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The End of an Era

The End of an Era

Last Monday marked a turning point for my life at the barn: it was my last lesson with TrainerM.

I think Raglan and I gave her a really solid final ride!

She’s headed back to her home state for a long vacation, then she intends to pursue real estate in the greater Seattle area. She’ll still be around to cover lessons for TrainerA and throw the occasional clinic, but she’s officially out of the weekly instructor rotation. A big chapter is closing in my lesson program!

TrainerM on Ezhnoโ€”the horse AND the trainer that rebuilt my confidence together ๐Ÿ’—

Watching TrainerM go (even on a not quite 100% basis) is bittersweet. I spent two years, seven months, and three days under TrainerM’s tutelage. She’s been with me for my entire journey as an adult equestrian. She guided me over my first cross rail, my first vertical, my first oxer. She helped me buy my first horse, then gave me the strength and confidence to move onto bigger and better things with Raglan.

TrainerM testing out Raglan before I got on him for the very first time

There’s no one that has had a larger effect on my abilities as an equestrian than TrainerM. I’d go so far as to say that my foundation as a rider is built on the countless hours she’s spent teaching me.

Jumping my very first oxer under TrainerM’s watchful eyeโ€”I def fell off LMAO

As I push forward into a TrainerM-less future, I’ve found myself trying to catalogue all of the skills that she’s taught me. It’s an impossible task. So much of my understanding of timing, theory, and biomechanics is rooted in the lessons that I took with her. It’s more than just “inside leg to outside rein” and “lift his belly, pick up his shoulders” and “feel his inside hind come underneath him”. It would take 946 days for me to properly convey just how much the time TrainerM put into my development as a rider means to me.

TrainerM walking alongside Raglan and I at his very first show

More than anything, I’m so grateful for all the times when TrainerM could have given me a harsh word or given up on me completely, but instead offered me kindness, compassion, and patience. My progress as a rider hasn’t always been an easy road. For a long time, my anxiety made it hard for me to function. There were days when I couldn’t even without succumbing to a state of panic, let alone jump.

Raglan and I jumping our first 2’3″ oxer while TrainerM held the camera and encouraged us

Throughout it all, TrainerM has pushed me to do better, without breaking me.

TrainerM jumping Raglan over a 2’9″ vertical

Yesterday I started the next leg of my journey with LJO, who’s taking over TrainerM’s lesson duties. I am beyond excited to continue learning under a new teacher, but I’ll never forget everything that TrainerM has taught me and I wish her all the happiness on her new path! ๐Ÿ’•

Winter Plans

Winter Plans

This weekend I did some cost comparisons between horse shows in my area. The results?ย EXPENSIVE.

Remember when I ordered the $4,000 saddle? I DON’T HAVE ANY MONEY LEFT, UNIVERSE

If I wanted to compete at a local eventing show, the weekend would come out to $520 after all of the memberships and fees were sorted out. A weekend at a C-rated Hunter/Jumper show would cost me $700, minimum. A USHJA “Outreach” show (the USHJA’s version of schooling shows) would be at least $370. That’s a lot of $$$ for a horse that may or may not show up with his game face on.

DIS BE MY GOOD GAME FACE, WHOAKAY?

Luckily, my area has a couple other schooling show options. Hauling into the Lake Washington Saddle Club shows for a division of classes comes out to about $120. With the summer over, though, I’ve got my eyes set on our local winter series: the Burkwood Farm Schooling Shows.

Last time I rode in one of the Burkwood shows was back in November 2016

The hunter/jumper section of my lesson program is going through some major changes. Over the past month TrainerM has been slowly phasing out of her teaching position. She leaves for a family vacation in October, at which point LJO will be taking over all of her jumping students. TrainerM will still be around, but LJO will be spearheading the hunter/jumper piece of the R2R program. It’s a big change, but it’s also something that I’m very excited for! LJO is very involved in the local H/J community and she has big plans to help build my barn’s H/J team. I might finally get the big jumping family I’ve been hoping for!

