Sunday, December 7, 2014

If I had a pony

The leaves are falling from the trees here with the last bits of bright color from the gums and maples.  The weather has been unusually warm for the past week. It has actually been really beautiful to be outside and to ride on the farm with all the trees ablaze.

I spent a few days in north Florida at a horse breeding farm. I rode many times a day, trying out different horses.  Ultimately, I chose an older dressage schoolmaster who was imported to the US several years ago.  I had a pre-sale veterinary check done on him, and he received a glowing report. So I am wiring the money tomorrow, and he will arrive sometime this week to his new home here with us.

After making the decision to get him, I struggled for several hours with the feeling that I don't deserve to have him. I felt a bit of panic and anxiety over the responsibility and the idea that I am being frivolous in spending quite a bit of money on a horse.

These feelings aren't new.  I have struggled for many years with the idea that I am not deserving of "things".  My parents made sure that I knew how much things cost and how I was to take care of what I had because something would not be replaced if I broke it.  They bought me cars and a horse, nice clothes, paid for college--yet, I had the feeling that I needed to realize how lucky I was.  And I did feel lucky and grateful but not deserving.

I don't think these feelings are unusual for someone growing up around heavy drinkers or alcoholics.  The low self-esteem generates feelings of not being good enough, not being worthy.  The interesting thing for me is that I didn't feel this way when I got my sailboats.  But purchasing a horse seems to make me wonder if I am not thrusting myself into a world where snobby people stand around and sip on fancy drinks and talk about the latest hunt club gossip.  That makes me anxious because I don't like gossip or fake people.

I realize that I am building up a lot of this in my head.  We have the money to have a horse and maintain him.  I enjoy riding and live in an area where there are lots of trails and horse farms.  The dressage barn is within walking distance of our place. I know the logical answers to my fears.  Yet, I still alternate between being excited and having anxiety over having something I want that seems not necessary, not critical to my survival.

I am sure that when he arrives this week, my feelings will be those of excitement. My wife is happy and excited.  I talk to her about my anxiety and she tells me that I have not gotten over missing a horse for many years. Now things have come full circle, and the time is now to have another. She loves the idea of my getting him and being able to visit him to groom and feed with carrots.

Funny how the mind reruns the old tapes of "you're not good enough" when there needs to be joy instead.   Anyway, here he is.  He will be here soon. His call name is Star (His registered name is something long and difficult to pronounce). Hopefully, there will be years of adventures together.  I don't think he will fit on my boat. But the song of Lyle Lovett comes to mind:
If I had a boat
I'd go out on the ocean
And if I had a pony
I'd ride him on my boat
And we could all together
Go out on the ocean
Me upon my pony on my boat


  1. my friend both you and the horse deserve to be happy together,and that is the bottom line.Cheers.

  2. As soon as I saw your title, that song came to my head. I love it.
    Oh, Syd! I know exactly what you mean about not deserving things. I struggle with that daily. It is part of who I am, just as it is part of who you are but I love what Mike said- you and the horse deserve to be happy together. Who could take better care of that handsome animal than you and your beloved? No one. There.
    Enjoy your new love!

  3. It's not just children of heavy drinkers and alcoholics that can get those feelings. Those are feelings that we can all have. I always attributed mine to the fact that grew up and worked my up to being a plant manager of a manufacturing plant, my father was a fork lift driver in a manufacturing plant. I felt like I should always be on a fork lift too.

    That horse don't know it yet but it is the luckiest horse on the planet.

  4. Syd, You deserve to be happy with your new horse. You deserve all the goodness which your Higher Power bestows upon you, and that horse is going to find out just how lucky he is to be living with you and your beloved. Take care.

  5. I relate so much to that feeling of being undeserving and not worthy. It's part of why I always wait for some catastrophe if I do something nice for myself.

    I think your horse is a wonderful idea, and caring for him is a gift for the animal. You are giving him a good life. My husband's stepmom has horses, and I am fascinated by them and their strength. I like imagining you having peaceful rides with your new horse.

  6. That is one lucky horse........enjoy!! How excited you must be! Of course you deserve him and I'll bet he loves his knew family instantly!

  7. Oh he's beautiful! It will all be fine....this is just another peeling back of some layers. What if this time, this process of getting your new horse-friend released you once and for all from all of those old feelings?! Wouldn't that be something?'

  8. Your comment made me smile...I know all too well the feelings of not deserving when it comes to giving myself gifts. Horses and money troubles me sometimes though...they need more folk like yourselves. More will be revealed

  9. YOLO my friend! You only live once!


  10. Star is magnificent!! I am beyond excited for you to have this beautiful horse in your life!!! What a precious gift that will fill your heart with love and peace. Horses are vital for survival in this life, well, at least that is my opinion. I can relate to that committee in the head, trying to fill our mind and heart with lies. I have faith you will be able to overcome those thoughts and enjoy every moment with Star. I look forward to many more shares about Star!!

  11. Well, there is certainly lots of gossip and drinking in that wealthy horse crowd but I think you have a strong enough program, Syd. Three of my AA friends have had the same problem and only one stayed (is staying) sober. Keep up your meetings and stay true to your beliefs and you should be fine.

  12. I wonder if my comment didn't post? Syd that is a beautiful horse and with regard to privilege, I think you have a deep understanding of giving back, compassion and justice

  13. Syd, Have you seen the movie, "Buck"? And, have you ever read Monty Roberts? If not, check them out. Your horse can teach you a lot about yourself. Enjoy him!


Let me know what you think. I like reading what you have to say.