Monday, April 23, 2012

Dissappearing act

I've disappeared, I know. I've been dealing with some tough decisions lately, and really struggling with if Bijou is right for me. I haven't blogged about it because its not very fun, and I'd rather not be a bummer blogger.

I just don't think Bijou is the kind of horse I want. I'm going to be really honest, I pay money to participate in horse ownership, and not just spare change, but a large part of my recent-college-graduate budget. I'm not having enough fun with Bijou to justify it. I don't take off property trips for fear of her losing it and hurting herself or me or the others I'm with. I don't even ride outside of the arena because the spooks are so often and violent that I can't let go of a necessary death grip. Some days I know I don't have the patience to ride by the same scary corner for the 15th time without wanting to scream, so I don't even go out to the barn. I have to psych myself up for each ride, faking the confidence I don't feel anymore, trying to make it work for one more ride.

In all, this situation is not fun, and I'm pretty sure I'm making it worse by being nervous about Bijou being nervous. I've totally changed my riding style. Someone recently commented that I'm hyper defensive and go into the fetal position at the slightest flinch. I'm sure that I do. This makes me a much less effective rider, which then makes Bijou more confused.

So, I cheated. I started shopping, and I put Bijou on the market. Shortly after I stumbled upon a free warmblood who had some problems but the seller was willing to give me a trial period to see if I thought he'd work through his issues. He was SO. COOL. Even keeled, level headed, easy. I was in love. Big cute loverboy personality, compliments on how nice he looked everywhere I turned, whinnying when I drove in, bright white markings, all the makings of a 'forever' horse. However, long story short, he had some conformational issues that I wasn't comfortable having in a horse that I wanted to jump with. He was visibly lame for the two weeks that I had him, due to limb length disparity, club feet, and pigeon toes. I just took him back today. I've had a few interested people contact me about Bijou, but she's still mine, for the time being.

I feel like I'm at rock bottom and there's only one place to go - up. I'm trying a few new things with Bijou. I think she's got ulcers, and I just got my anti-ulcer meds in the mail today. I'm also going to put in an order for the best calming supplement I can find. I'm starting with a clean slate and continuing training with my TB until I can find her the right home. I'm only tentatively shopping since I can't really afford to keep two horses for very long, so I'm hoping Bijou sells before I find something, but at this point I'm so disheartened by the whole process that I don't know if I will ever find something quite right. Am I being too picky? Am I crazy? Why is this so hard?


  1. Treating for ulcers is a good idea. Is she on any sort of grain? If so might want to eliminate and use a vitamin/mineral supplement or a low-NSC feed like Ultium instead.

    But you're right, sounds like a mutual confidence (lack of) issue - and trust me, I've been there and know how hard that is. I know money is tight, but is there a (good) trainer who could come and work with you, or who you could haul to. This made all the difference in the world to me and my horses - my trainer, on my last ride on Drifter - he had bolted on me (first time ever) on my previous ride - said that I had to ride him as if I trusted him for him to be able to trust me - otherwise his anxiety would just feed off mine. Easier said than done, of course . . .

    Sending best wishes and thoughts.

  2. Thanks Kate, she only gets grain to feed supplements, then is on 24/7 grass pasture. I don't have the option of hauling in to a trainer as I have to borrow a rig to go anywhere, and everyone who travels isn't really worth it in my area. Today I rode around for a bit bareback in a halter to help build trust :) I'm just taking it one step at a time.