The Road I’ve Traveled

Map

Just a little app that showed up on my Facebook feed.   I have spent quite… QUITE… a bit of time recently thinking about the road of my life (thus far).  This fun little App seemed almost oddly appropriate for my current nostalgic frame of mind of late.

Like the beginning of Supernatural; this is “The Road So Far”.

It all started on a fateful day in 1979 back in Scranton, PA.
My travels took me to the great beyond of New York State, everywhere from Niagara Falls to Times Square.  I’ve been to Baltimore and to the wonderful Ocean City, Maryland, of which there is no other place that compares.  I’ve been to Virginia to the land of the first settlers, checked out Charlestown Track and Meredith Manor in West Virginia, I’ve been to Atlantic City and the other (non-comparable) Ocean City, New Jersey, I have been to Lexington, Kentucky, nearly took a job in Knoxville, Tennessee (at the University of Tennessee), and I have been to the Capitol and other sites, including the Smithsonian in Washington DC.  I’ve also been to the Ohio All American QH Congress in Columbus.

I have at the very least driven through North and South Carolina, vacationed once in Florida, and lived in Georgia, and now Illinois.  I also flew to Las Vegas once.  Since living in Illinois, I have been in Iowa, almost went to see the “Field of Dreams” field (yes, it’s a real place!), and I’ve been to Wisconsin and Indiana, too.

I guess I do not give myself for being well traveled.  I’ve been through or to 18 states, that’s pretty good, I guess.  About a third of the Nation.

I definitely have a lifetime goal of going to all the other states, and returning to a few of the previously visited ones like Kentucky, New York, and Maryland.  It will be hard, especially with a husband who always says everything is “too far” and no money to get there anyway.  But if I had my camera in hand, I’d be OK with that, and just hop in the car and go.  In fact, I think something like a backpacking trip around the country (or world!) with just my camera, plenty of charged batteries and SD cards, and some money) would be a fun thing to do!  I’m not sure how I can incorporate Chewbacca and Luke into that trip, but you know I’d try if I could.

I have recently looked into cheap (like $100 round trip) flights, and there are more of them out there than you might thing.  Could be fund to just show up at the airport one day and ask for a ticket on the next flight to wherever.  See where I end up, take camera, and make a day or weekend of it.

And speaking of roads traveled…. the horses won’t be travelling down any roads any time soon.  I had really hoped to squeeze in one (or two) last drives for the year, but I am deeply saddened to say the weather just isn’t cooperating.  At least I’m not in Buffalo!  But it’s been in the single digits here, or just barely in the teens, and extremely windy or cold.  This weekend we are expecting some freezing rain conditions; so looks like the horses have hit winter break a couple weeks early due to crappy weather.  Wonder if this means I’ll be back to driving in February again like I was in 2012, which was practically unheard of!

Looks like, with the end of the month quickly approaching, my year-end totals for recreational driving will be due, and I won’t be adding to them.  Guess I had better just send them out so they are into the ADS before 12/1.

Next year, since I broke my trailer and can’t afford any other ways to transport myself, I won’t be attending any shows, or trails at parks.  Very much a bummer, but it is what it is.

I DO plan (because I don’t know when to give up) to buy another pony.  If you were around for my Andy debacle, you know it did not go well.  Andy was a cute pony, and I feel bad he didn’t work out, but the next pony— even one intended to be a sale pony–will have to live up to “big brothers’ ” examples, and be as good as my current trio, else they just ain’t good enough.  Andy’s tendency to be fearful to the point of shaking, and desire to bolt, bronc out, and fall down, did not make him a good (and safe) resale driving prospect, in my opinion.  If I had my own place, I would have kept him, and worked him slowly over a year or more, which is what he needed, but alas, it is what it is.  My next pony (whose name will begin with a B!) will either be pretty much unhandled and unstarted or already safely driving.  One or the other.

 

But that’s all neither here nor there.  With the unpleasant weather coming up this weekend, I guess I’ll definitely be closing the books on driving for the year.   Year end totals will be up soon!

 

Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving, and remember all that you have to be grateful for!

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SmugMug Maybe

Not too much to say today.  With the early darkness and cold weather, the horses may … *may* … work another 2-3 days out of the remainder of the year.  I do hope to get them out on the roads a bit, since somehow I’ve spent most of my drive time playing on trails or in the arena.  I realized I haven’t driven on the roads in over 5 weeks.  I took them out last weekend when it was pretty nice, but this weekend is not looking so promising.  I usually don’t drive at all past Thanksgiving, so the 2014 driving season is winding down fast and coming to a close!  Yikes!!!

