It’s fall. I wanted to get that out in the open just in case you hadn’t noticed.

I would really love fall if it weren’t a precursor to winter. The foliage is beautiful, the temperatures are moderate, I get to wear sweatshirts and cuddle under blankets, and the bugs are dying. On the surface, things are great. But, lurking in the shadows of the later sunrises and earlier sunsets, seeping into the frosted corners of chilly mornings, is the threat of the friggin’ cold and dark of full-out winter. Ugh.

I try not to dread it, but it never works. Oh, I don’t hate every moment of winter, and certainly the dread of it is usually worse than the actual living through it. I’ll spare you the shot in the arm at the doctor’s office-type analogies.

Still, I have this thing sitting in my chest, this fun-sucking thing. This year it’s amped-up by another fun-sucking thing: I’m working on selling my Jilly horse. It’s complicated. I owned her mother. I put the iodine on her fresh, bloody umbilical stump in the middle of a cold and wind-blasted night. I named her and watched her grow. I’ve trained her every step of the way. And she refuses to be the horse I want her to be.

That rubs as much as the selling her part. Like a failure. And it is in a way.

She wants to be doing stuff. Real stuff. Like competing at barrel racing, which I now know she loves. Or maybe working cows or racing or some other thing that is interesting and more concrete. She’s OK with trailriding if we’re on the go and training, training, training. She hates just to walk along through the pasture where she’s been before. She totally hates having to walk along babysitting a green rider or ponying a green horse. These are things I want and need a horse for on occasion.

If she just jigged around, refusing to walk quietly, I could probably tough it out. But her hate is the fuel for temper tantrums of monumental proportions that make us both hate riding, thus not so much fun.

I gave in this summer and vowed not to train her anymore to be the horse I want, but to train to see what kind of horse she wants to be … or to discover once an for all if she just doesn’t want to be trained at all.

Turns out she loves barrel racing. The horse that used to throw a hell-fire fit if I circled her more than two times in the same place, now considers arena training a calm-ative. She’s like an ADHD child, and arena work for barrels is her hyper-focus video game of choice. Her whole demeanor softens in the arena, and she’s learning to be tractable while we do the work.

I’ve been happy with her progress, but the irony is, if I were a competitor, or a ranch worker, or just flat out went places with my horses and did more, then she’d be farther along right now and probably OK with the slow, boring tasks I require on occasion. The thing is: I live here specifically because I have thousands of acres of riding outside my door, so I don’t have to haul (to new places that she finds interesting). And I don’t care a whit or a jot about competing — not even the social aspect of it because I really like to ride out alone.

By my very nature, I have failed her. Yeah, it rubs.

To add complication to the whole thing, I had her trained up, getting fit and turning barrels pretty well to help me find a better home for her, then she cut herself. Now, she’s had two months off work, it’s past competition season and at the end of the riding season, the prospects are dim, and I just want this over with.

I’m losing sleep. Yes, over a horse. I’m obsessing, thus not getting work done. Not blogging. Not cleaning. Not building. Just obsessing. During the one season of the year when I am most troubled anyway.

So there it is, my life in a heap.

Thank you for reading this far at: pam(at)