I’M IN A FUNK.
You’ve been there I’m sure. When you have a lot of things going on mentally and it’s all filling up your head space, and you are consumed by what ifs, questions, and the worry of unknowns?
I’ve never been diagnosed with depression or anxiety or anything for that matter, but I know for a fact I struggle with anxiety—especially when circumstances arise that are out of my control. This week I have worried about our dog’s toenail healing properly, personal family matters, and my horse, Paddy. Lately what I think about 90% of the time, is worrying about and for Paddy. (I also realize that my largest concerns are with our animals, so actually having a ZOO may not be the BEST for my life? Buuuuut that’s my reality, so on we go.)
I started a blog post LAST August that I actually never published. In that post I was so worried because Paddy at that point was exhibiting stallion like behavior (I.e. charging at us and kicking my husband), and we knew we were going to have to move him to my trainer’s farm. I remember last summer worrying that I wouldn’t ever be able to ride him without fear, and it absolutely amazes me that this summer is completely different. Not to mention he is back to his normal self at my trainer’s, happy as a clam with other geldings, and he’s had ZERO behavior issues! I hopped on him the other day and rode him down the long driveway; no other horse to accompany him, and NO fear was to be had on my end. Once I got him in the arena though, I tried to trot him and realized something ELSE: he just isn’t fun for me to ride.
I feel so cold saying that out loud, but it’s the truth. There is something wrong in his hind end, and there are a ton of things that it “could” be. He has been working with my trainer for over a year now, and he just isn’t making any improvement as far as moving forward and using his body. EPM is the first worry, and there are SO many expenses to consider when diagnosing and treating. Maybe he needs a chiropractor and there’s something slipped in regards to a disc or something (completely a GUESS). Maybe he’s hurting and I don’t know it and he needs injections somewhere like hocks or stifles. (MORE MONEY.) There’s a lot. When he trots he feels like his backend is left 50 feet behind, and it is so hard to get into a smooth posting trot; it’s just not fun. He does fine at the walk, and yesterday when riding with a friend, she said, “He would make a great trail horse!” And maybe he would?! We’ve never tried him on trails, but maybe that’s actually something he would enjoy. Maybe I’ve had it all wrong from the beginning and my expectations have just been too high. And maybe somehow and some way, the Vet who is coming out on Thursday can help me find actual SOLID answers, and he WILL become a comfortable mount to ride. But maybe not.
All the while, expenses add up, and we continue to do the guessing game. I often wonder, “Will I be able to afford board this month” and spending money monthly on a horse to ride who I don’t really enjoy riding; does that even make sense? I LOVE Paddy. Genuinely I have more of an emotional connection with Paddy than I probably will ANY horse, because he is my first horse. I wanted one since I was in kindergarten and well, he just happened! From that unpublished blog post, I had written this:
As I have written, I've hesitated to be honest. You see, I am very much a people pleaser and I have always cared (too much) about what others are thinking--especially the ones I look up to. My wonderful friend Lauren recently said this: "Ashley, there is NO point in even allowing yourself to think that Paddy should have gone to someone more experienced, or that you should have gotten an older/more experienced horse. That is pointless, because it is what it is. You have Paddy, and he is part of your story." He has been with us for almost five months, and a LOT has happened in such a short amount of time. Paddy is my heart, and he always will be. And I am praying that instead of claiming this as a failure, I can continue to peacefully turn the pages of our book and patiently await the ones to come.
It’s now been a year and three months and while it is upsetting to me that I still don’t KNOW, it’s clear to me that God is STILL saying, “Just trust.” The biggest thing I have struggled with on this journey has been patience, trust, and faith. I’m 99% sure it’s not horses that stress you out, but if you ARE a horse person reading this, you may have been there and can relate. And if you’re not, I’m sure there are other areas that you struggle with, and relinquishing control of the unknown is equally as trying.
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.” -Jeremiah 29:11
“Be still and know that I am God.” -Psalm 46:10
My prayer? My prayer is that if I am not Paddy’s forever person, the Lord Himself would bring him or her to my attention. Ultimately, His will be done; that goes for our future as a whole. Maybe God wants us to have land and our own horses on our hypothetical someday land, and maybe He doesn’t? Maybe I’ll be a teacher for thirty years and retire as one, maybe I won’t? I can try to line up all my ducks in a row and try to live my life exactly as I personally think it should be, but at the end of the day, my Creator knows.