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Settling In

Managing a horse is an experience I was hella unprepared for on a deep emotional level. Sure, I've been riding and leasing for twenty-odd years and doing all the associated barn rat chores, but until you are solely responsible for not killing a horse you don't fully grasp the associated stress. At least, I didn't.

Java trailered home to A.'s farm uneventfully and came off sweaty and nervous, but otherwise unscathed. After a walk around, he moved into his field next to A.'s little Arab mare, De. She was pretty offended that he only wanted to snort and trot a few laps; it was clear he wasn't Arab enough for her taste, and she told him so while he was rudely exploring. By the next day, though, he was seven shades of unhappy and running the fence when she was taken in first for dinner, so I guess it all evened out.

Moving him in seemed so easy. He settled well, liked De, and when they finally turnd out together a week in, was totally cool about it. But holy shit, I was stressed about everything. Guess how many times I changed his blanket the first day? Guess how neurotic I continued to be about blanketing? Guess how many blankets he owns? Guess how many emails I sent to the feed rep while transitioning to his new grain? Guess how long it took me to realize I didn't need to stare at him while he ate his entire meal? Guess how many ulcers I gave myself?


  1. Three.

  2. Extremely neurotic bordering insane.

  3. Eleven. Granted, a few were Dancer's, but the embarrassing majority are his.

  4. Too many.

  5. Two months.

  6. I don't know, but I numbed them with red wine. That helps, right?

Yeah, I was absolutely insufferable.

I've wanted a horse my entire life, and suddenly, I had one. This massive, expensive, fragile dream landed in my lap and it was the most incredible, terrifying thing. A horse was everything I'd ever wanted, and the realization that everything I've ever seen go wrong could happen to me, too, came down with crushing weight. I was so afraid to fuck it up and I tiptoed around and over-thought and really made myself a mess.

To the immense credit of my family and A., no one lost their shit with me and were patient and supportive. Never once did A. hint that I was being crazy (I totally was, though), and the discovery of the SmartPak Blanketing App helped a bit. Being surrounded by sanity is a nice anchor. What really woke me up, though, was my mother. She missed the don't-tell-her-she's-crazy memo A. got and essentially told me to knock it off. As far as she was concerned, I hadn't spent all those years around horses, taking lessons, competing in Hippology/Judging/Bowl at 4-H, and absorbing everything I could, to start treating myself like I knew nothing.

And you know what? She was right. Despite his best efforts, Java hasn't managed to get himself into something I couldn't handle yet.

#java #newhorse #momwisdom #horsecare #smartpak

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