Friday, September 20, 2019

Saying goodbye is hard to do

Saying goodbye is never easy to do. Especially when you come across a horse so talented, sane with a great brain, and beautifully elegant to look at. Add in to that a very in-your-pocket personality and that is all she wrote to be in love:

Kiss the first time I met her as a 3 year old

My first ride on her to try her
I bought KissTheButterflies less than a week later after trying and meeting her. She was a birthday present to myself in September of 2017. I had great ambition and so many goals in store for us. My hopes for her and I would be to break into the upper levels of eventing and make it to a 3* heck even a 4* if we could.

Her first vertical jump!
She quickly excelled under saddle and showed her talent and ease towards jumping. She found a way to almost always correct her distances even if I missed. She almost always pushed with both feet and jumped to technically correct, it forced me to learn how to ride this different, more powerful jump.

One of our first times schooling off farm...clearly athletic! 
This photo made me realize this horse HAS IT! 
I boarded her close by to my older mare since my original boarding facility did not have room...I quickly realized both needed to be together and moved my other mare with Kiss. This kickstarted a whirlwind of activity and the beginnings of developing this new barn and lesson program.

Always so lovely to work with
I quickly realized I bit off more than I could chew after keeping my head down and pushing through for a while. I began feeling the financial strain more and more due to several extraneous changes in my life, job situation, etc. But I am fortunate to have the farm owners I am with who supported me in every way they could.

Kiss was so extraordinary different from my other mare. My other mare is phenomenal as well and will always be mine. But that mare has seen me through some really rough times...even this one. 

Kiss had some baby things to figure out. Like how to load on the trailer and stand on it without melting down and screaming the whole time...she learned the loading part in one 10 minute session. The standing and leaving friends part took a lot of traveling and repetition. 

One our first off farm flat schools
Meeting Tillie (my other mare) the first time

Learning that pawing while being tied is a no no

She also had this tendency to shake her head when she was nervous which drove me bonkers. But it was her way of saying this worries me. Adding leg and asking her to work usually made her sigh and go, "ok I get it now."

Settling in with Tillie
First canter under saddle

Finally standing quietly when tied

We started finding our groove and she really started showing me signs of the makings of a great event horse. Just enough bravery with some support but careful enough and smart enough to keep us safe, and keep the rails up as well. 

She used to straight up refuse going into this season was dropping in off banks

Her canter really started taking shape! 
I kept battling the hardships of life, hating my current job commuting about an hour sometimes more each way per day. I fought to keep this horse who was slowly but surely turning into a solid citizen so young.

Learning that trail riding isn't so scary 

Dealing with foot soreness (before we knew that is what it was)...and showing me she can really be athletic! 
But as already stated, life changes and caught to me all at once. Internally I would go back and forth on which horse should stay and which should find a new home. I even tried leasing to help offset cost and help keep both horses ridden. But the nagging feeling this was all just too much kept grating on me. I am not sure exactly when I decided it or how, but at some point I knew the adult choice was to put kiss on the market.

If anyone has ever had to sell a horse that you really do admire, you will understand this emotional rollercoaster. The pain and sadness of realizing you won't see their face when you go to the barn, but also the relief you feel because not only will your own situation improve, but so will hers. Because now she has an owner that will love only her.

Having fun doing a paper chase. It was her first outing like this one and cantering out in a group. She handled it fabulously.

Placing at our first show ever.

Kiss' first event ever in 2018

So fun to jump...easily adjustable. Not too forward or lazy. Just easy.

The only time I ever free jumped her - boy did she really show her natural ability.
I wasn't all that surprised that once I listed her, that I had quite a few people interested. But I wanted to be super picky about her next home. I let only a few people actually come try her and my heart filled with pride when I saw just how much kiss has learned, what she could offer someone else and just how far she has come. 

Schooling earlier this season she was doing Novice in her sleep!

A great learning xc school for her that really challenged her - but by the end was doing training level questions with ease

Loch Moy this year

Always solid jumping around at shows

Her first Novice CT showing just how easy this all is for her

Nope not touching! 

The next few photos are the last document rides on her with me. I tear up looking at them, but the are tears of many emotions...not just sadness. There is pride, joy, nostalgia and grief. I was worried I would regret rehoming her. She is after all, a horse of a lifetime. I know some people might think I am nuts for selling her and not my other mare, tillie. Tillie has her own hardships to do what kiss can do and definitely cant as easily...but my little tillie is tenacious and a trier. It boiled down to the connection I had and my new goals.

