitting into the barn, then I can try to find the group that I appropriately fit into. I would probably best fit a group that wants their certification; nothing highly competitive though I would like to eventually show…just a little bit.

I showed up for my first visit to the new barn, excited and nervous. Since I wouldn’t be riding this evening, I came dressed in barn-friendly clothes, expecting at least a couple of rubs from horse heads while I was there.

There’s something different about riding when you’re an adult. For me, never having had the privilege to ride until I was 17, it was a gift. Every time I approached a horse, it was a gift. A gift because it was something given to me, even now when I’m older and paying for it myself. It’s a gift now that I give myself, though a part of me, I think, still pretends that it’s something given to me by someone else.

I’m going to try very hard this time (though I’ve tried very hard in the past)

I don’t know why I feel so drained today. Well, maybe in part I kinda do. For one, there was getting up at 3:30 in the morning, after hardly sleeping thanks to excitement and nerves and crazy dreams surrounding riding horses again. Exhausted.

February 10th, 2010

Yesterday I asked the BF if he wanted to come to the barn (Misty River) with me today, since I’m going to check it out and see about lessons. His response? “You know how to ride. Why would you take lessons when you already know?” Because while, yes, I know how to ride, and I ride pretty well, I can ride BETTER. Why take agility lessons if I already know how to run and jump and teach my dog? Because there’s ALWAYS so much more to learn.

Horseback riding is a sport. You think about swimming. Yes, there’s a point where you’re a good swimmer, but these people still have coaches, to train and improve. Same with gymnastics or ballet or hockey. There’s always more to learn and work on. That’s what riding lessons are to me. An opportunity to progress and further develop the skills I already have.

I’m actually pretty nervous and excited about tonight. I really do wish, over and over that the BF had more interest in it, or at the very least, understood why I love it. Such is life, I suppose.

Anyways, I’m all worried about what to wear or dress in, and want to make a good first impression and hope to really like the group.

Of course, now I want to spend a lot of money on fancy riding clothes and stuff. And I’m also thinking about the future like crazy. I noticed there’s some cool riding camps, that would be a ton of fun to attend for a week. There’s one in New York State, that might align with a work meeting in Toronto one of these years. Flights out from there would be manageable, and I could spend a whole week riding every day.

I guess I’m really just trying to reclaim some of my youth or something. Somehow that all comes back to horseback riding.

So, because the barn will likely be cold tonight, I think I’ll try and dress warm. Take my new winter jack (muhahaha) which looks awesome. I was thinking maybe the jeans I have on now, and a pair of cowboy boots? I just don’t know how warm cowboy boots really are…colder then sneakers? I don’t really wanna go in sneakers! Sort of running out of options in that regard.

I’m thinking I could convert my non-bib style snowpants into some winter riding pants. Add elastic on the feet to hold them down, and maybe some knee patches. It’d all be easily removable…On top, well, a warm sweater I suppose. I doubt they have a heated viewing area, which means “brrrr…”. Extra socks too!

I should look up the map to make sure I know where to go. Apparently it’s the same driving distance as going to B-A’s, which is good to know. I can’t ride next Wednesday because I for one, don’t have the money to pay for it, and for second, I have a hair appointment that I rescheduled once already, and ended up having it bumped back 2 weeks. And considering the horrible orange color my hair is turning, I really need this appointment.

So that’s the plan. I might start a week earlier then I originally intended, but only because I’m sooo eager to start riding. I miss being on horseback and taking lessons so much. It’s crazy, but really, I just love riding. Especially this sort of riding. Nostalgia? Who knows. But I want to get back on those lesson horses, and start learning again. It’s funny, because I was never certain that I was ever getting any better. Especially since I was always coming in and out of riding lessons, never seeming to ever get a good go at it. But I keep thinking back to seeing the old polo boss and his wife two years ago, and how much they told me I had changed. That they could SEE that I was an improved rider. That was awesome. And for once I actually admitted to myself that while I’m not great, I’m a good rider.

I think that’s also why I like group lessons. I can observe others, see what they’re doing right, and try to apply that to myself. Granted, I think pride is going to play a bigger part now then ever, but at the same time, maybe in that atmosphere, I’ll care less what other think?

I wonder what the group is like? Are they going to be a lot older then me, or will they be a mixture? I really don’t expect the lot of them to be my age. I don’t know why, but I just assume that the people my age who are riding have been riding since they were kids, and therefore has moved onto semi-private or private lessons or owning a horse, or else they’re a group with the people they’ve been riding with since they were kids. But the adults in the class, they’d be those that never got to take lessons before, or those that haven’t ridden in a long time. Yeah, I suspect there might be one person my age, probably 3 or 4 that are my parents age, and then maybe one more senior. That’s my prediction. Not saying that's a bad thing, just that I wish somedays, that I had more friends my own age who love riding. My friends are into bars or scrapbooking or are having babies and starting families. Just makes it hard.

