My Life

This morning I woke from a dream in which I was riding, nothing fancy, just a typical day of training. Mostly what made it real was the scent. I could smell me, that unique scent of sweat mingled with horsiness. And I found myself waking to regretting that I couldn’t ride anymore; I wasn’t even close to realizing my full potential. 245265Imagining how eventually I could have become a stronghold with Steffen in international competition.  The owners of my Olympic horse were in the process of buying me a new horse; I was intending to try to qualify Grandioso for WEG; I had two extremely promising youngsters provided by sponsors. How different my life could have been.
But then my thoughts shifted to River. How almost every day I get to let her sleep on me for her two naps; how I get to spend almost entire days playing with her and watching her play; how loving her nearly makes my heart burst. How different my life would have been.
My life is different, but certainly not worse.

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I’ve received more encouragement to keep up my postings, and it makes me feel so good to hear that people are enjoying them. Thanks so much for taking the time to let me know.
Big news on the sleep front: I got a full eight hours the other night!!! I went to a sleep doctor (how incredibly stupid that I didn’t even know such a thing existed), and he rattled off a zillion different drugs I could try. He was extremely thorough. And the one he chose to prescribe (trazadone) gave me eight hours on half of the potential maximum dose! And with so many other possibilities, I’m less worried about becoming immune. I feel so stupid for not thinking there was a doctor who specializes in sleep, but I suppose one would think my neurologist would recommend seeing one as it’s such a problem.
The other thing he prescribed is a sleep test. I’ve never done one because, out of the five people I know who’ve done one, not one has said it helped. They all recommend doing the same things: keep all electronics fifty feet away, don’t drink too much, don’t watch tv before bed, etc, all of which I’ve done with no success. Even my doctor doesn’t have much faith that it will really shine light on why I don’t sleep, but he says it’s worth doing for any information it will provide. And let’s face it, it’s pretty silly not to do one. That’s Wednesday night, and I’m really looking forward to it. Just watch, I’ll sleep like a baby!

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River, Viva, Koryn and you

River is officially a toddler. She took her first steps the day before her birthday, but now she’s zooming around.  It’s such a fun age to watch as she figures out how her body works.
I think she mimics Viva nearly as much as me. She loves to crawl inside the kennel, with or without Viva. When Viva’s not in her small, donut-shaped bed, River will circle around inside it and wedge herself in just so like Viva does. When Viva gives her toy the shake-of-death, River shakes her own head.7136256
When Jason and I read about how dachshunds are as family dogs, it said, “not good with kids”, and I initially thought that would be accurate with Viva. But she’s a saint. Usually River’s very gentle with her, but a couple times she’s really pulled hard on her tail. Viva just yipes and gives a half-hearted growl.
The way they interact is quite cute and entertaining: River will find Viva’s favorite toy–Sofie, a giraffe for babies that was originally given to River–, squeak it, and look for Viva to come. When she does, River flails it in front of Viva’s face until Viva takes it. Then River takes it back (Viva knows that when River tries to take the toy, she needs to let it go) and hands it to me to throw. Then she claps as Viva goes to fetch it, Viva brings it back, and we do the whole thing over again: take the toy, flail it in Viva’s face until she takes it, take it back, hand it to mummy and watch Viva run. It’s an evening ritual as we have our nightly drink-and-pretzel chip-o’clock. River’s an amazingly cool chick like that too. She just sits next to me in my big chair, munches on her crackers and sort of watches the Daily Show with us as she plays with her toys. I feel lucky every hour of every day that I have a child with such a stellar disposition.
I think it’s time now, too, for a Koryn update. She’s now attracting clients through her obvious skill in riding. A woman at our barn who I don’t know put her six-year-old horse in full training with Koryn. She’s super happy with how it’s going, said she’s not going to ride the horse at all and just wants to sponsor Koryn. She pays for Koryn to ride with me once a week. An old client of mine, who Koryn’s been driving an hour to teach, just bought a new horse and put him in our barn for full training with Koryn. It’s extremely satisfying because I’ve always been concerned that, due to the fact that I’m not out and about, she wouldn’t be in a position to attract clients.
It also relieves me that she has other horses because I can’t continue to support a horse for her, so I need to sell Bimini. He’s a twelve-year-old and has show PSG, but we haven’t shown him. I’m sending him to Jen Baumert, one of my best friends who’s one of the few people I’d trust with my horse, at the beginning of April. If anyone is interested, they should contact her after she’s had a while to get to know him because I’m not and never have been a seller. I’ve sold three horses in my life, two to the same person!
I want to send out a heart-felt thank you to all those who went through the effort to comment on Facebook or write me personal emails. I know it’s a pain, and I appreciate you letting me know that you still care about my measly life. There are also several more reviews on Amazon, and I can’t say thank you enough for that. They’re SO helpful for people who are contemplating buying my book.

