Thursday, February 27, 2014

Throwback Thursday

I'm convinced this is one of those things people do when they have nothing else to say. Let's find out.

But she was beautiful
The first horse I ever owned was an Oldenburg mare by the name of Isadora. I got her with a host of issues as a basically unstarted 5 year old who knew she was bigger than the people trying to handle her. I sold her her three years later because I realized that she was just way too much for me to handle.

It was such a tricky process. I'd never dealt with crushing physical fear before and I was always just trying to turn the corner and work through it. I hung on until the very bitter end and I almost walked away from horses because I was so miserable.

I've never thought of myself as a proud person, but I just couldn't wrap my mind around the fact that I needed to admit I was wrong. Fear had become my new normal and I didn't understand that there was another way to live.

And I was terrified
Besides, Izzy was the baby of the mare I'd adored in highschool. I always planned to have her forever. There was no part of my world where Izzy was going to go away, ever.

Letting go of her was incredibly hard. I was living with a "do or die" mentality and I stuck it out through major set backs, painful injuries, and I was always convinced that things were about to get better. We moved in with my favorite trainer because I knew I needed help.

With the trainer, I always felt like we were so close. I was riding better and pushing myself harder and getting closer, but I was still just flat out terrified. Every time I needed to ride a horse, I felt sick. I loved horses on the ground, but I didn't like riding and I was petrified of jumping.

That was my normal.

It wasn't until a kind old red man ambled into my life and turned everything I thought I knew on it's head that I realized there was another way to live. I sold the mare, bought Cuna, and my life has never been the same. It's not that I loved Izzy less--it's that I love Cuna more. I let Izzy find a home where she could be appreciated for who she was and Cuna was everything I ever wanted.

It took every second of Cuna's two years with me to undo all the damage that I did by hanging on to Izzy. Even now, I occasionally have a little anxiety about riding Courage. It's not that he's done anything to earn it, but he's put together a lot like Izzy and that can catch me off guard.

Say hello to C-rage
I'm still very proactive about my confidence. I don't ride horses I don't trust. I push myself and do things to cement the fact that Courage is a new character in my life and just like it isn't fair to him to impose an idea of Cuna, it is equally unfair to treat him like a potential Izzy.

I'll probably never have that fearless abandon and unshakable confidence I thought I had before Izzy, but now that I've been down that road, I know how to make better decisions going forward. It's why I'm a happy horse evangelist. Really and truely, if you aren't happy and loving every minute with your horse (and you're an adult ammy), you're doing it wrong. Life is too short and confidence is too hard won to spend time on an animal that is anything less than fun and safe for where you're at right now.

Ok, well that was fun. Maybe we'll do it again some time.


  1. I know I've told you this before, but it was so hard to read your struggles with Izzy and obvious fear that I almost stopped following your blog more than once. Not that the blog itself was bad, but having been there myself, it brought up memories I didn't want to relive either.

    It was another old red thoroughbred man, Dillon, that brought me out of that fear that another horse gave me, and like you, I haven't allowed myself to be overmounted since. Without Dillon, Connor would be a Dressage pony instead of an eventer.

    Every horse you've had has made you the rider you are today, and the person Courage needs you to be, and I'm really glad I didn't stop following your blog, because I am so excited to get to follow the adventures the two of you are going to have together - safely, confidently and happily.

  2. Well said as ever, I think many people see moving on as failure, when in reality it is the bravest step they can take.

  3. I think everything you say will resonate somehow with almost every rider out there. To different degrees, of course, but this post is so relatable.

  4. As an AA it's so hard to juggle appropriate pushing in your riding and having fun b/c this is expensive and we have to enjoy it!

    Do you know what Izzy is up to these days?

    Love that you are reflecting on the past and the road to where you are :)

  5. You know why you are cool? Because of this. Because you realize all kinds of things. Well, that is only one reason why you are cool...there are all kinds of reasons!

  6. So completely true. I had a similar experience with a mare that I used to own, Roxy. It's so not worth it, but you see the potential and want to see it out.

  7. I identify with this struggle as I had some similar issues with Spirit. That struggle also made me realize that I no longer have the "Will ride anything!" desire or confidence that I had in college and earlier. I'm glad I rode the babies and project horses I did, but I'm over that phase. Its okay to prefer a safer ride on a more honest horse.

  8. I completely understand where you were coming from. It was very brave of you to move on instead of giving up. Thank you for being so honest and for being an inspiration!

  9. I admire your courage in being able to say that an adult ammy doesn't have to pretend to be a professional. That's not to say that adult ammies don't ride well, it's just that you are spot on in saying that you shouldn't torture yourself with riding when you actually just do it for fun. While as someone making a career in horses, I know I have no choice but to be able to ride anything with four legs, I hate to see an ammy fighting with their horse and hating riding. And I very much admire you for being brave enough and honest enough to make the right decisions and enjoy your sport the way you're meant to. Kudos!

  10. Sigh. Your blog really does resonate close to home. I switched into a discipline I swore I'd never do which obviously brings about as much fear as fun. Its hard to always know when to move on, and when to fight. Your story is inspiring to read.

  11. Izzy was/is a gorgeous mare! In the end, you have to do what is right for you - 100% agree that being an adult ammy should be fun!

  12. IHSA left with me some confidence issues... it's taken me a long time to regain a lot of that, and a lot of it came from the little mustang that took me to the AECs two years ago! He was like a Cuna, and he was fantastic. I didn't want to take Wiz until I knew I could handle it, and when we hit road bumps (like him bucking after xc jumps!) I'm not going to let people push me into a place where I'm uncomfortable. We'll trot xc jumps until the cows come home if that's what it takes (or if he never grows out of it, I'll realize he is more talented then me and let him move on...). While it's good to push yourself in some ways, it's totally not worth it to be constantly terrified! I'm glad Cuna helped you regain your courage :) (hm, ironic)

  13. I think I started reading right before you got made the right choice for you, and that's what matters.

  14. I think I started reading right before you got made the right choice for you, and that's what matters.

  15. Everything you say here is exactly what pushed me to find a more suitable "dance partner." Admitting you aren't having fun with your horse is hard, but I felt so relieved after I made the decision. Thanks for sharing your story!

  16. "I'm convinced this is one of those things people do when they have nothing else to say. Let's find out."

    Welcome to half the posts on my blog, haha.

    Very well written post!


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