Thursday, October 23, 2014

Photographic Evidence.

I was going through pictures from the past year and I found THIS:


Photographic evidence that The Mare *has,* in fact, spooked at something (such a pathetic little spook in reality lol).

Craziness. Must have been a weird phase of the moon or something....

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Price of a Dream

"Sometimes we must be willing to let go of the life we planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us." -Joesph Campbell


I think, my friends, that this might be the hardest post I'll ever write. I don't even want to write it because I feel guilty and kind of a like a failure for saying some of these things out loud, but honesty is freeing in some ways, and sometimes a fresh perspective from others helps too...plus I'm so tired of crying and feeling so defeated about this that I think I just need to say it out loud...

So, I guess here I go...

Do you remember when you were young and the world was just so simple and everything seemed so possible and you could do anything and be anyone?

I do. I was fourteen. I was fourteen and the one dream I had, the only dream I had, was to own a horse. That was it for me. In my narrow little vision, that was it. Missy was it. End of story. Happily ever after.

And I did it. Everyone looked at me and said "she's too young" and "she's too inexperienced" and "she doesn't understand what she's getting herself into." And I look at all those people and ignored them. I was me, in charge of my own destiny, and if I could dream it, than damn well I could do it.

Those same people looked at me and said "but Mary, you won't be a kid forever, you have to grow up...you will grow up and what are you going to do when that happens?"

I ignored them, for in that moment., in my innocent, youthful bliss, I couldn't imagine a dream bigger than Missy. 

The thing that I didn't understand, the part of the story that I couldn't foresee, was that Missy would take that shy nobody of a young girl and make her into someone bigger, stronger, more confident...she would open up the possibility for me to dream bigger.

And so here we are. No longer do I merely dream of owning horses, I dream of helping them too. 

I've always said, from day one, that as much as I love riding (and I do love riding),  I am so much more of a horse person than a riding person. Horses are not just what I do, but who I am. They are a part of my heart and soul. But just the same, I wasn't that girl who knew without a doubt at age 10 that she wanted to be a vet. In fact, for a very long time, I looked at the time it would take me to get there, and I didn't want any part of that. I wanted a life for myself and I didn't want to wait until I was 30 to have it.

But somehow that's not how I look at it anymore. Now I think about my future and I can't come up with something that makes me that excited. When I close my eyes, I can see my myself some years down the road...and now there isn't anything in the world that I want more.

Missy is my heart and soul. I doubt anyone will ever understand her or love her like I do. She has given me more than I could ever repay. I owe her everything.

But what am I to do?

I don't have time to ride. I don't have time to go home and see her. I physically cannot be a full time student in one of the most competitive fields in existence and work enough hours to pay for her and a car and gas and all the other ridiculous expenses that come with having to be an adult.

I'm doing this all by myself, and as much as it shatters my heart into a million little pieces to admit the words out loud, I don't know how to do it all.

Right now, her board is costing me pretty much as cheap as it can get because I have a leaser. I could move her somewhere else but it would end up costing me more because I couldn't lease her out. I guess I could throw her out in a field somewhere, but I don't have the time to go check on her. The only reason that the situation is working now is because I trust the BO/BM where she's at so impeccably and they truly take care of her.

I guess I could try to find a full leaser, but how long does that go on? I have undergrad, vet school, and undoubtedly a residency into front of me.

In a way, I feel as though I'm just prolonging the inevitable.

But at the same time, how in the hell do I physically give up the biggest part of my heart?

I have no answers and I'm killing myself trying to find them.

I just don't know what to do.

I guess all I do know, is that growing up is damn hard.


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Quarter Horse Congress 2014

 
A friend posted this on Fbook...at the very least it's a tad funny:P


What a crazy weekend! I'm still tired lol but man I had a total blast!

It all started bright and early Friday morning...I got in a van with a few other horse girls from WVU and we drove to Columbus for a weekend of Quarter Horse Congress. I didn't know all of these people really super well, but by the end we were all pretty close! I can't wait until our next adventure!

We arrive in Columbus around 1pm and started off the weekend with some major vendor browsing. I was totally boring and only ended up with some bell boots for a good price and a new pair of spur straps (side note: glad I grabbed the bell boots because I got to the barn today and Miss had lost a boot...darn horses), but it's still fun to window shop. Thankfully Congress tends to canter more towards the western rider, so there wasn't *too* much to tempt me.










We then dared to go to the warm-up ring...I haven't been to Congress in about 7 years so I totally forgot how bad the warm-up ring is. I lasted about 10 minutes before the yanking/gerking and draw reins attached to leverage bits got the better of me and I had to leave because it really bothered me (side note: I have videos of some of it and oh em gee it's BAD). Learned my lesson...there are some things you just don't want to see first hand.
By this time, it was time for us to leave and go check in to our hotel so we could get ready for dinner and the PBR that night.

The hotel we stayed at was super nice and we ended up st this little sports bar that had really really good food and really really bad service (apparently the good food won us over thought because we ended up back there on Saturday night).

