An Open Letter to “Those People” At Horse Shows

This is perfect!

Life Behind Ears

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Photo by Deanna Buschert

Dear “Those People” at Horse Shows,

You know who you are. It isn’t hard to pick you out from the crowds. I see you in the warm up pen. I see you in the bleachers. I see you at the trailers. I even run into you in the hotel lobbies from time to time. In the last few years that I’ve been around horse shows, I’ve become pretty good at picking you people out.

I see you, people who work full time and still make it to shows on weekends. You are worn out from a week of balancing responsibilities, yet you’ve still made time to ride and take care of your horses every day in preparation for this show. I see you sacrificing your hard-earned weekend to spend it on the road doing what you love while you secretly are jealous of the people who…

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Big things come in small packages

A lot has changed since my last post.  I am happy to say that my little bay horses are home and settled into their new routine. I am ecstatic.  I actually don’t leave my kitchen– it’s the best view of the paddock you know!

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Heres Sam I Am– my horse of over 10 years finally living in my backyard!

I can’t believe they are here and have been for about a month now.  I seriously cannot say “I LOVE IT!” more! How did I ever survive boarding my horses?

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Here’s Hamlet, Ham I Am, my little sweet retired racehorse with soft eyes and a big big heart. He loves it here.

 

So, now that you’ve gotten the scoop on what the dealio is around here.. on to the even funner stuff!

It’s no lie when you hear, the phrase, “Big things come in small packages,” and I have living proof! (Which happens to come in the four-legged, winter woolied, mini-sized, hooved variety.) Yep, that’s right- you’ve likely guessed it…

 

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What’s that? A third bay horse?! Are you at all surprised?

Meet Eddie.

history and story here.

I am actually going to have to edit this post and add more later- don’t want to be late for work! I really thought I had more time than I did!!

The Barn

My husband and I have had a year long endeavor converting our small, 5 acre, mostly wooded property to be horse worthy. We turned a 30×40 empty-shell-of-a-barn into a safe, horse friendly space. I cannot believe that after just shy of one year we finally pounded in our last nail and threaded our last screw. It’s amazing to me the amount of work that one human being can do, with a little help of some friends. (I’ll cover in detail the construction process later on.)

This past year has been amazing, stressful, and as most horse crazy people can relate, expensive!!

You see, it was one year ago today our lives started to change, in the big horses-are-coming home kind of way.  We closed on our second-ever home.  My husband insisted we focus inside the home first. The interior needed some work, as with nearly any newly purchased home. We painted, put new flooring in, and made some other minor repairs. I love the way everything turned out, but was mostly giddy to start the barn. I thought long and hard about what was ideal for my future routine with my two bay horses and came up with a set up that will hopefully work for me. When the home repairs were complete, we started in on the barn! And I’m totally head-over-heels in love with the way everything turned out!

So here we are after one years worth of hard work and dedication the horses will be home soon and I feel like I’m going to vomit. I’ve wanted this from the get go. I’ve wanted this from the day my very first bay horse took his first step out of the trailer. A years worth of time and money put into this barn, an extensive horsey endeavor, and I am a nervous wreck. My little bay horses are coming home and the apprehensive, worrisome part of me who talks myself out of nearly every possible change in my life is giving me a big no!

Ahh help me curb my fears!! I know deep down inside this is just one more big adventure in horsemanship. I will learn a lot, and make a few mistakes along the way, but overall my horses are going to enjoy their time and home and I will enjoy washing my dishes, looking out my kitchen window, and enjoy the beautiful scene of two wonderful bay horses in the back yard.

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My little heaven on earth. (This photo posted later, about 1 week after the horses officially came home.)

 

One Year Ago Today

One year ago in this moment, I was cozied up under the covers, in bed, anticipating the day to come.  The excitement, the newness, the feeling of euphoria!  I couldn’t wait to ride tomorrow, to zip on my boots and finally get back in the saddle.  Something changed in my overall demeanor, and the reason came with an all too familiar sweet, musty, nose-tingling, heart-warming smell…. You see, one year ago today (well, yesterday really- just after midnight over here) I was giddy like a young, awkward, horse-obsessed tweenie– I finally brought home my second-ever horse!

An off the track thoroughbred (OTTB- for those of you who don’t know the lingo) was a horse that I’d always wanted but didn’t have.  Having learned to ride at a local Hunter/Jumper barn who also bred thoroughbreds for racing, I learned just how special an OTTB can be. The heart, the ambition, the goofiness, and the overly-stunning good looks! What’s not to love? And when it was finally time to buy a second-ever horse I knew an OTTB is what it would be!

Having looked at ads all summer, ridden horses, watched videos, asked others for critique, I couldn’t find what I was looking for! There were so many ads with so many quality horses.  So much room for potential, but nothing really felt right.  I had an image of the perfect horse in my mind. Gelding. No major vices.  Must be sound.  Quiet demeanor.  War-horse type.  No bigger than 16.2hh.  Green okay.  Bay.  Star-stripe-snip combo, or big blaze.  A few white socks for some extra flash.  Alright, I get it, down to the color, I realize these requirements are asking for a lot!

I kept searching and searching, waiting and dreaming, hoping and looking.  Alas!  A 16hh-ish, off the track thoroughbred, minimally restarted, bay horse with two back socks and a big bit of white on his face, even better, his nose!  The ad says he’s been lightly restarted and a perfect gentleman.  I’m dying, in love- the kicker, though, is he was in Kentucky.  I’m in Michigan.  Too far, back to looking unfortunately.  I really wanted to go see him but I followed suite to one of my favorite sayings, “Keep on keepin’ on.” So I kept on (keeping on means you can still pull up his ad and dream right?!).

Nothing. Nothing. Oh cute! Nothing. Flipping through ads over and over.  So many cute horses, but nothing feels right until… a friend of mine tags me in that perfect horses ad! This wasn’t just any friend, but the friend who offered to help me retrain my new horse, the friend with the ride, the trailer.  Okay, well if she’s willing to go to Kentucky and back, this just might work…

So needless to say we made the trip for the perfect horse I’d been dying for.  The horse whose ad I had been secretly drooling over for months before! Having worked until midnight the night before, I had a nap under my belt when we left at 4 am.  When we finally made it, we were greeted by a friendly, smiling young woman who gladly showed us around the barn.  After a little lunging, riding, then lunging again, followed by some talking, we loaded him up and made the long haul back! I couldn’t have been more excited!!

So, here we are, one year later, and here I am, cozied under the covers reflecting the past year with the amazing partner I get to call my own.  My heart still warms, my nose still tingles, and I still act like the giddy, horse-obsessed twenty-something gal who unloaded that amazing little gelding in Michigan with butterflies in her stomach!  This year has proved to me that my instinct was right on the money, I really do have the perfect little second-ever horse.

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Happy one year, Hamlet, Hammy, Bip, my perfect little bay horse, because everyone needs a little sweet with their sass!!  (Hamlet pictured nearly one year ago with his new Baker halter deciding if he likes the Michigan snow or not!)