Introducing Destiny, Sunè and Lady Erin

Bear with me, y’all. As you might have noticed, I have resolved to blog more in this year, but there is much catching up and introductions to do before I can actually settle down and start telling you stuff that’s happening. This should be the last one.

First and most exciting (sorry D and S) is the first little foal that’s been born under the Morning Star Stables prefix. She arrived in October at the extremely civilised hour of 4:30pm, after Milady and I had thrown a pyjama party the night before (thank you Milady for only making me do this once).

The foaling was textbook and Milady was a pro throughout it all. The filly was rather in a hurry and was on her feet and suckling within an hour, little overachiever. We named her Lady Erin. She is by Exavior and is our first and last warmblood foal; it is strictly ponies from hereon out. But as warmblood foals go she is enormous, feisty, and very cooperative.

Lady E has been fooled around with somewhat and will stand for the daily chores and wear a halter, but still needs a bum rope to be led around. For a two-month-old foal this is quite good enough: we’ll finish the last bits of halter training just before she’s weaned. For now she suckers the riding school kids into giving her cookies just so she can chew them up and spit them out on somebody’s shoes.

Destiny has been a resident since mid-October, but only came into training in December because I was totally full. He is a super duper cute little homebred dude with a rather large ego.

D is here to be started, but we’re currently rather stuck on the subject of lungeing; on the left rein he’s lovely, on the right rein he has a whole plethora of tricks to pull out including rearing and smashing the fence. We have seen a vast improvement, though, so I’m sure he’ll get it figured out quite soon.

Sunè is here in Quinni’s place from Arop. She looks like the polar opposite of Quinni, but of course has a similar lovely nature. I’ve only had two sessions on her but our head groom T started her when they were both at the previous stableyard, and she’s pretty ridden in. Just needs some refining and then we’re set (which is a mercy because it’s meant to go to Horse of the Year in February).

taken one week apart: our feeding program + Nooitie constitution = epic win

In other news, I have my results for my stableyard manager qualification and I am now a real proper manager with papers. I don’t quite know how He did it but God somehow managed to help me with the studying (I had like two weeks after the outbreak during a very rough time) so much that my overall mark is 93%. I passed all of them with streets to spare except conformation, which I just barely scraped through, but I’m chalking it down to nerves because normally I’m quite good. So that’s a really epic note to end 2016 on.

Glory to the King.

Faith Goals 2017

Faithy is the very definition of a blank slate: she wore her first headcollar the day we went to pick her up at the breeder’s. Until then, she’d only really known people to wave to. She’d been fed and occasionally put in the crush to vaccinate and brand, and that was it.

Growing up in a huge field with loads of other horses has given her a good brain, good digestion, and wonderful feet. Just the way I like them. Now she’s a two-year-old and after some bribery I have convinced her to like me and let me rub her face and neck (provided I feed her first), so that’s where we stand right now.

also snuggles

Ultimately Faithy is to be a really good dressage horse, God willing, although this year will be about the basics.

  • Stand for grooming and farrier.
  • Lead and tie up.
  • Box well.
  • Be good to bath.
  • Be good to catch.
  • Show in-hand.
  • In spring, lunge.
  • In November/December, do the groundwork and have a rider on, just sitting.

I’ve yet to really get to know this lovely little lady, but knowing Arop Nooities and their legendary temperament, I think she’s going to be just awesome to work with.

All I know now is God made her and I love her. And I guess that’s all I really need to know.

Glory to the King.

On Rainbows

It’s still too soon. It might always be. The pain subsides slowly, but the words still don’t come.

So this is not the whole story, or the whole piece of the story that’s revealed to me, anyway. It’s just the bare bones of what happened so that in the blog as in life I can turn my face to the future.

Rainbow was the incredible gift from God (via Nell’s breeder) that came to keep my dream alive after Nell left. She was one of the most beautiful horses I’ve known. She was undoubtedly the one with the best natural temperament. She had so much love for everyone and something in her heart sang in harmony with mine. I called her Rainbow because she was the beautiful thing that happened after the storm. The symbol of the promise.

I was so worried that she wouldn’t be Nell. And she wasn’t Nell. She was Rainbow, and she was perfect.

But her destiny and mine kissed only briefly in this present world. God called His most willing charger back to the celestial ranks of His army only days after we met. It was His will; it was for the best; it was agony. I thank Him for every moment I had with the horse my heart sang to and I thank Him that He has bigger plans for her, wherever good horses go when they die.

