Wednesday, May 6, 2015

When in Doubt, Wine. Also Pie.

distracting myself with cute pony horses
Thank you all for your kind words, support, and profanity yesterday. It all resonated, mostly the profanity. And wine. There was a lot of wine.

And how do I feel?


  • Completely humiliated. Really and truly, I thought there was nothing left for a horse to do to me that could make me feel that way. There's just a special sort of awful when you call a trainer you respect and are like "yeah not coming because not a good enough trainer to get horse on trailer" and she's like "wait what?" and I'm like "yeah you heard me". 
    • I do realize this is a completely human emotion that Courage is incapable of conceptualizing. Unfortunately, I can conceptualize the hell out of it. Yay humanity. 
  • Pissed off. I've needed a day off for months and it hasn't been forthcoming because I needed to earn money to make sure adult responsibilities were taken care of. I planned to take Tuesday off completely. Or like, you know, go in to work for a few hours and spend all afternoon in nasty, gusting wind writing big checks for that horse who thinks getting on trailers is a purely optional exercise. 
    • Pretty sure he knows I'm pissed. I mostly just left him alone. 
  • Frustrated. I've had Courage almost two years. In that time, he's hauled all over the place in many different trailers and never taken more than a wave of a hand to get him on. 
    • He does occasionally have temper tantrums. I win this round, but it doesn't change his personality. Or get me any money back.
  • Confused. Really, really confused. I'm completely honest when I say I'm looking at other options. I halfway don't ever want to see him again (or write any more big checks for him) and halfway feel like I'm in this up to my neck already and might as well see it through. I cannot reconcile those feelings right now. 
    • you should (not) have seen my stress shopping grocery cart yesterday. Why yes, I do need THIS ENTIRE PIE. 

android horse is on time out

    I don't know what to say. I'm still hurt and angry and not processing well. I'm not afraid of Courage, but I'm really, really tired of his antics right now. Would I be happier with something less dramatic? I don't know. Do I just need to stay the course? I don't know. 

    Am I just setting myself up with another Izzy? 

    That's the really disturbing question in the back of my mind that I can't answer. None of these are easy questions and they can't be answered overnight. Apparently. Or else I would have answered them by now. 

    Maybe the answer is in the pie.

    47 comments:

    1. In short, wine (and pie) is always the answer. ALWAYS.

      I'm so sorry that you're going through this with Courage. But, please keep in mind that you're a wonderfully skilled horse woman, and have definitely gone above and beyond to deal with Courage's antics, certainly a lot further than many of us would have gone. I know that you won't make any rash impulsive decisions (shopping cart aside...) and will do what's right for both you and Courage.

      I'm in your corner, whatever that decision may be.

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    2. Wine and pie are never a bad idea :) Repeat as needed until you figure things out!

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    3. Frankly I don't think pie is going to do it for you. You definitely need cookies and cake and all the sweet snacks EVAR MADE. Plus probably more wine.

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      1. Maybe a cake with a pie hidden insisde?

        http://ur.spoonuniversity.com/2014/11/19/recreating-pake-cake-pie-inside/

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      2. My friend makes piecakens! They would totally help! Any school master types you can ride? Someone to remind you that your a good rider? Or save up money and put him in some serious training? Or sell and start again. All reasonable decisions.

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    4. The answer is TOTALLY in the pie. You are wise and competent and you're going to figure this out.

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    5. Yeah, to be honest when I was reading your post yesterday I started thinking "Oh Noes She's Having Izzy Flashbacks" and please know I don't mean to sound like I'm making light of that - that's 100% legit. You had a horse you sunk a lot of time and effort and emotion (not to mention money) into and it ended up not being worth it. Let's call a spade a spade here. But from an outside perspective, you seem to have more success, overall, with Courage than you did with her. And when I read "should I get something less dramatic?" I couldn't help but wonder, "is there such a thing?" Mine can certainly be dramatic, and that's putting it mildly describing his bad days. And I think overall we'd agree he's one of the good ones. I don't know, obviously none of us can answer this one for you and maybe you can't even answer it yourself just yet. But Pie can't hurt.

