Friday, July 21, 2017

48 Hours of Zoebird

If you're a serious SB blog stalker, you'll know I haven't updated more than twice a week in months.


And here I am, updating again.

Because omg you guys. I know I've had her like 54 hours as of the writing of this post but like. omg. I love her. Not just in the like "she's new and exciting and shopping yay!" sort of way, but like. This little mare speaks to my soul.

And I hate people who talk about their souls because that's usually a cover for how they don't have brains.

But here I am and I don't even care.

We're just getting acquainted and playing right now. We're doing important stuff like selecting her favorite curry:
answer: no bad options
Trying on stuff:
apparently not cob size. still.
Learning about saddle pads:
Trying on boots:
Playing with the hose:
I mean, we've done a little ground work. We're going slow. I'm in no rush and she's a smart little thing. She was a little goosey about the saddle pad on Wednesday, then totally fine on Friday, so I went ahead and put a saddle on her.
and a bridle bc why not
We just walked around and explored and ate some weeds, then took it off again. No pressure. 

I'm having a fun time playing with tack, too. Her head is cob length, but otherwise oversize dimensions. I took my western bridle in and had to have them lengthen the throatlatch 6"+ because no way no how was it going on her. However, the girth Courage used is a solid 12" too long for her. 
And Zoebird? She learned the barn routine and settled right in. She has a mini-me bff she gets turned out with, two boyfriends, and she's learning to eat treats.

Oh and yesterday she met me at the gate and ate a carrot and it was the cutest thing I've ever seen. <3

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Zoëbird Has Landed!


She's here!
I suspect the only person more excited about this than me is Roxie's mom, because she picked Ms. Zoëbird on Sunday and then proceeded to get all-caps texts like "BUT HOW IS SHE NOW" roughly every five minutes until she dropped her off at my barn Tuesday afternoon. Fortunately, she's a good sport and I got adorable pictures like this:
That I promptly showed to Teresa all weekend (blog recap later I promise!) because I'm that internet weirdo that just shows up at your house and is like LETS DO ALL THE THINGS. Trust me. Things were done.


Zoëbird left the temperate north early Tuesday morning, hauled like a freaking champ all day, and landed in the desert in the late afternoon.

photo by Roxie's mom
She nickered to the horses like "o hai frendz", then trooped into the barn and started eating and drinking like a champion.
um hello gorgeous
I was so excited about her coming that I totally forgot important things like an entire bucket of curries to see which is her favorite or a sampling of cookies from the feed store. But. I made do with what I had. I wanted to DO ALL THE THINGS OMG but that was a long ass haul on a hot day, so I settled for grooming her.
her hair omg

And trying on some stuff.


And going on a handwalk around the property to stretch her legs.

forgot handwalking pics so here's a bonnet pic
I mean. She's a baby. She sorta forgot she'd worn a bridle before and I had to remind her about her walking manners.

But omg she's so sensible. And sweet. And adorable. <3

yeah that's pretty freaking cute
I have some tack sizes to hunt for because yeah, cob size ottb she is not. Which like. SHOPPING OMG.
I dunno how to wrap this up. She's here! I'm thrilled! Breathless updates to follow!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Found: Strong Black Female Protagonist

When I found out that THE ONE Roxie's Mom had found for me to check out was a solid black mare, I preemptively named her Zoe Washburne.

Because I need a Zoe. Calm under pressure, ready for an adventure, and 1000% reliable.
Armed with two pictures and a phone number, I called a stranger out of the blue about the horse he hadn't even listed for sale.

I found a horseman on the other end of the line, someone who loved his horse very much and was in a similar position that I was with Courage--not the horse for him any more, but he still loved her and he wasn't going to let her go anywhere less than the perfect place.

We talked. I tried to ask intelligent questions and not sound like a complete bumbling idiot (and not ask questions like "what size browband" and "do you think she likes sparkles" which were the only things coming into my head). I managed to not scare him off too badly apparently, because he agreed to email me more information.

Emails were exchanged. I knew the owners would want updates, so I sent my blog information along, only to find out that they'd already googled me and found it... which like... apparently I don't sound like a total idiot (or at least not too much of one), so that's promising. We set up a time for me to meet Ms. Zoe (whom they called Bird), annnnnnd I was off on a whirlwind weekend trip.

I brought a friend with me because I needed objective eyes on the ground. Plus pictures. Always pictures.
I pretty much stepped out of my car and went "omg i love her let's put her in the back seat she's perfect".

And then I was reminded that this was as much her owners interviewing me as it was me meeting Ms. Zoebird.

