Friday, December 30, 2016

Snerk. Sob. 2016 Goals.

I was going to do my usual evaluation of my goals set early in 2016 and see how this year measured up.

But basically, there's no way I can write that post without sounding like a clinically-depressed failure. Believe you me, I tried. And it was like "goddamnit this person sucks and they need to stop". (Noted: concussion not really helping with writing skills at this juncture.)

Anyways. My goals were predicated on 1) Courage maintaining a steady, upwards trajectory in training 2) My finances maintaining or increasing as the year went on and 3) Non-horse things staying relatively stable.

Since none of those things happened, I hit like 2.5 out of 11 goals. That's super bad in terms of goals.

Instead of dwelling on how bad it is, I want to re-assess my goal making process. I took an excellent leadership/goals/cool army shit class one time and we talked about goal making. Good goals need to be:

Specific - no amorphous "i want to feel happy someday", yes "i will train 5x a week"
Measurable - see above. you can't quantify emotions
Achievable - has to be something i control, not relying on a judge's opinion
Realistic - obviously "grand prix 2017" is not happening here
Time Bound - these are annual goals, so something i can achieve in a year

I'm using my limited brain power to put together a more achievable list for next year. Fingers crossed?

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Overly Personal

Despite how it might appear online, I'm a very private person. There are parts of my life I'll share with anyone anytime, but there are also a lot of parts I share with no one, ever.
quintessential lap chiweenie

This past year has entailed dealing with a lot of bullshit that falls on the "no one, ever" side of the spectrum. It's not strictly horse-related, so it's not 100% relevant to this blog.


What are horses, if not thousand pound mirrors of everything we like and hate about ourselves?
me too buddy
So without getting overly detailed and personal, I think we can agree that Courage and I have a tenuous (rocky?) relationship. It's hot and cold and on and off and omg the vacillations have probably exhausted you all. I've received many well-intentioned, well-reasoned opinions from people I like and trust to just sell the horse. It's good advice. It's advice I'd give myself in a similar situation. I'm not offended by it and I honestly appreciate the outside perspective.

I keep hanging on to Courage against reason. Against logic. Against everything. And it's not even like I'm head over heels for him most of the time, you know? I have good rides and I'm like "omg <3", but just as often, I have incredibly terrible rides (if I can even catch him) and leave the barn supremely frustrated. And then there's now, where I'm not even riding and he's still being an asshole.
yeah it's cool i wanted to spend hours cooling you out DUMBASS
In any circumstances, that's more than enough to justify finding something easier. This is a hobby. It's supposed to be fun. I'm back on the "definitely not fun" swing of things. Courage is impossible to catch, impossible to handle, and an absolute twit to work with.

But see.

I'm working through a lot of things personally. Things like keeping everyone and everything in my life at arm's length. Or being so guarded that I never let anyone close so they can't hurt me. Compulsively hiding any trace of emotion so no one knows how I really feel, ever. Deep-seated (justifiable) anger. Disappointment. Loss.

I am 100% polished and professional at pushing everyone away.

And that's a me-problem, not a Courage-problem.
Another me-problem is that my lack of trust in future outcomes means I'm very driven by what happens in the moment. Which means I have a freakishly hard time seeing through the difficult present to a possibly brighter future.

Which is to say, I'm very emotionally unstable right now and then I piled a concussion on top of that. If you've never had a concussion, just know they're the worst. I can't think or concentrate on anything, I make stupid errors, and I forget everything. It's maddening.

Courage is not the forgiving type to start with, he's never been easy, and I guess the best thing I can say for him is that he's 100% "genuine", meaning he goes like shit when he feels like shit and he doesn't apologize for yanking my chain, ever.

That's just Courage. Take it or leave it.
Between the "emotionally unstable", the "concussion protocol", and then the "SB hasn't ridden since 12/1" problem, I'm a giant ball of angst. I go back and forth between "I should just shoot him in his stupid head" and "omg <3 he's making me a better person and we're in this together".

Like. Both those emotions in the same half second or so.
super awesome blogger secret santa present!
I'm trying to accept that I simply am emotionally unstable right now for reasons outside my control and actually not because of Courage. I know that my interactions with him are just a reflection of the larger pile of shit I'm wading through and frankly, the weather is freaking horrible and it's really not a bad idea for him to have some time off.

But dammit, I really want to just go out to the barn and walk into my horse's stall and have him meet me at the gate and be one of those "everything is ok" horses where I can hop on and toodle around when I need to.

And he's not that.
I can't make him that.

I can't control what's going on around me. I can't always trust my own judgement. I know I'm not in a place to make big decisions right now.

What I can do is make a plan.
step one: stick head in snowbank
Courage is getting December off. He hasn't been ridden anyways and as my trainer pointed out, he's an all or nothing horse.

I don't know if I can ride come January, but I feel confident that I'll be able to lunge or work him in hand 2-3 days a week. My trainer will be able to ride him 2x a week as weather permits.
definitely things to work on
Generally, February means we start being able to ride outside again around here, so hopefully by them I'm back in the saddle and Courage is in a program.

