Making Lemonade Out of Lemons In The Horse World

I have to be the optimist in life.  When the chips are down I like to see a silver lining and keep my spirits up.  Texas can be a funny place, one day the drought is killing all of our livestock, the next day the rain has shut down our horse activities.  Around here, the rains have been pouring down every day in May.  Our forecast hasn’t looked like this in 10 years.

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Eddie and I are on our way to Texas A&M to pick up his horse Rita and I’m thinking about lemonade.  This is the weekend we couldn’t go to the big USTPA Show in Fort Worth and it has rained almost 2 days straight.  In my usual, glass is half full thinking, I’m actually very content.  Here’s why:


My jumping arena is on a slant.  Often, this really bothers me.  Like everyone in the world of show horses, I want a perfectly level arena.  I have one of those, we call it the second arena or the dressage arena.  It is a bit smaller and we don’t set up very many jumps in it.  When it rains the second arena stays sloppy for a long time. We consider the first arena to be our jumping arena and it has a very noticeable, undesirable, slope.  Well, undesirable when I let it bother me, kind of a lemon you might say.  My husband has built some of the best arenas in town and you would think he could fix this one that bothers me.  The dilemma is we sit on some of the hardest rock in Texas and he spent weeks excavating the best arena that it could be.  This week the skies have definitely added torrential water to my lemons but we now have lemonade.  On Thursday I was able to teach JUMPING lessons. Yes, after 2 inches of rain, we JUMPED when most arenas around town looked like swimming holes.  I don’t take any chances with slippery, wet sand, so I was surprised to find the footing was perfect in my perfectly un-level, jumping arena.  Ahhh…  Sweet lemonade.

Lemonade #2

We spent a lot of family time together, sad as it was, at the funeral. We all know that is what funerals are for.  Despite the tough time, memories were made. While talking to out of town family members,  I was inspired to write more when I learned how many of them are reading my blogs.  They made me laugh when they said things like, “I never really cared much about horses, but I sure like the stuff you’re writing about!”  I find that to be another silver lining, we all need a little inspiration to do what we love.   After the funeral, the footing was great in the arena and our granddaughters could take their riding lesson.  Madison was able to ride her new pony, Mysti, for the first time.  Now that is some Grandma, glass-full, Lemonade.

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Eddie and I have had some tough horse times.  Zeke and Bonita are still recovering from their hail storm injuries.  Daily meds and wound care are bringing them nicely along.  Our best Penning/Sorting horse Rita (the one that keeps my husband out of competition retirement, another glass of lemonade!) came down with what seemed like guttural pouch mycosis.  And, to A&M she went.  Rita has been at the clinic for over a week now and the diagnosis has changed several times.  In the beginning of her hospitalization, the updates were ominous and the reports sounded like an unaffordable dilemma. How much can we spend on one horse’s vet bills?   On Friday the reports brought a better outlook and today we are driving to pick her up.  They say she is doing much better and her appetite is back.  I’m expecting a very skinny horse and, as we drive, I’m getting ready for that first scary look.  We’re hoping that she’s not just a shadow of the horse she was a short month ago.  But, she recovered!  As we load her up, she doesn’t look as bad as I thought she would.  I’ll make lemonade out of this for sure!  She’s a great young horse and there’s no way I could replace her for the dollars we have invested in her so far.

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Heading home, I remember one more could’ve been “lemon” to add to my story.  My client and friend, Corina, is picking up our newly rescued thoroughbred today.  I know he’ll need at least a few weeks to rest and quarantine in our neighbor’s pasture.  As we drive in the pouring rain, I picture all of us crazy horse people staring at a beaten-down, majestic, young thoroughbred saved from the slaughter house.  The alternative could have been a real lemon.  I’m sure we will savor the day with a toast to friends and new horses.  I doubt the toast will be made with lemonade, but… I can’t wait to see what kind of lemonade we will make from this sweet lemon….sounds like a good show name to me…Sweet Lemon.

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