Since Sierra left on January 13th, I have been on one heck of a roller coaster ride. I chalk some of it up to these lovely pregnancy hormones, but honestly the majority of it revolves around the fact that I need a horse in my life. Don't get me wrong, I live on a farm and there are currently 3 horses sitting less than 200 feet from my front door, but none of them are my Sisi Girl. I love them all, but I don't share a bond, a history and a lengthy relationship with them. Sure, I've only had her 1.5 years but I have spent 10x the hours with her than I have the others. I've gone through more highs, lows and in-betweens with her than any other horse that is on my farm - and at the end of the day, she's mine.
I've spoken about the mental aspect of sending Sierra away for training, and what a struggle it's been. I had spent countless hours finding and vetting a trainer, arranging transport, saving money, thinking about costs incurred, getting Sierra's things ready and sending her off. I never once, until she left, considered how much I would miss her.. but not only that, I never considered how much I need her in my life. They say horses are therapeutic, and I genuinely believe that - especially now. I always knew horses were a big part of my life, but I didn't realize how much I need that connection with a horse to keep me on my game, on routine, and feeling accomplished. The break and lack of responsibility has been nice, but it doesn't outweigh the hole that's missing in my life.
While my original intention was to send Sierra away for a tune-up to benefit both of us in a riding perspective, I really think that I learned a ton about horsemanship as well, despite being nearly 600 KM's away. I think we find it really easy to take our horses for granted. It's really easy to get discouraged; to blame our horses for our hardships; to get frustrated when the training isn't where we want it to be; when we aren't willing to acknowledge that we dropped the ball and didn't put in the work, and so on... This experience has caused me so much anxiety, grief and other emotions that I didn't even know were possible when it comes to this specific situation. Who knew something as simple as sending your horse off for some training could be such a mental mind-fuck? I have a serious, new-found appreciation for my horse, and all that she brings to my life. It's been a hell of an experience and when I see friends upset or complain about x, y and z of the 'woe is me, my horse sucks' or 'I need to compete at X level/height this year', I can't help but sit back and chuckle a little. Perhaps it's because I'm pregnant and therefor my goals of progression this year are out the window, but I truly believe it's because this experience showed me how important my horse is to me - ribbons, scores and personal bests aside.
As her training is coming to an end, I am honestly so excited to go down and see her on the 29th. At this point, barring a catastrophic storm or emergency, hubby and I will be making the 5.5 hour venture south on the morning of February 29th where I will watch CA ride Sierra then hop on for a short lesson. The following day, we entered Sierra in a horse show on a whim which changed my travel plans slightly. CA decided to enter her in a level higher than ever crossed my mind so while I had expected to be in the first class of the day, we will be getting a later start on the road - but that's okay. CA will be riding her in the show as I'm so out of shape, but I am really excited to be able to be there and act as groom, snack-lady and general support. Once again, we aren't going for ribbons but CA and I both feel that the answer to solving Sierra's show ring anxiety is just doing it over, and over, and over again until it becomes boring. Given the fact that I'm growing a human that is scheduled to bless our life right in the smack-dab-middle of show season, it meant we had to do what we could and take opportunities as they became available