Seven great things/strengths in your riding life
1. Chrome. He is always my number one! Without him I would never have regained my confidence with horses (okay so I still have a ways to go at times, but he's a huge step in the right direction). He's my friend when I need a shoulder to cry on, he makes me laugh when I need cheering up, he always has something up his sleeve when I'm bored, he's the perfect model for practicing my photography, he's everything... he's a dream come true... I love that horse!
2. A supportive husband who also loves horses. He always encourages me to never give up and he helps boost my confidence when I'm feeling scared. He believes in me and that's huge! Not to mention he takes pictures and videos for me! I love that!
3. My parents for giving me a background with horses. My dad's love of horses is what got me into them in the first place and even though my mom didn't grow up with them, she understood my love for them and supported me even when she was terrified I'd get hurt.
4. My love of learning everything I can learn about horses. As a kid I devoured every book I could find on horses. My dad taught me a lot as far as how to ride, tack up, groom a horse and how to trim hooves, but most of what I learned about raising them and training them, especially clicker training, I learned mostly on my own through dedicated studying of books and later the internet. There are obviously a lot of other people who have helped me get where I am today, but my dad and my desire to learn were the big ones. :)
5. Having my horse in my own yard is huge! I've always had my horses at home. I've never had to board and I am so, so grateful for that. Yes boarding does have the benefits of being able to go on vacation without having to find someone to care for them and not having to feed in the rain, but being able to go outside whenever I want to give my horse a hug or go ride is just the best! It's worth all of the extra work!
6. Bloggers! You guys are so great! Your comments mean so much to me. I can bounce ideas off of you, get answers for my questions and most importantly the motivation to keep learning about how to take the best care of my horses as I can and the motivation to ride when the weather sucks. :) Thank you for all that you guys do!
7. Riding bareback! I spent so much time riding (and falling) bareback when I was a kid and I really think it helped me. No I can't sit a buck to save my life (I can sit crow hops, but not bronco bucks), but I have a pretty good seat and I'm almost more comfortable bareback than I am in the saddle. Weird I know, but it's true lol.
Seven things you lack or covet for you or your horse
1. Oh good grief there is so much and it all comes down to money! I could say money and that would basically cover everything I need/want for myself and Chrome, but I'll try to be more specific. Number one would be better facilities... a closed in, weatherproof (bug proof) barn with actual stalls and storage, an arena for riding in (bonus if it's covered) and if I'm really dreaming more land! I miss having them out on thirty acres. It's been a huge adjustment keeping horses on five acres like I did when I was a kid.
2. Second would be either equine insurance or a well padded savings account for vet emergencies. I'm terrified of ending up in a situation with Chrome where he needs a surgery and I can't afford it. :( I used to have great savings, but with my husband's injury, job loss and the move... money is TIGHT again.
3. Third I'm thinking a truck and trailer that is in good condition. We keep having to fix things on our truck and I'm beginning to think it will never be in working condition again. Also I hate my trailer. It gets the job done, but because it's an older trailer with no divider I'm terrified of tying Chrome up in it. There are too many ways he could get hurt if tied up. I really wish I had a nice, safe trailer.
4. Next I want a dressage saddle that fits both me and him, so I can actually practice my riding position without continually fighting against a saddle that isn't built for it. I love my Aussie saddle for trail rides, but it's just not built for dressage. To go along with the saddle I would love to have dressage lessons again too!!! I feel like I'm floundering along out in an open sea trying to train Chrome all by myself. I've taken dressage lessons, but I've never started a horse in dressage, so I'm kind of lost.
5. I would love to either have great, safe trails to ride on or a riding buddy to go with me out on the roads. I'm just not comfortable riding out on the roads alone... this is a huge problem for me right now because all I can do is walk circles in my yard... I feel so stuck. This is part of the reason I've had no motivation to ride. I don't have a saddle, I can't afford lessons even if I had a working truck and trailer to get me there and I have no one to ride with on the roads for a change of scenery... maybe this should be in the number one spot lol.
6. If I'm really dreaming... I would love for there to be a cure for sweet itch and/or for me to have the means to completely protect him from the stupid gnats. I hate that he's so miserable in the summer... with no stall to put him in, fly sprays don't work, neem oil was only partially effective and a pasture full of trees and brambles that would destroy a fly sheet in a day this is another way that I feel stuck. I feel like there's just nothing I can do to help him and that's frustrating. I would also love a magical cure for his stifle issues too.
