Friday, September 25, 2015

Resilience

Sometimes I think the definition of Endurance is: a test of one's resilience to bounce back from the hills, valleys, and curve balls life throws at you.

In my life, I tend to be drawn to those who have fought the battles and won. Coming out on top to enjoy another day....especially when it comes our pets!

Traveler had a mostly unknown and shady past, coming into my life at what we think was 10years old.  He was a mess that I worked years to straighten out with the help of friends and trainers...what I got was a horse devoted to me.  Not against others, but no one could compare to his mama. You had to really earn his trust for him to allow you love on him.  But, as long as I was there to let him know things would be OK, he moved from barn to barn better each time (we endured a few moves together) and would come to meet me most times through the field.

Examples in a few of my dogs...Cherokee, who turned out to be THE BEST kids dog in the world...left at a shelter with his sister by 6months old.  She was adopted quickly, being smaller, but he was left behind...7mos old and 75lbs with humongous feet when I found him there.   He grew to 100lbs of pure protective love bug.  You had to be "Introduced" to him properly.  No one could cross the street in front of our house without us knowing it...but, he in reality probably wouldn't hurt a fly!  Now, he did kill a raccoon and opossum but they trespassed! lol  Boy do we miss him.
Gypsy...a stray from TX that we adopted through SSRR.  Total sweetheart, interested in the attention of people above anything...well, maybe not over food!  But, she will seek out a person to love on at a dog park and is a mama's girl that follows me everywhere in the house.
Then we added Obiwan...he is a whole 'nother form of messed up. Knowing of at least 5 homes he'd been through in just his first 15mos of life. He has been traumatized by leashes and scared of any loud noise, but he is gentle and has the classic "goofy" golden moments. He's improved much over the last year+ with us, and I think he's realizing things aren't going to be like they were.  He still 'shuts down' to a degree on a leash, and the lights go off in his head when there is a storm, but we have our routines down on how to help him cope.

Finally, there is my Tesla.  The story I heard had me at owner # 4 or 5... I've touched base with the breeder to learn more about his parents, and she is happy to know he is safe and well.  But little did I know he hadn't always been...
When I was searching for a horse again several people said "give a rescue horse a chance' or buy from the auction.  I was not mentally in a position to take that on after losing Traveler.  I found Aubree and went to visit Tesla and others at her barn in KY. He was green, but willing and at a good age to begin again.  He was (and is still) a lovable guy, playful, and proud (err, maybe that is stubborn?!).  We began our journey together last November and have had rocky times, but his personality never fails to be just that.
Recently I was contacted by Sharon on Facebook.  She had Tesla before Aubree...and I got more of his story.  Sharon saved him from starvation; I have the pictures upon his arrival to her and the lovely soul she brought him back to be after a year of caring for him when he left with Aubree.  She told me how that personality was always there, no matter how bad he felt or looked - he still ran around with his tail flagged and head high, and was the lovable puppy dog type personality always.

Rescue horses, dogs, cats, whatever, are the definition of Resilience.  They bounce back.  They learn to trust and love again. They blossom and grow.  They teach us in the process, and heal not only their hearts but ours.  Tesla is helping me heal from losing so much last year, Cherokee and Traveler. While he can try my patience, he forgives my screw ups and moves on, we try again.  We regroup, we take time off, we do nothing but groom or graze.  Tomorrow is planned to 'restart' our journey to a 50 this year.  The weather might foil that for us, but we'll enjoy some time together regardless and bounce back again!

Great perspective put in front of me by one of my friends and training buddies - She earned her 500 and 750mile endurance patches this season - after not earning any miles in 7 years.  In her words "It's never too late to pursue your dreams!" While the miles may not come as fast I want, we have time to get there :)

Sunday, September 20, 2015

can't always get what you want, but you get what you need.

I headed into this weekend feeling extremely frustrated and defeated, after having yet another week that just made me feel like I just can't come up with the time, etc to get us ready for another ride.

I consider myself adaptable, but I hate being disappointed. Disappointed in myself is the worst...top that off with disappointed in other people, and then disappointed at work... Some days it just feels like it never ends.

And guilty...guilty that my passion and goals cost money.  We have a house my husband has a list a mile long of things to do with it, plus we want to clear land to build a small barn and bring Tesla (+1 to come) home.  Until then I am paying board for him, and bought a new to me trailer this spring to make my travels easier (on myself and the horse). We have two young kids, one old enough to start sports so now we all do karate, and he also has soccer this fall.  We want to refinance the house in a few years and we need to look at getting a new car as the Hyundai is driving us absolutely nuts (currently in the shop trying to figure out why it doesn't want to start all the time).  We've had one of those years where there has always been something costly and unexpected every month from cars or pets... we finally took our first vacation in over 3 years, which is never cheap.  Not that we don't have money in savings, but we are hoping to keep it all for refinancing later!

