What Happened in January



Like probably 90% of those of us who actually experience the season, I struggle in the winter. My (picky vegetarian) diet means I’m constantly cold. I’m beyond grateful to have an affordable indoor, but my desire to ride plummets with the temperature. The stalls are harder to clean – both because everything freezes and because the horses are in and aren’t getting worked. Riding itself isn’t as fun – lack of turn out makes crazies, much longer warm-ups and cool-downs must be budgeted for, and there’s about ten times as much hair to groom.

The worst of it, for me, is the lack of sunlight.  When the sun sets at 6 so does my desire and motivation to accomplish anything. I can’t even read or watch Netflix – all I want to do is sleep…Sleep and sulk.

Even my non-horsey hobbies suffer. I can’t get motivated to go to board game night when the sun will have already set before we get there, so I’ll just yawn my way through the evening, half asleep. I can’t stay awake long enough to read a novel, and I can’t get up enough motivation to craft or sew.

Obviously writing is out of the question, as evidenced by the last three months of radio silence from An Amish Warmblood.

When Robbye came home from training early last fall, I thought we had finally crossed the hump – the three years it took for us to find a loving and a workmanlike relationship.

The show, where we won our dressage class, was one of the high points of my life, as sappy as that sounds.

I felt like, at that point, I had accomplished what I had set out to do with Rob. We had completed this test which was submissive, brilliant (as much as a Training level test can be, anyway), and undramatic. We had won a class of more than ten people! We had proven to the world that neither of us were failures, and that we could do more than embarrass ourselves!

So that was nice. Very, very nice. But…what do you do after that?

The correct answer is: make new goals and start working on them. Look for the next “hump” and get over it. Improve, improve, improve!

But this show had happened in mid-November. As winter began and I desperately needed goals, excitement, and motivation, I had just achieved what I’d been struggling with for three years.

So I did nothing, and spiraled lower.

I know it’s such a first world problem. I accomplished my goals with my HORSE, and now I’m as depressed as I’ve been in years! How silly it sounds.

But there I was burning money, gas, and precious precious energy every day to go to the barn and do…nothing. Clean my stall. Hand out treats. Sulk.

At the end of January I sent Robbye back to training, happy that I wouldn’t have to clean her stall every day anymore.

In mid-January I put her up for sale.

I wrote a long list of her favorable qualities – and wow, what an experience that was. Virtually bomb-proof. A happy trail partner. A decent, if green, jumper. Extremely tolerant – a “pony club” mount. Broke to the harness and cart. Great at giving newbie rides and taking treats and pats from non-horsey people.

Above all, a talented, promising dressage horse.

I collected an album of photos. Here’s one where you can see her impressive build – one that would be great for a man, a growing boy, or a larger AA. Here’s one where you can see her flashy wide blaze and her gentle eye. Here’s one where she’s jumping beautifully while I flail on top of her.

Here’s one where you can see how god damn pretty she is.

The interest poured in (not to me – thank goodness – but to my trainer). One woman was particularly interested and wanted to talk to me. She was a mom and wanted a mid-level eventer for her teenage daughter.

And so I took the mom’s call and sang Robbye’s praises for half an hour. I told her about how she can go out in the field alone or in a group and is happy. How she doesn’t like to roll and is dirt colored anyway, so grooming is a breeze. How she can be tough to get round and forward but once she gets there – oh boy is she there.

I told the mom how much she loves people. How she nickers every time I walk into the barn, and watches me walk around the barnyard if I leave her in her stall or the crossties.

I told the mom how I had taught Rob everything. Cross-tying and putting on a bridle and jumping ditches and walking through tarps and crossing creeks and doing carrot stretches.

The next day, I cried, talked to my barn owner, talked to my trainer, and then took Robbye off the market.

7 thoughts on “What Happened in January

  1. i don’t think i’m alone in being SO READY for spring and warm weather and longer days. hopefully things will start feeling brighter soon!


  2. I’m so glad I’m not the only one who feels this way in the winter! Our winter has been more wet and windy than cold and snowy, but we have so little daylight that even if I haul ass to the barn after work to ride, the sun is setting by the time I get on. There were so many days when I just showed up feeling like I “should” be riding and then ended up just cramming him full of treats and leaving feeling restless, depressed, and angry with myself for not accomplishing anything. Congratulations for finding a great new home for her quickly. It’s so sad selling a horse. I hope you’re not completely horseless now. Best of luck as spring rolls in!


  3. I get where you’re coming from. This time of year is really difficult for me too. I’m supposed to be taking a vitamin D supplement because I’m deficient, but I’ve been so tired, depressed, blah that I haven’t been. I need to start taking it. If you aren’t taking one, seriously look into it!! It makes a huge difference for me when I’m actually taking it. Thanks for this post by the way because it reminded me to get my bottle out and sit it right where I’ll see it everyday. Also if you’re cold all the time, have your thyroid checked. I was the same way and now that it’s treated I actually get hot in the winter sometimes (when other people are hot, like if the fire gets too warm or I’m cleaning the house, so normal stuff) instead of freezing 24/7. I’m glad you took her off the market. This is a bad time of year to be trying to make that decision. I had actually asked myself recently why in the world I have horses when I never do anything with them, but I reminded myself this is temporary. If I sold them I’m regret it when the sun comes back out. Hugs!


  4. A heart breaking post, no.
    Mastering the green horse at training level – it’s just the beginning, for both of us 😉 So much more you can achieve with her, as long as it’s fun for you of course.
    I grew up quite close to the artic circle – I dreamt for years, freezing all winters, about leaving. Leaving the grey, the dreary, the icy frozen little black universe that was November through March.
    Living in California has definitely been a game changer for me. If you must stay where you are, I second the other commenter on the D3 vitamins. Not a piece of wonder, but living in Cali, I still take them all winter 🙂

    Your mare is gorgeous – enjoy her!!


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