(If you want to skip this part then go ahead. I wrote the upper part so that everyone can understand where I am coming from better and put themselves in my shoes)
What was my new year’s resolution? Make friends.
After moving to a city in Michigan from a rural place in West Virginia with very limited things to do, I found myself in Michigan being overwhelmed with frustration, challenges, uncomfortableness, new aggressive drivers and often people that would comment on my southern accent.
First week of college in spring term was of course easy, but finding friends and people to connect to is rough. Last semester was my first semester being at Michigan. It was horrible for me trying to find others to relate to. I only added one person from my college on facebook. I felt like a total outsider with nothing to communicate to them. They would talk about the area and previous or current teachers. The only thing I found myself trying to jump in at was asking more about the hard teachers so I wouldn’t end up with them in the future. I guess it makes it harder since I don’t live in the dorms. I live with my sister and her boyfriend in an apartment. At least I have them to talk to. I’ve been getting used to Michigan now and decided I like it here better than West Virginia. The aggressive driving is kind of a stress buster compared to WV’s laid back slow driving. I love the feeling of getting a yellow light and running it instead of stopping for it like in West Virginia lol.
Well now it’s the third week of January 2013 and the more my other friends fill up their facebook with opportunities and friend filled pictures, the more I found myself sitting here saying, “What am I doing wrong? I’m in a city with more opportunities and I’m sitting here feeling sorry for myself when others could be looking at me as a possible role model. I have family members looking up to me. They are always asking what I’m doing. Do I really want the same reply of ‘oh just college.’ No I don’t. I want to do something I love and help others with it.”
I ran it through my head quickly. What are things I love? I started naming off a bunch of summer activities. I’m already tired of the cold weather and it’s just beginning haha. Then my mind screamed, “Horses!” That’s it. That is something that West Virginia didn’t really offer me that Michigan would. I began looking up lessons. They were a bit expensive for my taste. Being a college student, I don’t have that kind of money unless I have a job of some sort. It would be hard to budget that. I began getting discouraged and impatient that I’d have to wait until April to take horse lessons with my birthday money. It would last me until my summer aid kicked in. Then I could budget that to take lessons through the summer too.
I sat there the rest of the day after my homework, reading up on the horse forum and looking at horse ads for some reason. I couldn’t even afford lessons, let alone a horse. Why was I even looking at them for? Must be a girl thing since my sister can’t get a house at the moment but looks at houses online anyways. Lol.
For some reason after I thought that, I had a good gut feeling about the rest of my year. I wanted to switch the tables all around and grasp the world. I wanted to work hard and have life shift its curveballs elsewhere. I wanted to create a positive sphere around myself that was so intense that everyone around me could feel it and automatically be attracted to sit next to me and get to know me more. After shifting through a few more threads at the horse forum, I came across a few words that my mind pieced together. “Rescue” “Help out” “Ground Training” “Manners”.
January 17th and 18th 2013
My mind sparked that I should look up a rescue and volunteer. Somehow I managed to find one barn. I examined their website and facebook page. They had a lot of positive reviews and figured this was the place for me. On a spur of the moment, without even thinking, I immediately messaged them.
An hour later I got a reply asking my info so they could have their volunteer coordinator contact me. I replied back casually but then it suddenly hit me after I pressed the send button. I was really doing this. They were really going to let me volunteer and work with horses over there. They didn’t reject me saying they already have too many volunteers or anything like that. Then again, it is freakin freezing outside and they might be low on volunteers.
Either way, I got my foot in the door and I got extremely excited.
Around 8pm the volunteer coordinator mailed me. I was so jittery and excited, my mind was so crazy happy that I couldn’t even remember or find where the reply button was for a few moments. lol we exchanged a few messages before she gave me a time and address to come help out and show me around! The date is tomorrow. I am so thrilled. One side of my brain coaches me to think through the hard work I’m going to make soooo many happy friends and have sooo much good times and everything will be rainbows, sunshine and hooves. But the other side of my brain laughs at that thought and says to me that I should get ready to be sore, dirty, and heartbroken with very odd friends. When I put the two sides of my brain together, I know both are wrong and that the only way to find out is to wait and see.
I hope tomorrow goes okay!
January 19th 2013
I rarely talk to myself in my car driving along, but this morning when going along the road to the horse rescue, I was chatting to myself like crazy. I kept telling myself, “WOW it is SO pretty out here!” When I arrived, the sun was shining brightly on the rescue and I felt so nervous that I had to pee! I parked my car and stepped out, I looked around but it was very silent. It was unusual for me because all the barns im used to were filled with people and horses all over. The first person to greet me was actually the owner of the whole place. I had no idea I was talking to the owner of the whole rescue until my volunteer coordinator showed up and greeted me. She introduced me to everyone at the barn working and took me into the tack room to sign a liability form of course. She explained a time sheet for the volunteers to sign in and out of just to keep track, and then showed me around the place. I expected horses with better manners, but then I realized a lot of these horses were about to be dog food or had been neglected and some not even broke. They needed work.
