Thursday, June 30, 2011

Death & Decisions

Life never ceases to provide copious opportunities to examine our behaviors, be it our goals, choices, morals, or even things as banal as our cell phone provider.  The fools are not those who make poor (ignorant, hasty, or even selfish) decisions, but those who ignore the chance to reflect on them - or even worse, the chance to correct their own courses while they can.

First off, I am fine.  P is fine, and so is our immediate family (both the furry, and less furry variety).

However, this week has brought the loss of one of my Aunts.  Our relationship waxed and waned throughout the years, but having never had children of her own, she had always a certain amount of stake in my formative years (not to mention the endless bills for those early riding lessons).  If you live in the Idaho area (I say like that massive state can be relegated to one "area"), then you might have heard about the semi-freak traffic accident that took her life, but if not, I'm sure that's a vague enough description that you can fill in the blanks with whatever unexplained, bizarre, against all odds sort of sudden death you may be picturing.

The family, is of course reeling as it should.  And I am taking the time to examine my own life a bit closer.

For all of the love and respect that I have for my Aunt, I can't help but think about the many things I would have done differently and how I can only hope that when my time comes, I'm sitting in a very different situation than she was with regard to friends, family and loved ones.  Rear view mirrors tend to be helpful in these situations, so I mostly hope to gain some perspective and move forward.

Separate from the issues surrounding my Aunt's passing are some rather large internal arguments over what my own next moves are.  I am currently "out of love" with my job, but the ties to the family business are strong and aside from not wanting to divorce myself from it, the pragmatic voice in my clearly repeats that I obviously can't afford to let go of my salary at this point.

I've been debating the relative merits of some lifestyle changes. Ones that would allow for more personal time, but less cavalier spending (whether its or that extra girls weekend in Scottsdale)... but  I keep coming up empty.

On one hand, I adore the simple pleasures - keeping a meticulous home, cooking fantastic food and enjoying my horse in her (potentially less lavish barn).  But on the other, I also supremely value the time I spend exploring my city (and its pricier haunts) along with the frequent trips to not only wander new places, but keep close ties with old friends.  Both could be counted as superficial I suppose, but they speak to bigger values, both of local craft and long time relationships..

The two topics have collided as this morning I realized that I will be receiving what I consider to be a sizable inheritance.  It's not a change-the-world amount, but in all reality it could completely redefine my need to work in the foreseeable future (if I so choose).  Though I've never been in a situation like this before, living off a lump sum seems foreign and odd, so I'm sure I'll manage some way to reinvest a majority of the funds into the business and most of it away for many years down the road...

I clearly won't be making any decisions without much guidance from my family, lawyers and a financial adviser, but for the moment I'm in the rather unfamiliar position of potentially being able to actually have "what I want."  The tricky part, I suppose is trying to figure out what exactly that means.

For now, I'll be cherishing the days surrounded by family, taking stock of what I want and what I want to accomplish and maybe (just maybe) allowing myself a small splurge for Miss P.

(I must admit there's a fair amount of guilt radiating  from the old catholic side of the family - but it's really hard not to zone out of family conversations in favor of daydreaming about dream barns and days away from the office...)

I'm off to Idaho to circle the proverbial wagons, but I hope everyone has a safe and lovely 4th...

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Out of Sight

You know the saying...

Budgeting.  Back in January I wrote this opus on my attempt to get P's bills under control. In reality, I did a pretty good job.  We cut way back on most of our "fun" spending (lessons, random bits o' tack, vet appointments, etc).  But unfortunately the trend didn't hold.

Not only am I forking over $$ for the mare to sit pretty at her summer home (which essentially has the added cost of full training), but she's getting regular massage treatments to assist with the muscle redevelopment along with some laser work to help reduce the scar tissue on her cute "lucky" knees.  All of these things are good things... and all of them are predicted costs that I factored into my decision before I committed to sending the mare away for a few months.

However, what I didn't count on, is that while the mare isn't totally "out of mind," the money that I'm spending is beyond "out of sight, out of mind."

It's so far removed from my daily life/conscious, that I forget I'm spending it and therefore am living a lifestyle that's just dandy for a young professional with no hobbies beyond barhopping and a slight shopping addiction - but my current habits are in no way, shape or form sustainable for a girl with a hobby that demands not only food, but shelter and constant care from an all-star cast of service providers...

