Tuesday, March 20, 2018


There are some things that I've been told I say a lot. 

"Simmer down!"

"Get your poop in a group."

"If it were easy, everyone would do it."

Allow me to explain. 

1) Simmer down!

When your horse (or your kids, co-workers, or significant others) starts getting wound up and a little frantic, sometimes they just need to be told to simmer down. What that means for the speaker of "Simmer down" has given an implied offer of help with whatever situation has caused the up-simmering. 

For example: Horse panics in the wash rack during a bath because "OMG BUBBLES". Get their attention by whipping out the "Simmer down!", and then soothe them to let them know that the bubbles are not really horse eating bubbles. Bubbles just eat dirt. Now stand your dumb ass still so I can rinse off the soap. Preferably said with love, but that's highly dependent on how many times the horse in question has stepped on you, stepped on the hose, or broken the cross-ties. 

2) Get your poop in a group. 

Essentially, this is the clean version of "Get your shit together". Around horses, it can apply to cleaning stalls, or sweeping up a fresh aisle or wash rack poop. Manure nuggets are much easier to clean up if the poop is in a group. It can also be helpful if a horse is losing it's shit. Then you can say "Hey! That shit you are flinging around in a panic? Get it together! Get your pooped grouped!" 

This phrase was shamelessly stolen from my bestest buddy Meghan. I don't know where it came from but I find it hilarious and use it liberally. In and out of the barn. Judge me. 

3) If it were easy, then everyone would do it.

This applies to riding, obviously. All those people who say "How hard can it be? The horse does all the work!" should really just suck it hard. We riders know the real score. 

So here is where it gets personal. 

I've been too sick to ride for quite awhile. The last time I rode was March 31, 2017. On that day, after trotting for less than five minutes I was gasping for breath. This has led to a frustrating and exhausting search to find out what exactly is wrong with me. 

There's a diagnosis. Maybe I can get better. Maybe I can't. I'm not going to get into it but what I know is this: I can't ride the way I used to. With me, it's always been 100%. I don't half-ass anything. It's full ass or nothing. 

I also am too weak to work. Or ride bikes with the girls. Or even walk around the block with them. It's pretty bad. For a week in late September 2017, I couldn't walk without help. Even with a cane I had people helping me to walk. It sucked. 

This thing that's going on with me? It's not easy. 

For me to be able to ride in the beginning when I was 13, I had to fight for it. My parents weren't really supportive about the whole riding thing, so I did it myself (which, at times, involved lying to my parents which caused hurt feelings..sorry mom and dad). If I wanted a thing, I just worked my ass off until I got it. It really made me much more appreciative of the things that I had worked so hard for, instead of being given them. I never took for granted any opportunity to ride. It meant so much more to me since I had to work my ass off to get that opportunity. And miles and miles in the saddle on different horses? We all know that is key to becoming a versatile, instinctive rider. I wouldn't trade that experience for anything. 

This health situation that I'm in right now? I can't work harder. I can't try to make it better. If I try and do too much I will just get sicker. So I just have to wait. And rest as much as possible. 

Macey still takes weekly riding lessons. That kid is turning into such a good little rider. She's not the best (I'm not so star struck about my kid that I don't see where she can improve), but she tries and she is getting better. She can now fit into my boots, and into my breeches (which are too big for her in the legs and seat but at her age I had a tiny teacup ass too). I'm so proud of her that I could burst. 

But it also makes me sad. And jealous. Yeah, that's immature of me. But it's the truth. I want my not-fucked up body back. I want to feel the horse move under me and be able to react to the movement. I want that connection. Also it would have been awesome to be able to ride with Macey someday. 

Right now, Phil has a new home. My awesome friends who just bought a farm took him in. They love him and are being so very nice to him. And, he's ridable. They have another horse on their farm too, and the two of them get along really well. I think Phil is really happy, and if I'm not able to give that life to him, I'm really very happy that someone else can. 

Kaswyn. My dear Kaswyn. I don't get out to see him as much as I'd like. I'm so exhausted most of the time, especially in the winter, that I'm lucky if I get out to see him twice a month. I know he's getting exceptional care, daily turnout in a very good herd group, and a staff that looks after him to make sure that his weight is ok and that he's acting normally. 

I had this dream that I'd be 80 and still trucking down the centerline. 

It's just not going to happen. If I ever show again it will be a miracle. That life is over for me. I'm still grieving for the loss of it. Some days are easier than others. What I found that I can't do is watch horse videos (sales, show, lesson or schooling) because I get too sad. Riding has been a key part of my life for almost 37 years. Giving it up is hard enough. Watching Macey take her weekly lesson is not easy, but I'm there for her. 

I still have Kaswyn. He's not going anywhere. I can't ride him anymore, but I think we've both accepted that. He's always so happy to see me, because he's my best boy. And I'm his person. 

Anyway. I don't know what my riding future will look like. My riding present looks sad. I'll just keep hanging on, hoping that things will turn around eventually. 

Thank you all for your continued support. I feel your love and it's means a whole lot. Now go hug your ponies and have some great rides. No time to waste! 


mwc said...

You inspired me when I came upon your blog several years ago. I read about your adventures and thought I too could have my own horse one day. Thank you for sharing your current struggles. I know I miss hearing from you. I hope and pray for a day when you are fully recovered. I hope you continue to share as you are able. Your heart shines through in whatever topic you discuss. I know all who follow you are pulling for you. Thank you for opening your life and inspiring others.

Unknown said...

Your blog was so inspirational to me while I was working with my young mare. Unfortunately we did not click so she ended up with a new owner and is doing very well. I ended up acquiring an ex show Horse who has been great for me to ride. I have learned to trust her and enjoy riding again. I am so sorry you are having health issues. If I could I would hug you. Take care and thank you again for your blog. Linda A.

RiderWriter said...

Oh, goodness, DM, I am SO sorry you're going through this! I have periodically checked for a new post and was wondering where you've been. Now that I know the answer is not riding, and very sick, I'm so sad for you. :( I hope that whatever is wrong can be improved!

Glad your boys are happy and healthy. I'm sure your visits with Kaswyn are treasured by him as much as you. Good on your little girl for carrying the torch but I know how your heart must ache.

Wishing you the very best of luck and improved health in the future...

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