"I believe that not every horse works for every person. Just like you can't have a successful marriage with every man you meet, no matter how sweet he is, or how hard you try and how much time you put into making it work.
It just doesn't work that way. This is about personalities. You can love someone to death, but know the marriage just isn't going to work. He's messy, you're a neat freak. You need to be cuddled, he likes to slap your butt. You like quiet walks in the park and he loves spooking at the sight of squirrels." --Sand, a commenter on Panic and the Pony
So I initially started writing this post on Thursday. I was frustrated, and I'd been questioning whether Midnight was the horse for me ever since he blew up in the wash stall. The honeymoon period was over. His ground manners are still bad, and that wasn't even something I thought to put on my "wants" list when I was looking--I figured that if a horse was a certain age and broke to the level I was thinking, he would already know how to do things like cross tie...go in the wash stall...not get all up in my space. I can deal with it, but it's just annoying to remind him every. single. day. He just seems to "go away" and conveniently lose his marbles temporarily.
And working in financial media, I'm constantly reading about the best way to invest and save your money, especially since I'm working on a project for young investors. Guess what? Spending 15% of your income on fun isn't the best way to grow your money (though I also save 15%!). There are certainly other things I could spend money on.
So I went to the barn that day feeling pretty conflicted. Most of the people at the barn are either older, and pretty well off, or they're younger and their parents foot the bill. I wondered if I should really even be there, since the alternative is being older and horse-poor--and I just don't want to put myself in a situation where I'm struggling with life expenses just to have fun at the barn a couple days a week.
And what is the first thing that happens? One of the girls my age comes up to me and says, "Hey, are you staying around for a while? We're having a potluck!"
Seriously, how Saddle Club can you get? (and I mean that in a 100% positive way)
So I rode--circles, leg yields, prompt transitions--all the stuff I've been learning and practicing lately, plus a little mini hack along the driveway to cool out. A very solid ride, and then after some not-going-in-the-wash-stall shenanigans I eventually hosed Midnight off and turned him out.
Beer, seven-layer dip, chicken, brownies, pretzels--and five or six other boarders--a feast! I just love that at this place, women from age 20-60 have no problem just hanging out for hours, sharing stories of the ridiculous things our horses and other animals (boyfriends and husbands included in that category) do. So that really made my week and made me feel a lot better about staying there. I think I can learn a lot from Midnight and become a better rider/handler even though he's not perfect, especially with a lot of more experienced eventer-types around to help me.
And prior to leasing Midnight, I really didn't know anyone around where I live besides Byron, roommates and two other friends within a half-hour radius.
Am I positive that Midnight is THE ONE? No. But with the other benefits of this barn, I'll round up to one, as Dan Savage likes to say.