The real problem is that when the mare is close, she takes up a lot of my time.  Time that could otherwise be used for meeting up with friends for drinks, shopping for things, taking yoga classes, traveling on the weekends, etc.

This works out great, since my daily time spent with P pretty much removes most opportunities for me to hemorrhage cash in other areas of my life.  Unfortunately, while I continue to shower P with love and dollars this summer, I have also freed up my dance card to keep myself busy with those other (non-horsey) pursuits that inevitably take a chunk out of the monthly cash flow.  Add to that the attempt to furnish a new house, plan a wedding and save for a (potentially over the top) honeymoon to Tanzania.... and I'm spent.  (literally).

What's a girl to do?

I might just have to start taking my credit cards OUT of my purse before leaving the house in the morning.

Also, I am considering some sturdy saddle racks that will not only display tack in my new (empty) living room, but also allow my otherwise unused leather goods to serve as functional seating.  It's sorta like a living room set... I mean... at least my black calfskin all matches?

See! I can think outside the box... how thrifty of me....

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Super Supplements

Ah, the things I busy myself with while the pony is off on vacation...


Apparently, with the addition of scrumptious grass to nibble on all-the-live-long-day, the mare has decided that her SmartPak is no longer delicious or worth her time.  Fortunately, Cowboy Man has Platinum Performance that he's been offering to P instead of her regular supplements... and apparently the mare can't get enough. 

So, I called up Platinum Performance to chat with one of their reps about what's in P's current Pak, what she probably doesn't need and what would be an appropriate replacement. 

Their CJ formula is the closest match to what she's currently getting, but the little beast doesn't find it as tasty as the traditional formula (picky twit).... So they suggested compromising with a month supply of regular Platinum Performance alon with some tasters of CJ  in order to see if we can coax her over to the dark (less tasty/more expensive) side. 

I have to say that I was really impressed with Platinum's customer service.  I was able to provide them a list of the products that P has been choking down thus far and they gave me an instant comparison for what she was (and wasn't) getting. 

They were super friendly, generous with the samples and even threw in free shipping since I was a customer coming from SmartPak.    Also, I was surprised at how affordable it is. I guess I never really explored it, but I had always relegated Platinum's products in the "pricey to extremely ridiculous" range, but the fact of the matter is that the standard Performance product is way cheaper than what I've been spending on P's SmartPak and even the CJ formula isn't outta sight price-wise.

So, starting next week, P's regimen will drop to only getting the Platinum Performance and her Nano-E on top of just enough rice bran to act as a base.  Forage wise, the mare is on full pasture with some hay to nibble on at night if somehow she ends up hungry again.  This is probably the simplest feeding regimen she's had since I got her. (I have a self admitted issue with compulsively adding supplements without ever taking anything away..)

I really enjoyed my SmartPak, and I wouldn't rule out going back to them, but if I can accomplish 95% what I was trying to with Pia's massive Pak, for less money.. and with less hassle... I'll be a convert indeed.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Weekend Flurry

Somehow this weekend turned into a total flurry of productivity, which was pleasingly sprinkled with a few extra bright spots, which included our stop to see Miss P and check in with both Dr. Finn and Cowboy Man.

I knew that P still hadn't started her "training" per se, at least not anything beyond handling and working her slowly into the herd.  Apparently our trip was well timed, as P had just started really moving with the herd and incorporating herself more in the hours before we arrived.

In talking with Cowboy Man, it sounds like P's first few days of turn out with the herd, went as expected.  That is to say that P got her butt kicked.  She also spent most of her "turn out" oscillating between hovering on the outside of the group and scampering back to the barn to the relative safety of her smaller run and a barn buddy whom she had befriended.

Cowboy Man said that sort of tentative behavior is typical and can last anywhere from a few days, to a few months depending on the horse and how social they are.  Herds don't tolerate "wussy" behavior very well (apparently weak members attract predators... like llamas), so the more timid a new horse is, the more aggressively they tend to be run off.  Conversely, if a new horse comes in all puffed up and prancing, the herd tends to test them a little, then accept the newcomer more quickly.

Apparently, in spite of P's wussy, run back to the barn tendencies - on Saturday, she was able to start running with the herd.

When we showed up, she was grazing happily, and surrounded by other horses on all sides. (go mare!).