Lil Ms. Zoebird impressed me very much. I knew going in that she was a four year old Percheron x AQHA/APHA that was bred to be a ranch horse, I knew she had six months of driving training, and I knew she wasn't started under saddle. I didn't know that she moved NICE or that she was a hard little worker with a lot of try and a can-do attitude.

Shoutout to R & J if they are reading--what I promised my friend would be an hour of looking at a horse, then going to the lake turned into a multi-hour adventure with some fascinating new friends. Conversation ranged from breeding to corrective shoeing and even touched on beagles and dog training. I value knowing a horse's history and handling and I'm thrilled that Ms. Zoebird is coming from people like this.

We never did make it to the lake, but armed with pictures and video, we trooped home. The whole trip home was basically me being like "omg i want her she's so pretty and sweet and perfect" and my friend being like "yeah".

Trainer and vet signed off. Shipping arrangements made.

Bloglandia, meet my Zoebird. She arrives this week!!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Ruthlessly Exclude, Part The Second

True fact: I have never horse shopped before in my life. I have saddle shopped (hate, 0/10 do not recommend) and I was told horse shopping is worse.
Go horse shopping they said

However, when you're done with a relationship, basically anything not-that-relationship sounds like a good idea.

(This is why Roxie's mom was like WRITE A LIST NO TALKEE TIL LIST IS DONE because yeah. Objectivity, thy name is not SB.)

I also had a couple of goals:

1) Do not buy the first thing you fall in love with.

Ok make that one goal.

The first thing I looked at, I fell for HARD. WANT SO BAD. But it was not on the list. And remember, ruthlessly exclude. And not the first thing.

Then I looked at a bunch of other things.
one of each plz

I assure you, I was eminently rational about this entire process and did not one time stay up late into the night on the internet, debating putting down a deposit on a wildly inappropriate horse that I SUPER WANTED BECAUSE OMG I LOFF IT BACK OFF.

Well okay that happened several times too.

Anyways. I knew I needed a pretty specific horse, I knew said horse was probably going to be a word of mouth placement vs a random internet ad, and I knew that I could not be trusted to go look at the horse by myself.
As such, while I definitely fell (hard) down some internet rabbit holes (that were SO KYOOT) and spent waaaaaaaay too much time joining random facebook groups and obsessively reading ads. my search was actually focused.

I guess I had a second goal too:

2) I must be able to meet future poneh in person.

I chased down local contacts. Roxie's mom and Leah worked their connections. I planned a couple tentative viewing trips, then canceled them when things didn't shake out.

And then it happened! Roxie's mom was like I HAVE FOUND THE ONE and I was of course already in love because #emotionallyunstable is basically my life right now. But THE ONE checked all the boxes, even as verified by the trusted circle that knew what was on THE LIST and THE ONE was not ruthlessly excluded.

So I picked a show name and planned a road trip with a trusted friend...

catch a ride on the pandicorn express

Monday, July 10, 2017

Now Far Ahead the Road Has Gone

What to say about the little bay horse that walked into my life four years ago and rocked it to it's very foundation? 

Absolute Courage, they called him.

And that is what he's been to me. My rock when I lost Cuna. My reason for standing up for myself. My impetus to try and change and grow and learn.

Courage for the big moments, but Courage every day. Courage to see the abuse I was taking and Courage to walk away with my head held high. Courage to find my voice and Courage to see the future.

Courage a million times over.

He's difficult. He's temperamental.  He's sensitive. He's emotional. He's honest. He's brave.

He took me on an unforgettable adventure.

He's made me the best version of myself.

And now, he's going to be Courage to someone else.

Farewell, my friend.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Ruthlessly Exclude: The Journey

Emma wrote a post about why we do what we do. It's good. You should read it.

It's a topic I have put a lot of thought into lately for pretty obvious reasons. See, left to my own devices, I consistently pick horses like this:
hot, short coupled, fancy

hot, short coupled, fancy
See also: short coupled, scopey, hot Hot HOT, difficult.

They're talented horses. Athletic horses. Hell, if I could ride them, they'd go a long ways.



Here's the thing: I grew up a barn rat and rode anything anyone would let me. I've worked for three different trainers. Subconsciously, I think of myself as that sort of ride-anything-go-anywhere sort of rider.

But like.

I'm not anymore. I'm not as young as I was. I have a lot of mental and physical baggage. I work a full time office job. I'm a one horse ammy and I need to start thinking like one.
moar naps

Admitting that is just the first step.

The scary part is what comes after. Because if I admit yeah, I'm not god's gift to riding and no, I'm not going Grand Prix (nor do I actually want to), then the next step is like. What do I want to do? Why am I here in the first place? What is it about the whole "horse thing" that keeps me coming back for more?