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    6. Pie forever. Always the answer.

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    7. Pie is always the answer, and wine. Pwine? I'm in.

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    8. Wine often solves all of the world's evils. Pie helps, as does copious amounts of ice cream. Wine & ice cream are my go tos for the bad bad days.

      Lots of great words of encouragement and wisdom have already been voiced that I can't really add to. Other than, at the end of the day it's supposed to be fun for us and there is no shame in changing things (even the horse) to make sure that it stays fun.

      I'm thinking of you and sending good, positive and happy thoughts. Feel free to get in touch if you need an additional outlet.

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    9. Wine is always the answer. Pie is a close second.

      I feel your pain. I have a senior citizen schoolmaster who is seriously the best horse ever. Two years ago he decided (on our way to a show 3 hours away) that there was no possible way he could get in the trailer. He's been trailered almost every week for years but that day I COULD NOT get him on the trailer. I've never been so mad and disappointed in a horse.

      Only you will know if the pros out weigh the cons with Courage but I will say that when I was struggling with selling my red mare I went back and read a ton of your posts on Izzy. This is the first time I think you have even come close to the same level of despair. Perhaps rereading some of you thoughts on Izzy will help you solidify how you feel about Courage.

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    10. I'm so sorry. I don't know if the answer is in the pie, but I think pie is an excellent intermediary stop. I've been hitting the pie myself recently. Also, an entire pitcher of margaritas, which was fruity, like pie.

      *hugs*

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    11. The answer is always in the pie.

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    12. Bah I'm so frustrated and upset on your behalf. You work so hard and are such an amazing horseperson, it just sucks when ponies have these issues. Maybe a weekend off from seeing Courage? Every so often I need a weekend off from horses to just veg out.

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    13. Last week Spider, who is 20 years old and has been getting his feet done for his entire life, decided that he was not going to be caught for the farrier. He ran around like a hooligan for 20 of the most infuriating and embarrassing minutes of my life. The farrier just laughed, because he's been doing Spider's feet for 5 years and knows that it's no reflection on my training, Spider was just being a dumbass that day.

      And that's the thing about horses, they're all dumbness and have dumbass moments at times. As much as we humans love to sigh dreamily about how majestic and intelligent our horses are, the reality is that they're pretty much scraping the bottom of the barrel in the brains department. Every horse is going to do something stupid , no matter how old, what breed, discipline or level of training it's at. More training will help you defuse the dumabassery more quickly, but never actually get rid of it, as Spider and Vinny could easily tell you.

      In the end, I think successful human-horse relationships are just about finding the manifestation of dumbassery that you are comfortable with. And also booze. I don't know any good horsemen who don't drink. I'm actually totally suspicious of people who ride and say they don't drink, because I think they may be mentally unstable. Well, more mentally unstable than the rest of us, anyway.

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      1. Oh gosh, I couldn't have put it any better than this! At the end of the day we get a slice of the picture by reading a blog. Youll know in your heart what the right call is. This is supposed to be fun mixed with occasional dumbassery and booze. We support you no matter what!

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      2. I couldn't agree more and that last paragraph is pure GOLD!

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      3. Amen. Especially that last paragraph!

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    14. Damn it I wish I liked pie so I could look for answers ;)
      What do the non emotionally attached people tell you? I had a horse that I "saw through" for many years until I had enough. Although there will always be rough spots it must be fun. I'm happy to drink wine and commiserate from afar. Cheers.

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    15. Ugh. I'm sorry you are struggling with this one. I think the dramatic tantrums (that you have experience in other situations) are the real issue. This may have just been the straw the broke the camels back. Horses will behave like horses, but being totally unreasonable is not a good option. I don't blame you for being completely upset about the situation. I wouldn't feel bad if you decide that Courage isn't working for you. There are other horses out there who are less dramatic.

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    16. This might sound mean but I think you are being a bit overdramatic here. You and Courage have come SUCH a long way and you have to remember that horses are horses - and horses make us humble. So instead of whine-pie, maybe it's more of humble-pie?