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Remembering Me

I feel so unbelievably grateful that the equestrian world hasn’t forgotten me even though I haven’t been down the centerline in five and a half years. The Chronicle of the Horse Untacked is doing an article on me in the upcoming May/June issue, and they sent out a photographer, Carien Schippers (, who took the most lovely shots. Although I take many pictures of Little Miss doing cute things, I hardly have any of the family or close-ups of her. 8172356And I thought the quality of my iPhone photos was good until I saw these. Although I’m sure much of that has to do with the skill of the photographer! Carien so kindly said she would come and photograph River again at no charge. Photographing subjects with no horses is not in her comfort zone, but she said Little Miss was an easy and enjoyable model!
I’m very curious to see this article. For how much info they gathered, it’ll be about a million pages long with ten million photos! They’re even printing a portion of my book!
You know, The Chronicle is where my equestrian journey began. When I was seventeen, I found an ad in a fifteen-year-old issue that Lendon Gray was looking for a working student. I new the chances were slim that she’d still be looking but I called, and the rest is history.
For anyone wondering, my sleep test was canceled because insurance won’t cover it (yet!), but my doctor is giving a home-testing machine to use overnight next Thursday.

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Sleep and Thank You

3421358Sorry it’s been so long since I’ve written. I said I would write as long as people were interested, and from the lack of Facebook responses, I’d assumed that time had come, but then I received a few personal emails saying they missed my entries and they so enjoyed them, please don’t stop. So my joyful duty isn’t over. I do very much enjoy it; I suppose it’s an outlet for my joy of writing, as well as feeling that it’s the least I can do for the public who’s always been there for me. I also know it’s a pain to write comments on Facebook because you have to go back and forth between pages as my website won’t allow me to have direct messages, so I just appreciate all the comments before.
My life. The main thing right now is my incessant battle with sleep. My tolerance for Xyrem hasn’t been reduced during the seventeen month hiatus. (Neither has my tolerance to alcohol, which is lucky because I do love my wine!) The initial five hours of sleep I got from the maximum dose of Xyrem has remained resolutely at two and a half hours. I’m pretty comfortable getting through my next couple clinics on the Xyrem as I can take it a few times in a night, but I don’t want to be dependent on drugs forever, even if we can find a stronger one than Xyrem, i.e. the date-rape drug.
I tried listening to a hypnotic sleep app, and at first it worked brilliantly. On the third night, I got a full five hours of straight sleep, and on the fourth, I listened to it six times to no avail. Apparently my body has the same rapid tolerance production to hypnotic apps as it does to drugs. I tried two other similar apps, but the people’s voices weren’t soothing at all, were actually slightly jarring.
Now I have a guided meditation app that I’m quite excited about. I didn’t get a chance to listen to it fully last night because the night before, Jason had kindly let me Xyrem it up and he had a bad night with LM, so when last night started badly I had him go in the other room and leave her in bed with me, so sleep aids weren’t happening. But I heard enough to know that I love her voice and her laid back way of speaking.
So onward and upward!
I also wanted to say a collective thank you to those who’ve done a review of my book on Amazon. I know it’s time consuming and a bit of a pain, but I know, when I’m considering buying, it greatly helps me to read other’s opinions. So thank you.
One final thing: I have some riding boots to sell if anyone who’s a size 9 1/2 needs some. I believe I have a light brown pair, a dark brown pair and a black. Email

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Discovering why I had self doubt

Click here to see Courtney Teaching For DressageTrainingOnline.comCourtneysQuest


Get a cup of tea, settle in and prepare yourself to tackle a little novella if you’re going to read this because I have a feeling it’s going to be quite long!

My vacation in New Zealand was fantastic. We spent several days in Auckland and then ten days in the Bay of Islands at his family’s batch… no internet, no cell phone…so restful. I’d actually consider moving there as it would be great for River, (it’s rated one of the top places to raise kids) except for the complication of visiting friends and family; Jason’s are all around one city, within a half-hour drive, whereas mine are in seven different states, so spending two weeks a year in New Zealand means spending a restful amount of time with each and all of them whereas two weeks a year in the States would mean a continuous stream of chaotic travel in an impossible mission to see everyone.

The restfulness of this time allowed my mind a clarity of thinking I didn’t realize was missing, and the core reason for my sudden self-doubt hit me like a slap in the face: I’m perpetually tired. It’s now been seventeen months since I’ve utilized any sleep-aids, seventeen months since I’ve gotten more than four and a half hours sleep total in a night. Continue reading “Discovering why I had self doubt”

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