By the time I got into a field with a bunch of drafts, and had one get in my personal space and step on my foot even though I was set to the side of it, I was starting to question my ability to work with these horses. There was a girl beside me who helped push the draft off my foot. She could tell I was nervous and felt kind of embarrassed. I told her I’m just glad the horse didn’t put its whole weight on my foot and that I’d have to be more careful looks like. That girl told me her story, she was a few years younger than me and we had a lot in common! We loved black horses, especially Friesians. She told me she wanted to go swimming in the summer with the horses if they would let her, and I immediately got excited and said that would be amazing! I really connected with her. We started talking about filming our horse adventures together and I finally realized my resolution for the year was starting to come true. I was making friends!
The more I roamed around, groomed horses, raked up some hay and got used to the atmosphere, I decided this place was perfect for me. Out of 59 horses that were there, I only seemed to favor one named Aiden, but he was already owned and currently had a sheath infection. Poor thing. Lol he is my favorite at the moment and gave me a neck hug when I was grooming him. I guess me not being connected to a horse is good right now. I have to remember to focus on my college instead of riding and working with my own horse all day. It is a lot of commitment that I don’t have right now. I also began thinking as the day went on, So what if a horse stepped on my foot? It’ll happen plenty of times in the future I’m sure right? And yes, I have much insecurity with working with a lot of unruly horses. I’m only a beginner after a few years of not riding and am really rusty on my caretaking skills. Already I could tell just by grooming them that they were testing me to see how much they could get away with. But I’m willing to learn the hardcore way! I mean, it is no challenge to catch an easy horse in the pasture. It is no challenge to tack and ride an old school horse, it is no challenge to groom a horse that loves and trusts everyone and expects treats all the time. There is no hard challenge for me and here offers that. I love challenges, even if this is the more stupid and dangerous way. I should be fine if I ask a lot of questions and observe how others train the horses. For my safety, observing is important!
Man, this journey should be a long one! :wink:
It sounds exciting so far and I am totally jealous! I want more horsie time and to meet more horse people. I once emailed a rescue that was close by but when they found out that I live in a certain city they never emailed back.
They laughed at me trying to explain, but I just didn't want them to think the wrong thing lol I really liked the place and wouldn't let an area that I live at ruin that. They were very understanding though, and that is something the rescue you contacted seemed to not have :( some people are just very narrow minded I guess.
I hope you find more horse friends! I'm sure if I go to move for a job I will be in the same boat so don't feel bad lol
If I move for a job I currently have set my eyes on, I will probably be an hour closer to where you are! =]
And yay moving closer, that would be cool! It seems only people with their own horses hang out at my barn. I don't have my own horse haha so I don't get to join the "club". So closer horse friends would be awesome :D
When do you go back to the rescue?
At the rescue its so much better. Everyone there works hard for what they want and thats what I need lol. I go back this friday on the 25th. I heard they got a lot of new horses this week rescued so I am dieing to see all of them lol.
Good for you on getting out there & doing it. But, please be careful on running those yellow lights-not a good habit to get into. Hope you find more friends & do well in your studies.
You should definitely take some pictures! :) I would love to see the rescues. At this rescue do you get to chose a certain horse to make your own project out of? It kind of sounded like that in one of your posts.
And I will take some pics. I have a few already! I will show you my favorite horse so far. His name is Aiden, I think its the BO's horse, not sure. He has two blue eyes, and a bit muddy right now lol. And the other picture is the road to the horse rescue.
And did I really make it sound like I got to chose a horse as a project? Probably because im hoping to do that rofl. I want to take care of my own horse so bad :P We technically take care and help ALL the horses there. But I would like to have one horse that im more in tune with to work with more than others would. But doing that will make me want the horse. And I'm still new there so I'm sure I should really just spend a lot of time there and get to know everyone and the horses first. Just be adjusting to life there and know what i can and cant do. I don't want to be doing something I'm not allowed to do, so I will take it easy... >_> until the weather warms up. haha
I mean the BO DID say to me, a lot of the horses that get adopted there are owned by the volunteers and neighbors nearby themselves. lol I don't know if she was hinting around or anything lol so tempting though! I wont have my budget fixed for owning a horse until next year, so I MUST keep to that plan so I wont suffer consequences lol.
January 25th 2013
When it finally hit Friday the 25th, I was once again expecting lots of people to be everywhere for some reason. I have no idea why my mind would think people would be everywhere over there since it was pouring the snow and my car was sliding all over the place. Luckily for me, 80 percent of the way to that barn was by highway, and they were pretty clear.
