Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Float-y and Nice...

I took Zydo over fences for the first time in a year today. I rode for a little over an hour and the entire time was pure, unadulterated bliss.

And I think that this must be what doing drugs is like. I've never had involvement with drugs, and sometimes I think it must be the same as riding: Everything is floaty and nice, full of adrenaline and hearts pounding and joy. And then you come off, and your muscles are aching, you have a headache, and you grin like an idiot because of the trip you just took.

I nearly burst into tears today when I worked on a transition into canter, because for the first time in my life, my legs actually did the thing they were supposed to do when sending a horse into canter. And then he ran, and ran, and ran. There was wind in my hair, his mane was flying around my fingertips. Zydo ran his heart out for me, and didn't want to stop, not once. My coach started setting up a jump for him, and as soon as he saw it, his ears perked up and he started charging towards it without my saying so.

I left his new farm with a smile plastered on my face, and an aching seated very deep within my ass.

And I was the happiest person on the planet.

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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Zydo's New Home...

For weeks now, I have been deliberating on whether or not I should move Zydo to a new location. Preferably one with ground suitable for riding a horse on. Fortunately for me, my riding coach happens to have a spare stall in her barn for the next six weeks, and so that is where Zydo is currently living.

I've been contemplating this for ages. Can I handle driving every day to see my horse? Can I handle having him away from The Ranch? What if he gets hurt on someone else's property? But, after hours and hours discussing the topic, I decided that my parents should take the plunge and move my horse for me. They moved him last Friday.

I was far, far to riddled with anxiety to be on the premises of The Ranch the day that Zydo moved, and as a result, I went to a little town about eight hours away. The train ride was tedious, the beer was delicioius, and my heart was pounding so hard by three p.m. on Friday that I nearly stopped being alive altogether.

I spoke with my coach's husband at three, and he informed me that the move itself had gone smoothly and that the horse was still, in fact, alive.

Once he had settled in to the barn, and met the Chestnut Trakheiner named Stetson, Zydo proceeded to terrorize his new farm. I received a text message at around nine, after not nearly enough beers, that said: Your horse is behaving like a damn Arab. Call me.

At that point, all the matter in my stomch nearly spewed out of my eye sockets, because I bought this horse SPECIFICALLY because he does not behave like an Arabian. He is an elderly, arthritic THOROUGHBRED, and that is what I expect him to behave like.

Zydo did laps of the entire farm after pulling himself away from my coach as she led him to the ring. He ran, he cavorted. My coach owns a three year old who attempted, briefly, to run and cavort with him.

She couldn't keep up and gave up racing around the pasture after three laps. Zydo continued and ran another two, just for good measure. He was so sore by the next day that he could hardly trot.

And this is what I love about my horse: He was achey and hurt-y, and still, once I threw the saddle on, he was desperate to please me. He wanted to work, he wanted to pull himself together and work off the bit. He tried and tried in everything I asked him to do. He aims to please his rider, and sometimes I wonder: does he know how much I love him? Does he know that my heart melts when he licks the palm of my hand and he nuzzles into my shoulder?

Regardless, my horse now has a new home for the time being, with a sand ring and jumps and other horses to frolic with. I can ride him every day of the week except Sunday.

My heart is happy.

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Monday, July 14, 2008

I Feel Like a Human Being...

The last few weeks I have felt the best I have felt in a long, long time. And no, not through the help of pharmaceuticals. Amazing.

I've been participating in the activity commonly known as regular hours of sleep. Also, I've had a regular work schedule, with normal 3-11 shifts. I work, I go to sleep, I wake up, I have free time, I work, and repeat the cycle.

Let me say that the last five years of my life have been rather hellish. Never mind the whole nervous breakdown thing, but even before that and after it, it has been incredibly hard on my person to be working, schooling, doing work placements, and trying to fit in some free time. Exhausting, even.

At this point I must say that I am incredibly happy. I feel balanced. I feel whole. I feel like waking up in the morning. I even feel like waking up in the morning and putting on pants. And after facing many days where putting on pants seems next to impossible, it is absolutely wonderful to face the day wearing pants without struggling to want do so.

