How I Became An Editor

Here’s how I became a kamikaze pilot  an editor without really trying.

As you know, I wrote for the fall/winter issue of the American Trakehner Magazine. Afterwards I was asked to be the issue  editor for the spring issue.

I said sure, why not. As I assumed (and this is where I should have double checked) that I would just be editing all of the material. I didn’t realize I was going to be responsible for the whole magazine and curating all of its content. That was, until two days ago. Oops.

I think I need a redo.

I shouldn’t have assumed that I was going to be handed the articles. Of course, multiple people sent me ideas (that I should write) but a magazine is supposed to have multiple authors. So, I said great idea and thought that they would write the articles. Imagine my surprise when I contacted them and they pretty much said “Well, I gave you the idea but I don’t have the time to write the articles. Good luck.”

Wait a minute-  you think I’m not busy?

That is the most frustrating thing about the writing world and life in general (and I’m guilty of this too)- we all have great ideas but we don’t want to take the time to follow through with those ideas. We don’t want to get our hands dirty. Oops. I guess I expected people to take responsibility and to help develop and further the Trakehner breed.

My mistake.

This morning, before I took my medication for my narcolepsy, I was fuming. I pretty much wrote out several nasty articles in my head and I had every intention of putting those thoughts down on paper. Except, I stopped and realized one thing.

I’m younger than most of the American Trakehner Members. I don’t think they realize what that means. If they don’t pull in more young blood, the breed will die and/or it will be absorbed by other associations. However, I won’t let that happen. If I have to, I will bide my time. I will breed high quality horses and I will develop my ideas and one day I will be in a position where I can “take the reins” of the association.

Do I want to do that? Do I want to be on the outside until there is no one left? No, I don’t. I want to learn from the veteran breeders but they need to realize that they need to teach; not assume that the newbies know what it takes to be Trakehner breeders (because I know absolutely nothing). With all of the technology at our hands it is the easiest it’s ever been to teach others. We can do webinars and send powerpoints; we can do virtual conferences and online classes. You name it and we can do it; notice I say “we” not “I” because supporting and developing a breed requires the help of hundreds (if not thousands) of people.

I bought my first Trakehner seven years ago and I became a lifetime member because I knew I wanted to be a breeder; I wanted to help further promote and develop the breed. Yep, I bred for my first foal not really knowing what I needed to do as a Trakehner breeder (like make sure I got a breeding certificate from the stallion owner). It’s funny because this correlates to how I became an editor for the American Trakehner Magazine without realizing it.

I wrote a couple of articles for the last magazine. It didn’t take long and I figured why not write some more. I agreed to being an issue editor even though I’ve only ever done peer to peer editing. *face palm*

I have a week to put together the magazine. I downloaded InDesign and I’m going to teach myself how to use it. Oh, and I picked the perfect time to have this catastrophe because I also start my brand new job tomorrow. This job is the gateway to becoming who I want to be. Bring on the ill advised energy drinks. 

I’ll see you on the other side. 

As a side note- if you search for Trakehner/American Trakehner two blogs show up (and one of them is mine). Seriously, Trakehner people, where is our online presence? We have this amazing breed and we aren’t talking about it. How do you expect people to learn about the breed if we aren’t being obnoxious and promoting the hell out of the breed?

American Trakehner Brand

American Trakehner Brand


To Dream is to be Divine.

Who are you?

No, seriously, when you look in the mirror who do you see? It is a question I ask myself every day.

Why am I who I am? What choices led me to be this person? Do I still want to be that person?

I write for the American Trakehner Association. I decided to write for them on a whim and sometimes I wonder if I jumped the gun. Truly, I have too much going on for me to volunteer to write for an organization I want to be a part of. There are days when I scratch my head and wonder why on earth I have horses. I must be insane. What is a girl like me doing dreaming such big dreams? I must be delusional; I should be committed.

