Monthly Archives: November 2006

With Gabby

Yesterday sorta stunk. If it weren’t for Sam, one of the young students, it would have completely stunk.  Gabby slipped out of the cross ties in a most dramatic fashion while I was grooming her and it scared the dickens out of me. *sigh*  There’s so much to get used to.

The barn was alive with clanging and stamping yesterday; the vet came for a visit, there were lots of people, and Gabby is new to the whole scene so she didn’t like it.  And when she wanted to get away, she couldn’t. So she reared up on her hind legs in the cross ties, slipped out of the halter (I must not have had the damn thing fastned right — which I now think might have been good but I’m just not sure), wheeled about, and made her way out of the barn to crop grass.  The nice thing that I’ve noticed so far about spooking horses is that as soon as they see food, they calm down. 

I yelled for help.  “Help!” I yelled, “Gabby is loose!” Oh, the first thing I did was run to an empty stall for safety, then yell for help, then get her halter free of the cross ties.  Meanwhile, brave Sam ran outside and called to her.  We managed to get her back into her stall and I went to talk to Leah.  Leah was dealing with a lesson, a vet, and the potential impending death of a horse (not on site, but it didn’t look good as of Friday). And then she was dealing with me.  Which she did in an excellent fashion by reminding me that no one there was going to judge me and to just let the adreneline out.

Upshot: I took Gabby to a different set of crossties (across from the young stud colt who huffed and snorted at her while Sam told him to shut up), got her tacked, got her outside and, somewhat shakily, mounted her.  “Stay calm,” said Sam.  “I don’t know if I can do this,” I said.  “Stay calm,” said Sam, untwisting my stirrups for me. And we did fine.  Just fine. 

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Getting Adjusted to the Idea

So OK. So I’ve wanted a horse since I was nine years old.  Off and on.  So now I’ve got one and guess what ?

I’m scared.  I’m really, really scared because I’m scared that I’ve done a very stupid thing.  Matter of fact, I have to keep reminding myself that I’ve done stupider things, WAY stupider (to which a sister-in-law says “Haven’t we all?” which makes me love her even more — I am lucky in in-laws, tell you what!) than buy a very nice horse.

Dennis, Leah’s husband, helped me with my most recent melt-down.  I do that far more than I’d like and I don’t really understand why I dissolve into tears so much.  Isn’t it a sign of weakness and what-not?  Shouldn’t I display sang-froid at all times?  Shouldn’t I fell sang-froid at all times?  Don’t you love that phrase?  My friend Margaret taught it to me many years ago, when we were kids, when we both wanted to be masters of sang-froid.  I should speak for myself.  I wanted to be a master of it (I was what, eleven?). Didn’t work then.  Doesn’t work now.

Yesterday, I went to visit Gabby and to lunge/longe/whatever her.  I got her into the cross ties, groomed her, put on her brand-new splint boots, headed towards the indoor arena . . .and felt myself going downhill. I think the worst thing that happens is that I feel like a fraud, like I don’t know what I’m doing in the slightest, that the horse knows, that anyone within a half a mile of me knows, that I have no business at all being a horse owner and that I’d just better give Gabby away as quickly as possible and content myself with toys, no more lessons, just toy horses.  Times like that, I feel as thought the sky is pressing down on me and I’m nothing more than the kid who doesn’t get it. I brought Gabby back to the cross-ties and that’s when Dennis came in and I said, “I can’t do this.”

“Yes you can,” he said, “She’s a very nice horse. She’s good. She’s a really good horse.  Come on.  I’ll help.” And so we got Gabby’s halter on her and we walked to the arena.  Dennis found a long whip for me (oh crap, I didn’t put it back, I just left it in the sand!  Darn but it’s easy to leave stuff lying about!) and talked me through it.  I got her going, walk, trot and canter. She dropped her head and went, went easier the other way even, and Dennis made sure it was OK for him to get back to work.

I was reminded — again — that whatever my feelings are, they are OK.  That I need to talk to the barn owners about them (the feelings) and not be shy about it. 

So I worked Gabby a little more then took her back, brushed her, painted her hooves with hoof-stuff, put her new blanket on her (and left the old one on the floor or something –dang it again! Jeez!), wrote her name with a Sharpie on all 4 of her splint boots, her lead, her brushes,her everything, got her back in her stall, gave her some treats, and thought I would collapse.  My goodness but I was tired.

