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Well, the title says it all. We spent money we didn’t have to get my truck fixed (fluids drained and flushed and filters changed). Got everything packed. Even picked up the trailer. Then, on the way to the barn to pick up Justice, things started to go haywire. The truck cut out multiple times.  It was like it just completely lost power. Essentially it would stall, and then suddenly (after several tense seconds), come back to life, rev wildly and slam into gear. It did this several times and I ended up calling my boyfriend in a panic before it resumed running smoothly.  He put in a conference call to his mechanic, who advised against the trip. At this point I had already arrived at the pasture and the truck was running better than ever. I ended up decided to push forward but promised to turn around the minute the truck acted up in the slightest.

I retrieved Justice from the pasture and loaded him without incident. Went back to the truck and cranked the key. Nothing.  It refused to even attempt to start.

I called my boyfriend again and asked him to come get me. Then I called Zoe and let her know that I wouldn’t be able to make it. She was very kind and understanding and said she hoped I could make it next time.  Fortunately I think (I hope) they have enough volunteers that I won’t be missed.

I allowed Justice to graze while we waited. Fyi, he loves going places (unlike most horses I know) and he genuinely looked peeved when I asked him to unload. However he was happy to indulge in the grass outside the pasture (which apparently is SOOOO much better than the stuff he has 24/7 access to lol).

My boyfriend finally arrived. He pulled the car up alongside in case he needed to give me a jump start (although I didn’t really think it would help) but decided to try and start the truck first. And OF COURSE it turned over immediately.

I think it was at that point that I burst into tears. I was frustrated beyond belief. I’d tried for a good 15 minutes to start the damn thing earlier, and I couldn’t explain why it was working now. To make matters worse it ran PERFECTLY the entire way back to CS, where I dropped off the trailer. I didn’t have any more trouble with it stalling or shifting or starting. But SOMETHING is still definitely very wrong, rendering the stupid Beast completely unreliable, unsafe and unusable for the time being. I literally only keep this truck for the purpose of pulling a trailer and now it can’t even do that.  Just….grrr! Eff my life.

I spent the afternoon sleeping (I’d worked 7pm-4am the night before), dropped by my Mom’s house, cried a little more and downloaded a bunch of inspirational quotes about following your dreams.

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Which led to this post.  I have never really shared my story before and figured it was high time I did so. I’m not sure what purpose it serves, other than illustrating the fact that I’m stubborn as hell and I don’t know when to quit.

Basically I became interested in endurance riding about 4 years ago. At the time my main mount was Thunder. That’s right, THE Thunder – Ashley’s Thunder (I ended up giving him to her years later and that is actually how we became friends).  To make the long story short, I got so caught up in the whole idea that I ended up succumbing to a newbie mistake and that is OVER conditioning. He ended up pulling a muscle and coming up “lame” (to clarify he was never head bobbing lame but definitely off). I felt horrible. But it was an eye opener. Thunder is only about 13.2h, I was at least 50 lbs heavier than I am now, and he honestly doesn’t have a lot of stamina (although he surprised me at Uwharrie with Ashley this May).

The following spring I bought a Paint mare from a friend, hoping she would be my next endurance prospect. She was young and sound. She could trot for a long time without tiring and honestly with enough work I think she could’ve done LDs without a problem. However at the time I could not access trails without riding the road quite a ways and two problems immediately surfaced.  1) Although she was quite forward when I’d tried her out, once I got her home she quieted down quickly.  In fact she was downright lazy.  And 2) she was MUCH greener than I’d realized. After she spooked at cars passing us on the road and (twice) bolted into oncoming traffic I was quite shaken up.

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Right about that time my friend contacted me and let me know they were interested in buying her back OR trading her for another horse they had – a TWH stallion I had admired from afar for quite some time. I jumped at the chance.

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Strider.

To this day Strider remains the quietest and most well behaved stallion I’ve ever met (as well as one of the most beautiful). However it wasn’t 3 days after he came down from the mountains before I noticed he was having trouble breathing. He ended up being diagnosed with moderate-severe heaves.

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With Willow on the trail.

A year later I stumbled across an Arabian mare for $300. She was a former broodmare, with good Egyptian bloodlines. And she had supposedly been used for long trail rides in the past. When I brought her home she was quite underweight, and I wasn’t even able to put in my first ride on her until a month later. She was a good horse, but like many Arabs, saddle fitting was a nightmare. Almost immediately we were experiencing problems with back soreness and this continued for several months. We tried/trialed at least 6 difference saddles without success.

At this point, things came to a screeching halt. As a result of my divorce I was forced to rehome all my horses, with the exception of Pokey. (Pokey made the cut because he was not only the oldest horse I owned, but also the gentlest and most personable). 

At that point, I put my endurance dream on the back burner, until this spring when I got Justice. When I say he is the best thing to happen to me, I really mean it. I don’t think anyone knows how much I appreciate having him.

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Beyond the horse, in order to get to events you gotta have a truck and you gotta have a trailer. About 5 years ago I bought a Ford Explorer for $2400, in hopes it would be able to pull a horse trailer. However it gave me nothing but trouble. It sat more than it ran and I ended up scrapping it for $300 a little over a year later after the transmission finally gave out.

A year later I purchased my truck for $1950. For 2 years it ran somewhat reliably (that is after the original transmission gave up the ghost and my Dad replaced it with a used one) and I was able to use it to pull a trailer a handful of times last year and this spring. However since October it has been breaking down on a pretty regular basis.  Beyond just running rough and stalling a lot – we replaced the alternator last winter and serviced the brakes in August, in addition to a number of other little things.  The heat does not work (while the A/C only works when it wants to) and neither does the radio. When you consider that it only has 175k miles, it’s disappointing to say the least.

Last year I borrowed a trailer a handful of times from my friend Stephanie, who lives in Randleman (about an hour from me). However the trailer completely fell apart this spring (I guess a leaf spring broke taking part of the trailer with it). Since then Ashley’s godmother, Paula, has been gracious enough to let me (us) use hers. I personally hate having to ask for favors when I don’t know I can return them, so this spring I was determined to buy my own trailer. And I did (albeit on a very limited budget).  Unfortunately after getting it home I realized it needed a LOT more work than I’d originally thought. Beyond a LOT of welding and a broken leaf spring, it just wasn’t big enough for Justice. He didn’t even want to get on, and that’s not like him. I ended up selling it a couple months later.

Although Paula hasn’t been using her trailer this year, I know she wants to show her yearling filly next year and I don’t want to inconvenience her at all.  Le sigh. So beyond this whole truck thing, I now need to think about finding a trailer to use/buy – something.

I know this is probably a very whiney, woe-is-me post and I apologize. This afternoon for a time I was feeling very sorry for myself. After missing the Endurance 101 clinic in July and now this, I told myself it was time to admit defeat. I mean, enough is enough!

Then my boyfriend took me in his arms, and told me not to give up on my dream.  It was the first time anyone has ever actually said those words to me.

Honestly I don’t know what to do or where to turn next. But I’m not giving up. This is just another bump in a very long, winding road.

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This.

And this is me.

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