The maddening thing with basically everything in my life right now is that I have no control over it. I can't put it on a schedule. I can't say when I'll feel better. I can't say when or if my head will start working right again.
but i have cute pets
So yeah. I can't fix Courage and he doesn't always give me the warm fuzzies. I can buy him a metric ton of shit (actual scenario), put a plan together, and feel like there's one tiny corner of my life that's starting to make sense.

And sometimes, one tiny corner is all I get.
pic courtesy of the Thoughtful Equestrian

Monday, December 19, 2016

2016 Year in Review

These are my favorite posts of the year! I love looking back at everyone's adventures and remembering what we got through. Here goes.


Not much changes about January. It's a shitty month with bad weather, which prompts survivalist posts like "The Winter Rider" where I talk about making smart choices to not die.

It also prompts thinking posts like "Training the Sensitive Horse" where I reflect on the type of horse Courage is and the best ways to get through to him. And sappy posts about trust and relationships, like this one.
january trotting!

Apparently the weather finally decided to be less horrible, because Courage and I got ourselves back in regular(ish) lessons. In Learning Lessons, we used our trainer as a relationship counselor and started figuring out hard to get through the hard parts together. 

And then there was the Fantastic or Insane post where I talked about starting to bridge the gap between Courage being nuts and Courage being rideable. We actually had a lesson where I rode the whole time and he kept his brain in his head. Proggress! 
feb trotting!
And who can forget that one time Lindsey and I went complete nuts and bought a pile of shit from India! 


Our relationship continued changing in March. Courage was learning how to trust me, and I was realizing that riding better meant deep ass soreness

march trotting! (early precious sighting)


I mentioned I was trying saddles. 

That escalated quickly. I fell in love and sold a good chunk of the hoard to afford it.

On a riding front, things were very mixed. Courage went to his first show of the year and freaking killed it at training level (70% WHAT WHAT). At home, he was a nut job who wouldn't let me catch him in the field.
april show trotting


May was basically one start-to-finish shitshow. As per the usual, I guess. 

We had out first level debut at a schooling show. Day one was bad, day two was worse. 

After that, I snarked at people who felt the need to run me down and opted out of paying through the nose to go fail at recognized shows.
may trotting!
Disappointing is the best thing I can say about that month.


In June, we rallied and tried to go to another show. It. Was. Terrible. 

I struggled with whether to keep Courage. I got laid off from my job. I got super depressed and decked my horse out like he was going to a show.
June trotting
I started seeing some progress on the lunge line from our consistency under saddle, but it was not really making up for the rest of my life.


This month at least started out on a better note--I wrote a guide to the hot, emotional horse and talked about how the little things added up to game changers for Courage. I also got my job back, which is a game changer for me. 
We celebrated our three year anniversary together and he stepped out of the closet. I apparently failed at getting any under-saddle kickass trotting pictures, but we did canter sometimes.

Years in a row of posting every weekday was wearing on me though.


I was dealing with heavy personal issues and piling internet dumbasses on top proved to be too much to handle, so I signed off for a bit. Even with his struggles, Courage was helping me deal with life. 

I started reflecting on the process of developing a horse without getting bogged down in the daily details. Courage and I revisited our jumper roots (with mixed results). 
August trotting
We ended the month with new sparkles and a new appreciation for the partnership we were building.


September ushered us in to a new era--Courage started pro training. I also discovered that a horse in training expects to be ridden by people who know what they're doing.

I also audited a Tik Maynard clinic that helped me think about how and why I did what I did with Courage. 
september trotting
I also wrote a craft how-to for people who don't craft. It's harder than you'd think.


We kicked things into gear on the training front--I got myself into lessons and Courage was developing well. I had a family crisis that entailed skipping a lot of barn days and buying a lot of tack

We also tried out some new bodywork stuff that went really well. We even signed up for an open show
october trotting
What could possibly go wrong? 


For reasons that I'm sure are COMPLETELY UNRELATED to 2016 taking a massive dump all over me, November landed me back on the struggle bus in terms of Courage. Our open show was a catastrophe, Courage was increasingly worse at home, and I wasn't coping well

I did come up with a plan and ride in a clinic, but things were not good.
November Trotting


December is pretty anti-climactic. I had an inspired revelation about why my horse was a complete lunatic, but then my poor car got blown to smithereens and I still haven't recovered. 

I was trying to stay consistent with the pro training, but the weather and the horse are stubbornly determined to not cooperate. Courage might be back under saddle this week. Or maybe not til February. 
yeah let's think that one through carefully
I can't say I'm sad to see 2016 go. It's been a pretty terrible year on a lot of levels. Despite all that, I've learned a lot and hey, if you examine my monthly trotting pictures, there is definitely progress shown. 

Onwards and upwards! 

Thursday, December 15, 2016


Hullo people of blogland.

Many of the cooler and more accomplished bloggers out there have stuff like custom domains they pay for and ads they make money on and logos and whatnot.

Until this week, I had none of those things.

