Archive for May, 2010

Wow. I don’t know a damn thing.

That’s a conclusion I came to recently in a riding lesson, and last weekend just drove it home even harder. The more I learn, I realize, the less I know.

We had a fantastic clinic up here taught by Kim Montee Cavataio. She covered all kinds of things — tack, gait, conformation, showmanship — but she opened with strong words encouraging us to always be learning, to always work be better horse people.

She talked about how we need to raise the level of riding in our breed, how we have a lot to learn from reiners, dressage folk and others. She encouraged us to find a good instructor who can improve our equitation, and through that our horses’ performance.

I was on the verge of becoming really frustrated. I grew up with horses. For almost my entire adult life, I’ve been in lessons, to include the last two years with Wonder Pony. We’ve definitely come a very long way. But the way to come seems to stretch on forever.

I guess that’s really the point: There’s always more. I don’t ride and train just for ribbons. Don’t get me wrong — I LOVE to win. Few things in life feel better than being part of a barrida. But I only compete maybe twice a year. That’s just a few days out of a full calendar. Every other day presents all kinds of opportunities to do more, be more.

I think that’s a lesson we should all take to heart.

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Between crazy Colorado spring weather and family obligations (Really? I have to go to TX and NOT ride horses?!), Sican the Wonder Pony has been woefully neglected. For 10 days, I couldn’t get out to the barn and into the saddle. 

But Sican was not the one suffering — I was. Actually, everyone around me was probably hardest-hit.

Not long after I got Sican two years ago, I told my friend Cheryl Aldrich — his breeder — I needed to change his name. But I couldn’t decide if his new handle should be Zoloft or Jesus, because this gelding is both my anti-depressant and personal savior (cue laugh track).

I understand why heroin is nicknamed “horse.” They’re equally addictive. And I was definitely going through withdrawal. I was snappy, impatient, not sleeping well and generally unpleasant. 

Sorry, kids. Sorry, DH. Sorry, world.

But once I finally got my fix, the world went back to rights. It was like that scene in “The Wizard of Oz” where Dorothy stops out of the black-and-white ruins of a farmhouse into her technicolor dream world.

My blood pressure lowered, my temper cooled, my chest loosened. Later that night, my sound sleep came back.

Ding, dong, the witch is dead.

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First and foremost, I’m a horse person. Cats follow second. Dogs…not so much. But that’s just me. I know I’m anomaly, especially in canine-crazy Colorado.  Just about everyone out here has a four-legged shadow, especially among my fellow horse nuts.

But when I saw this video today my pal Sharon Greenleaf LaPierre sent me, it made me pine for my last pooch, a remarkable dog I couldn’t keep up with as pregnant toddler mom. (Bailey the border collie went to live with good friends here in town; everyone is delirously happy and we can see her whenever we want.)

I love that despite the inevitable end to the story of Skidboot and David, David focused on the joy and love this amazing dog brought him.

We all know when we bond with a creature whose life cycle will likely end before ours, there will be pain. My husband calls pets “a tragedy waiting to happen.”

I disagree. Anyone who has ever found what I call an “animal soul mate” knows the benefits are worth the grief. The unconditional love, the calming affection, the complete lack of judgment are hard to come by in human companions. I’ll take it wherever I can get it, even on borrowed time.

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