I'm not sure The Boy had even turned the truck all the way off before I was out of it and skipping through the field toward Miss P.  She just looked happy.

Supremely, calm, happy and relaxed.

Her stance is totally different, she's more balanced, less tense through her shoulder and standing much squarer on her front legs.  As a result, her neck/shoulder/back also look totally different.  I had a fleeting thought of "oh crap, there's no way my saddle is ever going to fit her ever again" before snapping back to reality and marveling at how much change could happen in such a short time.  Her weight looks fantastic, she's dirty (but shiny) and she has withers!

I tried to take pictures to show the difference (they all turned out terribly) but maybe you'll be able to see what I'm talking about.  It's crazy, and I'm sure there's even more change to come. 

She also has some battle scars.  Hair is missing everywhere.  her face, her neck, her legs... and she's got a mother of a hickey going on.  Apparently she "challenged" one of the geldings and he just latched on to her neck with his teeth.  For a while.  and didn't let go...  Now it's a swollen gross mess of a lump, but Dr. Finn has drained it twice and apparently it's starting to subside.
expected damages...
When I was satisfied that her wounds weren't life threatening (far from it), I started to notice how she was moving through the herd.  Just sitting in the field and watching the group flow around was a pretty cool experience that even The Boy could enjoy.  P was relaxed, but very aware of the other horses.  She deferred to them early and often, moving away whenever a high ranking horse moved into her space, or came to investigate the new people who were milling about. 

She did defend her humans (or more likely her peace-offering of carrots) from two of the herd members - the tiny pony, and one docile old mare.
Brave mare actually stood up to this little beast...
I was so distracted by loving on P, that I did a TERRIBLE job of documenting the interesting things like her feet and withers, and managed only to snuggle with her, poke at her hickey, chase the adorable pony around and finger comb P's somewhat matted tail.  P even rolled a few times, which was the first time in nearly 9 months I've seen her really roll.  Shame on me for not picking up on that change in behavior sooner...

Carrots and Loves
This little bugger nearly got put in the back to the truck and taken home...
After we ran out of treats, I said my goodbyes to P and piled back in the truck to take Cowboy Man and Dr. Finn out for a brunch.  A quick bite turned into three hours of thoughtful discourse on resource management, riding philosophy, war stories and a bit of talk about our plans for Pia.

I thoroughly enjoyed the time spent and was able to come away feeling even better about every cent that I'm spending for P's time over there.  It's not fancy, but she's getting incredible attention, her feet are on track, her body looks great and I can just tell that she's enjoying herself.  I cannot wait for our next visit, or for the day I leg back up onto her and we go for that first big trail ride...

Friday, June 17, 2011

"New Girlfriend"

P, hovering on the outskirts of the herd..

Whenever I do something "different" with my hair or appearance, The Boy always jokes that it's like he has a "brand new girlfriend."  I've always taken that to be a good thing (I mean, who wants to date my naturally boring medium brown locks forever..).  Plus, it's just about the easiest, lowest maintenance way to keep him (and me) entertained, so I just roll with it.

Last night I got an email update (complete with photos!) from Dr. Finn, showing P the day she got there, and a current "conformation" shot.  The Boy immediately chimed in that it was going to be like having a "brand new horsey-girlfriend"... Which got my brain to thinking.

Not only is it going to be like having a brand new horsey girlfriend, but I've essentially entered into a Long-Distance-Relationship with the mare, with all the highest highs and lowest lows that come with nearly every LDR out there.  From the near certainty that I'll "never ever take her for granted again" that comes with a few weeks of her absence to the "why do I even have a horse if she's far away" that comes with the irritation of listening to everyone else talk about how cute their horse was today...  (I had flashbacks to college, when a 3 hour bus ride separated me from my bf of the time in nyc, when I almost slapped girls for chatting on and on and on about their "study dates" or "tuesday pizza nights" or "whatever" with their more conveniently located beaus). 

If my previous LDR experience is any indication, extended separation should serve to make sure that I'm borderline obsessed with P during our visits, as well as being ultimately forgiving of any "bad habits" (which, by the magic of distance, have miraculously transformed into "charming quirks").

From the sounds of Dr. Finn's letter, all is good on the Pia front.  She's spending all her days with the herd, separated only at night in her own stall... she appears to be forming a truce with Obama the Llama... and she appears to be relaxing and unwinding (as well she should be).