Sometimes you have to make your life about very simple goals. Working in very simple terms for the last several years has helped me get through to this point.

I'm finally at a point in my life where putting on pants is no longer part of my goals, where I can move on to bigger and better things. I can make my list of goals and know that I can achieve them wearing pants, and that wearing pants wasn't the first part of the goal. The actual goal is the goal.

I don't think I need to work in baby steps any more, and that is very thrilling for me.


Thursday, July 10, 2008

Unable to Ride...

I spent much of this winter and spring looking forward to summer, like most people here who live under forty three feet of snow for eleven and a half months of the year. (That's a bit of an exaggeration. But since there was a day when it took me two tractors and forty minutes to get to my ten-minutes-away workplace? I'm going to exaggerate if I damn well please.)

The snow started melting mid-afternoon last Tuesday (see above), and now that the piles of snow are gone, water has been left in its place.

We recently had four days of glorious -- Wait, that's a lie. They were not glorious days. They were just so-so days where a monsoon didn't threaten to swallow us whole, and the cute farmers next door came to take away the hay beside the house. Which means that, technically, I can ride in the field beside the house.

Tonight my mother and I went out to examine the ring. It is much like the bottom of a swamp, covered in moss, full of insects, frogs, small lizards and that very distinct swamp-y smell. We gave up looking for a patch of dry land and instead went to search the hay field beside the house.

Well, now. The hay field is equally swampy and my father assures me that if I ride in it, I will be certain to break at least fifty percent of my horse's legs.

And I'm trying to stay positive. I'm trying to stay happy, and to not curl up into a ball on the living room floor and weep for hours on end. I admit that a few stray tears did escape me this evening because it has been months now and I can not safely ride my horse anywhere. I have done nothing to improve my game, done nothing with the hundreds of dollars worth of jumps my mother bought me last year. My horse is completely out of shape, as am I, and the show season for this year is done.

I was hoping if my show season were to be cancelled altogether, there would at least be a hideous accident that would render me incapacitated. Maybe with some traction involved? Heavy duty pain killers?

But no. My season has ground to a halt (Actually, that's a lie, too. It didn't grind to a halt -- it never even started.) because of the weather.

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On Being Loved...

I came home from work tonight to find my back door swarming with insects.

Now, I hate insects. I realize that, ecologically speaking, insects have their role to play. The problem here is that, quite frankly, I don't really care. They get stuck in my hair and they infest everything, and occasionally they bite my horse. And when things bite my horse?

I get very, very cranky.

Regadless, I'm not sure how best to deal with getting inside one's house without allowing a large mass of insects to follow. I sometimes feel like keeping a large can of BugWhacker on the back porch, spraying them down, waiting thirty seconds, and entering.

But that would be environmentally unfriendly, what with the aerosol and the poison and everything.

At any rate, I did decide to enter my home, surrounded by a swarming mass of insects. I walked into the kitchen, and awaiting me was a herd of wild beasts. Two thirds of the herd starting jumping and making noise and shedding hair around my feet.

And then there was the last third.

The final third waited patiently under the table, whining and squealing the way she does when I come home from work. And after the first two thirds had been let outside -- which allowed a whole new swarm of insects into the kitchen -- the last third, Dixie, came to my feet.

And she howled, and whined, and carried on and licked my face.

And the noise and the hair and the dog breath didn't bother me one single bit, because these are the reasons I get out of bed in the morning. My puppy loves me, and I love my puppy, and her howling when I walk in the door is what makes my life worthwhile.


Monday, July 07, 2008

I Am Home...

And there are dogs.

Many, many dogs.

Dogs that bark and run and jump and knock things over and leave their hair everywhere and howl and create messes and drip water all over the kitchen and get wet and smell bad and have foul breath ...

And there are also cats.

Crazed cats. Cats that howl and follow me around the house.

In fact, right now, Simone is sitting on top of my guitar case. And I don't know what it is about cats and guitar cases, that the two seem to call out to each other, that the guitar cases need the cats and the cats need the guitar cases. And Simone is sitting nicely on top of mine, howling into my ear as I type, and I fear that sometimes these animals will make me lose my mind altogether.