In the meantime, I am considering starting a SmugMug account to sell photographs through.  I’ve always wanted (and have once tried) to make money with my photography passion.  SmugMug allows people to purchase prints, canvas, gift items like mugs, mousepads, you name it – all with whatever photo on it you would like.  Pricing on the items pretty much ranges from $5 to several hundred, depending on what each photographer sets.

Hmmm… I wonder if I could make SmugMug work for me.  I’ve been reading through the website, and perusing other users photos, and WOW!  So many of them are so stunning, it really makes me feel pretty pathetic about my own photos!  I really need to improve.  I think I need to move out West so I can mountain vistas, desert sands, and amazing sunsets and views of the Aurora Borealis, lol!

Well, its’ something to think about …..  SmugMug, not moving West.  Chewbacca told me he doesn’t want to become a desert horse.

Have a great day!

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Trail Drive

I am still around!  I know I haven’t been posting quite as much.  I’ve been so busy, but not a ton of it horse related.  Things horse-wise are actually slowing down.  It’s darker earlier, and I’m pretty much just working each horse 1-2 days a week and that’s it now.  Winding down for the season!

However, today was a day of brilliance, and I was very happy to get some extra help and get photos out on the trails!  Just wanted to share!!Chewie102514c Chewie102514e Chewie102514h Luke102514b Luke102514c Luke102514e

Have a great day!  And if you are experiencing this wonderfully beautiful weather – get out an enjoy it!  I am!!!

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The Look of Disdain

…. that’s pretty much the look on Chewie’s face everytime I go to drive him.  LOL!  He’s such a good boy, I simply cannot express how much I love driving him, but arena work is definitely not his first love.   Hope to get out on the trails at least once or twice more this year, weather, daylight, and hunting permitting!

I was really lucky last night to get my husband out to the barn and he snapped a few photos of Chewie’s drive.   I hope to try to get some shots of he and Luke, and even Jesse, out on the trails, but that is going to be difficult.

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Chewbacca is not exactly Mr. Motivation; if you look closely, you can see I’m either clucking, kissing, or telling him to TROT ON!  in almost every photo.  My entire drive consists of getting my throat sore telling him to move out constantly, lol!   But on a trail, he’s ready to go.  I rarely canter him in the arena any more, but on trails, we will canter nearly the whole thing sometimes.  There is a couple photos of him cantering above.  We played around with some barrels too.

The days are getting short, the weather is turning cool, but there is still driving time to be had!  Although with my trailer destroyed and now scrapped and gone, I am not able to get out to any more away trails or events.  Big bummer!  Oh well, we won’t “officially” stop driving until around Thanksgiving, but we will be going down to the weekends only as I run out of daylight in the evenings.

Have a good one!

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The Definition Of….

I would like to take a moment and define a word.

That word would be …

Bullshitter

 

Definition:  A person who makes up stories, tells tales, spins yarns, and basically is full of shit.  see also  A person who says they will do something and never does

 

I know so many of these people.   How many do YOU know.  Everyone knows one.. or two… or three…

I can mention more particular accounts than I think one person should be able to.   Primarily the “see also” definition of my personal dictionary.

I am so sick and tired of people saying they will do things that they really have no intentions of following through with and at the very end, provide some BS excuse about why they lied to me in the first place.

I’ve mentioned several times over the year, that basically since March I have been told I could be a groom & gator for a competitor at the Kentucky Classic CDE next week in Lexington.  I was thrilled and had no reason to suspect that this person was a BS’er.

Here it is a week before the event, after having been in communication with this competitor up until about mid-August, confirming with this person that the event was still on the books.  I made a hotel reservation, saved every penny I could just to have gas $ to get there, put in time request from work (unpaid, mind you) so I could have the week off to attend the CDE, groom and gator for this person.

Finally a month ago, I begin to discuss how I need proper groom’s clothes, because I’ve never groomed at such a high level show before, so I have never even ridden along in a dressage test.  I don’t have a top hat, a livery jacket, a proper pair of tall boots.  Anyway, I’m not the competitor.  When I have had gators, I have provided the attire I wanted them to wear.  We had this whole discussion about my attire needs and what size I wear, and then I don’t hear back.  Ever.  I send messages, suggest we exchange phone numbers and provide mine…… nothing.  Just dead space.

Finally about 10 days before the show, I hear back from this person who says they never “got” my messages.  Unfortunately this person does not realize that on Facebook, when you view a private message, it will actually show the other person “seen” and what time/date.  So yea, messages were most definitely received.