Now thanks to Carey at Me Jump Pretty One Day, I have a logo. I really don't know what I need a logo for, but it kicks all the ass and I like it. I'm working on figuring a new blog header. I ordered some fun stickers and I'm looking at getting hats made. Why? Who knows. I don't have a custom domain or ads or anything that really justifies paying $ to promote my ramblings but it's a damn good logo.
i'm laughing
Which is to say. If you want SprinklerBandits logo gear for any reason, contact me ASAP. I can't imagine people wanting to hawk my blog for me, but if you're so inclined, I'm making it an option. I think hats will be ~$15. If you just want stickers and you're not local, paypal me a buck and I'll drop them in the mail.

PS if you and your local-to-you friend both want stickers, it's still just a buck as long as I can send them to the same address.

PPS if you're local to me and just want stickers, I won't even charge you. Unless I have to mail them. Then it's $1.

PPPS and if you're over there like "wtf SB no one on earth wants your shitty hats to promote your failerific blog", that's ok too. Not offended.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016


We all know I'll spend money on Courage without so much as the drop of a hat. Tack, blankets, bodywork, random herbal shit when I'm hormonal, basically anything I think might make his life 0.1% better, he gets.
spoiled and he knows it

He gets bodywork a lot. His bodywork lady always says 24 hours off, which I meticulously count off. If he gets worked on 3pm Saturday, I'm in the saddle 3.15pm Sunday. Plus I always call him a persnickety pain pussy because he's so reactive about the process that clearly makes him feel better. C'mon dumbass. Show a little gratitude, amiright?
trying to figure out where to bite her


At this point, I should possibly mention that never in my life have I had any form of massage, chiropractic adjustment, or physical therapy. Other than a myofascial release class through pilates here and there, I haven't bothered to spend that money on me.

But in the aftermath of the car accident, I finally did get a massage because I hurt so much.

Ummmmm yeah have any of you ever had one?


And then not only do they hurt in the moment, they hurt hella more later.
pets don't mind. pets just cuddle.

So uh.

From here on out when poor C gets bodywork, he's also getting AT LEAST a full day off (maybe a week) and an entire bowl of bute.


Monday, December 12, 2016

Ooops or "Should've Seen that Coming"

I remain on super hateful concussion protocol, which means riding is tabled BUT THEY STILL LET ME DRIVE.


It's winter here, which means snow and ice and occasionally, super artistic fog.
110% gross

This weekend, I wanted to see how Courage was feeling, so I put him in a great outfit to lunge him.
such curves!

But I liked my cool, arty-ish arena shot, and I thought it could be even cooler with the dressage horse standing on the only exposed patch of sand, staring off into the distance.

I set up that shot.

Courage sort of looked at me.
hooman y u so dum?



It wasn't the arty shot I had in mind, but I guess it worked out ok?

PS Yeah it took like 10 minutes to catch him in a super tense walking chase because I DID NOT WANT him to break my favorite reins and he DID NOT WANT to play along.

But he felt great. So if I could ride. That would be something.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

An Interruption


As per the usual, nothing is going as planned.

When we left off, I'd just had C seen by his magical body work lady and figured out all our problems and I was SUPER excited. Bodywork was at like 3pm on Friday, body work lady always recommends 24 hours off, but she also said with something that messed up, it may take a second session to get him really sorted out.

Plus, since I think it was a shoe problem, I don't know if he's going to immediately re-compensate for the missing hind shoes and re-pinch the nerve or if his feet are sufficiently tough now and he's ok.
pictured: world's biggest pain pussy

So the plan was to hop on Saturday after 3pm or Sunday and just see what I had. If C wasn't ready to go back to work, he'd get two weeks off and I'd take two lessons a week on other horses in lieu of his normal training rides.

That was my plan at like 5.44pm on Friday night.

And then this happened at 5.45.
I'm the tiny car in the front. As Emma said "world's worst conga line".


I've never been violently rear-ended by a giant truck who thinks driving is a brakes-optional activity before (srsly guys he hit the Yukon so hard it smashed into me and OMG I LOVE YOU YUKON because otherwise.... dayum).

Anyways. I thought I'd take the weekend off and feel good on Monday, but surprise, apparently getting hit by a truck makes me feel like I got hit by a truck. Doctor says I will continue feeling like I got hit by a truck for 4-6 weeks. I say doctor is a hater.

So the whole point of this non-horse related whine is that 1) you should seriously consider not getting hit by trucks and 2) my role as human crash dummy to see if Courage feels good enough to go back to work has been temporarily suspended. I say a week. Doctor says three weeks at minimum.

Given that I get pretty intense pain if I'm even slightly off on my pain med schedule, doctor may have a point, but we're not admitting that to her. TAKE THAT DOCTOR. She wants precious for herself, doesn't she.
precious is ourses. still.

I talked trainer into riding if C was perfect on the lunge line, but then the temps dropped into "freaking obscene omg i refuse" levels. Oh and a winter storm is blowing in today.

So what we have now is Schrodinger's horse. He may or may not be rideable, but I can't get to the box to find out.
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