Calm, Forward, Straight

Calm, Forward, Straight

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

In the Arena # 130 - Blessings in disguise...

It's been three (long, hard, hot) weeks since we lost Sweet Pea. The household is adjusting to her absence - some better than others. I've finally stopped expecting to see her when I come home.

Q is enjoying:

the entire sofa
no competition for food, real or imagined
longer, speedier dog walks and more of them...

If she could talk she would be saying, "Mine all mine!"

Then there was the renewal day for our boarding contract. The day after I put my dog to sleep. Boarder Mom took exception to abiding by the terms regarding giving notice. I offered to compromise by halving the notice period, but requiring payment up front for the remainder of the time, as well as notice in writing. BM refused to (re)read the contract or comply, and tried to argue with me about why she didn't owe me notice or money.

When I didn't give in, the situation escalated into an ear load (mine) of cursing and nasty personal insults. On my front porch. On my property. I had enough, and gave BM 24 hours to get Cowboy and their belongings out. I believe she was a little surprised completely shocked that I called her bluff. Best of all, I did not say or do anything I regret - which is an eff-ing miracle. I will miss Cowboy and his girl, but not pushy BM or having to beg for my board every month. The peace and quiet, the utter lack of drama at the farmette, has been soothing.

Losing the boarding income is daunting, but once I factored in having my second storage shed back, which is now filled with enough hay to last until February, it was easy to justify the loss of boarding income. Amount boarders owed = price of a new shed. :D

Even more than the financial implications, I was concerned about how Val would handle being a solo horse again. I'm not ready to add to the herd just yet, although that is the eventual plan. No worries about my darling Val. He has been super relaxed since being on his own.

He lays down to sleep every day. His vigilance while out of the paddock is minimal. The last time I took Val to the boarding property next door, he ran himself into a complete lather and acted ridiculous, responding to Cowboy going to crazy town, screaming from his paddock. Yesterday, we walked over there on a totally loose lead, his head down, following at my shoulder. He calmly investigated the area before rolling and having a good graze while I cleaned up after the horses that stayed over the weekend. Like night and day.

The footing in the arena is unsuitable for work again - deep and soft - so today I lunged Val out in the open, in the scary back of the property (site of future arena). It went very well. Val focused on me and gave me an energetic over-tracking walk. I'm going to set up a rectangle with cones and start riding out there this week. We've both lost some condition over this long summer break, so we're going to come back into work slowly. Shorter sessions, more often.

I have gotten a number of rides in recently. All bareback, several with no tack at all. SO lucky his back is comfy. One ride was on the spur of the moment after a lingering scratch / massage session, where I climbed the gate and hopped on barefoot (no helmet either - I promise I'm not making a habit of it). I got the urge to act like a kid on a pony, and followed through. We did some nice turns on the forehand. It was relaxing and fun for us both. The only bad thing that happened was when Val turned around while I took a picture and put most of my foot in his mouth. What a hoot he is.

Stay tuned for - our first real trim (by me), we are what we eat, and yet another snake encounter (!)

Okay - the mane is getting out of control...

About to put my foot in his mouth...


  1. Get him a goat! Far less grief than boarders. I would never, never, never take in boarders after having worked at my barn for the past three years. It's amazing how nutty some people can be and how they can expect someone to pay for the feed for the animal, pay for the man hours to care for him, and then act shocked when you inform them they need to pay up.
    Good for you for freeing yourself:)

    Sasha (formerly known as Horsemom;)

  2. Glad BM is gone, gone, gone!

    You don't need that sort of "barn drama". Glad you're having fun with your guy and that he doesn't mind being a solo horse.

  3. So glad the drama is gone. Whew. Now you are primed for all notices of wonderful rescues and "will you please take my horse" offers I get!! :)

  4. Sometimes it's just better to lose the extra money than put up with the nonsense from boarders. We've dealt with this when we had a business. It's amazing what people expect for nothing and seem insulted when asked for board. One woman even took off and abandoned her horse. Luckily we found him a good home (after reconditioning and retraining him). Let out a big sigh of relief that BM is gone.

    Love the pictures of Val and you riding bareback. Your toes must be extra tasty! He's such a character. I'll bet he's enjoying the peace and quiet too.