Immediately, I know it’s a classic case of bullshititis and I know exactly what the next message is going to be – a lame excuse for why I will not be fulfilling an amazing opportunity to be part of a show team at a national level show.  I missed the entry deadline and have other clients that want to show at a different that weekend.  Maybe you can come groom for me in Florida.

Yea, I’ll get right on that.  Missed?  MISSED the deadline?  After telling me in March, July, an August that it was a go????

I call BULLSHIT.   And after breaking my trust this time, I’m supposed to what?  Magically come up with the means to get myself to Florida and follow this person around like a driving groupie or something?  Getting the funds together just to take a 7 hour  drive and 4 unpaid days off work was a challenge.

I have been led on and lied to since March, and one major highlight of my year was pulled away on a count that I was foolish enough to believe someone who clearly suffers from BULLSHITTER’S SYNDROME.

I prefer people in my life to be HONEST.  Don’t make an offer to me that you really have no intentions of following through on.   Be straight up, don’t lie and mislead, and put me in a situation where I have high expectations just to have them blown out of the water, and then add salt to the injury by offering something else unreasonable.

I wasn’t born yesterday.   Well, on the plus side, at least I have a nice little pad of saved money to put towards getting a pick up truck.   Although nothing I “plan” goes as planned, I do still hope that if things stick the way I hope they will, getting a used pick up next spring will not be so unrealistic.

And you can bet, if I ever am in need of a groom/gator for a CDE again, I will not bullshit whoever I ask, nor would I expect to say they can and then not show up.

 

In other news- the trailer that I destroyed will be having a funeral this weekend.  It is beyond repair. I  really did a number on it, and it is dead.  Estimates on repair exceed $1,000, and considering I could actually purchase a brand new trailer for around the same price, it would be pointless to repair.  Plus, if I’m investing $1,000 into anything, it’s going to be a truck so I can get myself out to shows/trails/events myself without having to rely on any bullshitters.

I did hear Bullshitters Anonymous is accepting applications.  I will be the one outside rallying with my 1-person picket sign that reads “Bullshitters Suck”.

 

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Fun Show!

Now, don’t get too excited about my prospects for horse showing, after my last post, lol!  Nothing has changed and the trailer is still a wreck.  Not sure how to proceed, or if I even want to fix it.  I think maybe the $ to do the repairs will be better put towards funding an eventual pick up truck maybe.

Anyway, as it was, I did already have a show in mind to do this weekend, weather dependent.  The day called for 70% chance of thunderstorms, but ultimately ended up being one of the most perfect days you could ask for to have a horse show on.

Originally, I had intended to take my car and haul the horse trailer and bring Jesse.  It would not be a show i would have taken Chewie to.  He does not enjoy arena competition I especially with other horses.  Luke could have gone, too and would have been awesome, but with the hauling trailer ruined…..  Well, that’s OK, I’m only 1 person and I had intended to go to the show myself.

After the trailer debacle the other day, I realized however that my Jeep is NOT up to the task of hauling something as weighty as the horse trailer.  The “little” trailer with wood chips in it was too much for the Jeep as it was, and that was only in the barn driveway!  This show was an hour away, so I was able to wrangle my husband into taking us.  Jesse’s cart disassembles and fits nicely in the horse trailer in 2 pieces, so it’s super easy to transport.  Minis are awesome aren’t they.

My plans had changed a little for the day and I could not spend the whole day at the show, but I was there until noon and participated in a variety of super fun classes.  It was a fun show with driving and riding and even in hand classes, all fun and games.  It was the first time I’ve ever done a show of just fun classes and I had a blast.

The first class I entered was Simon Says.  Jesse is getting to be an old show ham, and knows his job well.  He was on stellar manners and even stood at the halt as called for.  The class was tough, listening for directions with “Simon Says” before them and not getting mixed up.  Out of 16 people in the class, it ultimately got down to just 2.  Myself and one other person.

It was the one handed back up while patting your head that did her in!  We both ended up reversing so much, we had changed directions and when asked to walk on, of course, we needed to change again to continue the way we were.  I changed, she did  not, and Jesse was hailed Supreme Simon Says champion!  LOL!  We got the blue ribbon and a trophy! An actual trophy!  What a hoot!

