There was about an eighteen month period between 2004 and 2005 that I consider The Worst of Times. It started with McCain falling from the hayloft and breaking his femur resulting in almost 4 weeks of hospitalization. A few months later, my father-in-law passed away and a few months later than that, my own mom was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and died the next spring. If that weren’t enough, I broke my ankle from a horse related mishap and the last of those dark days concluded with the loss of one of my geldings in a pasture accident.
I reminded myself many times during that time that it can only go up from here. It eventually did, but sure took a long time to get there. I’m actually surprised I didn’t take up smoking again or hit the bottle. As always, horses were good therapy from broken hearts and broken bones.
This year, though not in the caliber as that lost year, has been challenging in its own way. The boys are growing up and have a lot more obligations it seems. The homework is getting harder for all of us! I wasn’t a scholar when I was their age and I certainly didn’t get any more book-smarter. Having a teenager with a driver’s license and a less-than-perfect car adds another layer of stress. We gulp, say a prayer, write another check and go on. And if you were following my blog last winter, you will remember we had one of the worst winters I have seen in a long time.
Ride season couldn’t come fast enough. I was making plans for camping weekends, an out of state vacation and to perhaps try a limited distance endurance ride. But nothing seems to have gone as planned. Spring did come; finally. And brought with it much appreciated rain. And more rain. And more not so appreciated rain. And before we knew it, the dog days of summer were here with much unwanted humidity. If you read all those articles about temperature and humidity and heat indexes and when NOT to ride your horse; those are our days. It can’t help but get depressing.
The search for a new trailer and finding the perfect one has been a real upper. But having a nice trailer is only good if you have a truck that will get you there and a horse that will get in it. Although we are working on the latter, the truck, aka Hi-Ho Silver, has not been the most reliable mode of transportation over the last few years and I am afraid it’s getting worse instead of better. How many $1,000 fixes can we afford to put in it? Sure, seems cheap compared to a truck payment, but fixing it does not eliminate its unpredictability. Will the next $1,000 fix guarantee to get me and my horse to the next destination or will we be left stranded? I am very independent with regards to pulling a rig, but I am helpless when it comes to anything mechanical beyond a flat tire or checking the oil.
My horse goals have dwindled with the lack of nice days. I have logged over 300 hours of riding time each of the last two years. This year? I’ve barely broken 100 hours. The advantage of having my horse fit is I am ready for anything, be it a long weekend or a competitive trail ride. Windy looks good and riding her the few times I have lately, she feels good. I don’t think I have to worry about her becoming a pasture pony with a hay belly just yet, but I don’t like taking this much time off either. Productivity produces motivation. I read that somewhere and it sounded backwards, but in thinking about it, it’s true. How many times do we dread starting a project, but once we get going on it, we are much more motivated to see it through?
For me, it’s time to step back and regroup. If the weather breaks, continue riding the local trails pulling my bumper pull trailer with my SUV. I’ll ponder what to do about the truck situation tomorrow or the next day or the next week or maybe next year. The only “can’t miss” camping trip I have planned is our annual Cowgirl Weekend, and I can most certainly bunk with a friend. It hasn’t been a year from hell like it was back in 2004-2005. It is just frustrating at a different level. Hopefully the next half will be better.