Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Reducing Holiday Stress

When I can't think of a thing to post. I go back and read my fellow IE bloggers' posts to find inspiration. The last two posts by Alison and Laura and Francesca's posts regarding Kwintus, all hit close to my heart, especially this time of year.

Gailey is lame again, oddly enough, it's the front leg this time. I'm waiting for the vet to x-ray her. He flexed her on Thursday, and she trotted away quite lame. Sigh... I'm frustrated with how seldom I've been able to ride lately because of her on/off lameness.

In the meantime, another friend of mine who has two very nice dressage horses had to rush one horse to the local trauma care center. Her gelding has a very serious issue. The chances of him making it longer than the next two months are about one percent. This friend, I'll call her Sandy, is already trying to figure out how to purchase another horse. Since she works full-time and doesn't have the support of her family in her riding/showing, I question her buying yet another show horse. She questions me only having one "show" horse.

Over the years I've worked hard to reduce the stress in my life. Riding one dressage horse on a regular basis is all I can handle with writing and a full-time job, not just financially but emotionally. I don't like spreading my life so thin that I'm run ragged all the time. Yet, I can certainly see her point. I've been out of the saddle more than I've been in it these past several months. Yet, I can't justify having another horse as a "backup" in case something happens to the current one. I don't have those kinds of resources. Even if I did, I probably wouldn't do it. Especially if my family was dead set against it, and it caused tension and unrest.

Yet, I also see my friend's point of view. Horses are her priority, her life, the thing she lives for. For her, the added stress is worth it. For me, I need more balance in my life. I need time for other interests, time for family, and I don't want to tie up all my expendable income in horses. As a result, facing Gailey's eventual retirement doesn't leave the gaping empty hole it might in others. Oh, there'll be a hole, but it'll be quickly filled with all the other things I love to do.

When Gailey is no longer rideable, she'll retire at my home. Whether or not I'll get another horse is up in the air. That's a commitment I've made to her. I imagine that's how most of us come to have "unusable" horses.

Horses fill our lives in different and varied levels. What works for one of us, won't work for another. Always having two horses fulfills a need of Sandy's. Only having one riding horse fills my needs. We're all different, and our solutions to problems are different. Some of us invite stress, some of us avoid it. I've learned to avoid stress the older I get. Which is probably why I'll eventually fill my horse fix with a nice little trail horse, and why she'll continue to ride and show two horses, despite the extra stress it puts on her, the extra money she spends, the problems it causes within her family, etc. The last several times I've spoken to her she's burst into tears. Believe me, she is not the crying type. I question if it's all worth it for the return she gets?

So as the holidays approach, along with the stress that comes with them, do yourself a favor. Give yourself a present. Find ways to reduce the stress in your lives. I, for one, didn't decorate for Christmas this year. We won't be home for Christmas, and the decorating has lost its appeal to me. I found a 1-foot tree and plugged it in. I cut back on present buying. I donated money to charities rather buying gifts to exchange at parties. I'm simplifying my life. The truth is no one cares that I didn't decorate or that I didn't spend tons of money on gifts.

So to all of you, have a Merry Christmas, enjoy your family and friends, and remember the true reason for the season. Simplify your life and go back to basics on what's really important to you.


Mrs. Mom said...

Merry Christmas to you too Jami! And a much lower stress New Year!!

We made changes too this year. I picked up a 4' tall prelit tree, and the kids decorated it. My "shopping" was all done online (as I *despise* crowds.) Our gift giving policy has always been simple- and we stuck to it this year.

The only thing missing? A horse in my yard. All in good time I suppose.... and to help combat the equine DT's, a hoof care client recently hired me to help her continue schooling her gelding, start her mini mare driving, and help teach her daughters to ride. Right now, I can't ask for better!!

Anonymous said...

I've debated the one horse/two horse thing a lot - I'm still of two minds about it. It is more work and more stress, though, as you point out.

Here's to a lower stress holiday - and life!

Laura Crum said...

Wishing both you and Gailey a stress free Xmas and a sound New Year.

I am an endless sucker for picking up a new horse. I know I shouldn't do it, but I do. At the moment, one riding horse is all I can keep going--and I barely manage that. So I think its good advice to think twice before you decide to buy that "backup" horse.