I was tagged by Now That's A TROT! to write a "Six Things I Am Proud Of" meme. Never heard the word "meme" before, but I figured I might as well run with it! LOL!
- I am proud of the way I take care of my horses. My farm is not state-of-the-art nor is it even very new (the barn is over 100 years old, though the stalls themselves are only 5 years old), but it is safe and clean. I am very particular about how I feed, bed, turn out, and groom my horses. They get the very best farriery and veterinary care. Basically my horses have a better life than most humans.
- I am proud I stuck by my Morgan Sparky. She was in bad shape when I first got her back in 1993, both physically and mentally. In the last fifteen years she has become such a fabulous horse. I stuck by her despite her limitations and when she could no longer jump. I trained her to drive myself after we had to stop eventing. Giving up on her was not an option. Trading her in for a "better" horse that could take me further in my riding career was not an option. I promised this horse a forever home back when I was thirteen and she was ten. And I fully intend to keep that promise....I am now almost 29 and she is 26. Sparky will always be my horse of a lifetime, my best friend, and the horse that I am so proud of.
- I am proud I taught Sparky to drive after she was retired from eventing in 2000. I knew I could not retire her completely....nor did I want to just do dressage at that point. I took some driving lessons on already made driving horses, had help getting the cart and harness fitted, and away we went. I ground drove her and hooked her myself. We ended up competing successfully at the big rated Morgan shows in driven dressage and pleasure. We also competed through Preliminary in CDEs and ADTs. And all this was AFTER a successful eventing and hunter career. :D
- I am proud of how far my Standardbred Dreamy has come. She has gone from race horse to broodmare to show horse! When I got her she had never been ridden. I am proud to be the only person who has ridden her and trained her to this point. Granted, that also means that any bad habits are mine, but I am willing to embrace the good and the bad. Dreamy honestly should never have gotten as far as she has.....she has defied her breed, her age, and all those who never thought we could do it (including my darling husband......:P) I always emphasize how naturally talented she is, but I am also proud that I did have something to do with her success as well. ;-)
- I am proud of my competitive accomplishments. Yes, I like to win ribbons....LOL! But showing is so much more than winning ribbons. It is all the hard work and effort getting my horse in shape and ready to perform. It is hours and hours of dressage and jumping work at home. It is hours of lessons. It is saving my money and sacrificing other things for myself so that I can show/lesson at all. It is cleaning tack and braiding.....getting up early to truck to the show....and riding what comes off the trailer that morning. :) I love the feeling of accomplishment from showing....whether or not we win a ribbon. I feel so proud when we earn a better score than the last show. Sometimes a 77% is first place, and sometimes first is a 59%. So the color of the ribbon does not matter.....improving my score is what matters. And of course, getting out there and just doing it. Having the experience of showing is valuable to me as a rider. Riding at home around a ring or trail riding just does not give me the same thrill as competitions.
- I am proud that I have progressed past the little-girl-crazy-about-horses and emerged as an adult amateur who is constantly learning. OK, so I am still that horse crazy little girl inside, but horses have truly become my life's passion. As much as I love to teach (and teaching pays for the ponies), horses are what makes my heart sing. I am proud to have a passion in my life, as so many adults never find their own. I am proud that I continued riding through adolesence, never allowing boys or such to deter my passion. I am proud that I rode through college and was able to keep my Morgan as well. I am proud that I have become enough of an accomplished horsewoman to have successfully trained my Morgan to drive and my Standardbred to ride. I accept that I will never know "all there is to know about horses" and I like that. I enjoy learning every day, every lesson. Someday I hope to be competing at a higher level than Training (dressage) and Elementary (eventing), but for now I am simply happy to own two horses and be healthy enough to ride and enjoy them.