Monday, April 19, 2021

Will I, won't I

 My husband suggested I sell Theo since it's been over a year since I last rode.  What's the point of paying for a horse that I don't ride and don't even visit?  I burst into tears and said I don't visit because if I do, I will get on and ride.  Well, he's coming home.  Now what?

Part of me is excited.  My pony is coming home!  I can brush out his ridiculous tail and dress him up all matchy matchy.  I had him 1.5 hours away to keep me from being tempted but that is going away.  While I have a lot of things that will be disrupted and upset by this, including potentially my health, I would be lying if I said no part of me was happy that Theo is coming home.  But that's the danger.  It's so easy for me to just slip back into old patterns with no real concern for the risk.  Humans are so good at rationalizing things they want.

I'm at increased risk.  No, it's not as bad as the neurologist was telling me and simple chiropractic care has brought the tic and the pain completely under control.  The pressure on my spine has been relieved and the curve of my neck has been changed.  Chiro didn't seem bothered by me riding but didn't want to see me getting thrown around (like, say, a horse bolting on the lunge line like a certain gorgeous beast likes to do).  But all of this improvement has happened without the trauma of horse back riding and the discs are still going to react badly to me being lawn darted.  And there's the collection of blows to the head I've had.  I'm not a twenty-something any more.  I don't bounce.  It's not the sport that's changed but me.

It's different now because I know I'm fragile and I know my horse has a mother of a spin.  Pretty big buck, too.  He's 17 now but showing no signs of slowing down.

From his Coggins, he has so many grey hairs on his head that they have officially added a star to his markings

My husband is not happy.  Neither is mom.  They don't want me to get on Theo right now. It's a fair request.  I'm still struggling with getting in contact with any barns.  The few that have replied have all been full.  I'm visiting a place this afternoon (the place he was at last summer) so I'm hopeful.  I've got two friends that are very experienced horse people there to help remind Theo of the rules of ground manners.  One is looking for a ride while her horse is recovering from an injury (Dorkzilla and Legs's owner) and she's sat far, far worse than Theo can dish out.  Premium WB mares have mad skills.  We could potentially get him less feral and still send him off to Trainer Z when she has a spot.

I love this horse too much to just dump him as a cheap sale.  Would I free lease him to an experienced dressage rider with a trainer I know?  In a heartbeat.  A little polish and he could go right back to being a Second Level horse that is knocking on the door to Third.  But people aren't looking for horses like Theo that require very regular work and still only get 5.5 or 6 for a medium.  And don't have a consistent change.  Even as a free lease, there's no market for him.  Hard pill to swallow but there it is.  He has no value outside of what I see in him.  People looking for mid-level dressage don't want to deal with a horse that occasionally does his impression of a land porpoise unless they're getting amazing scores.  His scores are good, not amazing.

As my husband said, Theo has the attitude and behaviors of an upper level horse and needs an upper level rider.  But he doesn't have the scores to support an upper level rider's ambitions.  Go figure.

Will I go back to riding?  I don't know yet.  This sudden change is still settling into my brain.  I want to ride him but I have to be smart about it. Either way I'm getting my truck and trailer ready to go pick him up.  Truck needed $3k of work, go figure.  New tires are on the way for the trailer.  Theo's spring shots and Coggins are already done and the paperwork is in hand.  Come May, I will be managing the most amazing tail in the region.  What the rest of the horse is going to be doing?  Who knows.  But come the heat of July when he doesn't even want to move, you might find me sitting in the saddle again.

Monday, April 12, 2021

A New Hope

 Trying to find boarding in April/May is complete balls.  It's so bad.  Everything is completely booked up, anyone with any chance of dealing with a bronc has a full dance card.  I'm starting to think putting Theo in my garage may be the solution.  Everyone keeps saying 'it can't be that bad, let me ask so and so' and then finding out yes, it really is that bad.  Spring is when people bring their horses in from having a winter off.  Everyone wants to knock off the rust and get show ring ready.

