Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Sometimes you get lucky...

Sometimes you get lucky and stumble into your lifelong passion at age 9.

Sometimes you get lucky and that barn your non-horsey parents send you to not only gives you a wonderful start, but introduces you to people who will be important forever.

Sometimes you get lucky and that trainer who made you cry every time he opened his mouth until you were 13 ends up being your mentor, your friend, and your favorite person in the world.

Sometimes you get lucky and the trainer you find at the barn down the street finds you the horse of a lifetime, and sends you down the path to your dream job with the knowledge to do it, and no fear that it won't happen.

Sometimes you get lucky and that random barn that had enough stalls when it was time to move ends up being your home for 15 years.

Sometimes you get lucky and have family members who don't hesitate to help when that horse of a lifetime needs to come home to retire (or teach lessons for another 8 years).

Sometimes you get lucky and that insane, broken mess of a horse in the barn becomes your saving grace when life falls apart.

Sometimes you get lucky and find clients and horses who continue to teach, inspire, and challenge you every day, because you can't leave everything up to luck.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Vacation time!

February is a "barn closed" month. We go hard for the bulk of the year, and without an indoor winter lessons are cancelled more than they're taught, so closing down for a while is the easiest and most efficient way to deal with everything. Horses get some time to chill, and I get a month to have a life.

I will fully admit that I ALWAYS overschedule my time off. I seem to think that despite the fact that I am still working my other job, I will have time for multiple vacations, apartment painting and closet purging, as well as constant playtime with friends and a regular workout schedule.

Shockingly enough, I've managed most of that. I've picked out paint samples, hit the treadmill 2-3x a week, cleaned 2 out of 4 closets, and started the month with a quick run to NC to see Kirsten and Mehdi. I'm headed to my most favorite place on earth this coming weekend, have tickets to see Cinderella, and enough time open to see another show if I so choose.

When I get home on Monday, I have 3 horses to boot camp back into work (although to be fair, Dundy will probably take less time than the mares), manes to pull, and children to get tuned up (in addition to their horses/ponies, who have been on a light schedule as well), and about 7 weeks to do it in.

Let the need for Xanax begin in 5, 4, 3, 2.....

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Family History

My mother has recently become obsessed with genealogy. Like, obsessed to the point where I'm pretty sure we're going to have to start only allowing her on the internet for a couple hours at a time before she makes herself blind staring at PDF files of the 1900 census. She's done an amazing amount of work at this point, but beyond the part where we're not as Irish as we thought, it's mostly raised a lot of questions about how we're related to various family members.

The most recent is a man by the name of Darius Bentley, who my mother was given a biography of, but no idea as to how he fits into the family.

I suggested perhaps someone thought he was a family member at some time, and never got around to figuring out if it was true or not.

Kate suggested that he was that generation's George Clooney and he'd been on the cover of Tiger Beat of the 1800s a bunch of times and that's why we had the biography of him.

I'm still waiting to figure out how I'm related to HER.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

It's heeerrreeeee....

The beginning of the show season is equal parts awesome and terrifying. Kind of the equivalent of heading up that first hill on a roller coaster, knowing that you're about to drop so hard and fast that your stomach will take up a new location in your mouth. (Probably that's not the best example for someone like me to use. I only ride the little kid coasters, and only when forced, but you get what I'm saying.)

The first show is pretty much just knocking the rust off. Figuring out what we all forgot over the winter break, what the new pairings look like, who I have to have a mock beatdown with because they no longer know what a canter lead is, stuff like that. I'm lucky this year in that I have 3 pairs of kids/horses (or ponies) that are standard issue at this point. We're 3 seasons in, they know the game, and it's going to be months of really polishing everything up so that we can rock out at medal finals. The other 2 pairs just need some miles, so by mid-season they'll really be set and hopefully will qualify for finals as well.

We were lucky in some respects that the season started with three weekends of back-to-back showing. It's super exhausting to do it this way, but the kids really benefit from the consistent ring time. When we're showing every 3 weeks or so, they tend to forget a little bit about what they're supposed to do when it comes time to horse show. That said, I don't recommend coming down with the flu between week 2 and week 3 if you're taking 10 horses to the week 3 show. Thankfully I can occasionally function lower than 100% since I have Shelly to back me up (and vice versa), but it wasn't a pretty week. The kids made all my suffering worthwhile though, they came home with some serious ribbons in some HUGE classes.

And now we have a weekend off, which I plan to spend about as far out of the barn as one can get. Time for a little Broadway, family time, and old friends (who may or may not be horse people as well. You can take the girl out of the barn, and all that...)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Work is lame. Youtube is fun.

Literally just sitting at my desk until 4:30. No one cares anymore, they're putting up a wall outside my office window so it's loud as crap and nothing on my desk has a due date. Youtube videos are my saviors right now, particularly these:

Because Colin Donnell is pretty:

Because Laura Osnes may be the most worthwhile winner of a reality show that no one ever saw (seriously, only my mother and I watched it, and mostly we just watched to make fun of how bad Andrew Lloyd Weber looks):

And because Lin-Manuel Miranda is a genius:

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


One of our long-time clients (who has known me for about 15 years now) looked at me on Saturday, asked about Dundy, and then summed up the last couple weeks with this simple sentence: "Ellen, you have the worst luck."

It's true. Although I have hit the lottery in so many aspects (jobs, friends, family), it would appear that the balance has to be kept by ill/injured ponies (and a non-existent romantic life, but that's a story for a different day).

And as most have probably gathered from my Facebook of late, Dundy has been proving that concept in his own special fashion by needing surgery for an esophageal obstruction. Thanks to his actual owner (aka my boss), our amazing vet, and a top-notch clinic in VA, he is well on his way back to normal. I'm not going to lie to you though, it was a pretty shit-tastic week, as he was walking a pretty thin line between "going to be okay" and "will probably die." I spent the better part of it being of absolutely no help to anyone, as I was pretty much either crying or trying not to cry (not the person you all want in an emergency AT ALL), but thankfully Shelly is amazing in a crisis so she makes up for my level of crazy.

We are now on week 3 post-surgery, and life is slowly returning to normal. We have 6 weeks of rehab (for lack of a better term) and some long-term maintenance issues, but I'm riding him a little and he's feeling well enough to drive us all mental. I had been looking forward to really competing this spring (the day he came home from surgery was the day our entries were to be sent in for our first show), but obviously all those plans are on the back burner. We'll shoot for the fall after the kids' schedule settles down, and hope for a different sort of luck at that point.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Not so wintery winter

I look forward to winter. Not in the sense that I enjoy cold or snow (I hate both), but in the sense that I get a break for at least a few weeks since we don't have an indoor at the farm. Kind of like teachers look forward to summer vacation, I look forward to January and cold weather.

My brain and body needs a vacation in January/February and then again at the end of August. (It won't get the August break this year either since my cousin is getting married over Labor Day. Warning everyone now...) While we have dialed it back a few notches at the farm so that our lesson horses get a vacation, the boarders and active horse show-ers are still at full speed.

And I am tired. Like," I didn't realize how important this break was until I didn't get it and now I'm constantly irritated by everyone and everything and I feel like I'm dialing it in at both jobs" tired.

So this week I will not be at the farm at all, regardless of the fact that it will be in the 60s and sunny. I am giving my brain a brief chance to chill out in the evenings after I get done at the office, catch up on Downton Abbey, and possibly get a few extra hours of sleep. I will clean my apartment, go to the Visionary Arts museum, and maybe break my diet long enough to have a drink with friends.

And of course, I already miss being at the farm. Such is my life.