Sunday, August 3, 2008

Movin on up (to the east side)

(Note: I wrote this last weekend, but after I got halfway through I saved it and just came back to it now. Half of what I wrote was not post-worthy so this is the "condensed" version...)

I figured it was about time to make plans to move the horses off of their "summer heaven." After all, my uncle is being amazingly nice by letting them stay there, and now that I'm done with the bar I don't want to overstay my welcome. I figured we'd be talking about it soon, and I was right.

I had every intention of riding Sunday morning. I thought about it the night before and got myself pretty psyched up to RIIIIDE. But then I got out to their field and it was like 95 degrees with about 95% humidity and all my resolve just melted away. I grabbed a brush, stuck a few horse cookies in my pocket, and walked down to the pond so Cersei could avoid heatstroke by swimming. All the horses followed me, kind of halfway greedy and halfway curious. I brushed everybody, even the spotted one - she's definitely more curious and less afraid these days. Yay.

After I was completely out of cookies, and everybody'd been brushed, and Cersei dragged herself out of the water, I started walking back to the truck. They all followed. Awww. I know that they're just hoping for magical cookies, but it's still endearing. Which is good; they definitely need to endear themselves to me now that they're expensive again!

I spent almost two hours visiting with my uncle. It's odd, he's never been particularly friendly to me. But as I got older, I realized that he's just a really taciturn fellow. My dad prodded me into asking him if I could put my horses on his land for the summer, and my dad prodded me to actually talk to him.

I'm pretty confident in saying that my uncle and I quite like each other. We're fairly smart, in slightly different ways, and we have the same core beliefs. I really look forward to talking to him almost as much as I look forward to seeing my cookie monsters! I am going to have to take the time to go visit him like twice a month after the horses leave.

Anyway, he asked when I was thinking about leaving, and I said at the end of the month if that was ok with him? He said that'd be fine; they usually plant that particular pasture in a winter grass crop in September so it'd work out great.

Once I left I decided to start the ball rolling on moving the horses. I'd been considering Hillside Stables for a couple of months - it has field board, a dressage instructor, a covered arena, and it's fairly close to my parents' house. Things like "an instructor" and "a covered arena" are not common in Mississippi - I mean, it's not one-of-a-kind, but "real" instructors aren't lurking everywhere down here.

I talked to the barn manager, who seems like someone I can get along with quite well. Field board, at the place on Polk Lane, is $125/horse/mo, and that's completely reasonable. Full care board at the main stable is - I can't remember - $325 or $350, and that's also reasonable.

Here's my dilemma (and I have a few weeks to settle on a decision):

Do I field board the Walkers and stall board Poppy, while taking a lesson a week to learn dressage? Or do I field board all four for a month or so, while I learn SOMETHING about how to ride dressage, then move Poppy to the arena facility?

Update part
I am going to put all four on field board. It's more affordable, of course. I know it's more risky - what if I just lazy on out again and don't actually ride the two challenging horses? But OTOH, it's pretty dumb for me to pay 3x as much to board a horse on whom I can't actually take effective lessons.*

*I rewrote that sentence twice. It's either "wrong," grammatically, because I dangle a participle ("a horse that I can't take lessons on") or it's "right" ("a horse on whom I cannot take lessons") and clunky. Read it whichever way you prefer, please.

ANYWAY, I am taking a dressage lesson on a school horse on Sunday. We shall see how it goes. If I enjoy lessons, I'll think about putting Poppy in the barn and committing to working with him like 4x a week. If not - well, I still plan to get a good saddle for Pops and working him all fall (October-December). By the end of the year, I should know if I want to keep him or try to sell him as a "prospect" to a good home.

I hate to think of selling him. I hate to think of one day waking up and realizing I have a 15 yo green broke draft gelding, who is generally good for nothing. I love to think about me having a great time riding him, or some other person having a great time riding him. It's very tough. I've got a lot of sympathy, but no magical words of wisdom for Beckz. :(


  1. You are giving me twitches about my own grammar. :)

    It sounds like a tough decision. I cannot believe what those horses are going to cost you...! They'd have to pull a plow or something to last long around here. :) Of course, I say that like I'm all tough and then dote on my pretty piggies. LOL

    Take care,

  2. Pasture board rocks. It's good for their brains. And for the wallet. :-)


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