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Friday, January 6, 2012

Why my birthday was perfect

On the fourth I turned 27.  (I know - so old, almost over the hill!).  Numbers mean a LOT to me.  They each have their own personalities which I think are based on a combination of how they behave mathematically, and how they look.  I don’t like most primes (except the number 2).  I like the numbers 2 and 6.  I like 26 better than 16.  Primes are my least favorite (probably due to the days of algebra and calculus and knowing when I saw them in an equation I wouldn’t be able to do ANYTHING simple like divide both sides to get an easier equation).  I particularly dislike the numbers 3, 7, and 17 because they look “broken”, are primes, and there’s no trick to memorizing the multiples of 7 except rote memorization. 

I think you get the point. 

What’s interesting is that my best years come when I’m an age in numbers that I don’t particularly care for.  23 was a fabulous year for me - so even though I still don’t like “23”, there is a sort of fondness for it by virtue of me having a lot of fun that year. 

Thus, I’m a little curious to see what happens this year, when I’m 27 and Farley is 13.  Two numbers I don’t particularly care for.  27 is interesting, because while it isn’t a prime, it’s a factorial of a prime (3) [and it’s 3 3’s!], so I tend to lump it in with the other distasteful prime numbers. 

Now that all of you think I’m especially weird - even for an endurance rider, let me tell you why my birthday was perfect. 

1.  I found my Tevis buckle.  I contend it was never really LOST - I never wore it, had put it on once only to decide it didn’t go with the outfit and took it off again.  And.....didn't see it again for an uncomfortably long time.  It was somewhere in the very tiny house, attached to a belt.  See?  Not really lost, I just haven’t been able to find it for 6 months.  I was a little irritated.  I never got to even WEAR it.  It was purchased for me by my 2010 crew and so special to me beyond just being my buckle.  I don’t lose things and while I knew it had to be in the house, it wasn’t turning up - thus keeping good company with my kershaw leek knife (which I still can’t find BTW).  Then, preparing for a boot fitting and dragging boot boxes out of the closet I was in a hurry and knocked over my sock bin….and there is was!!!!!!!!!!  I of COURSE put it on and wore it.  Perfect day = finding and WEARING my Tevis buckle. 

2.  I went riding.  Farley was a witch.  To put it simply - if she had tried this crap on our pre-purchase ride, she would NOT have gone home with me!  Farley tried to run away, and when that didn’t work tried to buck me off, and when that didn’t work tried to jig, and when that didn’t work tried to be squirrley while standing, and when that didn’t work tried to do an advanced dressage move that involved sideways movement and a very elevated foot placement and when that didn’t work decided (1/4 mile from home) that perhaps just going calmly down the road was the easiest thing.  After almost 2 hours.  We checked out the levee road, which is gravelly, so I put boots on her on the trail (new philosophy - during conditioning she doesn’t wear boots except for specific stretches that need them.  That way we get LOTS of practice taking them on and off on the trail and more opportunities to practice standing).  Boots, I might add that have hundreds of miles on them and I haven’t used in over a year.  Nothing like setting myself up for success eh?  The RF that is sometimes a 2, looked to be a 1 when I slide the hoof into it before the trail ride so I packed 2-0’s and 2-1’s and took off.  Ummm….what I didn’t do was actually try and put the boot completely on, with the captivator up.  Thus, on the trail when I got to the RF cursed a bit but finally got the captivator up and did what you aren’t suppose to do - stuff a too big hoof into a small boot.  I was begging for a boot failure - but everything stayed put, even through her canter/bucking antics and stepping all over herself when we were practicing standing as an alternative to lunacy and above ground airs. 

3.  I had a boot fitting and met some wonderful people who sent me home with dried fruit.
  I’m now convinced I need to go into mobile practice.  I know I know I know.  I said I was NOT going to be clinician and I was NOT going to treat horses……but I realized that as a mobile vet I would be doing something similar to my Boots 4 Mel practice - driving around helping animals, meeting wonderful local animal people, and giving back to the community.  I could own my business (I know I know - something else I promised I’d never do), have a flexible schedule, and be able to work outside.  I could still focus on food animal and pick up enough equine and small animal knowledge to help pay the bills.  A PhD would be just as much fun and very interesting - but now I’m not sure that's the right path for me.  The idea of practicing is crazy and 180 degrees away from what I had planned on doing (never being on call again, not working weekends and holidays….) but I think the reward of meeting local people and working in the community, as well as having the ultimate control over my working life would be worth it. 