When I think those things, I forget how brave I am to be going down this road. I’ve risked a lot. I’ve gambled my health, my hopes and sometimes, my sanity.

At this point in time I tell myself I’ll be happy if I can have my horses in my backyard. After all, I have a handicap (I have a incurable lifelong disease- narcolepsy) and my doctors have suggested I take a break from horses. I’ve written about this before but I want to write briefly about it again because this time I almost believed what my doctors told me. This time, I almost believed the whispers that say I shouldn’t dream nor should I hope to be a competitive rider because I haven’t got what it takes.

So maybe, I don’t have the things I need to be a competitive rider tomorrow, but I do have everything I need to be successful in the long run. I bred for an amazing filly that catches the eye of everyone person that meets her.  I forget how gorgeous she is because I’ve had her since day one. I’ve taken my horses for granted because day after day I shovel their poop and I feed them their food and I ache at night from the chores I do.

It’s a bit silly because I have this lovely horse (Julie) who is a dream to ride and I just say “eh, no thanks, not today.” I forget how many people would love to have the opportunity to ride a horse of her quality and training.

I also forget how much I have accomplished with how little I have. I look around me and I see people who have to sell their horses or starve their horses or have to give up riding because they can’t afford it. I’ve been stubborn enough to keep my horses when most other people would fold. This past week I almost caved. I threw a hissy fit because I was frustrated and certain all of my hard work was for nothing.

I stayed the course though and I’m still here. Things are (for the moment) looking up. I even have this little flame in my mind- I want to breed Julie again. I won’t (although, if the funds were there I would), not until my debts are paid and I am financially sound. In fact, I am using breeding Julie as a carrot to force myself to become financially sound. When I get my debts paid off and I have plenty of savings I will breed Julie- as long as she is physically fit and healthy. I love raising babies and I love how fast they grow. I love how inquisitive they are. The next time I breed, I intend to savor each day I get to watch the foal grow up. I intend to be more aware of the pitfalls I befell the first time around. The next time around I will make sure I plan and then plan again.

On Monday, I start a new job; a new career. One that has the capacity to support my horsey habits and then some. The past ten years (yes, it’s been a long time) have been a journey to discover who I am and what drives me. As a horse person that means that I had to figure out that I do not want to own a commercial horse farm nor do I want to spend hours teaching lessons. I figured out I’d rather have a private facility where I breed Trakehners to help better the breed; not to line my pockets.

As I’ve written before- I know that there will be more traps and more times where I despair. I just hope that every time I feel like I should give up; I  stop and remind myself of all I have accomplished and all I will accomplish. So, I won’t get everything tomorrow- I will get everything I dream of (and sometimes more than I dreamed of) by just being me and by remembering that I am lucky to have what I have.


Big, Ugly Frogs

Dressage for Mere Mortals

In Japan there’s a saying that goes like this: “Eat your biggest, ugliest frog first.”

I love this phrase, which I take to mean, “Tackle your largest problems before anything else.” When it comes to riding, transitions are the biggest, ugliest frogs in my itinerary. Nothing else shows off flaws more quickly, other than falling off.

In the spirit of eating that big, ugly frog, I asked Natalie (as in Natalie Perry Dressage) if we could tackle transitions in today’s lesson. Natalie’s always up for a challenge and was happy to help.

Transitions are all about preparation and part of that preparation is the half-halt. While I use half-halts somewhat intuitively in the trot, in the excitement of the canter, they’re sporadic.

My thought was to work on the the half-halt in the trot to lengthen and shorten the gait. Then, with the cues imbedded in my brain, work on…

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Trakehner Troubles

It’s Wednesday but I keep thinking it is Tuesday. My mind is running in about ten different directions. I’m sure you know the feeling. I’m sure you also know how stressful change can be. Yes, change it is our life blood but it is also the thing we dread the most.