  5. I vote for a mini donkey! No matter how bad the day - they will make you smile and laugh!

  6. :hugs: for Sweet Pea.

    Congrats on handling the boarder drama so well! And double grats for a happy Val. I'm so glad to hear he's such a trustworthy and FUN mount. Can't wait for the new topics - especially trimming! ;)

  7. Goodness, with that long mane, curvy neck and of course grey color, Val is looking a lot like my favorite breed! Perhaps he should be an Andalusian for Halloween!

  8. I completely draw the line at someone cursing or insulting me to make their point. That is called bullying and unfortunately adults can be bullies even though they are supposed to act like, well, adults. Good for you for standing up for yourself without entertaining that person's behavior.

    More quality time for you and your animals.

  9. So glad you are free of that unkind person. You and Val need only sweetness to help you through your Sweet Pea void. Your post reminded me of the first time I talked to the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation people. I was so nervous and worried because I had to ask them to wait to bring Pie and Sovey until my boarders moved out. (I didn't want my new horses exposed to such unkind, obnoxious people.)
    I was worried that the TRF contact would think something was wrong with me since I was so hesitant about the whole situation. Then, she lifted my dread when she exclaimed loudly - Oh, we understand, Boarders are such a pain in the A** - talk about hilarious! I was so relieved and I've kept that memory in my head many times since then. You are so free now to ride and live and be. Huge monkey off your back and so great about Val and his lack of concern. Hooray!

  10. We've only ever asked one person to leave and the relief I felt when she was gone was overwhelming. I didn't realize just how difficult she was until she was out of my life!!

  11. Even though Kalvin was a sweet horse and is owner easy to deal with, we were glad when he left. Its a lot of work and responsibility taking care of someone else's horse and they don't usually agree with you on everything. It was more work, more stress, and - yes- more money but in balance, I like it with just our horses here.

  12. When we lost Pepper, I actually used to still hear her barking sometimes and it took a long time to settle into living without her, so I know how you're feeling about SweetPea. Sending you a hug! As far as the nasty BM, I think that Val must have been catching the bad vibe and now he's much relieved that the tension is gone. I love the bareback photos - I'd give anything to hop up on Silk without any tack right now, but I don't think I could even pull myself up there with only one hand. Val looks so content in that last picture snuggling with you.

  13. don't cut the mane! it looks great

  14. The mane is beautiful!

    So glad you're free of the bad boarder. Life is too short to put up with that stuff, and there are lots of good boarders out there. Who needs the other kind?

  15. Waste not fresh tears! Over your lack of boarder, that is! Although, that paragraph describing what happened did make for juicy reading! As a boarder, I try to play by all the rules. Not like there are many where I am, but I would never want there to be any friction between me and the boardee! Glad all that is done for you. On to better things. As if you needed that anyway. And I agree with the get-a-goat idea! They are wonderful. Or what about a llama? That way you really could say: Save the drama for my llama!!!!! That would be a scream!
    Love your photos. All beautiful. Also glad to see I'm not the only one who rides in shorts(!)

  16. naked pony riding (your pony, not you :)!! What fun!
    I do NOT understand why people bring drama in. YUCK! Isn't horse time all about zen??? So glad you have p and Q now. My friend runs a non profit rescue and her goats ALWAYS escape, but she loves her mini's and donkeys and pigs :)

  17. I wish I had YOU to pay my hundreds of dollars to C , for boarding bliss!! Mydramafilled pbo , yells at me and makes me have unnecessary BM's ....thought that was funny, you calling your X boarder that! My strategy, go and see no one but boarders. I've gone 3 weeks without incidents....cause I'm not giving pbo a chance to make one up!! No peeing,pawing,rolling, arena. Everytime I see em , something else gets added to the list.

    I'm very pleased you'll have peace now, without boarder drama. my whole goal in life is for its confounding to me to be attacked. But, b4 me, it was the one who left.

    Getting used to Sweet Pea's absence will take time...
    Val is gorgeous in that naked shot...your foot must have been in mouth.
    I actually pulled Wa's mane, after 2 years long. We are taking lessons in the arena!

    Smiling for you!! You sound terrific!


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