Monday, December 28, 2020

How Hamilton Joined Our Herd

By special request here is the story of how Hamilton came to take a 17 hour long trailer ride to join our family. It’s a bit long winded and starts long before I got him. 

Eeyore came out of rehab over the summer in the best spot I’d ever had him. All the long boring walk and trot work had mellowed him out and I was super excited to ride this newer, less anxious version of him. Then we added the canter back in and he returned to his anticipatory “all I want to do is canter!” self though to a lesser extent for sure. 

Back in action and back to his difficult self 

Mix in my own issues dealing with complete loss of motivation, vacillating wildly between tears and anger, and a back that felt like my pelvis was breaking any time I tried to sit and I wasn’t riding very often or very well. Things came to a head when I took a lesson I barely dragged myself to and then promptly got lawn darted into the dirt. I laid there and cried, not something I’m prone to do and not something I’d ever done in the dozens of unplanned dismounts with Gemmie, and then got back to half heartedly finish the last lesson I took in 2020.

I knew on a logical level it wasn’t Eeyore’s fault. But I also knew that Eeyore was a much different horse when ridden frequently which was something I wasn’t capable of at the time and that in my current state I needed something inherently calmer, less opinionated and more smelling the roses in nature. 
Does better in consistent work. This was taken at the trailer before the lesson he threw me

Thus the seed was planted. 

About a month later a local friend texted me in excitement that she saw a lifelong dream of hers come true: she had gotten two OTTB mares - one for her 9 year old daughter and one for herself. I invited them over to use my arena and we all rode together. Her mare had been off the track for a few years with some re training but had sat in the seller’s pasture for a long time. The daughter’s mare was 4 and fresh off the track. 

Take a wild guess who’s horse was the absolutely worst behaved of the three?

Did you guess Eeyore? You’d be right. 

I worked him through it but it was no fun whatsoever and I spent the majority eyeing their well behaved mares with an envious eye. Were they foot perfect and highly trained? No. But they also weren’t throwing temper tantrums, flinging their head around or trying to bolt off to Neverland. A good brain and a solid work ethic goes a long long way and I was sitting on the losing horse that day. 

Still love him

Thus the seed was watered. 

Then another month went by and an acquaintance of mine asked if she could shadow me at my office. She is an amazing rider with advanced dreams and we spent the time between patients chatting. Turned out she was horse shopping. I was a bit surprised since her current horse was a seeming rock star and I knew had cost over 35k. How could a horse that well bred and that expensive not be perfect? 

Turns out that while he was bred with two Grand Prix jumpers as parents, he hated jumping. He’d do it and rocked at the lower levels but had no interest. He loved dressage so he was off to a dressage home. As we spoke she told me about her first horse who she had on trial for a month and was a saint. He lived with her and all was well. She then paid for him and a few months later he started rearing and was retired a few months later. 

I go into this detail because at the time I was very die hard “I bought the horse he must be perfect and work out”. Even when he wasn’t. Now here was someone much younger than me who I looked up to riding wise and she had two horses that failed to be what she needed/wanted. One lived with her for a month before purchase and the other cost more than my car and was purpose bred to the hilt. Turns out horses can just plain suck no matter what. 

Thus the seed was fertilized. 

A few weeks later I was suffering from severe anxiety that wouldn’t allow me to sleep. I went a week with no more than a couple hours a night and my skin was crawling. I stayed up late scrolling Facebook and saw an ad for a lovely, skinny chestnut OTTB who needed a home ASAP or off to the kill pen he’d go. 

Looking a lot better than when he showed up at dawn. I took this about 4-6 weeks after he landed with us. 

Now typically I’m no sucker for these ads and scroll right on by but something about his super kind eye caught my attention. He was described as a horse in no hurry to go anywhere, unflappable and kind. I messaged the seller, got his jockey name and more info and next thing I knew he was paid for and shipping arranged. 

He showed up way skinnier than I thought. Think emaciated and go even skinnier. But his eye was kind and nothing fazed him: not the dogs, the wild kiddo, the quad etc....

Hamilton has continued to remain that same guy too. He may be running a bit wild in the pasture but the moment you approach he stands still and walks calmly alongside you. He has been led everywhere all over the farm with never a hoof put wrong. He is the opposite of Eeyore who even in hand throws tantrums and will pop up if he doesn’t want to do something. 

He looks sharp in hunter green and fits in Eeyore’s bridle 

Hamilton is the exact thing I wanted. Needed I suppose. A clam horse with a willing attitude that goes along with the plan no matter what else is going down. We’ve played with him over poles in hand and Dusty has ridden him in the arena. He is an all around easy going guy who while not particularly enthusiastic about much beyond naps, is so much fun to be around because it is never work. It’s simple and easy and fun. 

All the things Eeyore is not and things that I need to continue in this insane hobby. 