4.  Went for a run with Tess and she behaved herself (Is my puppy finally turning into that dog I’ve always wanted?  I was told all the qualities of a rather challenging puppy are the makings of a great dog!!!!)  Run + Ride in the sunshine = a very very mental (and physically) happy Mel. 

5.  I was lent a saddle!!!!!!!!  The generosity of people amazes me.  A blog reader and client of Boots 4 Mel read that I was riding trail in my dressage saddle and had borrowed my Dad’s Mcclellen and decided to lend me one of her trail saddles!  It was incredibly kind of her.  The saddle fits Farley almost perfectly - better than the solstice did, and fits me as well.  I’m truly doing endurance on a budget for the first time, and I was trying to figure out how to buy a used all-purpose wintec with the $100 left over from my financial aid last term, combined with birthday and xmas money.  I’m used to having to live frugally, but since graduating from college have been able to buy something I want for a hobby, without having to change my life style significantly.  Very scary to be living as cheaply as possible and realize that the money was still very very very close.  The good news is that endurance is cheaper than a lot of organized equestrian sports.  But, entry fees and gas still cost money.  To make endurance happen, I need to watch every penny and it’s a relief to have a saddle that will work without a significant outlay. 

6.  Decided to go to the AERC convention for the first time ever.  It’s in Reno again this year.  How ironic that I’m going to the convention after “completing” season with my fewest rides ever?  Even my first year I did more rides!  Even though the completion rate was the same as it was for 2010 - a big fat ZERO. :)

7.  Yes, yes, yes, the next 2 happenin’s are decidedly not horsey.  But since it’s MY blog and MY birthday, I get to post all sorts of OT thingies if I feel like it!  I planned my backpacking season for the first half of the year.  A sweet little overnighter in a new location on BLM land with an emphasis on bird watching and a longer trip in May at Point Reyes with family members. 

8.  I’ve decided to do a half marathon. 
Now, I know what you are saying - “didn’t you do one of those last year?”.  Why yes I did!  The difference is this year I’m actually TRAINING for it.  :)  No showing up to the start line with a broken arm with my previous runs 6 months ago.  No sirree - no one in a cast will be passing me this year!  It’s great to be hitting the road and the pilates mat again.  I’m doing the running barefoot, and coupled with the flexibility from the pilates, I’m having less issues with knees and feet than I ever have before.  I can run on grass in my barefoot Softstar shoes - not something I’ve ever been able to do with regular shoes (because of the clearance and having to pick up my feet higher than usual) so I think I’m actually accumulating less impact. 

It’s time to eat breakfast and peel the bored puppy off the walls of the house and do something. [like ride!  and run! and write my research proposal! and clean manure! and get ready for school Monday! and play with Tess!  and hang out with friends!  and catalog my birdwatching trip yesterday! - 40 species seen and 10 lifers! Don't I have a wonderful life?  This too could be yours for the low price of going into debt $50K a year!]


  1. that was a great birthday. Late Happy Birthday! When you get over the hill (30)(HA!) you get to start having week-long birthdays.
    see you at the convention!
    - The Equestrian Vagabond

  2. When you hit 50 you get to have month long least according to your mother!


  3. Geez...I can't remember my 27th birthday. It was too long ago. :)
    Our equine vet has a mobile practice-that's why we chose him! He shares weekends with another vet so they both can have family time. I think you wuld make a great clinician!
    I tell my hubby to wear his Tevis buckle all the time-he worked darn hard for it! You should wear yours proudly!
    Happy belated birthday!!!

  4. It feels perfectly snobbish....but I've worn it every day since!!!!!!!! LOL. I really like wearing it - it makes me feel good, reminds me of what hard work and dedication to a goal over many years can accomplish. :)


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