My friend/neighbor took me to Zumba at 9am this morning. They had a kid's zumba across the hall so I'm going to try to drag my daughter next Saturday even though she'd rather lie on the couch all morning and watch cartoons. I'm going to hang the carrot of "You can do that when you get home" in front of her in hopes she will choose bouncing around over tv watching.
Anyway. Zumba is hard. I know there are probably people out there who like to brag about how it isn't and how it's not really a work-out because they don't even break a sweat because last year they ran the Boston Marathon with the swine flu and a broken ankle and that was no big deal ... but for the mere mortal like me, Zumba is hard. First thing they have you do is start jumping up in down in some sort of pattern, then you continue to jump up and down in some sort of pattern for a full hour. Most normal people find it very tiring to jump up and down non-stop for a full hour. Also, it made my brain tired because I was trying to follow all the steps and it took me at least a half hour before I managed to figure out some pattern recognition that was going on. That was kind of fun to be able to pick out the patterns and anticipate which ones came in where.
It was exhausting though. I've never been in the best aerobic shape even when I was a kid. I was always strong as far as how much I could lift and arm wrestling and all that, but I've never been in great aerobic shape. I'm going to blame my allergies and juvenile rheumatoid arthritis but I'm not sure if that's why. But that's my story and I'm sticking to it.
I hate to admit it but I've been kind of tired all day after starting my day like that. But I also feel challenged and like I will not give up until I conquer the Zumba. Until I can figure out and follow the routines and until I can do it for a full hour without feeling like I need medical attention.
After I came home and had another cup of coffee I went out to exercise Toad but unfortunately got there too late and the first of the Saturday lesson kids had already arrived and I don't like to try to deal with Toad in the arena even on a lunge line with really young kids on ponies. It's just not safe because a lot of them are so young they can't keep the ponies from "trying to visit" and it's just not safe. I've lunged Toad plenty of times with adult riders in the arena but never with little children who are such beginners. I actually wouldn't lunge any horse with the little kids riding.
So, I hung out with Trainer K. and M. and M.'s horses. They were just finishing up lunging both her horses and I came out and sat on the mounting block to talk. Molly (the barn cat) jumped into the arena and came over to sit on my lap and Gemini (M.'s first Lipizzan that she's had for a few years) was standing a few feet away from me with Trainer K. and pricked up his ears and acted like he wanted to go over to the cat but knew he was supposed to stand still. So, I picked up Molly and walked over to him and held her up to his nose and he buried his huge nose in her fur and smelled her for a little bit, then started licking her. Molly thought that was great and flopped right over in my arms and started making muffins with her paws. So cute! I said we should get Gemini a cat and Trainer K. said, "What do you mean? Molly IS Gemini's cat!"
I came to a decision about Tuff Toad and got lots of support from M. and Trainer K. for my decision. I decided I'm going to sell her, but I'm going to sell her to a really good home. Once it finally sunk in that me and my friends at the barn are not the only good horse owners and that I am not the only one in the world who will ever love Toadie I felt like everything fell into place and it was just obvious that the right thing to do is find the perfect owner for her and find a horse that I can actually ride right now. Not in six months after more training, not summer after next, not "someday when ... this or that ..." but right now. And Toadie will find an owner who is a more experienced rider and can safely ride her right now.
We talked about what I think would be the perfect horse for me. I don't want an old lesson horse who will just pack me around and is numb to subtle signals after years of being pounded on by beginners. I was a horse that is a little sensitive. And honestly, I don't think I'd be happy with a horse that didn't have some spunk after my years with Girlfriend and all her spirit and energy and being so hot. But Girlfriend is also super, super safe. She doesn't spook often and when she does spook she gets over it really quickly (most of the time) and she doesn't just freak out and kick, she has never tried to bite me, she's just a very patient, solid horse emotionally. Basically, I want another Girlfriend and I had hoped that would be Toadie. But Toadie is a little too young and untrained and a drama queen. She may be another girlfriend in five years but I don't think I'm the one to take her there. And honestly, I don't think she will be because she is such a drama queen. But I don't want a horse that just plods along either because I'm so used to riding Girlfriend and her constantly wanting to run - and really just brimming over with joy when she does get to run.
Talking about that helped me to realize that there is a better situation for both me and Toad. And I'm not a failure for this not working out for the long run. I honestly think that if I could still ride Girlfriend it would've worked out for a lot longer because I would still have a horse I could ride any time and could go out on trails with this summer. I honestly didn't expect Girlfriend to have to be retired so soon. I'd really hoped she'd make it until she was thirty years old. But she'll be twenty-eight in a couple months so in all reality she had a good run of it (literally!). So, I feel good about this decision. And the plan is to keep working with Toadie as usual and keep her in training and working up until we sell her. Then I will take lessons on one of Trainer K.'s horses twice a week until I find the right horse for me. Right now I'm thinking Mustang. I've never met a Mustang who wasn't bomb-proof and solid. I told Trainer K. today that I had no problem riding Atlas when he had four months training under saddle and had only been domesticated for about a year - he was much easier to ride than Toad. I went out there and did walk, trot and canter with him straight away. And she said, "Well, he's a Mustang."
Anyway, we will see. And right now the task at hand is to keep Toadie working and moving forward with her training so she's in great shape when we find the perfect new home for her. I don't want her to have the same fate she had with her last owner where she sat in a stall all the time and got bored and stressed and became "that crazy horse no one wants". I want to keep encouraging all her good aspects so that becomes her norm from here on out no matter where she goes from here.