A lot has happened in the past few weeks. I got rid of my clunker truck and now have a shiny, almost new car. I feel like a big girl. It’s the perfect car to go with my new job. It’s a big girl job where I work in an office but I’ll still be immersed in the horse world. Sorry, you can’t get rid of me that easily. 

All of these are positive changes, but at this moment in time I am freaking out because I am a perfectionist and things aren’t going as smoothly as they should be. I feel a bit like this horse:

Look at me I’m hot stuff and then, yep, completely knock myself out.

I just don’t know what I am doing. Am I being hard headed by keeping my horses? Would they be better off with someone else? I mean I don’t have the time or energy for them and today is one of those days where I am questioning my dreams (you guessed it- I can’t pay my bills). Such is the life of a horse addicted, college educated woman. Or maybe, I’m just crazy.

Check back because I’ll be posting updated photos of my girls soon.

Here’s an aside- I am stressed because I have no hay for my horses and I can’t pay their board. They need more shavings and I don’t get paid until Friday but that paycheck is already gone because I need to pay the other half of my down payment on my car. So I bought scratch tickets with my last few dollars and well, my luck held and I lost that money. It’s days like today that I wonder why I try. It’s days like today that I wish I had someone walking this path with me. It’s stressful being alone because at the end of the day. All you have is you. 

Trakehner Thursday

Why do I blog?

It’s a good question. One I often answer with- I just do. I started this blog to talk specifically about my favorite breed. More importantly, I started it to write about my journey with Trakehners.

It’s a journey that so often seems to be stagnant. I take care of my horses twice a day. I dream about the day when they will be in my backyard and I get frustrated when their care isn’t exactly how I want it. Which is why I am nursing a stiff neck and a headache today. It is also the first time I’ve felt this sore after a fall.

The scene: 

It’s about 9PM and I just got done with work. The barn is dark and the doors are all closed except- SH*T the front sliding doors to their barn aren’t closed all the way. I park my truck while my thoughts rush around fuming and growling and all sorts of angry. My inward rant about how I hate boarding my horses etc begins. Oh, how I love those rants. While ranting, I grab hay from the feed room. I listen to the squeak of my shoes against the snow as I walk back to the mostly closed barn doors. The gap isn’t big enough for me to get hay through so I try to open them further. Stuck! Frozen to the ground. Now, I’m cursing mother nature and the stupid winter etc.

Undeterred, I wiggle myself in sideways and throw my back against the door. It budges. The other one is the problem. “I’ll be back!” The doors are unimpressed. My horses nicker at me and I forget about my nemesis while I give my horses their evening snacks and refill their water buckets. Fae is attention starved so I tell her how pretty she is and I pet her neck. She loves on me and I close her door. I go into Julie’s stall because she can’t be forgotten. “You’re such a pretty mare. Oh, you are the best. I love you.” I close her door and face my enemy.

The doors are about a foot and half apart. My nemesis. I will conquer you! I think as I set to closing the doors. I turn off the lights and began yanking on the door handle. It’s screwed into old, rotted wood. I pull and pull and then… well, I fly backwards handle in hand. SMACK! my head connects with the rubber mat on the aisle. Julie and Fae whinny as I lay on the ground in the dark. I see stars and I can tell I’ve freaked out all of the horses. They dance in their stalls and one of the horses bangs on his door. After a moment I get up; my blood is hot. I turn the lights back on. First I try the shovel to lift the door up. Still stuck. Then I kick it for good measure (several times). I tug on it and still, the damn thing won’t budget. After another five fruitless minutes Julie whinnies at me like she’s telling me I need to stop. “I’m ok, Julie.” My head is throbbing and I decide she’s correct. With a flick of my finger the barn is drapped in darkness and the damn door is laughing at me. The gap between the two is about ten inches.

I love a little bit of snow but how I hate winter. 

This morning I woke up to a stiff neck and a headache. The whole left side of my neck hurts. I really shouldn’t fought with the doors; but I get so tunnel focused and determined. Which is probably my biggest asset and my biggest weakness. It means that I will do whatever it takes to get what I want but it also means I have a hard time surrendering. I hate giving up and I hate defeat. I lost to a freaking door! 

