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.

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The New Year

Greetings, one and all.

On the first of January all Thoroughbreds celebrated their birthday. Some received cakes and beer as well as treats and for others, it was just another day. It’s quite an interesting tradition we have and it’s a bit outdated. Did you know that because we traditionally have Thoroughbreds’ birthdays on the first of the year breeders of all breeds are fixated on making sure foals are born as close to the new year as possible. When we think about that it is a bit silly, especially in the northern hemisphere where temperatures are below freezing and newborn foals need heavy blankets and heating lamps. I’m thankful that Fae was born in August, she was able to spend her first few months warm and running in the sun. Truth be told how I’ve raised her has been outside the normal breeders’ standards.

For this first post of the new year I would like to give you two tips on how to keep horses on a shoestring budget, because believe me, if I can keep horses on my budget you’ll be able to keep horses on yours.

Tip #1:

The various news outlets are filled with neglect, abuse and horrible stories about how horse owners let their horses starve and the images of those poor horses are dreadful. However, those stories don’t have to be the norm. My first tip is to assess what your budget is. If you are truly a horse person you will give up fast food, starbucks and that shiny new cellphone. The money from those things will be enough to buy food for your horses. In addition to that, contact your local rescue. There are many in every state and most have some kind of food bank. Honestly, most rescues would rather you keep your horses and are willing to help you out in a pinch. The caveat is that you also have to make financial changes which leads me to tip number two.

Tip #2:

When you bought your horse everything was going fine, you had a good job and you were paying the bills. Unfortunately, somewhere along the way your expenses increased while your pay stagnated or went down. It happened to me and it has happened to scores of other horse owners. As mentioned above when times get tough, a smart horse owner will get tough on their budget. Too many horse people (myself included) ignore proper budgeting practices and instead they think “everything will pay itself…” that mindset is destructive to your health as well as your horses’ health. It is based on the notion that you have no control over your expenses but you do. The other thing to remember that your expenses increase by one and a half times for every additional horse that you have.

How do I know this? I have owned one horse for over six years. I was able to pay my bills and pay hers it was tough but I did it. Then I had the brilliant idea to breed her. I knew my expenses would increase, but instead of being smart and saving up, I bought a third horse from auction. The goal, of course, was to train and resell her. When I bought the third horse I realized that I wouldn’t be able to sell her as she had been abused and had lumps on her girth area (two very unmarketable traits). Most people would have turned around and dumped her back into the auction. I didn’t, I did end up spending a lot of money on her and most days I wonder why I did.

The moral of the story is: don’t buy an additional horse if you are already strapped for cash, yes, you could turn around and make a quick buck; but the more likely outcome is that you will have an additional horse to feed and you will bury yourself in debt. Owning one horse is relatively easy, but if you don’t have a barn in your backyard and your income is less than ideal adding additional horses isn’t a smart move.

I eventually surrendered that third horse to a rescue. Unfortunately, I made that decision way after I buried myself into debt. Sometimes be nice and doing the right thing is actually detrimental to your long term health. Remember that before you purchase that fixer upper horse.

Stallion Prospect Alert

My goals for my breeding program: breed high quality, colorful Trakehners. I’d also like to line breed for the Matador line. I like the way this colt moves. His hind end is a bit hitchy but he has a good shoulder.

Ideally, I’d buy both him and his dam (really dreaming right now).

I also want to buy an arabian mare for refinement and some older broodmares to keep the older look. I love big bodied, big joined warmbloods that float above the ground.