The PBR was at 8 and we barely made it back to the expo center in time, but we got there! Our seats were kind of far away from the action, but they gave us a nice view of the whole arena! Bull riding is...interesting. There really isn't a better way to put it! It definitely isn't what I expected, though. I guess the media always kind of portrays bulls as super aggressive, but it more like they knew their job and did it well. It was a neat first time experience for me. Definitely not my chosen passion, by any means, but we had a good time! The rodeo clowns were hilarious and the roping horse had a fabulous cow sense and good self-preservation skills!



The PBR was a solid two hours and I think we were all totally wiped by the end of it and definitely ready to get back to our beds! 



I totally crashed the second my head hit the pillow and I was a tad sad when our 8am alarm went off...though it wasn't *quite* as hard to get my butt out of bed to go to Congress as it is to go to class lol Thankfully, I live on coffee, so I was ready to go once I downed a cup of wonderful caffeine.

On our way back to the vendors, we stopped at the Puppy Pavillion and immersed ourselves in cuteness...I wanted to take one home so badly!


                 

It was right about now that I checked my phone and saw a text from a fellow blogger buddy. We had realized we would be at Congress the same weekend, and made plans to meet up. She had both arrived right around the same time, so we decided on a meeting place. So, I broke off with my group for a bit and went to meet Tracy from Fly On Over!


It's always hard when you've only ever met someone online, but I took a good guess when I got to our designated meeting place and went up to two women. Turns out I was right! I introduced myself and Tracy immediately gave me a hug. I loved that lol:) I'm a super friendly person and I like friendly people! Plus, it feels like I know so many of you even though we've never met in real life! Tracy was no expection and we hit it off right away. We went and browsed some vendors and talked about a variety of things: our horses, our disciplines, and blogging in general. It was fun getting to know her and Tracy's mom was equally as sweet. She impressed me with her knowledge of a equestrian topics...my mom looks at me like I'm nuts lol

It had been awhile since I'd been to Congress, so Tracy and her mom insisted that I had to see the barns...they said they were really cool and unique and no trip to Congress was complete without seeing the elaborate displays firsthand...holy crap they were right! I couldn't get over how incredible they were...you could definitely tell it was a sign of status to these barns and they went all out!










               

After I said goodbye to Tracy (with the promise that we should try to meet up in April for Equine Affaire!), I went and met back up with one of the girls I came down with and we went "trailer shopping" (read: we went and walked through all the incredible trailers and dreamed a little lol) and then went to watch a couple working hunter classes.









The highlight of the whole weekend (and perhaps my life...I kid) occurred that night. Two words, my friends: Freestyle Reining. It's like a dressage freestyle meets reining with costumes (I think we need to petition the FEI to mandate costumes for Grand Prix Dressage Freestyles!). It was interesting because it was divided into two divisions, pros and amateurs, but they all rode together in a random order so you didn't really know who was what. Some people were really good, a couple were AMAZING and then there was those on the opposite end of the spectrum too. Nevertheless, the music and costumes were awesome! I managed to video a couple just for you guys (I was bummed because while I recorded the winner of the pro division, Dan James of Double Dan Horsemanship, my phone died so I missed recording the winner of the amateur division. She was cool because she actually rode bridle-less AND scored a point and a half higher than Dan James. However, I managed to find a video of Youtube from someone else!).








Another super cool thing that happened at the Freestyle was that Shawn Flarida rode his WEG Team and Individual Gold Medal Winning Horse, Spooks Gotta Wiz. It was cool to see such a top level horse preform! Definitely an added treat to an already-superb night!




On Sunday morning, we went back to Congress for a couple final hours before heading home, and I took the opportunity to watch a halter class. It was my first experience with this, and I definitely have to say, it's a totally different world! The particular class I watched was weanlings, and while I was impressed with their ground manners at such a young age, I'm not used to seeing babies with so much bulk to them. It was interesting, and while definitely not my cup of tea, I try to keep and open mind and learn all that I can about different disciplines.

Overall, we had a great time! I definitely would like to go back for the Freestyle Reining next year...my only advice to future Congress attendees? Stay away from the warm-up rings (and definitely meet-up with at least one blogger buddy!)!!!;)


P.S. I apologize for all the iPhone pics...I lent a family member my camera to use for the weekend (brave or stupid? lol)

Monday, October 13, 2014

Who I Want To Be


                   


I am currently working on a big old Congress write up because that is where I spent my weekend, but first I'm must tell you about the super awesome thing that happened to me today!

The old Mary was this super duper introverted girl who was really bad at putting herself out there. I was deathly shy.

But I've grown up a lot in the last several years and gained a lot of confidence in the process, therefore things that used to be impossible for me are now much easier. I've come a long way. 

I haven't really talked about it at all, mostly because...well I'm not even sure...but I started thinking really hard about vet school last year. I think I've pretty much always known that I would end up in medicine, but my parents were pretty set on me going the MD route. And I kind of went with it because I wanted to make them proud. But then last year I started having second thoughts and my mom wasn't very pleased when I told her I was thinking about vet school.