I haven't had a real ride since early August...when saddle fit issues left me giving Tesla time off while waiting on a new one.  We got to ride for 30min for a fit check when it came (yay for passing that!) and then this weekend my first shot since....5weeks+ off.

So I "work" two nights a week at the barn to help offset monthly cost of board - feeding and cleaning stalls.  Saturday eve's being one of those - I ended up not being able to go as early as I wanted and being on a time crunch to get home...so not the time I was expecting to get with Tesla and debated what I was going to do with it. I decided a little saddle time was better than none, and still took my time grooming him to heck his back and letting him check out the saddle he hadn't seen in weeks.  We lunged a bit, I made a few adjustments and then legged up and we walked around the arena.  Tried a little trotting, but he wasn't having it. Saddle slipped forward onto his withers a bit -- need to get the girth and padding worked out.

He's lost confidence I've noticed while being off work. Much bigger jumps when he spooks, and just generally more reactive than he has been before...not sure what to do with that one.  His back is getting better though, and the chiro is finally due out Monday morning so we'll have definitive answers on his L/S area.

Now while I didn't get the ride I wanted, I got what I needed.  I got Tesla, being his complete puppy dog loving self, behaving like a perfect gentleman (something we've been battling with respect and rubbing, and generally standing still)...even standing still at the mounting block!  He wasn't bucking on the line, wasn't giving an attitude, just being a good boy.  We may have only walked but he was happy...ears forward, enjoying the time together.

When we got to trotting he objected, but without bucking (score!).  I didn't push him and realize we have a little more saddle fitting work to do to make things right again. And I need to find my rhythm in this new saddle... I know he's got bad memories now and associates some pain, so we've got to work past that slowly.  Now how do I find the time?

So while I started the weekend frustrated and defeated, I am not ending it that way.  The art of Endurance riding is just this...Enduring. Ever changing priorities in life, the twists horses throw at us with injuries, growing pains, attitude adjustments. I will endure the journey with Tesla, as I did with Traveler and we will be all the better for it.  I know I will still have moments of frustration, doubt and feelings of failure...just hope I don't whine too much for my readers!

must get that head down at the trot






Sunday, September 13, 2015

what a wind...

Went to see Tesla today with hopes to ride, or at least lunge him in the saddle. Beautiful weather, but WINDY as all get-out.... so, He was way too agitated to even fight to get the saddle on so we just groomed, lunged and then went for a 1.5mi walk. Once we got into the woods he settled down nicely and was much more relaxed.

Here's a clip of WHY I decide not to ride...  I could just tell when grooming it wasn't going to be a 'good' day for us.  But, he was barely reactive at all to the curry comb so I know his back was feeling better! Once my 2nd one loads I think that one has a buck captured on video lol

We went down the arena, and I closed the gate and unhooked him, turned my back to go up to the barn for the longer line that I forgot and he went running and bucking around! So I went back in a few in of the nonsense, put him back on the line and refocused.  Then we went out for our walk...


He is looking great too! At a really good weight, now we need to get back into work and muscle him up.



Saturday, September 12, 2015

Family time

So we have a saddle that fits!  The stonewall was a success, now I just need time to ride in it... Hoping for a fall ride, 50 maybe?

So far September has been busy with family stuff - The first is my oldest's birthday and his party was the following weekend.  The next day we took off for our first family vacation in 3.5years.  We had originally planned to go to Asheville around the Biltmore Hope for Horses ride, but our vacation time needed and left demanded that we go the week before and use the Labor Day 'free' day to our advantage (and then there was not riding anymore consideration due to saddle fit).

I found a nice little house on Home-Away to rent south of town in Hendersonville, each kid had their own room, there was a playset and hammock out back, even a hot tub :) Unfortunately it was right outside the youngest's bedroom so we didn't get to use it.  We had a lot planned, but day with no plans too so when rain came we just changed things up a bit.

Kids seemed to have had a lot of fun, and Skyler did great for the first time away from home (other than her hospital stint).

Now we are home :)  Tomorrow hope to visit Tesla, maybe even ride a bit or least get the saddle on and a few pictures and take him for a hike after lunging.  He's been off for 4w now and the body worker said he felt really good this last session (while I was away) and hoping we get the Chiro out soon.

Then on Monday the youngest turns 3!  Her party is next weekend, then maybe things will get back to normal?

A few pictures of the fun we had...

Family selfie




my horse girl in the making

we all made it to the top of Chimney Rock (26 flights)

Apple picking

Me & my girl