Friday, March 18, 2011

About that horse thing...

I couldn't figure out what to start writing about. So I decided I was going to post my handy-dandy 27 in 27 list, and tally up how many entries I had into vague categories. Whichever had the most goal entries was going to be the first thing I wrote about. Unscientific, but probably pretty accurate way to gauge what is most important to me at this point in my life.

Horses and travel tied at 5 entries each. And I'm probably not going to go overseas this afternoon, but I will go ride a couple of horses. Seems like we have a topic!

I've been riding for almost as long as I can remember. I have a picture of me at 3 or so sitting happily up on a dead broke quarter horse in a western saddle. My hair was a mess, the horse looked like he was bored to death, and the guy holding the horse was giving the camera the side-eye, but I was grinning like a fool. One of the most influential people of my childhood is a riding instructor who taught me from the 3rd grade until I moved away to college at 18. For three years of college my job was caring for horses. My current riding instructor got me my law job. It is a huge part of my life.

I got my first horse when I was 17. Avalon is a grey thoroughbred I got off the track when he was 4.

I still have him. I also have custody of another grey, Pete, whom I do not have a good picture of at the moment.

A lot of people think horses are something that only rich people have, like Rolls Royces or beach houses. The people who think this don't personally know anyone who has horses. Most horse owners, especially college students and younger, work very hard to keep their horse. I used to do all the barn chores in exchange for the stable I was at to waive board fees. Many people keep their horse in rural areas they have to commute 30 minutes to an hour to go see their horse. Some people keep their horse in their backyard. Horse owners are the same as dog owners: some people have their dog pampered at dog spas, buy them sweaters, and cart them around in Louis Vuitton brand dog carriers. Other dog owners tie their dog up outside their house and refuse to pay for the animal's vet care. The standards of costs and care swing just as widely for horses.

That said, I know I have been very privileged. I would not have been able to keep my horse through college without my parents' generosity (Thanks Dad!). It is very difficult to hold down a job to pay your living expenses, hold down a job to pay your horse's expenses, and still go to class full time and pass. I never earned enough working during college to pay both my and my horse's expenses. I did what I could, and there were months where I was eating ramen so that my horse's vet bills would be paid.

I've had people ask me why I bother spending so much time, money, and energy on something that few people see any benefit in. And it's dumb, but there's not really any way to explain it. Some people spend their time and money on trailing for marathons. Everyone else thinks they are crazy because they're running 26 miles voluntarily. (Please completely ignore the fact that, without training for it, no one can run 26 miles involuntarily, either.) You do it because you love it. I, personally, cannot see why anyone would want to play golf, but people spend countless hours and thousands of dollars on that, too. To each his own.

I ride dressage, mostly. I would like to event, and Avalon is a pretty good jumper, but I am very lazy about setting up jumps in the area, so I am a very bad jumper due to lack of practice. I hope that will change this year. I have no idea if Pete can jump. I got him about 6 months ago, and I am mostly engaged in trying to convince him that randomly trying to buck me off is a bad idea. 

Due to school, I have not seriously competed in years, but my skills (and Avalon's emotional well being) are the best they've ever been, so I hope to change that. I lost my trailer in an accident last June, so that is a barrier to getting to do the things I had hoped to this year.

I also believe that the reason I got chunky in law school is at least partially related to the fact that I only got a chance to ride about a third of the time I was accustomed to during college. I am SO GLAD I am finished with law school!

P.S.: So far I have been unable to find more than a couple of quality horse-related (or semi-horse related) blogs out there. Any suggestions?

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