As for my dream, it was dead without a brilliant dressage horse. But we all know what God does to death.
We’ll never forget Rainbow. But we have a new hope for the dream He laid on my heart. A dream I laid down at His feet when Rainbow passed on, and which He lifted up and handed right back to me.

She’s not Rainbow. But she’s also perfect.

I named her Faith: the thing by which we will weather the storms to follow.

Magic’s 2017 Goals (or lack thereof)

Year in, year out, I have faithfully set a careful string of goals for all the horses – as long-term readers very well know. I think this may be the first year ever that I haven’t set any goals for Magic.

And I don’t intend to.

Last year was a rollercoaster with him. It started with his promising comeback after his terrible illness in 2015, winning both his first graded classes in fine style and staying absolutely sane throughout the show. Then it all came down around our ears a bit when I fell off him three times in as many months – my first falls off him, ever. We were heading in the right direction again when he decided he would like to have colic again after all and then the outbreak crashed any plans of returning to shows after that. All in all, he only had seven outings this year – and I stayed on top for five. (Of the ones that I stayed on, he jumped all clear rounds, barring one, which he won anyway). It was an unimpressive year, except that it wasn’t.

We made very little progress, training-wise. 80cm still looks about the size of the Great Wall of China (to me anyway; he’s good). Our flatwork remains low-level but rock solid. We go to shows and jump some jumps, sometimes, or not, as the case may be. But in terms of understanding this shining, suffering enigma of a horse, we made giant, groundbreaking leaps. Subtle, but groundbreaking.

I figured out the most important thing I could have, to help him. I figured out why he has panic attacks and how I can get him out of one when it’s happening. Anyone who knows anyone with PTSD knows how huge that is. To be able to look in his eyes when they’ve gone glassy and the horse I know and love just seems to be gone – and to know why he’s gone, where he’s gone and how to get him back… that’s tremendous. I feel like I can finally help him. I have finally found the hole that he falls into and how to get him out. After years of helplessly watching him leave into a terrible inner world that seemed to mentally torture him, at last I can break down those walls and bring him back to safety.

It’s so simple and self-explanatory that I’m amazed I didn’t see it long ago. Then again, if it was that self-explanatory, horse PTSD wouldn’t be the only thing we can deal with better.

I get in there with him, and I show him the way out.

In the face of discoveries like these – things invisible to man, but oh so important in the sight of God – the goals I’ve been setting just can’t compare.

For my own guts, I think it would be good for me to try and jump him higher. If he was always the Magic he is when he’s okay, he’d pack my butt around and teach me that jumps bigger than 70cm are not deadly and evil. Even when he is having a moment, he’ll jump 90cm as happily as he’ll jump 60cm.

But it’s not about me.

He needs a perfect rider. He needs a rock-steady lighthouse of a rider that can show him the way out of fear. He needs someone who’s never in a hurry, or in a bad mood, or focused on something other than being there for him. He needs someone who cares way more about him than about anything else. I so much want to learn to be that rider, not only for my training skill, but for my living skill. And I’m just not that rider when I’m scared.

Even if I did push him, he’s all of nine years old and already has bony changes in his withers. He won’t be sound forever. I don’t know how many years I’ll still be able to go jumping stuff with him. Maybe three? Four? I don’t want to spend those years fighting in order to jump mediocre heights badly.

I want to spend them listening to that horse’s soul. Because it tells me things about God and people and bullying and mental illness and myself that I really need to learn.

Goals can’t hold a candle to that.

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the day we came third won champion of the universe

Midas Goals 2017

While I didn’t officially do goals for Midas last year, he had a successful three-year-old year despite having a late start. We have lots to do this year to achieve what I like at the end of the four-year-old year, but I’m pretty confident in the little chap. He’s got this.

  • Hack alone and in company. He’s quite brave and obedient, and for a sale pony this is quite a non-negotiable – what kid wants a pony that won’t hack?
  • Be quiet at shows. This includes overnight in the stable.
  • Compete up to 70cm showjumping at training shows. I’m being ambitious now, but let’s see what this guy can do.
  • Compete up to Prelim at training shows. This at least I am good at, so we should be able to do this.
  • Compete at the Nooitie shows. Because Nooitie shows are epic.
  • Go cross-country schooling. I’d love to event him in 2018, either myself or under a child.

The sale pony business is still a learning curve for me, so once again my goal setting is based largely on an educated guess. But we’ll see what happens. Or at least, I know exactly what’ll happen: God’s plan, in all its pure perfection.

Glory to the King.