It was really hard for me because I felt like my heart was telling me one thing, but I also felt pressured down another path and it was stressing me out. Eventually one day, after some talks with people who know (including fellow blogger Saiph), I pretty much decided that I don't care what other people think. I need to go with my heart and my gut on this. It was totally a break-through moment for me.

When I told my best friend, who has known me forever, she looked at me, gave me the biggest hug, and said "I am soooooo proud of you! It's about time you figured it out!"

It was actually pretty funny because that was definitely *not* the reaction I was expecting lol 

I debated for awhile whether I should continue at WVU as a Biology major or specifically choose to go the pre-vet route with Animal Science as my major. Biology was more general but would probably be more useful if vet school didn't work out. Animal Science, on the other hand, would set me up with exactly the classes to apply to vet school, and also had the added advantage of being more flexible with electives so I could concentrate my education a little more. In the end, I went for it and decided to switch from Bio to Animal Science...and I am SOOOOOO glad that I did! I love my group of animal science people and the professors are amazing!

Since last winter/spring I've had the opportunity to observe and learn from small animal vets in my area and it's been totally eye-opening in a lot of ways...ways you don't really realize until the moment you do. In a lot of ways, I wasn't completely prepared for it, but to be honest it has made me love veterinary medicine all that much more! For the first time, I feel like I know the direction my life is going and it's exhilarating!

Anyway, I've said all of that, to say this:

I've desperately wanted to get in with an Equine vet...badly. I obviously have a lot of interest in that side of things, and why I enjoy the cats and the dogs, I've really wanted large animal experience.  The actual large animal vet in my town is more of an old-school cow vet, and why I value all experience from all vets, I have really wanted to learn from someone with a lot of interest in horses and who was up-to-date with the latest and greatest in equine medicine.

Then last spring /summer I dealt with Missy's lameness and Dr. M walked into our lives and was absolutely AMAZING. I've pretty much been contemplating talking to her about shadowing her since the first time I met her because I was so impressed and I just knew I could learn so much.

Funny things about needing to call the vet to look at your horse a couple times over a period of months, is you start to build up a relationship, so while my stress level would have preferred a sound Missy, Dr. M knew who I was and knew Missy and I was learning just from her working on my horse.

I've been telling myself that I'm going to call her for the last few weeks about working with her during some of my school breaks...but, of course I still hadn't done it. Well it turns out that today, when I went up to the barn (I'm on fall break), she was there for another horse. She saw me in the indoor and waved and came over and said hi why I was riding Miss and was asking how she was doing. I was touched that she cared enough to go out of her way to check on The Mare. Good vet, my friends! We also laughed about my small world moment in Disney World. Her friends told her how they had met me down there and we had connected the dots involving her (seriously horse world is so so so so small like that). 

So in that split second friendly-chatting moment, I decided to just go for it and see if she'd be willing to let me tag along and learn from her. I gave her my spiel about wanting to go to vet school and wanting to get some experience with an equine vet and really just genuinely wanting to learn all that I could.

I nearly died from excitement when she enthusiastically said she would definitely be willing to let me come along. OMG OMG OMG. I'm sooooooooooo excited! Like levels of excitement that are off the charts!

We talked a bit about a lot of the work she does and how her days are long and intense, but she does a lot of cool stuff that I so excited to get first hand experience with. Did I mention how excited I am?!!!

The really convenient part about working with Dr. M is that she based pretty much exactly half way between my hometown and where I go to school, which will work out nicely in a lot of ways. This is seriously the perfect opportunity for me!

Yay!



Wednesday, October 8, 2014

WW: The Horses of Kraków

This should probably be titled *almost* Wordless Wednesday;)

I took these pictures during my adventure abroad on July 6th, 2014. I had meant to do a separate post with them a long time ago and totally forgot! I was looking through old pictures yesterday and remembered I had these and figured I'd just go ahead and share them now...just think of this at a Wordless Wednesday meets Throwback Thursday kinda post.

All of the pictures were taken of the carriage horses that work in the Main Square in Kraków, Poland. Kraków's Main Square is the oldest and largest town square in Europe, dating all the way back to the 13th century. These horses give tourists rides around Kraków's old town (for around 100 złoty...which is about 30 USD) the people who own them make a living doing this. It was actually pretty interesting to observe. Usully this kind of thing gets a back rep (NY carriage horses, anyone?!), but I was more or less surprised with how the horses looked and were treated. Some of them had feet that were definitely less-then-ideal (some were actually quite bad) and the shoes they all wore were interesting (my guess would be for traction on the slippery cobble stone) but all of them were fat and sleek looking and their owners were constantly running back and forth to the watering troughs to get them fresh water. It was definitely an interesting view of horses who literally work for a living.

Yeah...definitely not so wordless lol






















P.S. Thank you all for our kinds words on my last post...we are all still pretty much in the shock/disbelief phase, but the goal is to do whatever needs to be done to beat this...it really is just so so so horrible and no one ever thinks this kind of thing will happen to them and then it does. Just make sure to never take your health or the health of the people you love for granted. Cancer sucks.