Thursday, June 18, 2009

Scratching the Surface

My sincere thanks to everyone who took the time to give me advice. I completely agree that riding is not the only pleasure I can get from my horse, I know this all too well considering I haven't been able to ride in over three months now. I found that not being able to groom her and simply be close to her was more difficult than not being able to ride.

For my readers who haven't been around since the beginning, some background would help to clarify things. Missy is boarded at a wonderful barn about 40 minutes south of my home, so I don't take care of her like I would if she was here. The staff at the barn feed her, clean her stall, put her in turnout and back into her stall, blanket her, and when she is ill or injured, administer care and medicine. When I can't make it down there to work with her, my trainer will get her out and put her on the longe line and occasionally rides her. She was born at this facility and has two full sisters and a niece there; in fact she probably hasn't been off the property more than a dozen times in her 10 year life.

I took my first lesson the first week of June 2006, and took ownership of Missy in January 2007. You can read the post where I explain the story of how I came to own a horse six months after I started riding here. I had been on a horse maybe a half dozen times in my life before starting lessons three years ago, so I know at this point I've barely scratched the surface.

So you see, unlike many of you, I don't have decades of experience and dozens of horses in my past. A few lesson horses and Missy is all I know and I barely know enough to be able to canter on her. I rely completely on the expertise of my trainer and my vet to tell me when it's OK to ride her, so it's very easy to have my expectations dashed and therefore, to be disappointed.

Most of the horses at the barn are retired, and the few lesson horses are always being ridden by paying customers, so there is rarely another horse that I can ride when Miss is out of commission.

I longed her briefly today at the walk and trot and she is still slightly off behind on both sides, so it will probably be another week before I can think about getting back on her. Leaving work early to get to physical therapy at least gives me the chance to get down to see her twice a week during the week, and of course I'm there on the weekends. It's a long journey, I know, but I started so late I get impatient.

I apologize for the quality of these pictures, I took them with my phone. I mentioned before that my new office is right next to an 800-acre pasture boarding facility. It's a joy to drive past hundreds of free-range horses grazing in beautiful meadows every morning and evening, geldings on one side of the street and mares on the other. Almost makes me want to go to work. Almost.


  1. I don't know much about horses but I love animals. Reading about the callous way the previous owners of Missy discarded her made me really sad. It was great that the barn and you could work out a way Missy could get some human companionship.

    Hopefully, next week you are able to ride her and things start to get more smoothly.

    Your job still sounds stressful. My hours are crazy so I feel for you even more now.

  2. 'Free range' is such a natural way for horses to interact. It's the best. I love the mule in the last picture.

  3. OH! and by the way, A Very Happy Birthday. Mid 40's is such a lovely place to be. Embrace it.

  4. Wait, did I miss a birthday post somewhere? Can I still wish you a very happy birthday? :) I turned a year older last week too. Incidentally, I just started reading Birdsong. How about that for coincidences?

    Very Happy Birthday, Donna!

  5. Hi Donna!

    I only started riding about 3 years ago too...I have such a bad sense of time. Anyway, I'm very much a newbie and I look forward to my riding lessons once a week. My trainer just established a couple of drop-in classes, so I may be able to sneak in another couple of rides here & there, time & budget allowing.

    I work Sunday afternoons at a local stable looking after horses very much like Missy, although I don't administer medical care, unless hugs & love count. :o)

    Thanks for your note over at my place. I lost my internet connection for a few days, so I'm just getting caught up again. Re: your pending birthday, you might want to check out the books by Barbara Sher ( I just finished reading "It's Only Too Late If You Don't Start Now - How to Create Your Second Life at Any Age." It's all about mid-life crisis and is very good, as are her other books. I got my copy out of the library.

    Do keep in touch!

  6. Venus, my birthday is tomorrow, you haven't missed it!

  7. You will pick up where you left off and be better than before. You have continued training all this time in your heart and mind.

  8. Well I still missed it - happy Belated Birthday! (if you check it out I have plenty of excuses)
    I psych myself up to go to work, reminding myself that I have to PAY for this circus (i.e. farm life)...