Tuesday, August 28, 2012

What goes down...

Must come back up?

Firstly, thanks to everyone who sent their "pick-me-ups". It really did mean a lot to me, even if most of us have never met. It's simply nice sometimes to know that you're not the only one to have REALLY, REALLY crappy months and that others have all bounced back. I have managed to carry on thanks to copious amounts of poutine yet again, and many, many wonderful friends.

I've had a couple of really rough days, and often forgot to look at the "brighter" side of things. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) there are occasions when we all need a chance to wallow in self-pity, loathing and sadness. While it might be nice if we could all take the bad day with a smile and never ending optimism, I like to think that it's okay to break down at times and just grieve a little for all the losses, the heart ache and the seemingly unknown future.

When I typed Sunday's message, I had originally planned on leaving it a draft, unshared with the world. I hate, with a passion, people seeing me weak. But in the same way, I created my blog to be honest about life, horses and all the things in between. Which means, am I being honest with myself if I hide all the bad things? What if I started not sharing the bad rides? The disappointments? Failings in the saddle? That would mean my blog is nothing more than a glorified piece of fiction, that is unrelatable. So why bother to write or read it?

Instead, I chose, as difficult as it was, to be honest about today's struggles. That is a part of me. A part of all of us, and if we are too scared of our weaknesses, our low days, we only serve to give them power over us. After I hit "post" on that blog entry, I rolled over, wiped my tears and started revising my plans.

In and amongst all of this, I've been riding. And it feels great. Minus the hickups.

For starters, Mr. Moon has been a total brat. He's now pushing around the other horses in the pasture, and will back into them threatening to kick. On Sunday we went on a great trail ride, and in the beginning he threatened to kick another horse, eyed the pony suspiciously for the first mile, and spooked at things that Moon would normally not even give a second look to.

On the trail, when running, he was a good boy. When standing...he was AWFUL. No standing still. And when trotting, he was taking to spooking at nothing.

We got in one really good canter down the ditch and he had no gas in him. He was happy to just jog along with the other horses and no desire to leave the group. NOT normal Mr. Moon and I admit, I was really, really disappointed in him.

Then on our way home, everyone was trotting and he wanted to canter. I refused to let him break his gait and he proceeded to have a very childish temper tantrum on me. Spinning, mini rears, throwing his head, yanking the reins, cantering sideways and jogging in place. This from my 13 year old, million mile trail quarter horse. We argued through it, and I made him walk (jog in place?) while everyone carried on. Just to remind him that this is MY rules, not his. We don't run everywhere.

After that ride he was still sound (yippee) though his leg is not yet back to "normal". It is always a little warmer to touch than the others, so I've been adding some poultice after strenuous rides.

Yesterday, C and I had a plan to hit the trails again and unfortunately a fellow boarder's horse was being a real jerk. I'm not sure what seems to have gotten into the horses, as my own is misbehaving too. Anyway, his antics I think rattled us all a little, and our trail ride while pleasant and safe, was just not the same. Add in the copious amounts of mosquitos swarming despite the bug spray and it was meant to be an early night.

I tossed hay to the ponies and fed, and stared up at the hay pile. When we filled the barn with hay, we packed it right to the roof and straight up from the front gate. Great except...how were we going to get to the top to toss bales down?!

Guess who got to play monkey and scale the side??! Me! : )

It was actually a blast and I really enjoyed myself. I dream of having a hayloft someday...

Tonight I'm out to the barn again, and will swim my puppy-dog with her bestie, hopefully get in a really quick, VERY aggressive ride on Moon and then enjoy dinner with some really great friends. : )

I will say, things are starting to feel a little less "scary", as I'm starting to figure out where to go on the whole car front. Or at least have acquired enough information to not be terrified. You've probably figured out by now, that I survive through obsessive planning. Of everything. I live by my sticky-note lists. And in my head and on paper, I lay out the future, how I'm getting there and what steps are required.

So following the break-up, it took me only 5 day to have reworked my budget, selected and applied for my new apartment, figured out what to do with Moon and Halo, and to have packed up 1/2 my stuff into boxes. Oh, and to speak to the bank about the springtime, finances and get started on the new plans for the future.

Needless to say, you can imagine what it would do to my plans to suddenly have no car. Every rider knows that your car becomes vital. How do you get out to the barn otherwise?! When you also own land that you're working, a car is doubly important to keep working that land. While I'm totally fine with riding my bike to work until winter, I can't stop seeing my horse, and since my dog was now living at my parents, seeing her! No car meant I was utterly lost.

Buying a new car would mean a car loan, and I hadn't included such a thing during my bank discussion. Suddenly I was looking at the possibility of having to make a choice: City Living and a vehicle, or country living and no barn trips for a year. I was terrified.

It's taken me a couple of days, but I think I'm back to knowing I'll survive. Not saying it's going to be roses and tropical vacations, but I'll likely not wind up walking to the barn in the dead of winter out of desperation to see my horse.

The major factor was actually a call from the bank this afternoon. When I bought land, I chose to pay the maximum I felt I could afford every month to help pay it down faster. Now when you add in the tractor payments, food, phone, gas and rent, I suddenly found myself drowning in monthly payments. But I wouldn't dare risk losing the property, even if it meant I ate mac and cheese for three years and was forced to walk to work. Didn't care.

I was also too stubborn to consider selling my horse trailer (worked sooo hard on that!) or anything else that I felt was important for my property build. I'm stubborn that way.

The bank called and asked me if I still wanted to pay the $600/month on the land that I currently pay. Well, isn't that the requirement of the mortgage??

Surprise, surprise, I actually had a lower monthly payment and was opting every month to over pay. Oh.

So suddenly, I learned that if I paid just the mortgage payment, I could save myself some $.

I could also, if I wanted, get away with a $500/month vehicle payment, without exceeding my debt ratio. Not saying that's what I'm going to do (it's not!), but it was a possibility. Suddenly I could return to planning mode. I could start figuring out my options, because once again, I had options that wouldn't leave me alone in an empty apartment while my dog pined for me and my horse got fat.

While things are far from perfect and there are a great many hurdles ahead, I at least can look at today and smile. I've made enough 'right' choices in my life to set myself up to survive even the worst storms that life can throw at me. I've made wonderful, caring friends who stick by me during the tough times, pets that matter enough to me to leave me worrying over the smallest problems, and the personal strength to keep on fighting.

Life may not be perfect, it may not be as I planned and it might kinda suck the big one right now. But that's today. It'll get a little brighter each time the sunrises again, and someday, it'll be brighter than it ever was.


  1. I'm an obsessive planner too. I'm glad you were able to get some sunshine in your life with that bank call!

  2. Obsessive planning ftw! Hang in there. It's definitely ok to just have a break down for a while, but it sounds like you're already getting back up on your feet. Way to be, girl.

  3. Glad you're feeling better :) Keep those sticky notes close!

  4. I'm glad things are getting better for you :)

  5. Oh Sand - I was so sorry to read your last post. Even though it seemed like all the bad stuff was piling up on you, given a few days, things are maybe a little bit better already?! Happily you have horse + dog, which go a long way to improving most situations.

    Thinking of you... and there is a package on the way with a totally frivolous prize. :D