However, it’s incidents like these that make me realize I don’t want to own a farm by myself. There is too much that can go wrong. Too much that could happen. If I hadn’t had on my hoodie and if I had hit my head on cement would I have been as lucky? I went to the barn alone and no one knew I was there. The owner lives there but she’d already done her nightly walk through. Something so small as trying to close a door could have ended so many of my dreams. The older I get, the more I realize I need to think things through.

How does this relate to Trakehners? Well, they are a smart and sensitive breed. Fae is so smart and easy to train. She respects me and doesn’t try to push my around when I lead her. It’s things like daily interaction and daily training that have made her so easy to be around. I hear horror stories of horrible young horses and I am so thankful Fae isn’t like that. She has the propensity to be bad. Especially because she hasn’t been out much due to the weather. She’s starting to grow into herself and I hope she continues to be well behaved. As a horse owner, breeder, and trainer my constant thoughts are: how do I want her to behave as an adult? Am I teaching her what she needs to know?

Julie, in her own way, does her best to teach Fae. For example: when I get on Julie, she usually walks away before I’m settled. The funny thing is that when I get on her with the intention of Ponying Fae, Julie stand stock still until I tell her to walk on. I think the greatest thing about breeding Julie is watching her teach Fae how to be a modern sport horse. I feel so lucky to own such smart and well behaved horses.

I’m so thankful I have the privilege of working with a breed as marvelous as the Trakehner.

On Trakehners:

I once dreamed of beautiful horses

Strong, loyal and athletic.

I dreamed they were mine.

Smart, sensible and trusting.

To see them is to know love.

They talk to me when I enter the barn.

My beautiful dreams-

in the flesh.

Such an honor,

to have what I desire.

One most do not know.

Oh, the love of a horse.

The Five Minute Ride

Part of growing up, is realizing how immature you are something I realize is part of the reason why I’ve been worried and afraid. I’ve thrown virtual temper tantrums and I’m sure there are more ahead.

Writers tend to be in their heads a lot. Which means, we tend to be a bit more self centered than the general populous. I’ve been frustrated because I’m not where I want to be. I’m not competing nor riding regularly. I’ve been pitching fits and punishing myself because I haven’t gotten things done when I expected them to be done. Yes, if that statement doesn’t make sense, believe me it doesn’t make sense to me either.

When I was younger, my mom would say if you misbehave you can’t ride- I never misbehaved. Once, I grew older and she no longer held the reins to my decisions I still used the same punishment. You can’t ride or be around your horses if you don’t do x,y,z. I would often let myself down and therefore I punished myself by not riding. Can you see how self fulfilling that is? I got to the point where I pretty much told myself you can’t ride because you aren’t good enough.

I am a very good rider as well as a very good instructor. It’s hard to ignore those whispers though, and as I made more and more mistakes those lies grew louder and louder. Several times I told myself to give up and sell the horses. I almost did but every time I was about to write up their ads I stopped because someone would reach out and say- hold on a little longer.

I’ve owned Julie for almost seven years. She is more than a pet; she is a companion. She has seen me through multiple ups and downs. I love her to pieces and as I grow older I dream of having her in my backyard because I want her close to me. People tell me that I shouldn’t want horses in my backyard- that it is too much work but I disagree. Isn’t it easier to walk to a barn thirty feet away than to drive fifteen minutes one way? I’d love to be able to go out, feed my horses and go back to bed.

I digress, about two weeks ago I realized something. I was scrolling through photos of people riding their horses through snow or on the beach and I thought- I want that. I want that simplicity. I’ve been so fixated on being the best and hating myself because I wasn’t born into a home that had money that I forgot what being a horse person is all about.

