So, a typical week for the Director of TPR is...........There is no typical week. I get up at 3 a.m. most mornings to do site work and paperwork and return emails. I feed the horses at 6 a.m. and back to the office. I try, try, try to get down to the barn by 8 a.m. to start riding, but there are many days now that I am still in here until 10 a.m. or so. The workload has grown to a point where once or twice a week, I get up at 1 a.m. to fit in a few more hours and try to get caught up. Ha, that's a dream.
There is more and more work. Lots of people and horses who are desperate for help immediately or something horrible will happen. I've got to find time this day for them. There are the people who are doing everything right by their horses, so I've got to fit them in. There are the endless emails and phone calls inquiring about horses. That's what it's all about, so I've got to get to them. Try getting up day after day and answering an average 100 emails. I get around 5 to 20 phone calls a day. I answer them in the order in which I receive them. Sometimes I'm two weeks behind on returning calls. I'm very available in the morning before I ride. I don't have time to talk much during the day. I also don't want to. I'm riding and I don't want to be upset or distracted. You really never know what the person you are calling is going to say. Most are just inquiries, but not all. Just try it one day. It sounds like I'm complaining, but I am not. I'm going somewhere with this, just hang in there.
I regularly have people tell me how much they appreciate and respect what I do. I always feel great when I get a horse into the right hands. This is good because it prepares me for the dark side. You might ask what is the dark side? In just the last two weeks, I've gotten a horse here that was pulled from a kill pen at New Holland. I sent it to a foster home because I didn't have room. The horse had issues like they all do after going through that. I received very little help from the people who instigated the horse's rescue. They basically dumped the horse on me and told me I should put him down or pay for his rehabilitation myself. Oh, they did give me $85 and they've promised more........ There is nothing wrong with this guy that can't be fixed. He's beautiful and wonderful, he just needs a chance. The good news is the horse appreciates his new, safe life. That's actually good enough for me, but the problem is, I don't have a money tree. At the same time I got an email about a horse that would be sent to auction in two weeks, if I did not take him. I can't take him, I'm over full and still paying for most of this myself. Luckily the trainer did have them sign a TOA. I call the woman and say you signed a contract saying you'd never sell the horse at any auction. She says I know and he's too nice to send there. Too nice? I wouldn't send someone I hated to the auction, let alone any animal. I ask her - if I find a foster home, can she get him shipped there? The answer is no. I tell her to get me pictures and I'll find him a home. She doesn't have current pictures and she's three hours from here so I put them up. I hate putting up old pictures, it usually mispresents the horse. Someone goes to see the horse and contacts me and tells me he's thin and they won't let him go unless they pay the back board. I try to contact current owner and never hear from her again. Someone else contacts me and tells me the horse is gone. Gone where?
Oh that's not all. I get yelled at regularly because I don't return calls fast enough. I get crappy emails telling me I'm not doing enough and if I did better I'd place more horses and receive more money. I put horses on the site that people tell me have 45 days or something like that. I don't want to be God. I just want to help horses. I don't need pressure to make me perform. I'm doing the best I can and that has got to be good enough. Then there are the people that want to know what I am doing taking riding lessons when Thoroughbred Placement and Rescue is raising money to stay afloat. I suppose they think I should hitch hike rather than buy gas for my vehicle too.
What do you think? Would you like to walk a mile in these boots?
Someone was trying to do something really nice for me last weekend. I take pictures of horses all the time, but I never have time to photograph my own horses. Punkie is 25 years old. Graycie is as big as a house. They came to my farm and took pictures of my horses. These friends wanted me to be there and were trying to work with my schedule. I really appreciated that they would do this, but I couldn't commit to a time. They came anyway and did it without me there. That's precious to me. They asked me "How do you do it?"
How do I do it?
I ride with Elizabeth Madlener and she has led me down a path where I can help each and every horse I work with transition to a new discipline. She demands my full attention, thereby blocking out the rest of my world for a short time. This is stability and hope.
I rode with Jimmy Wofford last Tuesday. I guess I shouldn't disclose that. I should keep secret the fact that I spent some of my money to ride with Jimmy. I took both of my boys. I had to get up at 1 a.m. to achieve this feat. Jimmy was hard on me in a positive way and I got a ton out of it. Riding is the only time I don't feel the weight of the world on my back. It's the only time I am focused on one thing and not divided in countless directions, like the dots of light reflected off a disco ball. This is an island of sanity in an ocean of chaos where I walk the finest line between a great life or no life for these innocent, magnificent creatures.
How do I do it?
I ride. I love these horses. I have wonderful people around me.
On Laying Down The Foundation in Dressage
7 years ago