Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A Brief Note on Humility

I have been thinking a lot the last few days about how there is nothing in life more humbling than learning to ride.  It is a never-ending rollercoaster of ups and downs, and it can be so tough to enjoy the journey; yet I think that is the most crucial lesson we can learn as riders.  I had a dressage lesson on April this weekend, and it was really frustrating.  We had more or less regressed to where we were weeks ago - it was almost as if all of our progress had completely vanished.  She was overreacting to the leg again, and I have apparently reverted to a lot of old bad habits.  ***Sigh***  It's hard to see your hard work look like it has gone down the drain - but I'm hoping to get it back quickly. 

A part of me hopes it is the saddle situation.  The chiropractor "banned" my dressage saddle due to a pretty bad fit, so I am trying a possible exchange tonight that I am hoping will help.  One of my boarders very generously loaned hers to us for the last week or two, and it fits April beautifully, but has a much too wide twist and seat for my short little legs.  I'm almost hoping that riding in that is a part of our serious dressage regression...anything to have an excuse other than my own idiocy, right?  :-)

April had a vet day yesterday.  She was eating noticeably less hay in a pretty short period of time, so I had the vet out to check her teeth.  Sure enough, she was due to a float, so we accomplished that.  Being the redheaded mare that she is, she required the extra dose of sedation - thanks a LOT for the extra charge MARE!  It can be a four-letter word some days, can't it??!!  She also had a bizarre growth on the inside of her flank, so Smokey used suture thread to more or less tie off the circulation so that it will drop off.  Thankfully it isn't anything of concern since it is completely surface level.

It has been a BIG two weeks of fundraising, and my most exciting news is the fact that I am now 70% of the way to Samson's Tildren goal!!!!!!!!!  I was also very excited to find out that my local vet has another navicular case in the area, and the owner is going to try treating with Tildren as well!  They should be pursuing their treatment in the next 4-5 weeks, so he is going to get me pricing information to do it locally instead of travelling to Southern Pines - which is a nice option to have!

So, here's to the remaining 30%!  If you're still considering helping to reach the goal, don't forget to check out my Ebay fundraiser!  And your laugh for the day - April's drunken-looking post-dental stance....

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Generosity of a Stranger

I have to share the following email, because it has had the most remarkable impact on me this week.  This is the message I received yesterday:

"Hi Becca.  I ended up buying your saddle.  It was a little more than I wanted to pay given the cracks in the leather, but when I saw why you were selling, it made the decision easy.  I hope that the money helps with Samson's vet bills and I hope the treatment is successful.  A lot of folks in your position would have abandoned him, pawned him off on someone else, or put him down.  When people like you do what you are doing, it makes God proud.  He made you and Samson cross paths for a reason.  Good luck, and I will check your blog every now and then to see how things are working out.  -Scott"

This simple message has really had a profound effect on me.  So many times, I have warred over whether I am doing the right thing.  In times of financial stress, there has been more than one time when I considered finding him a new home.  At the end of the day though, I knew I would never be able to guarantee him a safe and happy future.  So I have weathered the storms as they come - from his first surgery, through follow up x-rays, special shoeing, etc.  As I was watching Seabiscuit last night, Samson was the first thing to pop into my head when the Tom Smith (Seabiscuit's trainer) tells his owner, "You don't throw away a whole life just because it's banged up a little."

I took a gamble.  I decided to put his story out there, in an attempt to fund raise the remaining amounts for his treatment.  And the end result?  I am halfway there already.  Not only did this amazing stranger buy my saddle, but he also purchased another item off of Ebay, and added $100 to my fundraising widget.  I have broken into spontaneous tears at least three times as I discovered each of these surprises....  :-)

In the horse world, so many can get wrapped up in the silliest drama and forget what really matters in life.  The people like Scott, who find it in their heart to help a horse they have never met - these are the kind of people that have a tremendous reward waiting for them.  If you strive to put good into the world, you will always be on the receiving end of it.  This applies to everything - money, time, whatever it is you have to give. 

So here's to us all taking a look inside ourselves.  When was the last time you reached out and made a huge impact on someone else's life?  I have just received a wave of blessing, and I plan on paying it forward in a big way. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Samson's Ebay Fundraiser

Yep - you read it right.  Samson's story is now being spread via Ebay, in an attempt to fundraise every possible penny I can for his Tildren trial!  It started out as a suggestion from his former "mom", because she held a tack sale to help fundraise for the vet bills.  So the other day I began digging through everything I could think of - extra things from the tack trunk that sit around untouched, even clothing from my own closet!

So, if you are in need of any horsey stuff, check my online store out at http://myworld.ebay.com/rmacanas23
There's a good little variety of miscellaneous items listed; and for local people - I also have two bandage/wrap racks that I never listed because they are too bulky to ship! 

I also (under much duress and debating; I assure you...) added a giving widget to the blog.  Samson's former "mom" suggested this to me a month ago, and I refused - I told her I didn't feel right asking for charity.  But as she continues to spread the word and call me about people interested in helping, I realize how stupid it is to keep clinging to my pride on the issue.  After all, it's about Samson.  Not me.  All I am trying to do is help him get every possible option he can have for a long and happy future - and if that means accepting charity from people who want to help, why would I stand in the way?  I will still refuse to ask for help from anyone.  I will dig through tack trunks and closets til I hit my goal if that's what it takes.  But if having a silly little widget gets us there a little bit sooner, so be it. 

In regards to my chestnut boy - his feet are looking remarkably better since getting his new shoes put on.  The wedge really helps to get him more balanced, and the shoes themselves look fantastic.  The therapeutic option has been shot down, so it looks like he will stay with me.  It is great news and not-so-great news all wrapped together....Of course I ADORE him, and never really wanted him to leave.  But with someone else paying his monthly upkeep, I would have been able to get together the money for his treatment much faster.  That is a big part of the motivation to get my ebay auctions and general fundraising ramped up again - the fact that it isn't going to work out after all.  Everything happens for a reason though, and I have to believe that it is all going to fall into place.

