Five years ago I was set on buying a horse. I was riding other people’s horses which was fun but deep down I just really wanted my own. I had student loans and a car payment but that didn’t stop me from starting to save up money. I was a young professional hard at work and determined to find a horse. A “friend” of mine knew that I was in the market and came to me asking for my help get a horse back for her. She had brought 3 horses from Texas up to CT to be school horses and they were somehow sold from underneath her. I agreed to get one of the horses back named Blazing Sugar Go, aka “Blaze” as long as she paid a 1/4 of the price. I recalled taking a lesson on her a few years back and saying to myself “she could be a great little horse”. I contacted the owner of Blaze and offered her a price which she accepted. We made arrangements for Blaze to come to CT and dropped off at a local farm where she would be boarded. The day Blaze was being shipped to CT my “friend”contacted me and stated that she didn’t have the money. I was upset and furious! I ended up withdrawing basically every dollar in my savings account for Blaze. I said to my self that it will be ok and it will be worth it. Blaze arrived on February 18, 2012. I was excited, happy and nervous that I just purchased my first horse!
The struggles of horse training and keeping a horse never really dawned on me. The fact I had a horse was so thrilling that it over powered me. The months to come I realized that Blaze really didn’t know that much. I had just bought a 10 year old Quarter Horse that was really green. I had never started a horse before only fine tuned horses. I found out that Blaze was that she was broke in Texas and brought up to CT to be a lesson horse. Kids were learning how to ride on her and were kicking and pulling. In Blaze’s defense she would get tense, put her head in the air and run. You can imagine how discouraging this was to me because any little movement or pull would send her running. The first few months all I did with her was trail ride. She seemed to be fine on trails but definitely had a forwardness to her. She seemed to be living up to her name “Blazing” and “Go”!
I decided I needed to find a farm with an indoor ring so I could ride in winter months and bad weather. I found a barn in Massachusetts where I boarded Blaze. It was more of a dressage barn but we were allowed to use poles and set jumps. I decided to take lessons with the owner of the farm. It started off ok but as the weeks and months progressed I only felt like I was a horrible rider. There wasn’t much positive praising more of the negative yelling. Blaze and I weren’t getting anywhere. I literally couldn’t trot around the ring with out her putting her head up and running as fast as she could. I didn’t know what to do. I ended up contacting a woman down there road and inquiring about lessons. I knew she was a well-known dressage rider and I was in desperately in need of help with positive vibes and encouragement. I would tell people at my barn that I was going on a trail ride when in reality I was riding down a busy road to get to this woman’s farm.
The woman down the road took a look at us and realized that my saddle wasn’t fitting Blaze. I had a saddle fitter out a few months prior who adjusted the saddle but apparently it was hitting right behind her shoulders and pinching her back. This could be why Blaze just wanted to run and not use her back correctly. The next few months I embarked on the journey of finding the perfect fitting saddle. This was a long process of having saddles sent to me and going to tack stores. However I found the perfect dressage saddle and jumping saddle which cost a pretty penny. During this time I continued down the road to this woman for lessons. I actually felt like we were getting somewhere! She wanted to stretch down and come into a frame which was a huge deal for Blaze. I was learning how to use my seat, leg and hand better. I continued taking lessons with her until I decided to move to another barn. A beautiful private barn in Granville Ma where there were over 250 acres of land with grass fields, outdoor ring and a cross-country course. This was my dream!
I loved this barn in Granville! It was my sanctuary and my haven. I loved riding outside in the fields and galloping up to the look out which overlooked Granville. However, I had two issues: no truck or trailer! How was I going to get to the women I was taking lessons with? The owner of the new barn didn’t allow trainers to come and teach lessons at the farm. I was stuck. Around this time I had a friend who was selling her trailer and approached me about purchasing it. She said she would rather sell her trailer than her horse since she was in a little bit of a financial situation (horses are expensive!) It was an older trailer but didn’t have any rust and the flooring was perfect. I agreed to buying the trailer and scrounged together whatever savings I had and even cashed in some savings bonds. I still had one issue: No Truck (I continue to still have this issue). Luckily there was a young man who worked at the barn who had a F-150. He agreed to towing my friend and I to local shows or lessons. I was so excited.
