Thursday, March 17, 2011

Horseshoes On My Heart

2006.  Too long ago.  Ugh.
Well, kids, it's that time of year again.  The snow and bitter cold are gone.  The days are sunny, breezy and cool.

I simply cannot get horses and riding off of my mind.

It seems worse than usual.  As the years go by, I find myself yearning more for the feeling of digging my heels into a western saddle more and more and more.

But what do I do about it?

I have neither the time, money, nor desire to own a horse.  I can't lease a horse for the same reasons.  Heck, only now after all this time (it's been almost 4 years since you-know-what) am I even beginning to open my mind to the possibility of forming a relationship with a new horse (I tried in 2008 and it failed miserably).

I've been looking at a couple of stables about hour away from me and it's possible that I'll find one that would let me arrange a 2-day a week kind of thing (sort of like a half lease) for the duration of the summer.  I really can't commit to more than that with the immense amounts of schoolwork in my near future (as well as my commitment to Marge's activities, which I would never seriously compromise).

But is it time?  Am I foolish to think that now is the time to do it?

I mentioned my stable-hunting plan to my mother, who neither embraced nor disapproved of it.  In my family, horses are an extremely touchy topic.  I barely ever bring the subject up.  So when I do bring them up, it goes without saying that there is a huge force of emotions propelling the words out of me.   Her silence this afternoon reminded me of her stoic and somewhat jaded response to my desire to buy a horse in 2008 (which obviously never went through): "If you have enough money to do it, I'm not going to tell you not to.  This way, you won't have to deal with anyone else coming between you and a horse anymore."

I don't know; I'm so conflicted.  Scared, even.  Scared of having another bridge burnt, ending on less-than-desirable terms with yet another group of people.  Scared that I will grow attached and suffer heartbreak again when it's time for me to move on (which would likely be in the fall).

On the flip side, I'm also scared of NOT doing it, because I know that as time goes by, my riding and handling skills will continue to erode.

At the very least, I am determined to sit in a saddle at least once this year. There are $30 trail rides about 30 minutes from my house.  There's no excuse!  I need to know that there are horses still out there, ready for me whenever I'm ready for them again.


Stella March 17, 2011 at 9:58 PM  

Happy St. Pats to you Sam! Only you know the answer to your questions, not me, not your Mom, just you. Are you thinking about saving up for a $30 trailride a month just to keep your skills sharp? If it feels right do it!

Cheers and hugs,

Jo and Stella

Sam March 17, 2011 at 10:04 PM  

I really don't want to trail ride; I dislike it. They send you out with a guide and there's no real "riding," it's just sitting on top of a horse that's following a leader horse. But it might be the best way to go for my first venture back in to the saddle due to how available it is (and due to the fact that my riding muscles are essentially gone).

I like ring riding so much better. No guide, don't have to worry about where you are going.. I can just get lost in my own little world. Which is what I think I really miss about horses.

Scout and Freyja March 17, 2011 at 10:06 PM  

Whatever you do - blog about it!

KB March 17, 2011 at 10:18 PM  

I think that your last sentence says it all. Even if now isn't the time, horses will be waiting for you in the future. But, if now is the time, I bet that you'll have a blast!

I wish that you lived around here. Lots of people have multiple horses and are always looking for friends to ride with them...

Amy / Layla the Malamute March 17, 2011 at 10:51 PM  

I really wish I had the opportunity to get involved with horses. Maybe one day. I really love them, but never had the opportunity to do anything with them.

I think you'll know when the time's right. I personally think it's better to be cautious than to try and force a relationship. I don't know what happened in 2008, but if something similar happened again, it'd take even longer to want to ride again.

What about a horse rescue? There's a huge one on Long Island, I think. I don't know if they are similar to dog rescues where you're allowed to help out and move horses or work with them. Then you can work with multiple ones to get a feel for which one(s) you'd feel a connection. Plus you can increase your involvement at your own pace instead of going right to leasing one for a half week or something.

Either way, when the time is right, you'll find your horse, in whatever capacity it's meant to be.

Cyndi and Stumpy March 17, 2011 at 10:59 PM  

a 1/2 lease or part lease really is the perfect solution! good thinking!

there must be some NJ/LI horse boards. I cruze different boards and always see flexible arrangements available. Craigslist too...under farm and garden. A Horse rescue, they always need people to put saddle time on a horse.

YOu gotta know, this many years later you are a horse person. You don't want regrets. Ask me how I know?

Kari in Alaska March 17, 2011 at 11:14 PM  

I think your two hour a week solution is a great idea


Unknown March 18, 2011 at 9:43 AM  

Oh dear Sam, I hope you finally get a chance to ride again soon! Remember the old saying 'When there's a will, there's a way!' It's always right!
We wish you all the best.

Anna the GSD March 18, 2011 at 10:02 AM  

Do whatever is best for you and helps lighten your soul. :)

Tucker The Crestie March 18, 2011 at 11:20 AM  

I empathize with you, truly. I grew up with horses, got my own lovely mare when I was about thirteen, but had to sell her when I went off to college. Later on, one of my horsey friends who had more horses than she could ride regularly and I made a deal - I helped out with barn chores, and such, which was a pleasure for me, not a chore, in exchange for the regular use of one of her horses. It was a great arrangement, and allowed me to keep up my skills a bit, and stay involved, but that relationship just wasn't there. Since that time I've moved away and there really isn't anywhere close by to board that isn't absurdly expensive, and there are no trails or anywhere to ride but a ring. Growing up, I rode English - jumped and trained in dressage, but it was on those long trail rides that we took together that I really bonded with G., my mare from long ago. It's something I think about a lot, though, and still hope that I might have again one day.

Dawn March 19, 2011 at 9:02 AM  

Go with your heart and ride again, even if it isn't the "perfect" ride.

Roxanne @ Champion of My Heart March 19, 2011 at 10:23 AM  

Oh, how I wish you lived near here. So many of our neighbors have horses who don't get out nearly enough. Honestly, if I knew how to ride, I could ride every week without owning (or even leasing) a horse.

Kim March 20, 2011 at 11:29 AM  

Way back when, here's what I did...get your horse fix by volunteering at a rescue or at a boarding stables with the lesson horses or those horses who's owners don't have enough time for them. Get to know a new place, a new stable owner, or new trainers...muck stalls, groom horses, trade volunteering for some riding or lessons. If you are worried about getting too close to one horse you can't have...don't. Get out and play with many horses, be a catch rider for horses that need some exercise. But, you'll need to earn the trust of the stables trainers or owners to be able to do that...and you can't do that without getting yourself out there! Even if it means taking lessons first...let them get to know you. If you don't like the place, go to another until you find the people and situation that is right for you. A sanctuary or rescue would be grateful to have someone like you in their midst :)

ForPetsSake March 20, 2011 at 9:47 PM  

Sounds like you know what you need to do already. Our 13 year old LOVES horses and this is an understatement. We can't afford to do much with riding lessons, and we certainly can't afford a horse for her. It's a struggle. I'd love to be able to give her what she wants, but money stops us. I say go for it! You only live once - maybe riding when you can with no commitments might be the ideal situation for you. Good luck with your decision.

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