Two weeks ago, I stopped hating myself for something out of my control. I decided to ride Julie bareback, at a walk, for about 20 mins. We worked on some things but I didn’t put pressure on myself. I didn’t get mad because we weren’t jumping 3’3″ fences. I enjoyed our partnership. I enjoyed the fact that I think something and she does it. I enjoyed the communication between us and I enjoyed that she is my horse. I also found it entertaining that she was worried about Fae. The two are attached. I know most would say I need to wean them from each other. I will, in time.

Today, I had to shovel a lot of snow to clear a path to their turnout. The problem- I didn’t clear a wide enough path for three bodies (I would have died). Solution: I’ll ride Julie and pony Fae. Both were in for most of the past 24 hours. There is only one horse I would ever get on knowing that- Julie. I led her to my truck and spent a couple of minutes convincing her to stand still and trying to keep Fae from being too nosy. I got Julie close enough to my bumper and Fae was standing still on Julie’s far side. Julie finds it funny to start walking before I get on. She always make sure I’ve gotten on her back but doesn’t wait for me to get settled. Which means that this morning I launched myself onto her back and wiggled into place as Julie turned and headed towards the turnout. She had a pep in her step and Fae followed along behind like we do that all the time.

I never do that with them. The last time I rode Julie with Fae around Fae was about a month old and she galloped around screaming bloody murder because what I was doing broke all the laws of her little world. I’m so glad Fae figured out that humans riding horses is normal. I think Fae was a little jealous I decided to ride Julie instead of her. We got to the paddock without incident. When I got off I managed to wrap Fae’s lead around my leg. Luckily, she stopped and let me undo it.

Those two horses are amazing. I can do anything with them and they’ll do it. They trust me.

Today, on my five minute ride, I remembered the magic of riding.

Happy Trails.

The Times

Julie and Fae January 2015

Julie and Fae January 2015

Fae August 6th 2013 3AM

Fae August 6th 2013 3AM

Fae's first steps August 6th 2013

Fae’s first steps August 6th 2013

Fae was born August 6th, 2013 after 362 days of waiting and worrying and pacing and uncertainty. This plain little filly came out more beautiful and amazing than I could have ever imagined. I love her to bits and I am so proud of Julie. She was (and is) such an amazing mother. She took everything in stride (I know it’s a pun). Both horses have moved multiple times and they’ve never put up a fuss nor did anything wrong. They are both worth their weight in gold.

I am exhausted though, after 17 months of owning those two (and moving several times and having to give up a third horse to a rescue because I couldn’t afford her) I am at my wit’s end. I take care of them every day. I love them, I do, but I just want to be able to breathe. I want to enjoy them instead of rushing through their care. Fae wants attention as does Julie. Both horses need regular work not because they are crazy but because they want jobs. I bred Julie because I wanted a foal from her. I love her movement and I wanted to make sure her bloodline would live on after she passed. As I reflect on everything though, I’m wondering if I’m digging myself into a bigger hole.

Things look like they are getting better on the outside, but they aren’t. I moved back home (yes, I don’t pay rent) and I got a full time job (yes, I have a full time job) but I’m not close to where I want to be. In fact, I feel as though I’m as far from my goals as possible. I’m struggling with debt and with an incurable disease. I have so much doubt and fear that I just want to throw in the towel and walk away. I know I shouldn’t. I know that I have to keep pressing on but I just don’t know why. I’m broke. All of my money goes to my horses. On reddit I was reminded that horses aren’t a right but a privilege. I’d go a step further and say they are a responsibility.

Most people would have sold the horses by now. It’s the logical thing to do; but I am not most people. When my mom asked me why I wouldn’t sell them I said “I should just get rid of them because it’s not convenient for me? Because I have to make sacrifices? That’s what [my father] did. I don’t want to be like him.”

