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Author: Stephani Hren

Trailer Reno #1: the Ramp

Trailer Reno #1: the Ramp

I’ve had a surprising amount of criticism lobbed my way on Instagram about my new-to-me “death trailer”. This post was originally a bitter rant about unsolicited advice, generational disconnect, and shitty people on the internet being shittyβ€” but trying to stay mad is exhausting, so…

Check out the new ramp instead!

Our safety inspection went about as well as I could have hoped for! The good ol’ boys down at Bickford Trailers deemed the frame sound, but found a couple of bearings that needed to be replaced. The inspection, the bearings, and the ramp cost me $800 total. They also greased my bearings and threw in a huge sheet of aluminum (more on that later) for no charge. Plus the mechanic gave me a lot of advice! πŸ˜€

Before and after of the ramp! Notice that he put in a more traditional rectangular ramp to help cut down on material costs and to make it weigh a little bit less, too.

Getting the ramp fixed was the biggest piece of the Miley renovation project. Plus it’s nice to have the peace of mind that comes with knowing that all of my wheels/bearings/the frame/etc. are in roadworthy shape. The rest of the stuff I have planned for the Miley is mostly cosmetic, but the majority of the things that need to get done have to wait until late spring rolls around and we start having some consistent sunshine.

The Miley’s definitely not my dream trailer, but I’m learning a lot just from having something to work on!

I’m starting to think preemptively about paint colors…

I’ve played a lot of video games; I know the value of buying cheap gear and then upgrading later, when you’ve got more coin to spare and a better idea of what class you want to specialize in.Β πŸ˜‰

I’m Just Here for the Goals

I’m Just Here for the Goals

If you expect the “yay, it’s 2018!” posts to stop anytime soon, you’re probably following the wrong blog. Celebrating the New Year is my favorite holiday. I 100% buy into all of the “shedding your old self, out with the old and in the with new” nonsense the gyms spew to try to convince people to spend money on their memberships. I love letting go of last year and looking into the future with the sense of optimism and joy that a clean slate bringsβ€”I love setting goals and thinking about my next steps in life.

Let’s get real, I actually just like making a million colorful diagrams.

Last year was the first year I kept a planner. It was a palm-sized little book that I bought at the dollar store, and it did a great job of keeping me organized and helping me get things done. Having everything I needed to do mapped out in a check list kept me a lot less anxious. For 2018 I knew I wanted more space to plan in, so I ordered a small Passion Planner on recommendation from a (very organized) friend.

First week of 2018 in my Passion Planner! Also, I promise this post will end up talking about ponies LOL

One of the first things the Passion Planner has you do is a “Passion Roadmap”. You sit down for five minutes and list everything you want in life out into four different sections (three months, one year, three years, and a lifetime). I did mine back in November, then promptly had a breakthrough a week into January when I realized that some of the goals I’d written down were holdovers from past years that I’d actually lost interest in. I ended up redoing the whole exercise from a new perspective.

Here’s the general gist of what I figured out while I was making my Passion Roadmap:

ONE MONTH: lighten the load, take things off my plate β†’ no forced writing time, finish up articles I’m working on for the video game website I write for and then take a hiatus

SIX MONTHS: get mobile so that Rags and I can meet people β†’ horse trailer finished, showing 2’0″, do a dressage show, trail rides, despooking clinic, etc., take more horse show pictures

ONE YEAR: get rid of all of my credit card debt β†’ this needs a plan sooner rather than later

FIVE YEARS: steady source of income = savings and less worry β†’ figure out a career? something with horses, but also maybe writing or photography or web design?

What really stood out to me, though, was something that all of my different sections seemed to have in common: every single one has something about meeting other people that love ponies or commenting on more things about ponies or exploring other disciplines so that I can make more friends with ponies. It sounds kind of silly now that I’m writing this all out, but when it came down to it the lifetime goal I marked as the most important literally just says “support the equestrian community”.

Anyways, I’ve got a whole bunch of sub-goals that I should map out at some point so that I have actionable steps to take towards achieving them (yay, more diagrams!).

Here’s a cute picture of my pony for slogging through all of this existential blah blah blah. πŸ™‚

This Horse is a Good Horse

This Horse is a Good Horse

Back in the dark days just before 2017 ended and we welcomed 2018 with wide open arms, I rode with TrainerM. It was not quite a lesson, not quite a clinic, not quite anything at allβ€”I feel like I’ve entered a strange, ephemeral phase of my relationship with my trainers; that feeling probably deserves an entire blog post, so we’ll save that for another dayβ€”but anyways, I was on a horse and TrainerM said some words at me and the whole thing went okay, I guess, but I also left the entire experience feeling generally incompetent and ashamed of where my riding was at.

Then I went home and a couple days later I jumped my pony and it was fantastic, so.

I haven’t jumped a lot of horses, but as I drove home from the barn that day, I started to think of the handful of horses I’ve had the honor of riding over (very tiny) fences. I thought about how each one made me feel, about their strengths and weaknesses and the things I liked about the them and the things I didn’t like.

Belle was a perfect point and shoot pony, but she took a lot of leg and was pretty choppy.
Boston was super smooth, but my nerves made me feel like he was going to bail on me.
Ezhno was… well, bless his soul, he tried to keep his feet on the ground as long as possible.

So the other day, during my lesson/clinic that wasn’t a lesson/clinic, I climbed aboard a horse that wasn’t mine in a saddle that wasn’t mine and had one of my most disappointing rides ever. The horse I was on didn’t feel like he had a very big motor, but I couldn’t figure out how to get more horsepower from him and TrainerM kept chastising me for fussing too much. Then I ate dirt coming up to the cross rail when he suddenly bolted sideways out from under me. It was an easy fall and I didn’t feel mentally jarred at all (yay, go me!), but even when we did get over the cross rail I just… didn’t like it.

Everyone always says that riding different horses makes you a better rider, but here’s a secret: I don’t think I want to be a better rider. I hate riding horses that aren’t my horse. I like that he’s big, and smooth, and smart, and that his green bean nature means that sometimes I have to dig in and help him out. The tiny moments where he scares me are far outweighed by the times where he makes me feel so, so strong.

So I guess this whole blog post was just a long-winded way of saying that I like my horse. Go figure. πŸ˜…