The next class was crepe paper and Jesse and I with our partner team did not fare so well.  I lost the crepe paper at the very first call for reverse, and was in the class less than a minute total.
After that, Jesse and I took our stab at musical chairs (or , in this case, saddle pads on the ground).  We did alright, staying strong until there were just 7 left in the class and 6 pads.  I almost made it on to one, but the another competitor was also trying to get her uncooperative mini onto the pad, too.  Both minis were in a duel, and with little room to manuever, Jesse suddenly deciding he didn’t want to turn onto the pad, and the other mini nearly rearing, I did not want to risk crashing the shafts together of the cart, so I lost out.  Oh well.
We also did the obstacle course which went well.
The last class of the day was egg & spoon.  This was my first egg & spoon class ever.  I got my “egg” (a golf ball) and spoon upon entering the arena and immediately dropped it.  Yea, this class was not going to go well.  Fortunately we were not all in yet and the class had not began.  I had to get out of the cart and retrieve my fallen “egg”.  I had a moment of practice with it before the class began.

It was very hard to keep the ball steady in the little plastic spoon, especially when the wind started!  One by one people began dropping their eggs and soon it was down again to just 2 – myself and the same lady from Simon Says.  I was driving 1 handed, turning, stopping, trotting and backing as needed, and mostly concentrating on trying to not drop my egg.  Finally a stiff breeze blew and I thought for sure I was a goner.   Everyone piled in the middle of the arena started hooting and hollering at me.  The other lady had dropped the egg!  Jesse reigned as Supreme Egg & Spoon Champion!  LOL!  Second blue ribbon and trophy for the day.

What a fun day!  Trophies for egg & spoon and Simon Says.  All horse shows should be so fun.  We packed up since we had to leave, but everyone there – the driving bunch (16 minis in total) and all the riders – I think over 20, were having a blast.

So glad I got to get out to it and it will definitely be on my list for next year.

 

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Simon says ^ Patting head while driving.

A video of the whole patting head while driving experience:

 

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I think this was the end of egg & spoon, my victory wave, lol!

 

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On the right is the musical pads.  I’m in the back, checking to make sure we are standing on the pad .

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Champions for the day haha!  2 blues and 2 trophies.  So much fun.

 

 

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At a Standstill

September is flying by almost without my permission!  What a year it’s been.  I had a huge list of goals set up for this year, some of which I’ve accomplished, some still to come, and some I did not accomplish at all, nor will I.

I currently have 2 horses out of commission, leaving only Jesse currently working.  Chewie has his annual abscess we are addressing.  I hope he will be sound enough to do some driving later this week, possibly tomorrow.  I have tentative plans to take Jesse to a fun show on Saturday, but there are thunderstorms in the forecast, so we need to see what will happen there.

My hope of getting a truck (or of getting money saved up for a truck) has been a colossal failure and that has been the most disappointing of things out of this year.

In a bitter irony, I also destroyed the small flatbed trailer used for hauling the carts around the other day, so now, even if I could convince my husband to haul me to any trails or events, I can’t go because I have a destroyed trailer.

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I had a great idea to “help” around the farm by using my trailer to move woodchips for use under the gates to help with mud control.  (It’s been raining so much lately, creating a ton of mud, hence the abscess Chewie is dealing with.)

Unfortunately, moving the woodchip-laden trailer through the mud caused it to get stuck, which resulted in pulling the trailer apart by the frame trying to get it unstuck.  It may be reparable, but to be honest, I am questioning whether or not I even want to bother.

The whole point of having this trailer is to use to haul Chewbacca & Luke’s carts so we can go to trails, shows, or other events.  However, the whole hauling thing, which has always been a bitter point in my life, is totally contingent on getting my husband to haul the horses in the horse trailer with his truck.  So everywhere we go, I need 2 trucks, 2 trailers, and 2 people.

2014 was supposed to be the year that I “made it happen” – by way of getting my own truck… I would absolutely love to replace my 16 year old vehicle with a slightly newer vehicle, and I really want a GMC Yukon in white.  With that, I would have also wanted to get a stock trailer large enough to fit both Chewie’s cart and Chewbacca.  Thus, if I want to go somewhere, I can, and I don’t need a second, unhappy person who does not want to help or accompany in order to do so.

Obviously, buying a new truck and trailer, in time for being able to do something constructive with my horses in 2015, was a pretty unrealistic goal.  To keep a long story short, my husband has not worked in 2 years.  Yes, 2 years.  One income does not allow for any extra money, so saving up has been a matter of me making and selling crafts, even my photos when and if I can, and I had hoped to buy a pony to sell to raise the money for a truck.  That was a failure on a colossal scale.

So I had hoped maybe I could just buy a pick up truck. Something used, something old.  Something that could haul the horse trailer and I could load up Chewie’s cart (or Luke’s) into the bed and go where I want.  Buying a cheap, sound, but old pick up truck sounds a lot more reasonable, but not when the money just isn’t there.  Not only to buy, but to maange to a third vehicle, which means more insurance, more gas, and more potential for breakdowns, not to mention tires, oil changes and the like.

