On top of the stress over money I haven't even spent yet, Stromboli still seems to be off and no one can figure out why. He is miserable under saddle, and every-time I try to take him on a nice relaxing hack, he seems even worse than the last time. It's making me depressed to see him like this, and selfishly I'm most depressed because I finally got so close to achieving my goals of going Prelim and they have been totally crushed. I feel like a failure and worry that my lack of ability and pushing him too hard have led him to this point. Everyone knows that girl that rides and thinks she's really good and is always setting these outrageous goals, only to crash and burn because she just doesn't have what it takes to succeed. Everyone knows at least one horse person that just pretty much always loses...and I'm starting to worry that person is me. Because of this, while Finn has really been wonderful, every time he has an off-day or has some typical baby TB behavior I'm now filled with self-doubt and worry that I might be ruining him.
When I get stressed, I usually just pile on more stuff as a distraction, so I've been exercising Polo horses in preparation for one of NWA's biggest horse related events, Polo in the Ozarks. This means a few days a week I get up at 5am to go feed my horses over at Parkermen Stables, then drive over to the polo farm and ride two horses as the sun is rising, then rush to get home and shower so I can be at my desk by 9:00 am. After work, I rush home again to change my clothes so I can teach and ride one or two horses with the girls after school, then I feed and do stalls, and hopefully get home by 9:00 or 10:00 pm where I'll stand at the kitchen counter and desperately shovel in cold leftover chicken pot-pie or 4-day old pizza so I can go to sleep & start it all over again the next day.
I know this seems like a long, crazy, "pity-me" rants, but it isn't...I promise.....
One of the benefits of these early-sunrise rides is the time to reflect (also polo horses are really fun to ride and WAY less complicated than event horses). This weekend I was lucky enough to have my ear talked off by a polo groom that was also exercising horses. I got to hear all about his lifestyle and why he enjoys doing what he's doing. Maybe he's listened to too many country songs, but I got to hear a lot about how he owns almost nothing but a broken down truck and a $75 crosby saddle. There's a part of me that was jealous of him. It would be great to not have to stress over my own competitive aspirations, and who is going to build the barn, and how much the septic system is going to cost, and what horse my student is going to ride, and if my boarders will pay me on time, and where I'm going to get hay this year....but that isn't who I am.
I have to stop and realize that I'm at the start of new adventure that is really exciting. Horses are supposed to be FUN. I am doing all this because I love them, and I love the lifestyle. I love sitting at my desk from 9 to 5 because it makes coming home to the country and my horses that much better. Some day soon I'll be able to look out my window and see my horses grazing peacefully in my pasture with mountains in the distance. I can't wait to pick out paint colors, and build XC jumps, and drink beer while setting T-posts by moonlight. For the first time, I'm going to get the option of making the right choices the first time around instead of having to re-do an old place and live with what's there. So many people are going to get to experience this next place and find joy in it too. Creating a beautiful horse facility has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember, and it's a dream I've never doubted I would achieve some day. I know that now I have to find the joy in every single moment of this process, and I have to find a way to believe that the Eventing-Gods will allow me achieve my competitive dreams one day too.