Besides - just ask the girl who took one of her first lessons on him the other day how special he is.  You really can't deny it.  He's just that amazing.  :-)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Life Happens

I have a nagging little voice in my head telling me it is only a matter of time until the other shoe drops.  Right now there are so many things up in the air with no resolution in sight, and I wish I had some answers on how everything is going to fall into place.  Needless to say, these are apparently days of uncertainty; to a certain extent, and I look forward to having more things settled - hopefully in the near future rather than off in the distance. 

There is that old saying I keep reminding myself of - the one about how we make plans and life happens.  I've had a lot of "life" happening lately.  At this point, I don't think I'm even going to bother making any big plans.  I'd rather try to roll with the punches for the time being, and use it as a chance to exercise my faith that God knows where it will all end up.  Jeremiah 29:11 is very forefront in my mind these days, and I'm trying to meditate on that one small constant in a world that is ever-changing around me.

It is two days til the closing date for the CHP show, and it's looking like it is out unless I go along - my poor trailer buddy had a horse pull a shoe and land on the clip, and he is still three-legged lame.  In the meantime, I'm just going to stick with our routine of mixing up conditioning hacks, dressage work, and jump schools.  I am halfway pondering the idea of finding a clinic to go to in the area to help with the "itch" to get out. 

Samson got his new shoes put on this week, and his feet look dramatically better!  I have been toying with the possibility of sending him out on lease to a therapeutic facility, but they haven't called yet and I am wondering if it may not happen after all.  Yet another thing that is completely up in the air at the moment....

We have started the search for another boarder, and there's the inevitable dread of not getting the "right" person.  We are SO lucky to have the boarders that we do - I couldn't ask for a better situation.  They are completely on the same page as we are when it comes to the care of their horses, and as a result everyone is really happy.  It is such a low-key and positive environment - and I always look forward to whoever may be out there.  So when you start looking to add one more person to the mix, there is the inevitable dread that you may end up with another crazy horse person - after all, there are plenty of them to choose from!  Hey, I know we are ALL crazy in our own right, it's just a matter of finding others with your same flavor of crazy so you mesh well - that's my theory, at least!

Other than that, there is little to report.  The week has all sorts of rain forecast, and I'm dreading the possibility that riding may be difficult for the next few days.  Hopefully we will work in as many opportunities as possible......

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Building on the Foundation

I have been really bad about keeping my blog updated, which usually means things are somewhat mundane and not worth reporting.  However, this time, that is definitely not the case!  The last few weeks have been going so well, I think there is a small part of me that doesn't want to jinx it by putting it down in black and white!

It all started with April's detox from the boys.  Within a few days I had already noticed a marked improvement, and it has just continued to improve ever since.  We babysit the different pasture arrangements to make sure she is never in close proximity to the geldings, and it has made such a dramatic difference.  Then Kelsey returned from England last week, and we got back into our regular lesson program.  The first lesson was at our farm on the flat, and it went better than any flat ride we have ever had.  We are making sure we spend every minute possible at the walk until April truly "gives" to the contact and relaxes through her back.  Once we reach that point, transitioning into our trot work is a night and day difference from where it was in the past. 

Yesterday morning I had a lesson over fences at Kelsey's place, and it was probably one of the best jump schools we have ever had together.  We worked on making the transition to the trot very low-key so that we can build instead of having to bring it back, which ends up making her feel trapped.  The first fence we jumped was a little in and out combination, which went perfectly.  Kelsey commented that I am doing a lot better job of staying up and steady through the fence instead of trying to "do" too much.  In turn, April goes through the combination better and comes off the fence much more relaxed.  Between me being quieter over fences and keeping my hands up and out in front of me, it is making a night and day difference.  We schooled over a bending line a few times, then worked on a drop fence both directions, adding in a little trakehner as well.  It was a fantastic ride, and I left soaring on air.

We are making so much progress, it feels unbelievable.  I don't know what the difference is, but it has finally gotten to the point where the basic fundamentals seems to be clicking, and we are starting to build on each ride and have an actual progression, rather than being stuck in a vicious circle of the same battles time and again.  I am planning to finally get her to our first event on the 21st of the month, and am a little nervous, but super excited as well.

Samson is doing well, and gets his new fancy footwear tomorrow.  I am actually considering doing a free lease on him with a local therapeutic riding facility that takes FANTASTIC care of their horses.  It was kind of ironic that his half-leaser gave notice, and within a day the therapeutic facility posted an ad that they are searching for a new horse for their program.  I should be in contact with them on Monday about setting up a meeting, and we will take it from there.  It is REALLY hard to think about letting him go to live somewhere else, but the financial stress would be relieved tremendously.  Most importantly, I would know that he would always have the shoes he needs, be fed and cared for, and be in a routine light work program, which he really needs.  I'm excited to see what comes of the whole situation, because I think it might really work out for the best.  Not to mention, the farm is barely ten minutes away, so I would have full visiting rights - which I'm sure I would excercise regularly! 

The hardest thing about letting Samson live somewhere else is the fact that he is the horse I trust to just jump on and do pretty much anything.  But ironically, just the other night, Robyn and I hopped on April and Linkin bareback and went for a hack through some crazy terrain, and even hopped our little vertical on the way back.  It really hit me afterwards that I am starting to have that partnership with April, and that it is totally possible that the big, fancy, uber-forward event horse might just be able to fulfill my other needs as well.  Boy, if someone had told me a year ago the things I would be doing today, I'd think they were crazy.  But I am loving each and every minute.