      I know my 21 year old mare still amazes me with some of the shit she tries to pull. It isn't consistent, but it DOES happen. Chalk it up as a bad day, press forwards and move on :)

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    17. I'm sorry you are feeling so terrible right now. Horses do some ridiculous shit at the most inopportune times. But, on the other hand, you are letting your emotions take over on this one trailer incident, despite you having a completely legit history of other issues. This was one day out of how many others that he normally gets on the trailer fine. Only one thing to do now, go make him get on the trailer again and see what happens. Don't discount so much after him having that one shit day with loading (and I'm not trying to side with him, I'm not even an OTTB fan, I'm in the Andrea club when it comes to them).

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    18. Pie is definitely the way to go. Also wine, if that's your thing. For me, the answer is always to be found at the bottom of a half gallon of Friendly's PB Cup Ice Cream, drowned in melted Skippy PB. I will never judge you for the contents of your shopping cart!

      It is true that all horses are occasionally silly or have a bad day. But it is also true that some horses are simply more challenging than others. Only you can decide if it is worth it.

      I do own the ranch-broke, stock horse type. And there are some definite pros and cons to that. If you ever want to go over it with me, feel free to send me an email. shaunatwentytwelve@gmail.com

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    19. I'm sorry things are so rough right now. Having sold/donated 3 horses in the last 4 years, I'm firmly in the camp of horse has to be enjoyable to get to stay. I will keep an injured/retired horse, as evidenced in Dijon, but a fully functioning horse either needs to bring me joy or move on to a new home. If you enjoy the challenge and want to keep conquering that challenge, go for it. If you want to just ride without a challenge, get another horse. It seemed like you just had so much fun with Cuna. I know there's not another Cuna out there, but maybe another experience like that? From an outsider's perspective, Courage doesn't seem as bad as Izzy, but I'm not there so I don't know. I think you should do what makes you happy.

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    20. I find the best answers to be at the bottom of a soup pot of macaroni and cheese. To each their own.

      I understand the anger and frustration and annoyance. I think you have some tough questions (and it's okay to ignore them for a bit and hit the pie -- yeah. I said that.). What do you want out of your horse. Competitive? Learn to be a better rider? All around fun but not competitive? All around fun and competitive? Jumping? Dressage?

      I'll give you an example: I want to ride GP some day, and not some day as in waaaaay far in the future. I mean some day as in, maybe before 10 years is up. I want to be competitive someday, but the competitive goals come after my goal of just getting there. Above all, I want to be a rider capable of riding almost every horse to the best of its ability/training. So, I have kept Pig. His asshole-type ways teach me more than any other horse. If I can do dressage with him, I can do it on any other horse. Plus, he has a pretty face, tends to like snuggles, and will go gallop top speed through a field with me on one day and come back to do half passes the next day. He will not get on a trailer without a fight, though.

      So, I dunno. I guess I suggest macaroni and cheese. It goes great in a savory pie.

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    21. Pie is always a good answer. You'll find your way. I know it!