My friend who boarded with me met this amazing event trainer and convinced the owner of the farm to allow her to come teach us. Blaze and I continued to have running issues and not coming through correctly no matter how hard I tried. Blaze would never really relax or stretch. It seemed impossible for her. I arranged for Blaze to spend a week with this trainer at her barn in hopes of a miracle. I got Blaze back and she did a 180. I couldn’t believe she had a break through with her. She wanted to stretch and seek for the bit! A week later I took her to her first elementary event. Our dressage score was in the middle of the pack, stadium was stellar however our cross-country we ended up with a stop. It didn’t matter because I was happy we completed it. We went to 2 more elementary events which we continued to be in the middle with our dressage placing and had stops on cross country.
I ended up moving to Burlington CT which made the trip to Granville a little far. Winter was coming and I decided to move Blaze closer to my house. I found a western barn around 20 minutes from us. There were only 4 english riders at the barn and I was the only night time rider. The barn had a huge indoor ring which was great especially at night when I was the only one riding. The down fall was anytime you set up fences you had to take them down immediately. That made it a little difficult at night when I only had a couple hours there. I met a great girl who was on the same page with training horses. She had great dressage knowledge and jumping skills. We quickly became friends and she helped me with Blaze. She agreed that she was a very difficult horse since she would get tense and run. She introduced me to the pessoa rig as well as the chambone to help encourage stretching. I was able to have my trainer come out and help me at this new barn. We had some difficult times through the winter months but once spring hit Blaze seemed to settled. I started missing the farm in Granville and headed back north once the snow melted. I was determined to move Blaze up to Beginner novice. I knew she could jump but our dressage was never going to be spectacular.
I moved back up to Granville and knew it was the right choice. We were finally getting somewhere! She really wanted to stretch and was coming through so much better. However something happened in June. She reverted back to when I first got her. She would not bend right or left and would back up! At first I thought it was a tooth issue. I had the dentist out to do her teeth but she stated they weren’t bad. She continued this weird behavior. Right then I knew it was Lyme disease again. She had been diagnosed with it 2 seasons prior. I had the vet out to draw the blood and about a week later it came back Moderate positive. I found this out right before our first recognized show. I started Blaze on the antibiotics and decided to go to the show anyways. I figured I might as well try. Our dressage was once again in the middle of the pack, we were too slow in stadium and I had a stop on cross-country. I was still proud of Blaze because I knew she wasn’t feeling well. I took the next month to bring her back to where she was prior to the lyme. Blaze had lost a lot of weight and muscle tone. I had my second recognized show in August. Once again our dressage wasn’t stellar, we rocked the stadium and flew over the cross-country fences! That day I remembered why I loved eventing! The feeling of galloping through water and over logs was amazing. I was psyched when I found out that I ended up 6th place out of 20 in my division.
As August came to an end and September arrived, I was still having issues with Blaze. She just didn’t want to stretch or bend correctly. I was at square one again. We were back to the beginning. I was defeated. All we were doing was fighting with each other. It wasn’t fun anymore. What went wrong? Riding and training horses is such a humbling experience. I realized I wasn’t going to get where I wanted to go in my riding carreer with Blaze. She just didn’t want to do what I wanted to do and I shouldn’t force her into it. She was a good girl for trying and pleasing me. I also realized owning a horse was financially draining on me. The monthly expense and vet bills were piling up. The cheapest part was buying the horse. Reality set in and the conclusion of me finding Blaze a home become clearer to me. It was such a hard and emotional decision I had to make. I didn’t want to part from her. She was my first horse. I loved her even though she really wasn’t what I set out to get. I ended up with her and I was trying to make her into something she really wasn’t. She was happier being a trail and pleasure horse. If that’s what I wanted to do in my riding career than she would be perfect for me. I decided on November 1, 2016 that I was going to sell Blaze. It was a sad and emotional time for me however I knew it was the right decision for the both of us.