They aren't the best photos, but Dr. Finn also included a body shot form the day P landed in Cowboy Town, as well as a shot from yesterday.  Her topline looks distinctively different(smaller) and her shoulder is starting to morph... so that's sort of interesting.  I wonder how much of that is due to her feet and how much is due to behaving more like a normal horse.  Do you guys have any other observations?  I'll get some better pics this weekend while I'm out there (YAY!)
May 22nd, 2011

June 16th, 2011

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Visitation Rights

Guess who gets to see their PONY THIS WEEKEND??!??!
(technically, the horse, I'm seeing the horse. we saw the pony last weekend).


Not that there's anything (aside from an ocean, ferry and 2.2 hours) that keeps me from seeing her every day... but this weekend I get to go see the mare and pretty, kissable, gorgeous little nose.  (eek!)

I'm already in "make-up-for-lost-time" mode, and I fully plan on buying her love back with kisses, carrots and a nice thorough grooming.  I wonder if Cowboy Man will poo-poo me excessively treating her.. but I'm not sure he'll be able to stop me from spoiling the mare rotten once I show up...


Sunday is the day.  We found a killer piece of reclaimed maple that The Boy will be transforming into our new dining room table that just so happens to be out by the mare.  I jumped at the opportunity for an "errand" that both satisfies the requirement to "get things done" for the new house and allows us to just swing by and see the mare.

So happy. I'll be sure to take lots of pictures of the lady running around with her herd (which she was turned out with all day today unsupervised) in all of her dirty, cowhorse glory.  Can't wait for a full update live and in person!


ps- look at the gorgeous soon-to-be-table! Everyone's invited over for dinner once I collect enough chairs do go around this beast...

Monday, June 13, 2011

Still Alive! (Both me and the pony..)

Sorry for the absence... turns out when your horse is two hours away the flow of information isn't exactly as, well... abundant.  (and as The Boy can attest, when I am sans horse, I turn into sort of a useless, boring lump on the couch.  Not exactly what I would call exciting writing material).

This weekend, however saw a bit of horsey time - and I am proud to proclaim that I have not been lost to the vast abyss of wedding-induced-insanity, nor have I be claimed by the insufferable pit of despair that surrounds remodeling houses and moving into them.

I'm even more proud to proclaim that Star, the stubborn little beast that she is, is still alive and mostly kickin.

Sunday included both a quick trip up to Monroe to watch Supermom kick ass and take names (along with a few unanimous championships) on her new little mare before we continued up north to see the wise old pony herself.
hi, pony.

When we got there, Starlight was just happily hanging out in her pasture, soaking up the sun, and gumming some grass happily.  In all honesty, that little mare looks pretty damn good.  Yes, her left hind is a bit filled, yes her right hind has a pretty dropped suspensory.. but she's happy, quiet, relaxed and eating well.

She isn't moving around a ton, but she is still moving around without prodding.  less gallopy, gallopy than last time I saw her, but she still scoots around her pasture regularly and has enough dexterity to lay down and get up daily without any assistance.  All in all, I have to say I was expecting much, much worse.

D is nothing short of a miracle worker in her care and expertise in balancing the pony's growing list of concerns. But somehow she manages to make sure that in resting one leg, Star isn't stressing another too much, and balancing the difficulty of her trims, with a slightly longer hoof..  It's not an easy job and I know that other owners would have given up ages ago.  However, seeing Star, happy, comfortable and just enjoying a warm sunny day makes me glad for every extra day of retirement that this pony gets.  Lord knows she's earned them.

This trip was the first time The Boy has gotten to meet Star and I think he was shocked at how little she is.  He couldn't quite grasp the fact that somehow I used to fit on top of her let alone the fact that when I got her, I couldn't see over her back.
seeing over her back isn't so much an issue anymore...
I really couldn't have asked for a better Sunday.  Sure it would have been nice to be riding P (or *gasp* even showing her), but in reality, hanging around a show, seeing friends and patting the old pony are pretty fantastic ways to fill a day.

She is the cutest.  Even all hairy and fat.

Thursday, June 9, 2011


I had a great conversation with Dr. Finn last night that got us somewhat caught up on what Miss P has been filling her time with.  I'll save some of the details for the (hopefully) forthcoming videos of her playing with other horses.