7. And for something totally fun and splurgy I would love a wagon and harness so I can teach Chrome to drive. :D That would be such a blast and then my husband could go with me since he'd be sitting in a chair instead of on the back of a horse (which hurts his back really bad). Sorry if this came off as whiny or "woe is me"... I didn't mean to complain...
Seven things that make you angry
1. Abusing and/or neglecting animals. I just do NOT understand why anyone would do this to poor animals who have no choice in the matter. :(
2. People who have everything and then gripe and moan about what they think they don't have. I'm struggling financially so I just can't stand to deal with ungrateful people.
3. Bad weather... okay so it probably doesn't make me angry, but it is a total bummer when you don't board and don't have a covered arena lol.
4. People with no respect or concern for other riders, especially riders on green horses. How hard is it to ask if it's okay to take off galloping before you do it???
5. This one is kind of like abuse/neglect, but not so extreme I guess, but the people who don't ride their horses for a long time and then run them into the ground or the people who ride their horses hard and then throw them out in the pasture, never bathing, grooming, checking for soreness, getting a chiropractors, etc. really just piss me off. Have some freaking respect for these animals! They're not objects and they could so easily kill us, but they don't! Also people who use harsh hackamores or ill fitting saddles because they don't know any better, but then when you say something they stick their heads back in the sand and pretend you didn't say anything instead of trying to learn and make things better.
6. Know it alls! People who think they know everything and refuse to listen to what you have to say because they obviously know more than you... especially if they are a "professional". Just because I'm not a professional doesn't mean I might not know more about something then they do. Obviously I don't know more about medicine than a vet or hoof anatomy than a farrier, but I might know more about nutrition or clicker training then either of them! And to receive not even a chance to share my knowledge is just annoying!!!
7. Prejudices! Especially breed prejudices! Dressage people who hate Friesians or dog people who hate pit bulls just flat out pisses me off! Holding a prejudice against a specific breed of animal is like holding them against a specific race of humans. Even if I have met 20 horses of a certain breed and every single one of them was mean that doesn't mean I'm going to hate every horse from that breed. The 21st one I meet could be the best horse on the planet! This is a bit different from stereotypes in that I might stereotype that breed as being kind of mean because I've met 20 of them that are, but I don't HATE them and when I meet one that isn't mean I'm not going to hate it because of it's breed. I'm going to give it a chance and then appreciate it for being awesome. I have no idea if any of that made any sense lol.
Seven things you neglect to do or cut corners on
1. Cleaning up poop out of the pasture... I know it would help a lot with preserving pasture quality and cutting back on worms... but good grief five acres never seemed so huge!! Not to mention they like to hide their poop piles up in the trees and brush. I also have never learned the art of poo picking in the mud!
2. Grooming and bathing. I brush where the saddle goes when I ride, but I don't always brush Chrome's whole body when I ride. I sometimes groom him every day even if I don't ride, but that's usually when the weather is nice. When it's too hot or cold I don't. I'm also bad about skipping brushing his legs even when I do his whole body. I also don't comb out his tail very often, but it doesn't knot too bad and over brushing it can destroy it so that's okay. I also don't bathe him much... which is probably going to have to change when he turns gray!!! By the way... this is the exact reason that I love cutting his mane off haha!
3. Tack cleaning. I don't think I've cleaned any of my current tack since I got it (which has been years for most of it)........ I know I'm bad! To my credit I keep my tack either in my house or my car, I don't leave it out in the barn. I also don't ride in the rain or if I do it's bareback. I probably do need to clean my bridle at the very least hehe.
4. Tacking up!! One of the benefits of bareback riding is.... no saddle hahaha! I know that sounds so bad, but if I'm in a hurry I just don't want to bother tacking up. Not to mention when you're only riding twenty minutes at the walk tacking up can feel like it takes longer than the ride itself. Heck half the time I ride in my sweat pants and sneakers (okay almost all the time on the sneakers)... I probably wouldn't be so lazy in this department if I was boarding, but as it is I don't care what I look like and I actually prefer riding without a saddle most of the time. :)
5. My fitness. Like most things I do great when the weather is nice and when I have friends to keep me company, but in the winter or rain... yeah I turn into a couch potato!
