Monday, April 29, 2013

Out in the Hay....

Know it has been a while since I posted here, I hope you have visited my temporary blog at , but today is one of those days I need to sort out my mind and it is going to take writing.

So first the very short version of a long long story. I have decided it is time to buy my own horse. I adore Joker, I always will, but it is time for the next step in my journey and his. I need a horse more geared to the type of showing I want to do, I need my own horse to have the freedom to show when and where I want and I need a horse that I can mold to me. Getting to where I know that has been a shocking and unexpected path. Two months ago I thought Joker was going to be my show horse forever. I see now that isn't the path I am headed down. So I have started shopping.

The goal horse is a 5-8 year old gelding, 15.1 hands or taller, with a really killer western pleasure trot and lope. I want to be able to show in showmanship, western pleasure, horsemanship, trail and eventually western riding. I want something with an amazing heart and mind that can not only be my work horse but is also going to be comfortable being my play horse. It can head out for trail riding and horse camping or hang out in the grass with me as comfortably as it can head into the ring at champ show. Oh and if possible I would like it to have some unique coloring or markings too (trying to stay away from just another big brown horse), so I am look at Appaloosa's, roan QH's and other QH's.

I knew finding all this, and being super picky about its movement was going to be a long slow process. I have pretty strict requirements on a mediocre shopping budget, but I didn't expect this to be the emotional journey it is. But it seems anything you do related to horses immediately finds your core vulnerabilities. I am one horse in on my shopping and already feel brought to my knees emotionally.

Saturday I went and looked at a 4 year old red roan quarter horse, Vested Vitals (Ritzie).
VV is from amazing breeding. His sire is the legendary Invest N Vital Signs (who is out of Vital Signs are Good). For those not well versed on QH pleasure bloodlines, these are big time. And the line is even more coveted because Invest N Vital Signs passed away unexpectedly at age 6. To find a horse with that breeding in my price in my backyard shocked me. And even if I don't get to buy him, that I rode him leaves me pretty awestruck, but it also plays into my insecurities about him.

I can also say riding a true Western Pleasure horse is like NOTHING I have ever ridden. They don't make good words for the difference (have struggled for a couple days to find them). The only thing I can say is go drive an old manual transmission car with no power steering, then go drive an automatic sports car. That is the closest comparison I can come up with.  My first reaction was "omg I have been working way too hard up to now". He was cadenced, consistent, smooth, light, easy and he did the work. I didn't have to ask him to set his head, he knew where it went and kept it there, I didn't have to keep changing his speed, he knew how to stay there himself. It was so easy and enjoyable. I also have to admit I was pretty proud of myself riding him. There were some concerns we had going in. Most well trained WP horses are trained to work off their riders legs almost exclusively. For me that is a challenge, because of my nerve damage. I need a horse that can also learn other cues, verbal, rein, seat. I was over the moon that I could get him to respond easily to me, even though his current owner is very leg/spur dependent. He has the mind to be able to work with me.

It wasn't all positives, he is young, younger than we had planned. He needs some work on his manners and his space vs mine (he is the horse that I can see trying to cuddle with a judge). And those are all easily do able but again where my insecurities slip in.

So I am sure everyone is waiting for the outcome to the story, I don't know it. There were other people looking at him Sunday and we left it as I would wait to see how that went and then decide if I pursue this further or not (vet check and trainer ride). But now I am struggling with that decision too. Which catches us up to today....because what the last three days has done is made me look in the mirror really hard....and while nothing I see surprises me at all, it is hard to face. Here it is...

1) I am having a VERY hard time allowing myself to realize I deserve something like this horse. I hear my mother's voice in my head over and over, telling me I am being a snob, telling me this is a luxury I don't need, that I am spending way too much money. That this is the horse for a better rider who can live up to his genetics. Who am I to think I am worthy of this horse.

2) I spend most of my life feeling I am in the way, that I am a burden, that I am asking too much of other people, that I have to come last and that is definitely working against me here. Both with horse shopping and with my trainer. I got to the meeting Saturday and instead of taking the time to do all I wanted to and needed to (riding him, grooming him, taking him outside and watching his reaction to strange objects) I raced myself through the meeting, because I didn't want to bother the sellers (yeah I know that is dumb). And they were the nicest people but I still felt in the way. I am struggling with it with my trainer too, asking for more of her time to look at horses, to help me figure it out. I just slip right into being in the way and being a bother.

Total truth I really didn't want to go look at him Saturday alone, I knew my weaknesses I knew I needed to take a friend with me to help me be more secure, but since it was horse expo weekend, and people were busy and it was short notice I really didn't push anyone to go with me. Again I put me last, and I regret that now (but sadly know I would probably do the same again). And total disclosure I let myself be really hurt that none of my friends just stepped up to go with me. I get very stuck in measuring my own worth off what I would do if the tables were turned and the "emotional logic" of "if they cared they would do it, so they must not care".

3) Like I said, VV is young, he is going to take work, he will be a project. And I am ok with that, in some ways I want that. I like training my horse, I love the feeling of accomplishment when I can reach that goal and know it was my doing. But at the same time I am afraid. I am afraid of getting this really great horse and messing it up, of doing things wrong, of failing. And I logically know that is stupid, that I wont be doing this alone but still all the lessons for decades ago about making mistakes and losing people because I wasn't perfect are flooding back at me and standing in my way. I am afraid to let myself try because what if I can't.......

4) oh and then there is my favorite, fear of making the wrong decision. This is the one that could have me looking at horses for 100 years,  because while my gut says this is the one, what if my gut is wrong, what if I am not seeing the whole picture. I have been wrong so many times about people and situations in my life I don't even trust my judgment any more.

So where does this all leave me, stuck. Waiting to find out if someone else buys him is probably a really good rationalization for that stuck, but I know darn right well I would probably be just as stuck if that wasn't the case.

I need to get unstuck today!!!!