So I've been avoiding the internet because I didn't want to write what I'm about to write, which is a whiney, drivelly, angsty, really cringe-worthy read.
I'm writing it anyway.
I'm angsty cause I haven't had a good ride on Tucker since... oh... sometime in March. He was difficult at the beginning of April. He was borderline unrideable by mid-April. And for the past two weeks he's been on the "nice horsie" plan. Which means I haven't picked up my reins, worn spurs, asked him to do anything requiring any kind of effort, or set a goal other than "relax and stretch" for the last 8 rides. I have counted them, because after the first ride (which was kind of a nice change of pace) things became excruciating for me.
|Pictured: All of my discretionary funds|
I'm just going to say this, and it's totally fair to judge me for it. He's making me bananas. For some reason, his first symptom of ulcers is that he gets irrationally spooky (I've blogged about this before). And not the usual "Tucker heard a noise and assumed the end was nigh" and then came to his senses. He does these little spooks where his whole body twitches for a second and it's just enough to make you think he might actually spin out from underneath you, over, and over, and OVER. It's hard to "just ignore it" when he pulls a 180 spin-and-bolt over a butterfly (*based on actual events, thing came outta NOWHERE*) or alternatively spooks at nothing, steps sideways, crosses his front legs, trips himself, falls on his face, and then panics that he's going to be beaten for it while I struggle to get back in the middle of the saddle.
I haven't actually beaten him of course, because (a) that wouldn't help anything and (b) I think this behavior is ulcer-related. I think. I'm telling myself right now that I've seen all this behavior before and every time I've thought he was having a midlife crisis and then treated his stomach and it went away. But last Thursday when I got there and he was spinning in his stall over a tractor outside, while all the other horses happily munched their hay because the tractor is bringing more food and is not to be feared... I just couldn't bring myself to ride him. I gave him his meds, tried to pet him for a minute, and when the spinning resumed I gave up and went home and poured myself some wine. (It was a rough week.)
|It's a good thing he's cute.|
I'm hoping this week he'll feel more like a horse I want to ride, and less like a horse I want to give away to a good home. Because all of this unwanted Tucker behavior has led to the following mental rollercoaster on repeat in my head, which may or may not be driving me to actual insanity:
1. What if it's not ulcers? What if there's something else wrong? Or what if this is just the way he is now? What if he's just finally lost his marbles?
2. What if it is ulcers, but the ulcers were caused by stress due to pain somewhere and he's actually totally broken and crumbling before your eyes? How will you pay for THAT?
3. Maybe we should do another year at First level. Now that you're behind a month you aren't going to be ready to move up by mid-summer. But he's turning FOURTEEN in a few days. You don't have an infinite amount of years with him. Wow, he's getting old. [Repeat Nos. 1-2.]
4. What's the point of showing if you aren't moving up? Isn't it kind of pointless to do the same thing every year?
5. But when you did the hunters you didn't move up every year. Dressage has just given you a false sense of inferiority because it has levels instead of divisions.
6. Maybe dressage is too hard. Maybe you're asking too much of him and you don't know how to ask well enough and you're stressing him out. And THEN what sport are you going to move on to?
8. How exactly are you planning to finance these shows? We selling a kidney? [Repeat No. 2.]
9. Maybe instead of shows you should put that money toward more lessons, so you could actually move up next year and feel like you've accomplished something. [Repeat No. 5.] And possibly ride better and stop stressing him out. [Repeat No. 6.]
10. You should do a blog post about this. People will relate. Or maybe don't. You're going to sound like you're whining about things that aren't really problems. You should wait until you have something more positive to write about. Oh god it's been over a week you're going to have no readers left.
If you came here in search of the above, I'm happy to have provided a narrative of same. Also on an unrelated note I would really like a giant chocolate chip cookie. But I'm legit gonna freak out if it won't fit in the glass.