February 11, 2010

Last night I drove out to Misty River, which was pretty much as far as mapquest thought it would be, at 25 minutes. Not bad, considering that’s about the same as B-A. The drive was a bit confusing in the dark, lots of winding on gravel roads out in the prairie, but I managed to get there in the end anyways.

I was a little disappointed to start. Perhaps it’s my own ‘unskilledness’. The place was pretty dark with a couple people riding in the ‘indoor’ arena. Indoor should be used loosely in this case, since ‘covered’ would be a more appropriate term. The area was wide open in the front, older and definitely NOT heated. Brrr. Glad I brought my toque. The ‘indoor’ viewing area was well…enclosed, but cold, dirty and worn-out. Made Meadow Green’s look pretty impressive. I also couldn’t figure out how to get into the barn, which was detached from the ring. Took me a few tries, but I finally got in and asked someone to direct me to the owner.

Sarah was really nice and friendly, and took me for a tour of the place. Straight forward. The mainbarn with the large boxstalls was for the boarders, though it showed age too. Attached behind that was a smaller barn with tie-stalls for the lesson horses and two large box stalls that housed the stallions. Again, nothing too impressive. Take your horse out of the stall, bring it to the main barn to tack, and be on time for your lesson.

That’s one thing I liked. They’re very punctual, and you’re expected to be on horseback at the start of the hour. And you get a full hour there.

The woman in the class were about what I expected. In or around my parents’ age, maybe one younger in her early thirties. One lady was, well, boisterous. The instructor for the group, was from Copall, and really nice. I like the coach, which is important. The group jumps about once a month, though watching yesterday I’m not sure it’s particularly high…

I watched their lesson, and I wonder if I’ve become too critical? I was actually trying to think like a coach and see what I could tell they needed to improve and such. There were 2 people in the group that seemed to be pretty good riders. And 2 that were there that were okay. One horse got worked up and bolted and bucked on one lady, which I think she handled well. Their jumps were low, they did a lot of trotting, and two canter circles in each direction.

Anyways, I think it’s a good place to jump off from, and see where I go. I keep thinking about Meadow Green’s warm viewing area, and heated arena, and updated stables…but this is a good excuse to buy some nice new high winter boots that I’ve been wanting, and it’s a lot closer to home, and I like the instructor, and other then the kids, I thought the group was friendly. I could probably stand to get used to the cold a bit more!

Well, I guess I’ll email her and let her know that I’m willing to give it a go. And I’ll place an order to buy that pair of winter boots from Pleasant Ridge. Pick up a pair of riding gloves from Menards, and maybe find a balaclava to ride in. Probably the cheapest option. Don’t need a bunch of new stuff to go riding there. But boots, just because I HATE cold toes, and it makes it HORRIBLE to ride in. Can’t have a good time when you’re miserable.

So I just sent her an email, saying I’ll start on the 24th, which’ll be 8 weeks of lessons, and I can evaluate and decided after 3 weeks if I’m going to continue on. So now I just need to dig out my winter gear, order up those winter riding boots, and pick up some gloves while I’m at Menards. The boots will definitely come in before then. I should spend some time practicing my riding on my new saddle stand : P

Anyways, I think this will be fun. Certainly something I’ve been wanting to do again, and it should keep me entertained, if not tired.

February 12, 2010

Just under 2 more weeks until I’m back in the saddle. Yippee. I still didn’t order my new winter boots, largely I think because I’m so hesitant to spend money. It’s just SO hard when you have a budget and a big lofty goal, to keep yourself in check. And you just know that if you let yourself budge on one thing, you’ll budge on a whole bunch more.

At this moment, I, once again, can only think of owning a horse. It’s consuming. Whenever I see someone with a horse, all I can think about is, “what do I need to do, so that I can own a horse too?” I can’t even believe, that paying off my car this year, I’m still going to have to wait ANOTHER year before I can buy a pony!

Two whole years. It seems like FOREVER. I originally thought it would be the perfect 27th birthday present, but now I’m thinking, nah, I should get it for Christmas. : ) But at the end of the day, it’s going to be about finding the ‘right’ horse for me. And I’m pretty sure that’s going to be a brown quarter horse, that’s plain as day, chunky and nothing special to look at. : P Then again, neither was Hobo or Twi. Both were plain jane bays. Sweet B was called Bertha, and not everyone thought she was beautiful either. Much like me, these horses are special because of their personality. And that’s what it’s all about.

I guess to keep myself going, I’ll just have to keep thinking about next Christmas. The years go by fast. This year will be 3 years since I moved into the house. So it’s less time then that which we’ve lived in the house. Heck, it’s what? 24 months. And considering that’s 2 solid years of lessons I’ll have under my belt by then, and maybe I can ask them to help me with my horse choice or whatever, I think it’ll be good. I just have to think of this as training for my next horse. Figuring out what I like to do, and improving my riding enough that I am capable of riding the type of horse I wind up getting.