She said that as we spoke, Miss P was out in her own pasture and happily munching on grass while two cowbirds sat on her back.  I wish I had a picture, but just hearing that she was so relaxed and happy was pretty nice too...

I bombarded Dr. Finn with all sorts of questions.  How are her knees? what's up with her feet, what's the plan for body work? Any new concerns? Questions for me? what are you hoping for in the next few weeks?

Once she got a word in edgewise, it was clear that mostly she's really happy with how P is going.  She said that P's body is "morphing" quite a bit as she relaxes (partially from running around, partially from her shoes being pulled), and her whole topline is a different shape.  Regardless, I guess she's seeing the sort of changes that she was expecting and it's starting to have a good impact on her attitude and behaviors.

Apparently Miss P was doing her best to charge/bite/intimidate whoever came into her corral to feed/pat/touch her.  It took a crop whack to get her to back off initially, but I guess she's managing to behave her self these days. Dr. Finn claims that she's already acting like a much sweeter girl and the faux aggression has all but disappeared. 

In terms of her feet.. I'm curious to see them for myself.  It sounds like they are one of the larger question marks for Dr. Finn right now.  She'd really like Pia to be barefoot, but apparently the mare was really ginger and ouchy over the big gravel she has to cross in order to get to the pastures.  Sooo shoes went back on yesterday.

I'm slightly horrified/embarrassed that the shoes that came off P were a size "0".  Zero. Zero, as in pony sized.  I'd expect her to be in a 2... or something close to that.  This time she's in Natural Balance shoes, and she's wearing a size 1..

I've never had a horse in these shoes before, but I've known plenty of people who have and they swear by them.  Who knows.  So many things will be different for Miss P the next time I see her, I doubt I'll be able to determine what improvements will be because of her fancy new shoes :)

Dr. Finn seems to think that she's moving more comfortably already and that they'll be able to continuously improve over the next few trims.  She won't be able to widen as quickly as she could if she was barefoot, but keeping P comfy is a big step in the right direction.

With regard to herd integration, P has gone for a few walks through the group, and is socializing over the fence with everyone.  In theory last night was going to be her first chance to be totally turned loose with them (under supervision for about 30 minutes), so I'm anxious for a report on how she did with that.

Fingers crossed that she made friends!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Obama The Llama

Okay, fine.  So maybe the mare isn't all genius and hidden talent.

According to our latest update from Cowboy Man, while P continues her magnificent progression with her herd integration, she remains remarkably hung up on one thing:

Obama the Llama.

Apparently Obama the Llama has taken to grazing right along side P's current run (which places her adjacent to the herd) and terrorizing her.

Of course, the terrorizing seems to consist of nothing more than Obama the Llama grazing peacefully, interrupted only by brief naps in the sun.  P (apparently) is still on high alert, and refuses to accept Obama the Llama's presence.

While the rest of the herd (and us) see this:


P sees this:
Okay.. that's a little sketchy looking..

Or maybe this:
Fine, he looks like he's pissed..

or even possibly this:
Dear God.

Regardless, Pia seems intrinsically certain that Obama the Llama is gunning for her, and only she can possibly save the herd.

Outside of inter-species diplomacy, the mare is apparently continuing to do well.  She's getting more social and over the next 10 days will complete a majority of her herd integration.  She hasn't had to do much other than get used to the other ponies through the fence (and on her walks) and tolerate Obama the Llama.

According to Cowboy Man, we are waiting for the herd integration before he really steps up the training.
(from Cowboy Man)
What we really want for now is to have her really get well socialized in the herd, before we start intensive training. In general, she has a distrust of humans and I want to restart the trust building in the context of the herd. This will bring out all of her social appetites and give us the opportunities to really connect with her true personality. What she has been expressing is an outer shell that she developed as a coping technique.  I am sure that all her early vet work has not increased her love of humans... Once we retrain her in the context of the herd she will begin trust and like humans as we reclassify our relationship.
Of course, waiting for that social magic hasn't kept Cowboy Man from some progress.. .Apparently P isn't wearing her halter anymore.  All of her leading in and out of pasture is done at liberty.  Additionally she's "ground tied" sans halter for all her grooming and graining.

Smart lady. (I'm so proud)

I'll start my visits to watch the work and participate myself after these next two weeks, so I'm beyond excited for that.

Also?  I've been promised video of some of the herd integration stuff.  can't wait to get my paws on that...

