Saturday, October 5, 2013

Searching for Perfection through Imperfect Eyes...........................

"He's the perfect horse if it weren't for..............."

I am used to complicated relationships, they are the norm in my life (often the complication is my own doing) but I am learning fast that no relationship is more complicated than the one between a horse and its owner, and that is even more the case when you are talking about a performance horse. Our horses are the ultimate multi-taskers, they are our friend, our pet, our therapist, our vehicle and our sports equipment. And to find one that meets the criteria of all those things is rather schizophrenic at times.

I should probably back up and explain where I am at. I came very close this week to buying my next horse, a 3 year old appaloosa gelding. He was in so  many ways my dream horse (including the dream to have a younger horse to work with and help finish that I didn't even know I had) but at the very last minute (as we were literally figuring out when to pick him up) we found a unexpected health issue (arthritis) and had to walk away.

As someone searching for my next riding partner, my next vehicle, my next piece of high end sports equipment, I know this was exactly the right decision. It wouldn't have been fair to me to bank on things that he might not be able to do long term and it wouldn't have been fair to him to push him in ways that could impact him negatively down the road.

But beyond the functional logical sides of this I am struggling over, once again, feeling I have judged a living being in the same way I hate how others judge me. I don't believe at my core that only those things that are picture perfect should be given a chance, I think people miss amazing opportunities when they look past me and others because we don't fit the model the world dictates, and yet this process forces me to do just that. To meet my goals I need a solid, healthy horse and flaws have to matter. And I hate that! It makes me feel like such a hypocrite.

All of my pets have always been the misfits, the rescues, the runts of the litter. I have always championed for the underdog. I have spent nearly 20 years proving to the world that my own imperfections gave them no right to limit me, and now I need to only consider the cream of the crop, and that is not me. And it eats at me. And it is important  to me that it doesn't ever stop eating at me. As much as this process makes me make hard choices, I fear it making me callous and I cant let that happen. I need to keep knowing that while necessary it should be uncomfortable.

While I can't doubt the choices I made this week and with other horses I have passed on or with returning B', it should and does make me wrestle with my own morals and beliefs. It should and does makes me pause and question if my goals for a horse jive with who I am and checking myself for staying real. But thought that checking it also has to make me realize how important all this is to me that I would put myself through this tug of war multiple times because it matters to my future.

This struggle has also made me incredibly grateful I have really helpful, smart, straight forward people around me who keep me on the path I need to be on. Who point out when I am jeopardizing my future goals by letting my heart try to lead. I could not be more grateful to my vet and my trainer than I am today. They give me strength in areas I don't have.

In a few weeks I am off to have the ultimate horse shopping experience, at the Appaloosa World Show, and hope that I can find that right balance of a horse who touches my heart but is fit for its job and its future and that I manage to find the balance between my beliefs and my goals.