When arriving, I was the only one there in the barn. I went into the tack room and took full advantage of getting used to everything. I thought, now I can explore on my own without feeling so stiff about it. There was supposed to be a girl who was going to be at the barn when I was… But she wasn’t here. This huge tack room was kind of messy, but what do you expect with over 50-60 horses at the place? Lol.
I kept telling myself “What am I supposed to do?” Here is a girl who isn’t familiar with the horses personalities, who wasn’t sure if it was a good idea to go into a certain stall, who didn’t really know anyone, and who really wanted to pet one specific horse but failed all day. Lol It wasn’t nerve racking that I was alone; in fact I enjoyed it for awhile. And I had my phone right on my side in case something really bad did happen, but I wasn’t planning on doing anything dangerous. I am used to horses without a lot of problems. Ones that are broke and don’t have bad habits. Ones that are in harmony with humans and trust them. So going into this place of rescue horses suddenly felt like working with whole different animals. It was like I lost all ability to take care of them because there was no trust and fear in them. It was fearful for me too though, because I don’t know how they will react to certain things.
I guess everyone came to the barn on Saturdays the most. A guy walked in after I raked some hay into a pile, clearing the aisles the horses would walk through and I said hello to him. He said hi back and seemed to be fixing up an empty stall for another horse. He was very fast at it though and left as soon as he was done. Guess I was alone again. The snow started to get a blizzard effect outside and I decided in an hour I would leave in fear of my car not being able to get back home. Until then, I decided I would get to know the horses more. I filled my hands with treats and gave each one so they would start recognizing me at least when I went to the barn. I tried to pet one horse the whole day and get her to take anything from me. Her name was Fiona. Hay, carrots in my pocket from home, treats, ect. She wouldn’t budge. I even bit into the carrot to show her I am eating it, so it’s okay for you to take and eat it too. Yeah guess reality didn’t work like that because she just turned away lmao.
There was one horse that was kind of “life like” very uppty, sassy and neigh like when I was in view. Last time I didn’t think anything of it. Last time, I was snapping a picture of Aiden and she neighed at me. I have no clue if it was a “hey I want a picture too!” or just a “what are you doing?” neigh. I had a leftover treat and she knew I was debating on whom to give it to on that side of the barn. She let out a loud exhale, her ears straight up peeking out of the stall at me. Lol I decided okay you want this way more than the others so you can have it. I decided to groom her after she seemed very friendly and not spooky of my fast hand movements. Her coat was much softer than the other horses. I felt along her back and it was very emaciated with her hips. I wasn’t for sure how old the horse was or if when horses got old, if they ever lost weight. At first I wasn’t a fan of this horse, but it was always trying to get my attention, so maybe it’s a good idea to pay attention more. It made my day a whole lot better. I felt not so alone in there after that.
I am slowly learning what is okay and not okay. When I saw the indoor arena, they left the back open so horses that were cold could have some shelter and come in. I tried to give them treats too. I had a tiny gut feeling not to do it since they were in a group. Well the gut feeling was right as usual. One laid its ears pinned back and snapped at the others wanting to get the treat. I didn’t want to start a brawl so I quickly pulled back my hand with the treat and said no to the horse not willing to share any of my hand lol. No more feeding treats in a group of rescue horses. Got it.
I gave the other side of the barn some treats too. Some horses just were NOT interested one bit at treats. Maybe they were just lazy? There was a small pony sticking its head on the arenas gate looking at me. It was completely away from the others so I figured to take a fast risk and give it my last treat secretly. The other horses didn’t seem to notice and it was a success. After that I washed my hands in the tack room and cuddled up to some barn cats reading the “adoption form” posted on a wall. I decided I would take lessons elsewhere. I missed being around horses that were used to humans and I’d rather be taught by someone that has more experience with horses than the teachers here. That way, I can get the best of both worlds.
Reading more of the adoption form made me very depressed. Even after a two year evaluation of the horse you adopted, they could still come onto YOUR property at ANY given time, go into your barn, and take your horse for ANY reason. I DID NOT appreciate reading that. I understand the rules I guess. But it wasn’t my preference or how I visualized getting my first horse. Wouldn’t that be awful to wake up and not have a guarantee your horse will be there the next day? That they could take it for any reason? These people were nice and busy with their own world of course, they wouldn’t do that. But it still made me object to this whole adoption thing anymore. If you bred the horse, they would take the foal or you would pay $500 to them with the same rules applied as the original horse you adopted. You had to have a written approval of them to even move the horse if you were move to another house or move the horse to a boarding place. To me, it seemed like one big hassle. I wanted a horse that was mine. All mine and no one could take it away from me at all. I think I have decided if I did adopt from here, it would be a pasture companion horse.
And the new horse of the barn:
Sounds like you had quite a day. Weird that there was hardly anyone else around, though. Yes, adoption rules can be a real turn-off,but it can be a comfort to newbies, or older folks that have health issues, as they know the horse has a place to go if things go bad.The new horse has a very sweet expression. How often do you go there?
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