I'm the first person to admit that I have a problem with impulsivity. If I ever stick my toe in the dating pool again, I'd really like to meet someone who sees this in an optimistic, "isn't that cute" kind of way. I've been told in the past that my impulsive nature makes me a horrible person to live with. Its not that I try to bring home animals or make life-altering decisions...its more often that I can't seem to help myself.
Eleven years ago after knowing J for four months, I sold nearly everything I owned, stuffed the rest into a U-Haul trailer and moved from Washington State to New Jersey. Impulse, much? And we can all see how well *that* turned out. Three years ago, with a newly acquired bit of land, I bought the first horse I looked at. Because she reminded me of another horse I used to have. She couldn't be ridden yet, and she didn't like to be handled. I've spent a lot of time and money since then trying to get her to be a trail horse, since that's really all I do anymore is trail ride. My other horse, Zenon, is 20 now. He's still fresh as a daisy after a five mile ride, thanks to his Arabian ancestry, and he's Mr. Dependable. He's surefooted and a lot of fun to take places. Miss B, on the other hand, while she's much younger and has a beautiful trot you could ride all day, is sadly not suited to trail riding. She's quick as a cat, explosive, and reactive. Twice this year I've been dumped by her, not on purpose but because a branch or a tumbleweed poked her and she just exploded sideways. Being dumped on the trail is not only no fun, its dangerous. I've kept trying with her, for many reasons, but ultimately I have to accept that she is not the right horse for the job I want her to do. Worse, she's dangerous because I'm putting her in situations that she can't quite handle, and I don't' have the luxury of continually putting myself at risk of injury. In the end, its not fair to either one of us. I love her dearly, and I give a lot of credit to her, to our trainers Bill and Angie, and to myself even, for how far she has come from what she was when I brought her home. She went from being a horse who was afraid, concerned and upset when being handled, to a horse who would walk up to you in the pasture and stick her nose in the halter. But she's still a square peg, and I need to stop trying to shove her in the round hole. She would be happier doing something she's better suited to - reining, possibly, or barrels. With her speed and quick reflexes, she might make a decent cutting horse. Who knows?
Michelle is my trail buddy. We've gone trail riding together every Saturday this year, with only one exception. She has been so good to me, coming by with her trailer to pick up me and my horse and bringing us back. I'm lucky where I live in that I can go right down the street and ride for quite a way along the river, and I can head up the street and hit some of the open land north and west of town, but that's about all I can do from here and I'm not a big fan of trail riding in the city. I like to get out of town where all you can hear are the birds chirping and the hawks scree-ing and the views are spectacular. And riding alone, while occasionally good for the soul (or a great place to have a really decent cry when life gets a little too much) gets boring after a while. Without Michelle, my riding life would look a whole lot different than it has lately and I am grateful beyond words for her generous spirit. She loves to ride too, and I think its been as wonderful for her as it has been for me to have a friend to hit the trails with.
Michelle and I have the same philosophy on most things when it comes to horses. We're both big believers in Natural Horsemanship, we like the same kind of big, stocky quarter horses, and we both have horses for the love of them and not to win ribbons or make money. There are people in this world who make a living off of horses - but they are few and far between. Michelle started breeding Quarter Horses years ago. She has about 16 horses on her place, two stallions, a group of mares, "her" horse and then the few horses she is getting trained in hopes of finding them the right owner. One of those horses is a big bay gelding called "Bugs." That's his barn name - most registered horses have a name they're registered under that you'd never want to call them in real life, and then they get a barn name, usually something short and simple, reflective of the horse's personality. My second horse ever, a beautiful little buckskin mare, was "Norchas Super Fury" on paper, but to us she was just "Little Bit." I'm not even sure what Bug's registered name is - I suppose I'll find out eventually. Which is what I'm leading to with all this.
Saturday when we were riding, Michelle brought Bugs along, and I, tired of hitting the ground so much, brought Zenon. Somehow during the course of the conversation, we decided that I'm going to give Bugs a try, and so at the end of the ride, Michelle left him in my care and took Miss B home with her to go run around in an 11 acre pasture with the broodmares. I feel a whole lot like its Christmas and my birthday all at the same time. Its a rare opportunity, and I'm really overwhelmed and a bit verklempt over my friends generosity and willingness to not only trust me with her horse, but to take mine to her place. If I do list her for sale, Michelle's place is a better place for her to be, since there's an arena and a round pen, and for someone to come look at her they can also ride her in a safe environment.
This time I'm going to try not to be impulsive. I'm going to really spend some time with this gelding and see if he's the right horse for me. But its hard not to have a little bit of a crush on him - just look at him: