Thursday, February 27, 2020

Who is good with barn names?

Where have I been? I’ve been at work. I’ve been teaching and riding and learning about advertising and struggling to run a successful business when my definition of success changes all the time. What brings me back to my blog, now, all this time later? One, I miss it. I miss being able to review my thoughts and hear other comments and even to feel so much a part of this community. Two, there is a new thing to write about, so I feel better about coming back to this world to share what I hope to be learning in the future.

I have been on a horse-shopping adventure three times in the last four months. All three times we’ve come back with a horse after a more or less challenging hunt - one was for a lesson horse, one was for a client’s first horse, and one was for a talented Junior.

About a week ago, one of the first horses we sat on for Talented Junior called me up and said, “I’ve had a bunch of people come to ride this horse, but no one rode like you. I’m moving into high-end dressage horses, and this horse is going to take another year or two. If I’m going to put another year or two into a horse, they’d better move like an international-quality motherfucker. Do you want him? Let’s get creative.”

I watched the video of me riding him the first time. I watched the video the trainer had sent me of her riding him. I thought about it. I vetted him. He’s very sound. He is five. He is... gorgeous. He will never storm around a cross-country course with me, but everyone who knows me recognizes that my ambitions have drifted towards dressage for a while now.

I have a small army of mentors around me and this stunning creature.

When the trainer pulled him off the trailer and I looked at him again I was drawn to his eyes. His dark, liquid, barbie-dream-horse expression.

His trainer is coming by to give me a lesson today with him so that I can start to get to know him.

I intend to write about my journey with him because if he’s my horse I feel more comfortable sharing my journey. It might be worth writing about in more depth at some point, but as I’ve grown as a professional, my relationship with blogging has changed a lot. I don’t want to talk about my clients -- necessarily -- because I need to talk to them. Sometimes I think that they have important lessons that I might be able to summarize... I also think that I don’t want to blog as if I am being too patronizing, too “I know better than you” because honestly, I’m not convinced that’s the case. I’m a pretty good trainer of what I do - but I’m still learning. I’m excited to grow. I hope that this new horse is an avenue to a lot more growth.


This horse needs a barn name. 

Let's take a look at him.

He's incredibly cute, yes. He has a lot of hair.

Important to note that I have a strongly "The Little Mermaid" theme amongst my ridiculously large herd of horses. I have a 'Flounder'. I have a 'Sebastian'.

This horse is currently going by, 'Shark'. It's cute! But I don't want to keep it. Phooey with the assumption that it's bad luck to change horse's names.

He is a little nasty in his stall. I haven't gotten into any trouble at all, but he pins his ears when you walk past and he acts extremely menacing. He's eager to go to work, though, and completely cheerful under saddle.

The three most popular options for this creature are

1) Bruce (from Finding Nemo, the "fish are friends, not food" shark).

2) Gaston

3) Maximus

We'll have to do some pros and cons, right?

Bruce maintains some homage to this beasties 'Shark' heritage, and stays... sort of... along my nautical theme of equine herd. But it conjures an image of a dad sitting in an armchair to me, for who knows what reason.

Gaston is my favorite. I've been arguing the pros and cons of this character's story arc all day. He's an awful character, but the general consensus seems to be that no one ever motivated him to change by doing anything other than rewarding him for being awful. Also, he has a ton of expression, dedication to a goal, and he's fairly athletic... which is great for a dressage horse!

Maximus from Tangled... is actually pretty much the horse I have. The trainer who owned him told me that once he has decided to partner with you, he'll do anything to protect you and he's super brave. She told me that once out on the trail she came across a guy walking six collie dogs and this gelding started slinking toward the dogs like he was going to trample them. Plus, the expression of the cartoon horse devouring that flyer is the exact expression this horse makes when I walk past his stall. But the con is that I've recently known an Andalusian gelding named Max, whom I loved dearly, so I feel weird about a name which will inevitably turn into 'Max'.

Anyhow - I'm excited to be writing again in this Blogger window and I look forward to everyone's thoughts about what I should name this new era in my riding career! 


  1. Yes!!!! More blogging. I maintain my statement that I would steal him. FWIW: the dog in Little Mermaid is called Max so Max can have that connection too...

  2. This post makes me happy for all the reasons I've already told you! Can't wait to see what you can do with this guy!

  3. I am so happy you're blogging again! And I'm so excited for this new chapter :) Also I'm tickled that you wrote down the words "I'm a pretty good trainer" because you ARE but you never seem to like to admit it out loud.

    I'll also put a vote in for Max, I can't get past the idea that the barn staff or the kids would shorten Gaston into "Gas". Plus Gaston was a big bruiser and this fella is a bit more delicate than that.

    Last thing - we had a horse that was like that, total sweetheart unless he was in his stall, and then he was an ear-pinning menace. Our barn has half pipe walls between the stalls, and he was on the end with the arena door too where he could see the temporary stalls. I told my trainer about how with birds we have to put their cages against the wall and ideally in a corner, because prey animals want to be able to see every angle an enemy could get them from, and too many angles makes them feel insecure. She moved him to the far corner of the barn and put plywood around his entire stall except a small bit, and he's SO much happier in general now! I know you have solid walls between your stalls so it's a little different, but something to consider as you get to know why he's like that.

    1. I'm hoping putting him in a field makes him happier, but I hadn't considered that it might actually make it worse... Food for thought.

    2. That's such an interesting idea, Jen! I was going to say that most horses I've known that have that super tough behavior in their stalls are actually just really insecure. As they feel safer in their "herd" (or even in the idea that they don't have to lead their herd) they sometimes stop being so menacing or at least tone it down quite a bit.

  4. Flynn? "A swashbuckler known for his charm and quick-wit."

    In favor of upper level rider blogs. How else am I going to ride vicariously?

    1. Alas! I have a long-standing Finn in my barn and Flynn and Finn are just too close for comfort.

  5. Congratulations! I was along the little mermaid theme you could call him Eric after the prince lol.

    1. I definitely considered Eric... But good God he was such an idiot

  6. On the shark theme - Fin would fit. He's a beauty!

  7. Welcome back! And yay to the new horse. Flotsam and Jetsam were the two eels in the Little Mermaid. Jetsam could be "Jet" for short?

  8. Oh man he is gorgeous, color me jealous! What about Mako to keep your shark theme? He doesn't really look like a scuttle but it's better than dinglehopper ;) Hans? for Hans Christian Andersen. Whatever you pick will be great, and I'm excited to read along!

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