Now as if life threw me one more slap in the face, my only means of hauling the carts at all, has been destroyed.  Chewbacca is on the up and up but Luke is quite sore after his recent trim, so as of last night, I literally had just Jesse sound enough to work.  My recreational driving hours have tanked for this month, as I’ve barely driven since  Labor Day weekend.

Although I can say I have accomplished most of the things I had goals for this year, I really feel wholly unfulfilled this year, and truly feel like I have hit a complete stand still, which has left me questioning more than I want to question.

It’s true that the one thing I’ve always only ever wanted to do in life is to show my horses, and throughout the entire history of my 22 years riding, showing, and owning horses, that has been the exact thing that has been so hard to accomplish.

I have been spending a lot of time thinking about the past, my poor decisions that have led me to where am I now, what I have always wished for, fantasized about and just how far away from those things I have gotten.   Things like owning a farm, showing my horses, even just hauling to trails, or anything like owning a truck and trailer of my own, are just so far gone from being possible in my life, it truly is depressing.

Years ago, I thought of nothing but owning a farm, I was certain I would be some kind of professional competitor or something, I guess.  When I did get married, the thought never crossed my mind that we would not work towards those goals.  That was what I wanted, but I never really stopped to consider the thought that we, as a team, a “partnership”, would not work towards those things, which would be good for both of us, right?

Now, it pains me every day to get up and go to work while my husband sleeps.  When I get home around 8 at night, after being gone for 12 hours, after working all day and caring for the horses, he is sitting on the sofa watching TV and  I have to cook dinner.  It pains me to know that without a second income, my paycheck cannot stretch the 2 week time-span to the next paycheck, and since I do not make enough to even pay the bills, I certainly do not make enough to ever hope to accomplish my goals – a truck/trailer, horse showing, and owning a farm.  The things I want so clearly in my mind are exactly the farthest thing from possible.

It kills me that *we* are not working together, in fact, half of us isn’t working at all, and our goals are not, nor have they ever been, the same.

I survived cancer 3 years ago.  He survived cancer 5 years ago.  We have much to be grateful for, but when you do not want to even get up off the sofa, it’s hard to truly appreciate how blessed you really are.  And for me, it is hard to try to stay positive and focused on a future that simply is not there, realistic, or in any feasible.

I am considering retiring Chewbacca, or at least to say, lowering his work load to 1 day a week in 2015.  Luke may perhaps follow the same route, as well.  It seems so pointless to me to drive them 2, or sometimes 3 days a week to pursue goals that simply cannot happen.

Chewbacca is still young; he will be 16 next year.  That seems way too young to retire, but at the same time, I believe that both Luke (who will be 18 next year) and Chewbacca are bored with their work routines, and losing zest for it.  I cannot offer them variety, challenge, or change of venue.

Chewbacca barely wants to work anymore, trying to motivate him to practice bending or lateral movements in the arena for 1/2 hour once a week has become a true challenge.  He barely even has enough gusto to keep a decent trot in the arena.  His road times have been slowing down.  He still enjoys trails, and I would love to get him out to some new ones, but that is impossible.

Luke, although pushing 18, still has some energy to spare, but I have started seeing the limits of that energy happen.  He’s still quick and feisty, but sometimes he just wants to be done with his work and that’s it.  For Luke to say “no I don’t want to do that”, is really a shock, because he is a workaholic.  Is it possible he is just getting bored, or starting to tap out on his energy resources… or just old enough to start doing less ?

And to what point is it to keep working them towards dressage tests I will never performs, cones courses I will never run, and marathons I will never navigate them around?

Is it me, perhaps, that has lost my zest?  I pulled out all the stops this year, and accomplished nothing.  And now it seems the stops have stopped and I don’t know what to do.  The prospect of getting a 2nd job part time is on the horizon – yes, I am thinking about working 2 jobs to try to help bring in some extra money to help me accomplish my goals because I have a husband who simply will not get any job.

It is easier to sit home and do nothing.  It is easier to have no responsibilities, no interests, no goals, and no ambitions, and no motivation.  But that is not the life I want for myself.

I think 2014 has been a terribly disappointing year, and has probably also been the year where I’ve come to the most grips with my reality.  I expect some big changes in 2015, but those changes will be unsatisfactory ones.  And of course, 2014 is not over yet.  If all goes as planned (which I admit, it rarely ever does), I will still have 1 big fiasco before the year is out, which I cannot wait for!

 

 

 

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