Group photo from the last time our little team went to a show together

LJO plans to take all of her students to the Burkwood series. The Burkwood shows run in mid November, late January, and early March. Stabling, schooling, and office fees for the weekend come to $125, plus $20 per class. It’ll be the perfect environment for Raglan’s first over fences classes!

I plan to play what classes we enter by ear. Hopefully all goes well and we can do the 18″ hunter division during the November show, the 0.65m (2’1″) division in January, and ultimately end the season competing at 0.70m (2’3″). I’d love LOVE LOVE to be able to take him into at least one Jumper Classic (and maybe even win some $$? long shot, but we’ll see!). As long as Raglan’s confidence keeps growing I’ll be ecstatic.

no mahm give me dem BIG jompies plz, ready NAO

This winter will be our first real foray into competing over fences, and I can’t be more excited! There are so many doors that will be open to us when Raglan settles into his role as a show pony. ๐Ÿ’—

Investing in Insurance

Investing in Insurance

Back in July, when Raglan and I had our one year anniversary together, I realized that Raglan is going to be with me for a very long time. Now that I’m certain that Raglan is a permanent fixture in my life, I’ve been finding ways to give him the opportunity to grow even stronger, happier, and well-rounded. He’s not a scrawny project anymore, he’s my giant beefcake partner ๐Ÿ’—

Obviously I made a huge investment when I ordered our custom Prestige saddle, but there are some smaller ways that I’ve been shelling out a little extra cash to improve his quality of life, too. I tacked on turnout service to his board bill, started buying him a more expensive complete feed, and enrolled us in weekly semi-private lessons. Add that together and it’s an extra $200 a month that I’ve been spending on Raglan.

One of the most important investments I’ve made is to put an insurance policy on Raglan.

After experiencing the terror of having a barnmate’s horse pass away from choke complications in March, I started thinking. The possibility that I could be put in a position where I have to choose between swallowing a $10,000+ debt and watching Raglan suffer is unbearable. It’s literally my worst nightmare. There’s no doubt that I would have come out of the situation emotionally and financially wrecked.

It’s common to insure things that are important to usโ€”car insurance, health insurance, homeowners insurance, etc. Horse insurance, on the other hand, isn’t quite so common. Partially because there’s a misconception that only super expensive five+ figure horses should be insured, but also because a lot of people don’t understand how horse insurance works.

When you purchase insurance for your horse, you’re paying for two different parts: mortality insurance and major medical insurance. Mortality insurance is the amount of money that you’re paid if your horse suddenly passes away. Major medical insurance is how much the company will pay towards emergency vet bills per year. You cannot purchase major medical insurance without a mortality policyโ€”and insurance companies limit how much major medical coverage you can have based on your mortality insurance. For example, if your horse has $5,000 dollars of mortality insurance, then you can have up to (but not over) $5,000 of major medical coverage on them, as well.

What’s covered by my major medical insurance? Pretty much everything except routine vet care (like shots, teeth, etc.). Lameness evaluations are covered. Scoping for and treating ulcers is covered. Imaging (MRI, ultrasound, etc.) is covered. Stitches and antibiotics are covered. Any trouble that Raglan could possibly get himself into, my insurance coversโ€”goodbye surprise vet bills!

Raglan is insured with $7,500 of mortality insurance and $7,500 major medical coverage. He also gets an extra $3,000 of major medical coverage that’s specifically for colic incidents, which brings his total colic coverage up to $10,500. That covers most, if not all, of colic surgery and post-operative care.

So how much do I pay for all of those perks? The cost of horse insurance differs depending on coverage amount and the horse’s age/discipline. For Raglan, a six-year-old jumper/eventer, I pay ~$630 a year for my policy. Divide that out and it’s a little over $50 a monthโ€”less than I pay for my car insurance.

On the fence about horse insurance? I went back and forth for a while, but what finally convinced me was doing the math. If I pay $630 a year for the next 10 years, that’s $6,300. What is the chance that in the next decade Raglan, my high energy troublemaker Thoroughbred, doesn’t somehow manage to rack up $6,300 of vet bills? It only takes one major illness or injury for that insurance to pay for itself.

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