There's not a wrong answer.
such attractive
Here are some of my personal answers:

1) Horses are my outlet. The barn is my place to go where the real world isn't a thing anymore.

That means I need it to be a place I can relax and have fun, not a place where I'm struggling and pushing myself.

And that means I need a horse that's just as happy to toodle as I am.

2) Horses are also my way of understanding the world and being the best self I can be.

That means I need to have goals I can work towards. Not impossible, imaginary, pie-in-the-sky "dreams", but real life goals.

Which means I need a horse that shows up to work and wants to do the job I have in mind.

3) Horses are my addiction. I can't change my addictive personality, but I can channel it in productive ways instead of letting it destroy me.

That means that I need a horse that I want to spend time thinking about. One that's pretty to look at or fun to be around.

Which means the horse isn't a tool or a means to an end. The horse is a personality unto itself that makes my life more worthwhile.
this. this was good.

When I put those things together, the horse I see meeting those needs in my life isn't the short-coupled, hotter-than-shit, upper-level-prospect. I've certainly learned a lot from my horses--some hard lessons, some fun lessons, a lot of growing up lessons.

And those things are all (mostly) good.

The phase of my life where I worked for trainers and rode everything in front of me is over. Permanently. I love my ammy life and I love saying no to riding the stupid horses and I love having one horse I can bond with and obsess over and dress impeccably. I like going to local shows. I like riding in clinics. I like trail rides and photo shoots and zany adventures and random open shows.

I said I wouldn't horse shop until later this summer/fall. Definitely not until things with C are settled. I don't like having two horses.

But on the advice of Roxie's mom, I put together a list of must-haves for Horsie #4. Ruthlessly exclude, she said. And she has a Roxiecorn. So she knows. "Ruthlessly exclude" means setting realistic parameters for #4 and committing them to writing, then immediately ruling out all candidates that do not meet the parameters.
pictured: roxiecorn in action

So of course, I'm casually poking around. WHICH IS TOTALLY NOT HORSE SHOPPING.

"Ruthlessly exclude" has taken me down a very different path then I've ever been before. It has involved falling down some very interesting (and adorable) rabbit holes. It's simplified the process by removing that which shouldn't have been there in the first place. It's pushing me to find new solutions.

My situation is not settled (though there are potentially exciting things on the horizon), but giving myself permission to ruthlessly exclude has had the interesting side effect of letting me see the possibilities of the future. It isn't what I ever thought I would want, but the closer it gets to reality, the more right it feels.

The future is exciting, guys.

Stay posted.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Well This Sucks

We've been not talking about Courage for a long time now, so let's talk about him.

First things first--it's been a process, but I think we've hammered out the maintenance that will work for him and he's sound in work and ready to go. Vet doesn't foresee any limitations in terms of dressage/trails/whatever on the flat. Trainer is putting rides on him and says he feels really good.

(Btw for those of you keeping track--while Alli definitely got the prize for best comment on my last post, the neck twist was a chiropractic issue that has been handled. Quite simple.)


Courage is an all-or-nothing sort of horse.

And while for a long time I've been able to appreciate that or laugh it off or make memes about it, now is not that time. I'm wading through a lot of personal shit and there isn't an end in sight and I can't make it stop.

But it means I can't bring my A-game to Courage.

And that doesn't work for him.

Right now, I need horses to be simple and fun. I need them to bring me joy, not force me to wrack my brain and push myself constantly.

Courage isn't a bad horse. He's a really cool guy in a lot of ways. He never quits trying. He's smart, he learns fast, he works hard. He's gorgeous and photogenic and good to have around.

Believe you me, I wish I could keep making this work. I adore him and he's done a lot for me and I wish there was some way I could keep trying.

It's taking all I've got to deal with life shit and there's nothing left over to deal with Courage.

That's not his fault. It's not my fault. It just is.

Of course, there's this whole giant blog about him and I've been quite public about our struggles, which probably won't help the re-homing process. I don't believe in back editing/deleting that stuff though, so it is what it is. I haven't posted ads at this point because he's a particular kind of horse and he needs a particular kind of person.

So if you or someone you know wants a gorgeous, fabulous horse with some quirks, talk to me. Obviously, there will be full disclosure of all vet records etc. Nobody needs surprises.

I'm not quitting horses and there will be another eventually, but my #1 priority is finding Courage the right place.

And once more, his stupid name is strangely relevant.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

WW: Old Horse, New Tricks

You're just jealous of his sweet new head twist.

(And yes. He's seeing the vet. Again. BAI MONEY NICE KNOWIN YA.)

PS Wanna play pin the diagnosis on the OTTB? Leave your guess in the comments. Winner gets a prize of my choosing.
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