Friday, June 3, 2011

Wheels (the hunt for a new truck)

In general one of the many blessings that I count is the fact that my family (and fiance) are able to not only live in the same city without killing each other, but three of the four family members (plus the fiance) manage to drive to the same office 5 days a week, conduct ourselves (mostly) in a professional manner and still be able to sit back, relax and crack a beer at the end of the week (ok, the boy and the dad prefer margs, but whatever).

One of the other blessings that that by some grace of god, both my dad and The Boy think that horses (and specifically Pia) are totally reasonable things to spend money on.  Growing up I never had the fanciest, or the newest anything (uhhh 1970 King rust box horse trailer, and a $129 cardboard "leather" first saddle).  BUT, at least dad saw value in the lessons I was learning and seemed to be able to justify the routine shots, riding lessons and entry fees.  Anything beyond the basics was my responsibility, but he never hung me out to dry.

Thankfully, The Boy seems to have a similar attitude (though he's a bit more lenient on the fancy part..both my trailer and current saddle are a far cry from the starter version).  I appreciate the fact that P's cost of living will be coming out of our "communal" checking account (as opposed to my "fun money") which is something I thank him profusely for.

Of course both of them are constantly worried about my safety... Which is usually a charming thing...

Sometimes it's an irritating thing (air vest anyone?)..

But right now its a GLORIOUS thing.

Why? because I'm pretty sure it means that we get a brand new, fancy pants, totally lovely TRUCK.

In keeping in true fatherly fashion, the only "downside" to my betrothment is that The Boy comes with a car that dad considers to be a total death trap.  In reality, it's not.  It has a nice safety rating, but it's near impossible for him to consider the thing anything but a glorified golf cart, which I suppose I can't blame him for.

The current wheels mid road trip up the coast in '09
Dad's main complaint is that he's pretty sure we should have to wear helmets, which he promptly purchased for us, though so far we've avoided actually wearing...

Given the fact that The Boy runs one of our service departments from 8-5, he drives a significantly different vehicle - namely a pretty fantastic Dodge 5500.

The 5500 was bought to tow things significantly more substantial than my little aluminum bumper pull, but it does the job just fine.  The only downside is that the chassis cab on the truck is outfitted with a HUGE 12 ft bed, boxes and a crane (??).  All helpful on job sites I suppose, but a little unwieldy for everyday driving and unnecessarily long when trying to parallel park the rig (or even pull into a parking spot in order to stop for lunch).

Dad (the clever man he is), realized that the quickest way to extract The Boy from his dinky little personal vehicle was to
a) offer him a company truck and
b) make sure that the company truck was one I'd be drooling over and could replace the 5500 as my weekend hauling vehicle.

The brilliance of this plan is undeniable.  Since the mention of the option, I've managed to get the funds approved, adjust P&L's, figure out what size truck (3500) makes sense for being small enough to daily use but large enough to still be useful at work.. and BLAMO.   New Wheels.

It's not here quite yet and there's a chance that we might flip to a F-350.  But I'm happy either way.  Crew cab, 8ft box, and a tow capacity that would allow me to adopt a string of matched Andalusian stallions and caravan them around the country if we so desire...

Oh, and the sun's out.  So that makes for a pretty decent Friday.

Any die hard Dodge or Ford fans out there?  I've always had Dodge trucks, but I'm not opposed to the F-350... pros cons?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Hope (and ponies) Spring Eternal

The other day I got a call from my good friend up north who, among her other talents and endeavors, is the caretaker/custodian/miracle worker who has kept Star (the ancient pony) not only alive, but happy, fat and appropriately cranky.

Since Star is (by our best estimation) pushing 40, every time there's a bump or a bruise, or a stiffened step, we reasonably prepare ourselves for what is sure to eventually be the downfall of such a sturdy little champion.  In fact, over the past four years, we've had at least once annual scare, which has resulted in D making the dutiful call that this might actually be it, and to inform me the vet will be coming out tomorrow...

I can distinctly remember one call that came while I was in the middle of teaching a three day seminar.  At the time I was reviewing some tools on identifying our personal roles, missions, and impact when I just totally flipping lost it.