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    22. While horses are a pretty illogical thing overall (I mean, who in their right mind straps a piece of leather to a flighty 1100lb prey animal on purpose and then climbs aboard for fun?), I have reached a point in my horsey career where I have to make logical decisions about whether or not they stay. Because emotionally, of course we love them and we want to KEEP ALL THE BEHBEHS LOVE DE PONIES. But, that's not logical and horses are really, really damn expensive.
      So, I break it down like this:
      1) Is the horse useful to me?
      - I of course will always keep a retiree or injured critter, no question. I owe them that, if they have taken me places and either retired or gotten hurt in the process. But, if they're not doing something useful for me, like making some kind of progress in a discipline that I want to be a part of, then I consider moving them on to somewhere more suitable. Obviously I've stretched this one a bit, I have accommodated O in this category quite a lot, but it did lead me to a super amazing new sport that I love and we're both very happy to do, so it all worked out.
      2) Do we get along?
      - You date a lot of people in life before you find The One. You ride a lot of horses in a similar way before you find One that you want to really take home. And maybe you think it is The One, but it ends up not being The One, and that's ok, because there is another One out there that is better suited for you, and another rider better suited for that horse. A lot of people find it really important to get along with them under saddle vs. on the ground. I'm more the opposite, I can fix a lot of things under saddle but I can't reconcile with a horse on the ground that doesn't like me or doesn't want to be my buddy. I personally need a cuddly, interactive horse, a friendly horse who doesn't pin ears or make faces. So you have to find out what is most important to you, and think about whether your horse has that or not.
      3) Some days are super shitty and it's ok, but only if the good days outweigh the bad days.
      - Some days I want to bash O over the head with a pipe. Ok maybe not really, but still. Some days I just look at her and go WHY ARE YOU SO DAMN RED? Like two days ago when she threw herself repeatedly into the fence screaming bloody murder because the baby was turned out. It was super embarrassing. But, in reality I like this part of her as much as I like any other part of her. It's super annoying, but it's just her. Her amazing points far outweigh her bad points for me - with another owner I am completely sure that would be in reverse. Most people can't stand her, but I can!
      4) If I'm scared, or over my head, or really not having fun, it's time to move on.
      When I had Immy, I ADORED her and tried so hard to make her a useful riding critter. And I just failed. And I don't think anyone could ever make her useful, honestly, which is why she now is a pasture ornament. She is completely sound and technically *should* be useful, but she's not rideable due to her history of abuse. I got tired of getting lawn darted every day, and every day was unhappy for both of us. I wanted it to work so bad, and it just didn't. I wanted to keep her forever, but didn't have the funds for a technically "unuseful" horse. So, she went to her new home, and I made the right choice for both her and for myself. And that's ok.
      That's usually my launch pad for thinking logically. I try to answer those questions, and make lists, and size things up against one another, trying not to let my emotions get too crazy involved. In the end though, it IS all down to your emotions - if logically it all matches up but you still can't stand the horse, then it's time to move that horse on. If everything on the list is a failure but you still love the horse, it's a bit more complicated. Start logically, list things out, and analyze it from there.

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    23. again i'm so sorry you're going through all this doubt and frustration right now! lots of good advice and compassionate responses here already - and i'd echo those who say it's all about what your goals are and where you want to be in your riding life tomorrow, next month, two years from now etc, but that there's also no rush in finding an answer (unless the answer is wine, in which case moar now plz!).

      but really i don't necessarily have anything wise or insightful to add - just that i wish you the best of luck!

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    24. I think the wine and pie option is about the best one for you, for right now. Shit happens. With every horse, there will be setbacks, disappointments and plenty of frustration to cover everything. There will be times it feels like it's all falling apart.

      But in the last 2 years, he has come a long way. So have you. He wouldn't have gotten this far if it weren't for one thing. You. So take a deep breath, a bite of pie and a drink of wine. Take it all in, own your hard work and everything you have put into Courage. You're awesome and you've got this.

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    25. You are totally and completely allowed to bathe and absorb all of the pie, whine, ice cream, froyo, cake, pastries, pasta, cheese, alcohol all you want. For as long as you want. From my perspective, I see an amazing rider who has taken this green as grass asshole racehorse and turned him into something amazing. Yes, he does stupid crap here and there. Sometimes more often than is needed. But most of the time I see you enjoying him and his assholeness and all of the magical progress you have made. This has been a hard month but I don't think it is something that is going to get increasingly bad. He has some difficult shoes to fill and I don't think there will ever be a horse as amazing as Cuna, but this guy you have is actually pretty cool. I will totally support any decision you make 100%. Just wanted to let you know what I have seen over the time you have had this handsome snot and a different perspective. Only you know what is right for you.

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      1. I like this comment a lot. I also suggest we all bathe in cheese. I hear its good for your skin. :)

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    26. You've got a lot of great advice and very thoughtful insight from all your commenters.

