2015-12-15: Hi! You're probably here because you did a Google search for 'plus sized horseback riders' or you saw my content quoted elsewhere. There are a couple of things I'd like you to know.

I am still here! But I am living away from my horses and not riding often. I could tell you a lie and say that I am, but I have always endeavored to give you the truth here. As a result, I'm not feeling terribly motivated to write blog posts and I feel out of touch with the community.

I'd love for you to stay a while and look back through the archives. Visit the links listed below. We still have an active forum community and I post on the Facebook page from time to time.

I have tentative plans to try to get more involved in the horse world in 2016, and I will absolutely share whatever that adventure becomes with you, so keep checking back!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

If you love something, let it go...

I always thought that saying was silly. I have a hard time letting anything go - a grudge, a cold, money - nevermind something that I love and value. This is why I was so surprised when I walked into the barn last night and right by Ari's empty stall and didn't feel a twinge of sadness. Not any. Not at all.

My personal situation is on the cusp of change at the moment and it is no longer (well, was it ever, really?) reasonable for me to keep three horses that I don't have time for. I had already made a decision to place Rex, my gelding, with a trusted friend of mine, bring Bronwyn with me wherever I go, and let Ari stay on the farm with my family, where I thought she belonged. On a whim, never thinking in a million years that I would find something that would feel "right", I posted Ari for up for a lifetime lease on my Facebook and on the forum. I mean, she is an "aged" mare when it comes to stock horses (she's just turned 8) and she has had maybe a dozen rides on her over those years. She is definitely not a beginner project for anybody, but doesn't have a speck of dirt to be found in her. A few people did inquire about her, but I still didn't have the "this feels right" feeling about any of it... afterall, this is the baby of my baby - she is out of my dearly missed heart horse and sired by my mother's dearly missed heart horse. She was born here and I've watched her grow, seen her in my pasture every day, cried many a tear into her mane.

My friend Maria said "have you talked to Meg? She sounds perfect for Meg!"

When Meg contacted me and began to tell me her story, I started to get that "this is right" feeling. She fit many of my "requirements" - a lifetime of experience with horses, a great support structure, a good understanding of common sense, and most important of all - a true love and care for equine-kind, regardless of their usefulness to her. We sent long emails back and forth for quite a while, detailing everything that I knew about Ari and exactly what Meg was looking for. Without going into too many details - Meg was thrown and nearly paralyzed by her standardbred whose list of past owners reads like a "should be banned from owning animals" list. In short, she needed a confidence builder that reminded her how to have fun on the back of a horse and not to be afraid.

The trip to haul her was longer than I anticipated and with more stresses than I had planned on (as if leaving my little girl behind wasn't stressful enough!), but in the end, I am glad we chose to haul her ourselves. Not just because this gave me an opportunity to put a face to words in emails, to see the facility. In retrospect, some of the best parts of the trip were seeing the little girls at the barn so excited to see the pretty new horse, staying up way too late eating cookies and talking horse with Meg and Maria, and seeing someone else - someone who is clearly capable and willing - spending more saddle time on Ari than I had in the last year. Those were the things that cemented, for me, that this was the right decision - even more so than seeing the facility, signing the contract, meeting the barn owner.

When Meg sat on her, they were perfectly sized for one another. She moves like a horse that wants to play with western pleasure but could be athletic enough to cut or rein - and that's right up Meg's alley.

I won't lie and say I didn't shed a tear or two, because I did. I was fortunate to have my dad with me - at one point, he consoled me by saying "She's going to look after her." and I said "I know, and that might be the part that bothers me the most." - the fact that I didn't have the time to appreciate her as much as Meg clearly was going to.

She has been gone almost a week. I have gotten glowing reports from Meg. She loves her. I imagined that it would be much, much harder to let something that I loved so much go. It was a lot easier to leave her with someone who clearly loves her as much as I do. Someone who appreciates her for the quiet little mare that she is. And most of all, it has been easier since I put it into perspective: Once upon a time, someone provided me with an opportunity with a horse that I really needed... I didn't know how much I needed her at that time, and it took me a long time to figure it out. I was reminded the last night when I sat on her in our muddy yard, in the pitch dark, in 2C weather that Bronwyn is the horse that I need. Rex and Ari are the horses that I love and care for, but Bronwyn is that horse that I need. I am paying it forward.

The photos in this post are courtesy of the marvellously talented Maria Casey, who was there, snapping away and being supportive the whole time! :)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Taking Responsibility

It's Friday, I know, I am supposed to write a favourite. Thing is, I have something else on my mind. It's not really horse related, but it's applicable, and it is relevant, and it belongs to both of my blogs. Maybe this tough-love entry is for my benefit more than anybody else's, but hey - maybe someone else can benefit from it, too.

My life has undergone a few drastic changes in the last couple of years - it started with my brain, that part of myself that suddenly decided to find worth and value in myself as a person - the part that realized that if I wanted something to happen, I was going to have to work toward making it happen myself. That doesn't mean that I haven't had help along the way from an excellent support structure but that does mean that I had to start the ball rolling, nobody else could do it for me. And it's a lot easier to get help to get to your final destination if you're already on the journey - don't forget that everybody else is on their own journey and had to find their motivation to get onto that journey on their own, they don't have the energy left to start you out. This falls into the category of "you can really only help those who help themselves".

This also falls into the category of "fall down seven times, get up eight." Even if you have a couple of false starts, it is better to have tried and failed than never to have tried at all. They don't write news reports and history books about people who never had the strength to start the journey in the first place. When is the last time you heard about a guy who never waged a war against inequality?

What counts is that you don't let yourself down. If you're not happy with where you are, change it. This doesn't mean that you're going to go from homeless to rockstar in one day (unless, of course, you make it on some reality talent show, of course) - and I think that is the part where many people get frustrated and give up before they even begin. They get overwhelmed by the magnitude of their dream - they neglect to work out a road map so that they can measure their progress and consider anything except the realization of the goal to be failure. Start small. Make the small changes in your life that will add up to the big ones. Set small goals that make up the large goals. Celebrate the progress. Take it one day at a time.

Sometimes the progress is going to be just getting out of bed in the morning, looking yourself in the mirror and smiling, whether you feel like it or not.

Set a big goal today. Track the progress. Tell somebody - share it - make the good things happen for yourself. You deserve it as much as anybody does - maybe more!