My new goals are to enjoy this sport again wherever it takes me. Slow down and ride because I want to not because I have to. Selling one of my horses seemed impossible to process for such a long time, until finally eventually my brain became at peace with it. I realized the home she was set up to go to was the best one I could ever dream of for her. And it makes it all ok. Sure, I am still sad but knowing this young rider will get to achieve all of her goals on her makes it worth it. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Kiss first show of the season! (throwback post)

I was very excited for Kiss' first outing...Loch Moy is always one of my favorite places to go show. Its pretty big, so its nice exposure and my hope is to get Kiss more and more comfortable out and about.

It didnt exactly start off as planned...when we started getting her ready, we discovered she had pulled her shoe off in the trailer. Yes, I kid you not. In. the. trailer.

Of course there was no farrier on site. So I had to call the one they had on call and pray he could make it. Luckily he could, and Loch moy let me push my dressage back to be the last rider in the ring in my division.

So this is happening

There was a moment he didnt answer (I called back again to be annoying...prob why it cost $75 to put the same shoe back on) and I sent the girls with her back to the trailer ready to pack it in. I was happy to see how chill Kiss was eating grass...but we interrupted her grazing to get the darn shoe on and get into warm up.

I headed into dressage warm up an hour early totally expecting to walk around, let her relax and see all the things. But once we got in there, Kiss became so tightly wound the only way to get her brain on me was to get her feet moving.

My favorite jump of the day

She put in an ok test - but she pulled it together which made me proud. She jumped around great despite some wiggles coming away from the trailers, but all the jumps she was brave and locked on to like a pro.

I am definitely sad she isn't in my barn anymore, but so thrilled with her new home. Shes going to kill it out there with her new person! 

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

So I did go MIA...BUT have HUGE news and updates to share

Sorry everyone for disappearing again (not that I have a TON of followers or anything....) but between my concussion, then being not so smart and attempting to go schooling before my balance was fully back, I ended up breaking my tailbone.

The photo evidence of the fall that broke my tailbone
I never really realized just how much your coccyx affects...not just sitting. Which let me tell you was realllllllly unpleasant for a good two months. Which meant no riding for me. Luckily my horses stayed in work with the help of my new trainer ive been relying on this year (who also had us play with bridle less last winter!).

Definitely want to get back to playing with this again!

The plus side to being sidelined was forcing me to really evaluate my riding goals and so much more really...I have struggled the last two years with my workload. I bought kiss in September of 2017 which started this whirlwind of changing barns completely so both my horses were together, which led to me starting a lesson program there etc. All in addition to my day job, which I got a new one in April and LOVE.

Just gonna leave this cuteness of miss Penelope here in the middle of my complaining
However its been ALOT. I kept feeling like I had more on my plate than I could handle and toyed with selling kiss off and on for the last 8 months. This tailbone injury sorta made me realize this all feels way too much like a job. All I do is work to pay for two horses, and finding time to ride two and compete two was feeling more and more like a job than fun.

Kiss and I doing novice this year!
So I decided to list her, and pretty darn quickly she got snatched up by a 14 year old in a 5* eventers program. She left last Friday and the updates since then are just so darn cute and make me so darn proud at how far kiss has come since bringing her home.

While it made me really sad, it also provided a huge sense of relief and pretty quickly allowed me to focus on Tillie again.

Snap of our ride last week
Tillie has really excelled with this new trainer in dressage - which is why I sought him out. I was getting really frustrated at how stuck she was at shows. (see the post on tillies first 2019 show at Fair Hill here).

Winter 2019 - definitely have a different trot and canter from this !

Since that show I have sort of let showing take a back seat and thrown my budgeted show money towards dressage boot camp. And boy let me tell you how excited I am to see Tillie's progress.

I actually have a soft uphill canter!!! what on earth is this?
So with that said, after my lesson yesterday on Tillie, my new trainer commented Tillie's canter looked really amazing and would do well in a working equitation class. I laughed and said sure you can take her...its a totally foreign discipline to me! But he insisted we give it a try and entered us in the L4 class on October 26th!!

Getting back to enjoying this crazy passion we all have

Here is the dressage test we need to learn:

sooooo should be fun! We have some homework and fine tuning before this, but intrigued at trying something new!