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Oh Dear — For Real!!

I bought a horse!  I bought a horse! Ohmigod I bought a horse!!!!!

The school had a perfect horse and I bought her!!!! She’s an 8 year old TB mare who doesn’t fit into the school’s program because she has no  interest whatsoever in jumping or going fast (just like me!!!)!!!  She’s a big dark bay with a prehensile upper lip and other than getting used to the size of her stride, I do believe she’s the nicest horse I’ve ever ridden! 

I’m so profoundly lucky — I was sheparded through the process by my instructor and a grad student at the school, both whom know me and know what they are about.  They wouldn’t steer me wrong any more than they’d do anything to put the horse at risk because they are swell folk!!!

So.  Her name is Gabby.  She’s sweet.  She’s sweeeeeeeet!  She’s a big old sweetie-kins!  My Good Lord, I’ve wanted this for years!  Since I was . ..what, nine?  And then again as an adult, when I actually lived out in the country, I wanted one but due to Circumstances ‘twould ne’r happen. And then there was another time I wondered if I could have one and keep it on a friend’s property but felt that would be too much to ask; in impostition on friendship and hospitality.

And now, now, I’ve got a horse and a horse has me. A &*&^ HORSE!!!!

I do not believe it.  It’s hard to be happy in some ways because I just do not believe it.  

I pinch myself.

Ouch!

I must be awake, I must. I shall try it again.

Ouch!

Yep, I’m awake.  Awake and a horse owner!

Raise high the roofbeam carpenters! Yonder comes the mare, far taller than a short horse!

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Oh dear — Not

The horse in question is waaaaay out of my budget.  I can’t help it — I’m relieved (if anyone’s got an emoticon of someone wiping the sweat from their forehead, I could use it).

I feel like buying a horse is like jumping off a bridge or something and having faith that everything will be fine — or being so wealthy that it doesn’t matter.  I don’t want to bang on the money thing  because it’s nothing special — we’ve all got a money-thing, right? — but I’m banging on the money thing anway.

Anyway, rode Mopey today and now that he understands I’m a better rider, he’s persnickety about stuff and won’t go forward or goes forward too much, so I’ve got to wave the dressage whip at him so that he’ll pay attention.  He’s such a crooked old boy and he’s fuzzy right now due to some cold snaps, so between the mud and the fuzz and his jagged spine, he looks like heck warmed over. But I got him to do the sideways thing a few times (3 steps to the side, 2  steps forward, 3 to the. . .Hey! I said 3!!!  Not 1.5!).

So, the semi-quest continues.

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Oh Dear . . .

After my lesson on Monday, Leah told me about some school horses she knows of that are going to be available soon and asked me if I was interested.

I took enough of a breath to be able to tell myself later that I thought about it — and said yes.

So we’ll see. 

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Busy Writing: NaNoWriMo

It’s already day 4 of National Novel Writing Month! Every time I try to add the link, it goes to pieces!  It’s www.nanowrimo.org!

I’ve launched intoNational Novel Writing month  again, third year in a row. First two years I had nice starts but didn’t finish anything.  This year, it’s going to be different.  I’ve made myself a little chart on a piece of graph paper and I’ve figured out how many words I have to end up with each day to stay in the race.  None of this “I’ll make it up later” stuff because later never, ever gets here.

So to stay on top, you’ ve got to write something like One Thousand Six-Hundred and Sixty-Five words per day for 30 days.  I’ve got two out-of-town weekends this month (always happens in November) so I’ve got to pull ahead somehow and keep it up.

Last year I did it by hand because I liked (and still like) writing in pencil in faux-marble composition books.  But it’s not the way it is done these day.

The experience? You know perfectly good and well that you are churning out mounds and mounds of crap (and this year I’m doing Fantasy and there’s lots o’folks out there doing Fantasy) — but sometimes something takes fire and you just push on and write like the wind and something pretty good or funny happens or you write something and say, “that might stay in the ‘keep it’ batch.”  Or it may not.  There’s no way to tell.

So I’ve been doing that, working on some volunteer stuff that is totally about the election, and also trying to get a thing or two done about working for a living — and riding with Sadie.  Why is it that a drive across town to a job in another suburb seems like a total insult to my being but the drive out to the stable is of no concern to me whatsoever?

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