      I think the general consensus is, "Horses are animals, sometimes they are assholes, sometimes they are brilliant, and sometimes they just are." Unless you haven't written about some really bad times with Courage, I'd say you definitely don't have another Izzy on your hands. You have a horse that is brilliant and frankly, either spied a snake/alligator/wolverine in the horse trailer or, as my first thought was, had been feeding off your nervousness for the two weeks leading up to the clinic. Come the day to trailer and I don't think a horse has to be human to put two-and-two together to realize your nervousness might be related to the trailering. And if you are going to be that nervous prior to trailering, what's he going to think about the actual trailering? Something really bad must be in there or at the destination.

      I think we don't realize how much horses sense our emotions. Regardless of how well we think we're handling them, animals know something is up! If I'm feeling anxious or sad, my 100lb dog is practically in my lap - I can't hide it at all, he smells it. I can't hide anxiety/nervousness from my horse - she not only gets to smell it but also feels it wrapped around her!

      Maybe don't commit to something that's going to make you so nervous/scared and Courage won't feel he can't trust you or shouldn't be afraid/stubborn for the both of you. Of course, that was my impression of your feelings on going to the clinic (noticed only by your facebook and blog posts), I could be totally off base. You may have been zen like a yoga-master and Courage may have been a super-dick.

      Also, my answer is brownies. Always brownies. Or chocolate chip oatmeal cookies.

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    27. I feel your pain - eat all the pies. And then come shopping with me while we both search for school masters that we can do all the things with and have fun for a change!
      Seriously though, you've done good with him, but at the end of the day it should be about how much you love your pony and find your happy place at the barn at least more than half the time. I am deeply invested in my mare (had her since she was 6 months old and have been through all types of highs and hell for eight years now) and even with that deep emotional/financial investment, I still have days I wish she were leaving on a trailer for some other home.
      At those times I eat home-made fudge, out of the pot by spoonfuls washed down with tumblerfuls of wine.

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      1. Same here (mare was home-bred)! Wine and chocolate, best way to get over those hell days.

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    28. My compass says, do I have mostly good days? And is the amount of good I have worth it?

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    29. You might want to have him checked for ulcers. There are blood and fecal tests that aren't terribly expensive and will give you a pretty good idea if ulcers are present in either the foregut or hindgut. Trailers and cantering can be very painful/scary things for a horse with those nasty things.

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    30. Girl, I feel you. Literally my life all winter with B. I know how it is.

      We all love you, and C-Rage.

      I think its purely temporary. Hes an amazing horse. And Ive never even met him! Way more sane than Bacardi.

      No shame in taking breaks <3

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    31. Not that this will make the situation any better, but I am sure there isn't a single horse person who hasn't had something similar and equally as mortifying, frustrating and all around shitty happen to them. At LEAST once. I'm sorry it happened and sorry for the emotions you are now struggling with.

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      1. Also, what she said ^ I once had my perfect, 14 year old, COMPLETELY BROKE quarter horse freak out for no apparent reason in the middle of the show and try to climb out of the ring... IN FRONT OF FREAKING EVERYONE. And then I was asked to leave over the announcer, in the middle of the class. So, even those super broke cow ponies have their moments.

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    32. I totally feel your frustration right now because I was there about two months ago. When Wiz dumped me and I ended up getting a huge hospital bill, I was over it. I hated him so much I didn't go see him for a whole week. (When I did, I'm pretty sure he knew I was mad- he was SO sweet to me ha! I even hopped on bareback and rode around in a halter- which kind of made me hate him even more).

      I was ready to just quit riding completely, sell him to the slaughter house, sell him to whoever was crazy enough to buy him, or all of the above.

      But about two weeks later, and I started wanting to ride again. And I couldn't quite fathom the thought of getting rid of him. So I made up the plan to move him to give it ONE LAST SHOT and- right now I'm glad I did.

      There are still days when I'm like "what am I doing with this horse" because part of me is still scared of him. It would be easier to just sell him. But a new horse might mean new problems. And if I can deal with the ones he has and end up with a solid sane horse in about two years- then I think I can deal with that.

      Anyway, point being, totally feel you, you have a right to feel these things, process them away, with lots of wine, and then some rational thought, and then some emotional thought as well. Only advice would be to not rush into a decision either way- but either way the decision isn't wrong, if it's what you think will be the best for you!

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