The crux of the situation is that I’ve been let down by a lot of people. I’ve been cast aside by many who no longer feel I am important enough to care about. My biological father was selfish (I’ve written about him and I’ve done vlogs about him too) but my stepfather was also selfish. He, my step dad, stopped living after his sister and mom died (both from cancer). He took to the bottle and to smoking weed. He gave up fighting for his family and he let his cancer take him. He died two weeks after I graduated college; and it was just another reminder as to why I don’t let people into my life.

The truth is- they will leave you. Through death or decisions, they leave. 

I’ve kept my horses because I need them. Whenever I hit a dark spot they are what keep me from going over the edge. My thoughts always turn to who will take care of them? Will they be ok? You can’t leave them. I am more attached to them than I am to my family because my horses won’t leave me but my family.

My mom is starting a new chapter in her life. I’m excited for her, but I’m scared, because she is selling my childhood home and her new place will be too small for anyone else but her.

I’m at my wit’s end because I don’t have the money to rent and I don’t have any place to live. I have three cats I have to think about. Most people would say get rid of them but I can’t/ won’t. They are my responsibility. I made a commitment to them and I’m not going back on it.

I’ve been so self centered lately. I keep pushing people away because I can’t deal with them. I’m drowning and I don’t have any way of keeping afloat. My job doesn’t pay enough for me to sustain myself and my horses and my cats. I don’t have anyone to turn to for help (let’s face it any help people give me is short lived. I’ll wear out my welcome in no time.)

Yes, there are things that might happen. There are ideas and half thought of schemes, but at this very second, none of that matters. I’m dealing with the repercussions of a car accident where I hit my head pretty badly. I thought the whole personal injury process would be quicker than it is; but my lawyer is unhelpful (just another man who has let me down) and I’m getting sick of empty promises.

That is what I’m getting- empty promises.

Get a college degree & you’ll make more money.

Believe in God and he’ll always provide.

Just believe and it will work out.

I’m a hard worker but it’s not enough. When I go to the barn I ignore everyone there, because I don’t want to interact with them. It’s too much work. People always let you down and so I have to do everything myself. I love my horses so very much; I want to be able to have a well paying career and enjoy them but I just don’t see how it is possible.

Yes, I’ve started developing my writing portfolio; for goodness sakes’ I’ve been published in the Trakehner magazine and I am the editor for the spring edition. I need to start working on it. The deadline is coming up fast. There is a lot I want to do as I wrote about on my main blog and I have a lot of ideas but I’m getting worn out. It is best described by this poem written by yours truly. However, it’s a bit clunky and needs some tweaking.

I’m not looking for some guy to swoop in and save the day. I think Ilona Andrews writes it best: I can’t find where the excerpt is for the line I’m looking for so I will paraphrase it “I used to carry myself home bloody and dirty. I would clean my wounds and take care of myself but it was lonely no one was there to say ‘I’m glad you’re still alive and you made it back safe.’ Now, if I’m missing or don’t answer a call I know someone is out looking for me and I’m no longer alone.”

I’m veered off from the main point of my post but I’ll bring it back. I love my animals. I do. They make my life worth living but they can’t reciprocate the care I provide. They don’t call me to make sure I’m ok. They can’t go out and pick up food if I’m too exhausted to make something. They are my responsibility. One I am fully committed to, but sometimes, I wish I had someone who was willing to share the burden. Someone who would say “You’ve got this and when you feel like you don’t I’m here and I’ve got it.”  I want to be with someone who is excited about what I’m excited about even if he isn’t passionate about it. Someone is here in the physical world; someone to walk beside and to dream and plan with. I don’t need anyone in my life. I don’t need people to survive but their company is something I enjoy. I don’t need my horses to continue living but they make my life better. I am who I am because I’m stubborn and I’ve fought to accomplish this much.  I just don’t know if I can keep on fighting. Kate, the main character in Ilona Andrews’ stories, is a fighter; a killer. I love her grit and determination but I am not a killer. That doesn’t mean I’m not a fighter but fighting without an end in sight is draining and I don’t know how much longer I’ll be able to stay in the battle.