Trying to coach a room full of our (fantastic) contractor folks on putting pen to paper about their hopes and dreams is not nearly as futile as stereotypes would make it seem, but all my mushy, gushy, encouragement about where we've been, what we've done and how we'll be remembered was enough to send me into a tail spin since all I could think about was my damn cute pony and how she'd probably accomplished more in her 30+ years than I will when I reach her age.

Of course, in brilliant pony form, she righted herself and set about to several more years of terrorizing the big horses around her and conning anyone close enough into giving her treats

But this week I got another call.  Same story, same worries - this time might actually be it.

I mean , Star is 38 (by my current count, but who knows, a lady never tells her age) and even I can admit that she's got more than a few aged tells that belie her mischievous little face - But in every previous instance, she's always (ALWAYS) pulled out of it.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not delusional.  I understand that most people don't have pets that were born in the 70's (parrots and elephants excluded..) and I also am entirely supportive of D letting her go whenever it is that she's no longer enjoying her daily life.  I get it.

At one point we figured out that Star was alive when my mom was in college.  That's insane.  Not only has this pony had significantly more careers than I have, but she's laid witness to some interesting political times, progress, and development.  That deserves some serious respect (which she clearly demands) and is a little mind blowing to think about.

Somehow it makes it both easier and harder to think about her being gone.  I've lost other horses and pets over the years, but somewhere, rooted deeply in my 12 year old brain, I still feel like Star will just always be there.

It almost feels like the certainty of a first love.  That notion that it will never-ever (even if he goes to college before you) disappear.

As a kid, I never thought Star would disappear.
As an adult, I consciously *know* that she will, but there's still a lingering shred of adolescent that hopes she won't.

Of course, I will always have my favorite photos of our first cross county run, our favorite spot out in our woods, her galloping in the pasture, me sleeping on her back and the first time we scored 70% in a second level test. For such a small little thing, her extended trot was something of glory.... the lateral work? different story.  Her dressage progressed steadily in our years together, although I could never be certain if it was because Star became more willing to acknowledge how much she actually knew, or if because my approaching 5'11" frame could dictate where her balance was a bit more effectively :)...

This time, it looks like she stabilized again... at least for the time being.  I'm sure Star's still not out of the woods, but I'm never surprised to get the follow-up call saying that she's on fluids and anti-inflams and seems to be fine.  That little pony is probably perfectly preserved in her 38 year collection of piss and vinegar.  Not much else explains it quite frankly.

Regardless, she's still my first love, and always will be even if her little gray nose finally gets beyond my reach.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

My Mare is an Honor Student at Cowboy Elementary...

Getting an email from Cowboy Man feels rightly similar to the excitement of a letter or (god willing) a care package from home while exiled to sleepaway camp.  Except, I suppose that P is the one who's been sent away.

Regardless, I get a little bit giddy when I see his email address pop up in my inbox.

It's weird not seeing the beast on a more regular basis... But, instead I'm slowly getting used to inane updates whereby I immediately explain her small progress with amaaaaaazing brilliance or never-before-seen talent.

This blind faith in my "kid's" capabilities might be some sort of red flag for future parenthood, but I'm going to choose to ignore it...

For Example, Cowboy Man wrote:             
I just wanted to let you know that Pia is doing very well. She is interacting with the other horses through the fence nicely, so she is now ready for hand walks in the herd.

So I thought:        
WOW, what a smart mare, see!? I knew she knew how to play well with others.  She's so respectful and wise.  What a quick learner, I knew she'd do just fine.  She's already ready for handwalks through the herd, HAND WALKS! That's incredible! How Impressive...

Cowboy Man wrote:             
Also, we did pull her shoes. She was very uncomfortable in those shoes, so I can already in one day see more relaxation in her body. I will let Dr. Finn give you the details about all of that. We are letting her be barefoot all around for a couple of days to see how her feet respond and to let them have a chance to widen at the heal. I will probably shoe her in front on Wednesday.

And I thought:                
I knew she'd be more comfy barefoot, I just knew it.  Her feet are so nice, she just needs to be barefoot with the right trimmer....
Oh... he's shoeing her in front? That's ok too!  I just KNEW that maybe she needed to be shod in the front, that makes sense, I'm sure that's what she's been trying to tell me...  

Finally, he said:              
Also, all of her supplements did arrive. I will keep you posted on how the herd integration progresses.

And I thought:  Oh crap, he probably thinks I'm insane because her SmartPak is longer than her girth... 
Related Posts with Thumbnails