6. Stretching... I know that stretching along with massage could probably be really helpful for Chrome, but I'm so lazy when it comes to this... not to mention some of the leg stretches really stress my back. If I didn't neglect my fitness this one probably wouldn't be such an issue haha!
7. Umm... I can't think of anything else... can I say dishes? Or does it have to be horse related?
Seven most expensive things you own for your horse/riding
1. Chrome... he was one of the largest purchases I've ever made (not including houses or vehicles) and upkeep on a horse is expensive too.
2. Truck and trailer! Maintenance on vehicles sucks! And insurance!!! And gas!!!! And tires OMG!!!!!
3. My Aussie saddle. It was on sale for a really good deal, but it's still one of my pricier items.
4. Health care (vet, dental, wormer, farrier, etc.)
5. Feed and hay. OMG I forgot how much hay horses eat when they're only on five acres!
6. Does my camera count? Since I use it to photograph our progress for the blog?
7. Oh I almost forgot! The tractor and maintenance on it. That was way more expensive than Chrome lol! Buying tires for it will give you a heart attack!
Seven guilty pleasures or favorite items
1. Number one guilty pleasure is Chrome! I can't imagine my life without horses and I love him so much he's more family than "just" a horse, but I do feel guilty sometimes because horses are so expensive! It's not just me that makes sacrifices, but my husband does to. There's a lot of things we can't have so I can keep Chrome. There's a lot of times we can't go do things since I keep him at home. So yes he's definitely a guilty pleasure, but to me it's so worth it because he keeps me sane.
2. A regular rubber curry comb!! I've had to groom horses (other people's, not mine) without a curry comb and it sucks! How do you get all of the dirt and hair off? Also the curry is great for getting the hair and dirt out of the body brush. I love my curry!
3. Blogging. Reading blogs and writing my own blog (especially taking and editing pictures) is soooo time consuming, but I love it because of your comments and as a way to remember my journey with Chrome. I so appreciate having like minded blogger friends to get advice from! When money was tight I seriously considered getting rid of our internet, but I didn't, mainly because of the blog! Since we moved it's a lot cheaper (and slower) so it's not so much a guilty pleasure, but it is one of my favorite things.
4. My camera! Blogging would not be near as much fun without my camera! It's also helpful for taking videos and learning from them. I also really appreciate my camera for having pictures of my animals and friends. There are beloved pets I had as a kid that I don't have pictures of and I'll never make that mistake again.
5. Another one of my favorite things is that awesome horse smell! That's one of the things I missed so much when I went without a horse for two years.
6. Clicker Training. Even though I haven't been using clicker training so much lately it's still one of my favorite types of training. Without it I don't think I would have the bond I have with Chrome. I don't think he would be as confident, curious and engaged as he is. It's so much fun for both of us and one of the kindest, most effective, training methods I know.
7. Sunshine!!! I know I've said it before, but I'll say it again. I just can't function without sunshine. I joke all the time that I'm solar powered. If there is no sun I just can't recharge my batteries. The sun makes everything better. :D
Seven things you love about horses and riding
1. Being outdoors, especially with trail riding it's so nice being out enjoying the sunshine and exploring.
2. Horse friends (including the blogger ones)! People who don't love horses just don't understand us! Am I right?? :D With horse people there is always that feeling of family and belonging. I love that!
3. The bond with the horses. Learning to work together and to understand each other. Doing everything we can to make each other happy. There is nothing like bonding and communicating with another species. Besides who doesn't love horses?
4. Learning new things! As a friend of mine pointed out the other day I have a thirst for knowledge. I love learning all I can about horses. Hooves, diet, training, breeds, history, dressage, even things like eye sight and color genetics. Heck years ago I learned all about polo for a novel I was writing (dang that's a complicated sport!), even though I've probably forgotten most of it, it was still fun! I just love it!
5. That feeling of accomplishment you get when you and your horse figure out something new! Working on something and finally figuring it out is the best feeling ever, especially if your horse is just as happy to get it right as you are.
6. The other feeling that just can't be beat is that feeling of freedom when you're galloping as fast as you can go across a field! I soooo miss that feeling and I can't wait until Chrome and I can share that together.
7. Stress relief, especially with trail riding you get that feeling of escaping from the world and the stresses in your life. Riding just makes me happy! It's so rare to ever get off my horse and not be smiling. :D