I wouldn't wish barn shopping in April on anyone.  

With no training options and very little in the way of arenas available, the reality is that Theo will not be going back into work when I get him.  He'll be sitting in a pasture getting fat and lazy.  My hubby so politely requested I not go get on the bronc when my chiro is still not happy with my C7.  It seems a reasonable request.  So with a lot of tears I realized that Theo was going to be parked in a field and do nothing.  At 17, he was done for no reason other than bad timing and the wonky discs in my neck.

Then Trainer Z reached out to me.  She doesn't have a spot now but she will this summer and she knows what she's getting into.  She's seen first hand the heights Theo can reach in his temper tantrums.  Heck, she might even be able to finish installing that flying change once he's back in shape.  I certainly wouldn't mind Theo becoming a Third Level horse.  One day he might be old enough and sane enough for me to safely get on, it would be cool if he had all the moves installed.

The current plan is to park him in a field starting in May and leave him to just be a horse until Trainer Z has a spot, probably in July.  A couple months off will probably settle his squishy little brain.  Trainer Z also thinks that being less fit is a good idea.  Considering how high he can get up in the air when he's fit?  Yeah, I can see why she'd want that.

The last time Trainer Z got on Theo

I'm still struggling to find a field for him.  Why do barn owners not return communication?  Like at all?  There's a barn about 7 minutes from me that has pasture board and it would be perfect.  We've traded emails, she wants to talk on the phone.  I hope so. I really hope so.

If Theo lives in my garage, that means I don't have to mow my yard . . . 

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Reversion complete

 Oh hey, who thought you'd see something from me?

I got the dreaded but somewhat expected email today:  30 days for Theo to vacate.  Papi has been out from under my thumb for almost a year and the 'behaviors' have become a problem.  He bucked off some kids this winter and got pulled from the lesson program.  Since then he's started damaging the stall and bolting with people on the ground.  He's bolting with the trainer in the saddle and has had multiple sessions with the behavioral expert on the ground.  The ground sessions are not sticking.  He knows what he's doing and knows it will work.  He's only getting about 3 days a week 

He's got their number and he's reverted to old Theo completely.

I have 30 days to find him a new boarding situation and step back into my role of completely managing him.  Which is EXACTLY what I was trying to not do.  I now have a dangerous, bolting horse that needs to be put back into regular work.  I will be getting dragged around and probably thrown off while fixing what's happened.  But I can't let him continue to be a dangerous horse.  He's starting to mow down people on the ground.  My chiro has my neck pain and symptoms under control but I don't know how well that is going to hold up when dealing with Theo bolting and dragging.  To say nothing about spinning, bolting, and bucking if I'm in the saddle.

The scramble is on to find a place that will accept him and for me to get a plan together to get him back into work.  Hopefully without finishing off my neck.  Thank goodness the warmer weather is coming and I'll have a fighting chance.  But I haven't been in the saddle in a year.  I'm not even in shape for this.  I've been riding my bike a lot but that's not the same muscles.  I am very genuinely concerned that I won't be able to manage this without injury.

Ideally I can land him with a trainer that can handle him for a month to get through the worst of it.  Trainer Z would be my first choice but it's spring and show season is coming on fast.  I doubt she has a space.  She manages WB stallions and knows Theo well enough that he recognizes her voice.  His antics wouldn't rattle her a bit and Theo associates her with serious business time.  If that isn't an option, there's a facility that I know that offers training for horses with behavioral issues.  They're more working equitation and western dressage focused.  That could be an option if, again, they have a spot.

I had a non-horsey summer all planned out with biking events on the weekends since I get my second vaccine shot on the 20th.  I'd even considered starting a doctorates in the fall.  All of that is now being thrown out the window.  I gave them a very nice show horse, I'm getting back a monster.  I'm absolutely pissed.  I'm about to turn my life inside out to fix what happened and keep Theo from becoming 'that horse' again.

I didn't want this to be how I got back in the saddle.