So there are parts of me that scream petty- sad, and miserable parts. I am so torn on quite a few things- including the Taco issue. Stacy is doing quite well with him, winning a lot, and getting amazing scores…. And I am not as happy as I should be about it. I love that horse-I should be over joyed, but instead I am filled with anxiety and depression.
I made him who he is. I found him, put up with his issues (bucking, bolting and overall terror of the world) nursed him thru- cyst in his sesimoid, knee infection, Stifle infection, bone infection re: splint, leg injury, uveitis. I spent hundred of hours and thousands of dollars on making better. Finally after all this, and spending hours on the ground, we made it. We advanced thru training, onto prelim. Once there, we attacked getting the best we could be, and Beth made that happen. Our second year out, he was just so impressive-quality rides every step of the way. This horse NEVER EVER HAD A XC STOP! He just trusted me so much, and was so good. I was the issue, never ever him if we faltered that year. BUT- it if were not for me, I know he would not have gone anywhere. I let him be himself, and therefore created his trust in people so that he was able to be the star that he is. We were moving on to I, and I really thought A was in our future.
Then, as the saying goes, life happened. The first (and most avoidable) was the injury he sustained with Amy. This created an incredible cascade of events-and cost well over 25K. I am sick over that. Sick still, sick then, sick forever. IF this had not happened, the rest would not be an issue. It stopped my riding. I had Doc and Skeeter, but they were never the same as Taco. But how to explain that? How to let anyone know? With Taco, I could do anything, and he could do anything, because he was my star- I had such respect for him. I did not want to change who or what he was ever- I worked inside of it, and allowed the wonder of Taco to come out. I respected him, treasured him, allowed him. And by doing that, I created a happy animal – one who went out with confidence and assurance knowing that he was the best there was. Because Taco is the best there is.
Back to life. Ah, the economic crisis- this tossed all that we know into the free fall, it became clear that my dream was ending with a bang. I was not totally able to see that things were totally ending, but clearly, with hindsight, things were. I needed to change- needed to go back to work, needed to stop doing the horses as I had been doing them. Okay- fine. Work? Got a job. Needed a career? Back to school,- career on track. Sell horses? Sold Skeeter And since I was not going to be able to continue to ride prelim, I decided to lease Taco. Problem is this- not so easy for me after all.
He has evolved into being an amazing horse- a schoolmaster, really- for Stacy. She loves him. He loves her. He has done so well- and I am very proud of both of them. But damn it, this is my horse- my baby, my creation. Together, we are what is good about eventing. Yet, he has gone onto be good even with out me. Okay, not at prelim, but at Nov- and probably Training. But, he would NEVER have done that if it weren’t for my trusting a horse that was pretty untrustable. I believed in Taco. And guess what-that is why he can do what he can do today. I don’t think anyone that knew Taco “then” would believe that it’s the same Taco now.
But that does not matter anymore. I am not a professional, and the losing of Taco is just…horrible. I want him back- but I can’t take him back from Stacy- she is having the ride of a lifetime on him. I do want someone to say…Hey Annika, he is what he is because of you—but we all know that won’t happen. Because, well, it’s just like that. I really cannot imagine taking credit for doing well on a horse that someone else has trained and created. (think Dolly*I won my first event on her but she was “borrowed”* ). But for them it’s what they have done together. For them, it’s good. For me, not so good. For me, actually, depressing. I would never want to go Nov again. So why do I care? And really, since I had ridden SO much the past 2 years (like not at all…) what makes me think I could get back to that level again?? But I know if Taco was here, I could be doing what we’d like. But I think I have removed that from possible. Because I know what Stacy is feeling. It’s where I was when the accident with Amy happened. And to take that away??? I know- it a word it’s simply
So, perhaps my P-nut butter lid needs adjusting. Perhaps. But, I am resisting that strongly. I never wanted these changes. I never would have allowed these changes. It is against everything I stand for. Plan practice, prepare- it’s what I do.
Taco was my first measurable success ever. I know that seems silly. But I have always placed my kids first and foremost. Then, Art. So, my measure of success has really been in others. I never finished college, as Jaz came along, and then Nick when I was trying again. I always had okay jobs, but not careers. No need, really. But when Art and I got married, none of that other stuff mattered- I was doing my dream. I got to RIDE! With Taco, I got us there- I did the sweat, the hard work and there we ended up- at a spot higher than anyone could have ever imagined on a 1000 horse that was banned from the track. It never would have happened without Art, and I know that, but as far as the sweat and tears? That was me. Totally me. I knew how to get us there- when to push, when to stop. And so…. Taco and I were an US. We were a team. I did not get a ribbon, HE got a ribbon. And really, Taco won, I did not. Taco was …Taco. The amazing, incredible Taco.
I think all of this is hard for people to understand-I certainly get blank stares or glances of pity when I try and talk about it. A one trick pony sort of situation. If I were better, I could recreate a Taco, couldn’t I? Maybe not. Maybe, but it’s not Taco.
There will never be another Taco. I am tempted to try with Tahoe- he has something special, but the thought of going thru ALL that again is- tough.
Yes, I am on a different path. But this is not a choice that I made, it was made for me. I did not make this happen. But I have to adapt, even as I don’t want to, I must. And I find that really really hard to deal with.
My life was defined by Taco- my dad first came to see me ride when it was Taco, I was respected as a rider once I had Taco, I became someone to trust with Taco, because there as no question that I care for and would do anything I could for him which is the sign of honor for an equestrian, isn’t it?
I have no idea what to do, and that is why I am asking you….