I’m figuring I’ll put aside $2500 - $3000 to spend on the horse, plus initial farrier, teeth and vet check. This is going to be my forever horse. My first horse.

February 16, 2010

I ordered my boots on Friday, and hopefully they’re worth the $80. I picked up a new headband and a pair of gloves at Menards while we were down there, so I think I’m pretty well set for riding lessons next week.

Spent a lot of time on the weekend reminding the BF about my pony. Figure I’ll get him used to the idea that I’ll be pony shopping in the near future. There’s some really nice ponies up for sale right now, which sucks, but whatever. Should probably get back some skill in riding so that I have a better idea of what I want and am capable of handling in a horse.

I’ve also gotta size up my helmet. I’m so excited for my riding lesson next week. A whole week away. That’s a really long time to me right now, especially since there’s nothing too exciting since vacation ended. Hair appointment tomorrow, and then Dentist, Angie and Flyball to round out the week. Maybe I can drag him to greenhawk to see what I want for that birthday of mine that’s approaching.

What I really want though, is a pony. A really nice pony. To call all my own. But that’s not going to happen this year. But I still dream. Cause I’m me, and that’s what I do.

What’s my history though?

Prior to my 17th birthday, I hadn’t done anything more then the very rare trail ride, always on a western saddle, and I’d have to beg to get up to a trot. And a couple of lead line rides, which let’s face it, hardly counts as riding.

For my 17th birthday, my parents bought me riding lessons at Meadow Green Riding Academy. 4 riding and 1 ground lesson in English Equitation. How exciting. It was a longtime dream for me, and it seemed like it was finally coming true.

I rode at Meadow Green in the beginner’s group for those 4 weeks. It was me and two younger sisters, who were, probably close in skill to myself. After the 4 weeks ended, my father had lost his job, and it appeared that my riding future had ended almost as quickly as it had begun. I was sad, but as usual, determined. This was my dream, and while my parents weren’t able to provide it for me, I would chase after it myself.

And so I got my first summer job, and worked as a telemarketer, saving up enough money to take lessons again. I tried a stable closer to the house, over by Birds Hill Park. The cost was a lot lower, the drive shorter, and I thought this was a good idea. Well, I quickly learned how I had wasted my $100 on those 4 lessons. Riding ‘English’ in a western headstall (and the only one in an actual English saddle), by someone who had no training in English, was at best, a learning opportunity. It taught me about finding the ‘right’ place to ride. So once my 4 weeks there had ended, I did the most logical thing and returned to Meadow Green.

I was placed in an upper level group when I returned to Meadow Green, which I quickly (after only one lesson) came to believe I wasn’t good enough to participate in. They were trotting. I apparently trotted like a sack of potatoes. The coach was overbearing, bossy, yelling and demanding. She barked orders. She never seemed to actually provide any guidance or instruction on how to do something better, only identify exactly how badly you were screwing the whole thing up. It was probably the worst riding lesson of my life, and to some degree stayed by to haunt me though future riding lessons.

Regardless, I asked to drop back to a beginner class, which to be honest, was a mistake as well. Looking back now, I don’t think I wasn’t good enough for the other class. I certainly needed time to develop the skills and relearn some things, but the beginner class was too, well, beginner. Regardless, I did about 6 weeks with this group, had some fun, cleaned up my riding a bit, but still, I wasn’t in love with the coaching.

Exam season came around, and my parents had me quit riding over the Christmas break. I asked Meadow Green to hold my spot and that I’d be back in January. When I called them up, my spot was gone, and there was limited availability. Their prices had risen as well, and I just didn’t feel like going back. So I went in search of another barn, again.

This took me to Copall. Copall was probably the closest thing to a ‘dream’ barn as I ever got.


It appears that's as far as I ever got last year! Some day, I suppose I'll finish the story of my horse background, but for now, let's just say that group lessons were okay, but I never felt like I was learning enough, and I struggled in the environment. I did get to join a higher class once, and did my first 2'6" hunter course. It was AMAZING, scarey and wonderful. A few weeks later, we bought land, I ran out of money as a result, and left. The last lesson was uneventful, no one really cared much I was leaving, and I was thankful that just a couple weeks before I had met T and was starting to ride at her place. It filled the gap in wonderfully, and I enjoyed the transition. And that's where I met MoonSox, who turned out to the be exactly as I predicted (no joke, this post was never edited from the original word document):

I’m pretty sure that’s going to be a brown quarter horse, that’s plain as day, chunky and nothing special to look at. : P Much like me, these horses are special because of their personality. And that’s what it’s all about.

Really, Moon is beautiful, not only as a brown (dark chestnut) QH, but as the magnificent creature and friend that he is!

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