Thus the seed has sprouted. 

Friday, December 25, 2020

Blog Hop: 2020

 I’m still kicking and to be honest I feel better than I’ve felt, both mentally and physically, in close to a decade. I’m writing this on my phone which by now everyone in blogland knows sucks so hang with me as I try to type this out. This blog hop is amazing and the perfect way to sum up 2020 so I’m hopping on board. Thanks Alberta Equest for this  

What’s the best thing that happened to you in 2020?


My hysterectomy hands down. I’m not sure why it got so bad over the summer after I recovered from COVID but by the start of fall I couldn’t stand upright fully due to the pain. My period never stopped even on hormones. I stopped riding early fall when all I could stand was two point and Eeyore bucked me into the dirt clearly declaring that my ineptitude wasn’t going to be tolerated.

Starting drum lessons, a life long dream, has been pretty awesome too

I had surgery middle of November and I couldn’t be happier. I have no pain. My emotional state has returned to normal and all my hormone induced depression is gone. I haven’t been cleared to ride yet but for the first time in a long time I’m itching to get back in the saddle. And...tmi....but for the first time in 8 years sex doesn’t hurt. I think I’m tiring the hubby out. 


This one is harder because I accomplished exactly nothing horse related all year. I think maybe the best part is everyone is currently sound, healthy and happy. Eeyore is back to moving as good as his body probably can move, Pete is 32 and acting like a 5 year old, Gem is fat and happy and Hamilton has gained a lot weight and looks really good for not being in any work. 

What's the worst thing that happened to you in 2020?


My health took a complete nose dive this year. It started with getting COVID in June and ended with my hysterectomy. All summer and fall I had terrible depression, my marriage was falling apart because of it and I was really really low. Thankfully I found the cause and fixed it but damn it was scary as hell going through. 


Eeyore had just as bad of a 2020 as I did health wise. His started after a mild colic episode that led to the discovery of his grade 3 heart murmur. It was horrid timing as I had just had the best XC schooling of my life at Windridge and was prepping to run starter there shortly after. Trainer was even talking moving up to BN by fall. After we had the echo and were cleared or full exercise he got cellulitis from a spider bite front left and a week later tore his front right annular ligament putting him out until October. 

Keeping this Goober sound is a full time job

What was your biggest purchase in 2020?


Hmm.....I mean the scope to diagnose the problem and then the hysterectomy to solve it cost me over 3k so I guess that. Business wise I purchased a digital X-ray machine that I’ve been needing for 7 years. Fun stuff wise nothing at all.


It’s a toss up between the new to me 3 horse trailer (which we haven’t gotten to use yet) and Hamilton. Hamilton cost considerably less upfront but we all know the horse is the cheapest part. 

What was your biggest accomplishment in 2020?


Surviving. Also I lost a bunch of weight and am down to my high school weight which makes me happy  

Feeling good in your own skin is a great feeling. 


Maybe getting Eeyore through his rehab without incident. If missing a month of work due to COVID had a silver lining it was that I was home and had plenty of time to fit those 5 rides in every week. I’ve never been more than a 2-3 rides a week person so I’m not sure I’d have been able to do it had I been working.

What do you feel covid robbed you of in 2020?


My sanity. Between the stress of watching my business go negative week after week and still needing to keep my employees paid, dealing with Wyatt’s change to virtual school and my own health issues it was really hard.


Nothing really. Injury robbed us of the progress we had made and the potential move up to BN but COVID had nothing to do with it.

He came out of rehab looking Schmexy. Hoping to get him back here by spring

Were you subject to any covid impulse buys in 2020?


No. I’m frugal at heart and a saver. I love having a nest egg. 


I did buy a new horse and a larger horse trailer for family outings but neither had anything to do with COVID.

Unexpected silver linings in 2020?


Even with all the crap I’m sorta glad I went through it. There were so many symptoms I had for years that I just thought were normal. Like did you know you aren’t supposed to have uterine contractions every time you pee? Or gaining two whole pants sizes right before to period isn’t normal? I’m really looking forward to feeling good again.

On a business note, I couldn’t take the time off after the hysterectomy they wanted me to. Not after having missed so much for COVID. So instead I took half days and I felt like a human again even while recovering from major surgery. It turns out that being doc, boss, mom and teacher was slowly killing me. Effective March I’m only working until 2pm so I can get Wyatt from school and go home. I’ll be able to run, ride, do his homework and cook a real dinner. I can’t freaking wait.


Hamilton. I really wasn’t in the market for another horse but holy crap folks is Hamilton perfection. Dusty hopped on and rode him after not riding in 8 years and Hamilton not being ridden since his last race in July and he was amazing. He is going to be a really fun horse once he gets into work. I can’t wait to see where life takes this baby racehorse and I’m thrilled I took the chance and got him.