Friday, September 03, 2004

horses. I like em.

There is something inside me that I just can't shake no matter how hard the world wants me to. My love for horses. I don't where it comes from genetically but a respected friend and astrologer said it was my sag ascendant.

After just going to the fair and seeing so many beautiful horses and getting jealous of all those cute little 4Hers with their, cute little bows, tall boots, and cute million dollar jumping saddles, I thought I'd write a little about this thing that tugs at my insides EVERYday. This THING that will bring tears to my eyes in a heartbeat, this THING that has come in and out of my life for years now. Because, you see, this THING is the GOAL. At the present time, this THING is on hiatus. I am sitting in front of a Sony Trinitron all day, thinking of how to bring the THING alive again.

My horse interest started when I was maybe 6 years old. Had a few years of horsie stuff in 4H. I remember really loving it, but never really got a chance to learn to ride well there. Many moons later I volunteered many hours at a million dollar Therapeutic Riding Center in Northeastern Ohio. My [then] boyfriend and I became the caretakers of that facility. Three interviews. 32 horses. Barn. Offices. And a BIG ASS indoor banquet room. We lived there on the property, and had to work for our rent. That was the "deal" (...and the "deal" much changed, lets say- morphed) Our rent was $1500 a MONTH. Caretakers that paid THAT MUCH for a house. A house we wouldn't even RENT. Were we working our asses off? We weren't just working our asses off, we were KICKING ASS all over those 47 acres. We had it DOWN. And then we had Barbacue!!

At the time I was rediscovering my love of horses and really wanted to learn to ride I was a sponge soaking up everything horses. I would have learned to ride well here, except all the women that ran the place weren't so reserved on passing judgement. I cried when we weren't included in the fund raising trail rides. But we were pressure washing the arena that's for sure.

We were deceived because they knew that we (I) really wanted it. My intentions aren't to cloud my feelings for the institution, working with therapeutic horses and riders was a huge experience for me of the heart kind. I have the utmost respect for it. My negativity comes so harshly because it was something I respected so much. Something that I felt, I ASSUMED would be operated with heart, er- I mean people with heart. At least people that knew that CARETAKERS DON'T PAY $1500 a month for a house when it states on the contract that they HAVE to live on the property.

My emotions were a wreck because (well, for one, I hadn't met xanex yet) and I LOVED living there. I'll never forget looking out my front door at dusk in the summer heat and seeing the herd out in the front pasture and hearing them do that odd howling call to the mule across the street . Silhouettes of horses being horses. tails swooshing and all. on my front yard.
and so we moved. from there to...
Akron Oh. 2001 (?) we were living in Cuyhoga Falls. uck. I got a job at the Girls Scount camp as an beginner instructor. I was working there for a short while, my boyfriend got a kickass job with a great band so we split to Hotlanta....

In Atlanta (YAY!), while working as a graphic designer, I was lucky enough to squeeze into the last spot for instructors at The Gilrl Scout camp outside of the city. Worked out well because I had just left a job with the Girl Scouts! THAT was a fun job. I really enjoyed teaching the girls to ride, I learned more about riding, shoeing, horse health...and I saw a lot of new insects that don't live up north!
I had to do lesson plans, choose horses, organize the girls, lead trail rides, and choreograph a show for the end of camp session. fun. Once during every camp session the barn crew would get together, saddle up the horse of our choice, and deliver the mail to the girls. Pony Express. Galloping into the separate camp areas...the girls eyes would light up just hearing the clomping of the hooves in the distance. What a great time!

We also took the horses into the woods and cantered through the many trails, jumping over trees and stopping by the lake to take a little swim on horseback. Camp pine acres was the place I galloped a horse for the first time- through the woods. It was also there that I jumped a horse over a fence for the first time. IT. IS. AMAZING. Some folks believe in NASCAR, some believe in astronauts. I BELIEVE in THIS.

That ended when camp ended and I continued working at my day job and reading anything "horse" I could get my hands on....until in 2002 we moved to Pensacola Florida.

(YEeehHHHHhhYYEE!!!) I was saturn out like crazy and had a real hard time finding a job. During that "time" I found Pensacola Riding Academy. Home of classically taught classical dressage (dress-ahhhjGhe). The French kind. It was just north of where I lived. about 20 minutes. I began by working in the mornings and then I would have an hour lesson at noon each day. I didn't mind getting up so early, or the immense work first thing in the morning, OR the GOD AWFUL SMELL OF THE PAPER FACTORY AT 6:30AM because I was on my way to the barn.

Each day I couldn't wait until that last wheelbarrow was empty and I was zipping up my half chaps and heading out to the back barn to Chloe, a 4 year old Arabian mare I was training. She was beautiful, and so comfortable to ride. she would give a little "haaay! look at me!" buck after she did something new, so proud of herself... It was there that I learned new words like: collection, extension, conformation, and warmblood . The correct meaning to silly phrases such as: "push with your leg", "keep him on the bit", and "your on the wrong lead". I learned what "healthy" looks like. A dressage horse. A jumping horse. What a SPORT HORSE looks like (compared to the horses at some pay-by-the-hour trail riding place). also, I'll never forget how funny it sounds when a french man is yelling obscenities at you across an entire dressage arena...."cisTINE OW DO YOU EXPEHHht to be a PRO fehSHEN AHL??!" haa.

I experienced how "natural." and "native" it is to ride with NO STIRRUPS. a black and blue ass is a frightening sight, lemme tell ya. That's old school. None-the-less it is worth it after a few months of riding with no stirrups, and you realize you can crush a soda can between your thighs.

The conundrum was that I wasn't making much money learning to ride or, crushing cans between my thighs. I was looking for a full time graphics job, and finally got hired at a promotional company designing screen printed t-shirts. So I worked there.

I rode for a while also, but my job got out too late in the evening to go ride the dressage horses that were already worked, and the stalls had already been cleaned...so I'd have to pay, for an hour of the Frenchman screaming and yelling (I LOVED the screaming and yelling!). I found a wonderful place to go and train hunter jumpers in the evening, it was farther away then the riding academy but they had lights on the outdoor arena. By this time I was athletic enough to go out and actually help train a horse. I could ride. I wasn't even close to being EXPERT Dressage Master or Grand Prix jumper, but I wasn't afraid to jump on any horse and take 'em for a spin.
THEN I butterflied my left second toe, bone and all with a camping hatchet found in the woods, under a bunch of leaves with all the rust of a junkyard conglomerate married to it.
that's a WHOLE 'nother story ya'all. and a good one.

1 comment:

  1. that in a sense is the life of christine as you'll come to know and love her....with quite a few stories left out some for the better. and the better you get to know her the more stories you will want to know or be involved in...well.....or she will get you involved in...yikes

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