Getting back to me in general. I've dreamt, as I'm sure almost every little girl has done, of having my own pony, only with me being as tall as I was and still am, it was always the horses. When I was younger my parents had no problems putting me in baseball, swimming, I shudder at this one-Soccer, Girl guides, and yes even bowling. Now don't get me wrong, with the exception of Soccer, I loved every one of the activities I was in. But when you're tall and skinny, and incredibly uncoordinated, you don't feel comfortable doing much. I did excel at Bowling and Swimming, and loved camping with the Girl Guides, but what I really wanted more than anything in the world was riding lessons. Anytime I would mention it I was confronted with my mother's voice-which to this day I can still hear her saying these exact words- "We don't have a horse so what's the point?" This coming from a women who at the tender age of 19, while she lived at home with her parents, had not just one but two horses and a foal.
Now as I sit here at 31, almost 32, ok in about 7 months. I can't help but wonder what I've been doing that's screwed my chances for having a horse, or even having lessons. Once I turned sixteen I was given the ok to go out and pay for my own lessons as I was working and making my own money. The first set of riding lessons lasted me MAYBE three months. Then I was let go of my job and just couldn't afford lessons.
Sat on the sidelines watching Show Jumping on TV, thank god events from Spruce Meadows were/are always televised, until I met Leo. At the wonderful age of 20. We met, he told me he didn't care if I worked. Got to love that. I decided to see about working in exchange for lessons. It was perfect. I would learn to ride, learn to look after the magnificent beasts I had loved for as long as I could remember, and it would only cost the cost of gas, well and boots. I had my own helmet from a previous relationship who's parents had horses and had bought me my riding helmet. That worked well til the barn owner turned out to be a drunk and left me to do much of the work in the barn while she slept til noon. I spent my days at the barn, and sometimes well into the evening as well before I would think to come and pick Leo up after work. It didn't matter we made it work and it worked for us.
I left that first barn a mere nine months after starting there. For all the work I was doing I was only getting like 20 minute lessons at best. I then found someone to teach me on their TB (Throughbred) mare, for a decent amount. $20 for an hour lesson, which usually ended up being more than the hour. That worked well again. Trouble was that didn't last.
Next barn. I took a bit of a break after that. Just financially we couldn't do it. I think that's about the time we were thinking about having the wedding. So after a few years I started riding at a new barn. This one was great. Until they got to expensive even for group lessons. So once again I was left without a place to ride.
Come the next barn. This worked well for a few more months, even had Alli follow me from one barn to this new one. They were an A circuit barn. What's an A circuit barn you ask? It's a barn that is for serious competitors. They usually compete like EVERY weekend. And it's expensive to show on that circuit. Hell it's getting to be expensive on any circuit. So I left there when I got pregnant. I may have stayed there but I was blessed with carrying the best thing in the world. My little man. My monkey.
So I quit riding to have him, I probably could have continued but my mom had three miscarriages before she had me and I had had enough trouble getting pregnant in the first place, so wasn't taking that chance. I had him and was happy being a stay at home mom for a little while anyway. I did that for about a year, well almost a year, when I found another barn to work at. It was just weekends so that let me with plenty of time to be home with him during the week. It worked well. I was even back into riding again. Things were great. For a time anyway. Insert the first major injury I have ever sustained.
Now don't think that I hadn't fallen from a horse up til this point, so not true. I've had my fair share of riding falls, head hitting the arena wall comes to mind. But this one was so bad, it landed me in the hospital for a three day stay as well as surgery. I now have a plate with eight screws on the left side of the left ankle and a pin on the right side of the same ankle. When I do thinks I don't do them half way. I like to be sure it's done damn good. Hence the breaking of the Tibia, Fibia and dislocating it all at once.
So anyway that left me unable to walk for awhile. I stayed away from riding and horses for about a year and a half. 2007 I decided I wanted to work and ride again. Alex, my little monkey, was now old enough that it shouldn't have bothered him so much. I was again only working weekends. Saturday and Sunday, all day. Then Monday to Friday would have been mommy and Alex time. I lasted four months at that job cause Alex started throwing fits when I would drop him off for playschool. So that kind of sucked for me, meant giving up riding yet again.
I just couldn't shake the need to be around horses, and taking in their scent. You know the one, the one that's of hay mixing with dust, and dampness. It's a great smell if you are a horse person. So in May of 2008 I got another weekend job. This time it worked amazingly well. Alex was happy, wasn't throwing fits, I was able to work. And had even started riding again. Alli is an amazing coach. I would probably still have been there if it wasn't for finding a Monday to Friday barn job that had me doing stalls from 8-3. Shoveling stalls seven days a week is not my idea of fun. So I quit the weekend job. A lot of good it did me. I worked at the new job for a month. The month of December in 2008 then found out I was pregnant so that meant quitting that job, only to turn around and have a miscarriage, the first of three apparently.
I went a really long time between then and the last time I was on a horse. The last time was July 16, 2010. The one and only day in my most recent history. I remember that day clear enough because that is the date of my 2nd most serious accident. Or maybe it is the most serious.
How this happened was that Alli started to run a barn of her own, well sort of. She was like the weekday barn manager and I guess you could say I was weekends. We only had nine horses so it wasn't like there was all that much to do, but there was a lot of cleaning and getting it ready for boarders and students. It worked well the big two weekends I was there. Anyway I thought "This is my chance to finally be able to ride and get good and show. How can I not? I'm going to ride with a former Olympian." Everything was FINALLY going my way. July 16 I got in the van and drove to the barn of the former Olympian brushed and tacked up. We just did a walking lesson working on stretching and balance, which for me, being 6ft tall was a good thing. I'm afraid a lot of the balance thing just kind of fell to the side when I was younger. So the lesson was great. We talked about goals and stuff. Time for the dismount. I don't really remember to clearly on what happened, but when I went to dismount something happened and caused Winston, my trusty steed for the day, to shift. I was already leaning forward and ready to dismount, unfortunetly it resulted in me landing on the ground in the arena, right shoulder first. I lay there and realized something serious happened. Sure enough it ended up with ANOTHER trip to the hospital. Of course I was no where near home when it happened. So it was a stay in the hospital while they searched for one where the surgeon could take me. The end result was a Broken/Dislocation of the right shoulder. It hurt. Let me tell you I can tell when we're getting bad weather.
|This was the first night I had done it.|
So that left me with unable to use my right arm for a few months and even now, six months later, I still don't have complete strength but it's usable.
Now it's January 25, 2011 and I'm sitting here writing this out. Why? Because I am feeling down, wondering if I'm just not meant to ride and have a horse. I hear of other people who at 12 have a horse of their own, they get to ride whenever they want and don't have to worry. I've been sitting here trying to find work instead of having to leave Leo to pay for everything, but I can't find anything. I keep seeing all these beautiful horse ads and I'm stuck wondering if I'll ever get to ride again. I do get involved with horses still but it's hard when you're the one who wants to be up there, flying over the poles in the jump standards, racing around a ring, wondering if you'll ever see that day or will it just be another dream like the ones you had as a child that fade with the fading of the stars.