Thursday, April 28, 2016

If You Can't Ride, Give Back

Since my pregnant status isn't going to change until October and my ponies aren't trustworthy enough to haul my ever expanding butt around I've decided to do some volunteering.   My goal is to someday do the BN Long Format Three Day Event at So8ths.  Ever since I found out about it and watched the videos I've been entranced with actually doing it.

So what's the next best thing to competing at the So8ths Long Format?  Volunteering!  You get to see it all and learn all the tips and tricks without a whole lot of pressure.  So next Tuesday I'll be making the long trek from my farm in southeastern VA to Chesterfield, SC!

If you don't know what this is or what its all about, go to the website and check it out!

Because I will definitely be between the flags!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Because It Isn't Enough to Cry


Some deaths aren’t a shock. The pet or person has been sick for a long time and it’s the natural progression that they pass on. There is relief that they aren’t in pain anymore, are no longer suffering.  Then there are the deaths that hit you like a rogue ocean wave. It’s big and dark and swallows you whole and you don’t think you will ever be able to look back and not cry.

Almost five years ago my husband and I drove to Philadelphia to pick up our new puppy. English Bull Terrier’s as a whole are independent, stubborn and are basically 60 to 70lb tanks in a small package. They are also loving, loyal and goofy.  My own EBT, Agate, was all of those things and more.  He used to lay in the kitchen and watch me cook, usually on top of my feet, just in case that piece of vegetable or meat might need cleaning up from the floor. When we brought home a chair-and-a-half from my sister’s house he quickly claimed it as his throne. Although we would occasionally share it, him taking up ¾ of it and I getting what was left. 

He would grunt and whine and make the most improbable noises for a dog. Agate would also beg for ice cubes anytime anyone was in the freezer. He chewed up the edges of my muck boots, he chewed my husband’s socks, he stole rolls of toilet paper out of the bathroom and parked himself squarely in front of the woodstove any time it was burning.

This past week I had to let him go.  I say I even though he was really both my husband and I’s dog because when it comes to the animals the hard choices are always mine.  My husband was a marine and saw so many awful things and never shed a tear.  But the animals make him soft and mushy on the inside.  Not that I had any of an easier time giving the vet permission when it was clear my dog wasn’t going to recover.  But he was more mine than my husband’s and it was the last good thing I could do for him.

I mostly held it together at work.  I told no one of his passing, they wouldn’t understand and I thought if I had one person say to me “it was just a dog.” I might be physically violent.  He was not just a dog. I raised him, I loved him and in the end I couldn’t protect him like I wanted to.

Yesterday I went to the vet’s office so I could bring Agate home one last time. My husband and I buried him in the backyard in a sunny patch of grass. He liked to lie in the sun.  Later I’ll plant flowers there. For now there is only the heartache every time I walk in to the house and he isn’t there. The memories that cloud my eyes with tears and the guilt that I couldn’t save him.

Keep it between the flags everyone.


Tuesday, April 5, 2016

When the Universe Starts Laughing and All Your Plans Go to Hell

(Fox and Seneca are living together for the summer to see if they can do it and not be total donkeys about being separated for things like being ridden)

In December and January I was thinking seriously about what I would do with Fox this year. I really, really, REALLY wanted to get to a Beginner Novice Horse Trial with him.  So we needed to work on our canter departs, which were fairly ugly and work on oh cantering over a course of fences. Which was something we had yet to do.  My work schedule had been fairly ugly in the last couple of years and the whole I will not ride if I’m alone at the house thing really put a dent in my training plan.


But there was light on the horizon! In July I would be going to a new command with a different and thankfully less stressful schedule.  I might even be able to ride my horse in the mornings before work! At least on days that my husband was home.  Everything was looking up, rosy and positively delightful despite the nasty winter weather that decided to descend on us.


And that is exactly when the universe decided that my life needed a little shaking up.  I’m pretty sure there are some people upstairs laughing their asses off.  Because in early February I found out that I was pregnant.  The week before my 40th birthday. After eighteen years of marriage and absolutely no hint of babies anywhere.  I had been telling both our families for years that I did not want children.  Their messy, needy and require large amounts of my personal time devoted to their every whim.  I know, I know it sounds exactly like owning horses.  But horses can be left out in a fenced enclosure while you live the rest of your life. The police and social services tend to frown on doing that with a baby.


So I had to rethink pretty much everything about my life at that point.  I was still riding until about mid-March then I made the decision to stop.  It wasn’t that I felt scared or that anything truly bad happened. Fox just had a small brainless moment. I never felt out of control or like I was going to come off but I felt like if this happened a few months later I might have been unbalanced enough to come off.  I’m 40 years old, I wasn’t planning for this baby but it’s right here with me and I have to do what I can to protect it. Who knows maybe it will be an Olympic Eventer who goes out and conquers all those courses that scare the life out of me!  Until I can get back on which won’t be until late next winter/early spring my coach will be giving Fox the education and hopefully horse trial miles he needs.

So I’m trying to think about all the great things that come with a kid rather than the down sides.  Yeah there will be diapers, lost sleep and I’ll have to carve out time to ride. But there will also in a few years be a PONY!  That sweet, pretty, talented pony that I never got as a kid, though I begged and begged.  There will hopefully be Pony Club, horse shows and horse trials.  I’m hoping that I can share my love of horses and this kid whoever he or she is will love them just as much as I do. 

I’ll be a little disappointed if the newest member of Eventing at Midnight doesn’t have the horse bug but I’ll cross that bridge when I get there. Until then everyone keep it between the flags!