Off to work...

I like to think I know these guys, and I especially like the moments that knowing them shines through. I had forgotten that they too know me. Today Texas reminded me.

Texas' Vacation

So I suppose today's message to myself is "OK enough, let's get back to work". Tex's message is "OK love vacation is over".


In matter of importance there is no difference, the reasons behind the importance holds the only difference.

Turning to wood

It is the very absence of judgement when you cry into a horses mane...

Listening to the ponies eat

Listening to the ponies eat tonight, I knew a few things I didn't know this morning. It happens like that. Try listening to ponies eat, it clears your head, welcomes epiphany.

Amber, I'm not always a lady

And that is what I think of Her being next to me!

Patch's new door

Patch seemingly lets it roll off his back however I think my blanketed buddy might just like the idea of eating dinner and retiring for the with some relative peace (and a door)!

Titles and the beginning of the blog

I was thinking about decisions, how and why we make them; it hit me that I make them according to title...I am a daughter, a sister, a mom, a grandmother, ... and most recently a horse owner.

Big Love Texas Sytle

That he will lay his big head in my lap and let me fuss over him completely certainly does help in the "I think Tex is the greatest ever" arena! I can't imagine him not being with me to be honest.

First Love

I climbed under the fence and spent about 30 minutes untangling her mane and removing the twigs. It was our bonding moment, we have a great relationship today. She is most definitely my first "horsey love"...

Leo, my savior

At one point he lifted his head, looked me dead in the eye, sighed and put his head on my lap as if to say "It's ok mom, it's all gonna be ok". Funny thing is, I believed him...

Question of the day...

Patch sees me first and knows what's up; he's at the gate looking as handsome as always and the guilt starts..."Damn it he knows what time it is and he's gonna be disappointed"

Friday, January 2, 2015

I almost gave up the blog

It's been so very long since I visited the "horsey blog" I almost don't know where to start.

Austen has left us, he is why I almost gave up the blog. The anger I felt at his coming to me led to a post I am still quite embarrassed over. It contained more anger and judgement then I knew I had and I didn't like it. I didn't even like it after I posted an apology, I seriously considered giving up writing about the horses after that.

He's gone now. He left us on December 2nd. He had ringbone and severe arthritis. Both had fractured off. I honestly didn't know that arthritic build up could fracture off, I didn't know ringbone could do the same. I fight, daily, the idea that he was in more pain than I knew, that he suffered longer than I knew. I console myself with the knowledge that I allowed his pain to end the moment I saw it clearly. It still hurts, I still miss him, I still stare at the braided tail that I have saved and placed next to Patch's. It doesn't get easier, you just learn how to better cope.

You pick up the manure fork and you clean the other stalls. You pull out the brushes and you take your time brushing Lou's tail. You remember how much Brody loves Cheerios and you bring them up to the barn. You move on. You remember why you do it and you do it again. Not to replace them, never to replace them, rather to honor them by letting another into your heart.

Enter Sassy, a beautiful mare that presented herself to me through the wonders of rescue networking. I remember seeing the post go up, the plea for a home for this lovely mare who was soon to be without a home.

I remember sitting right where I am tonight, with Jack's head on my lap and Leo in the bed, no sound but the fingers typing a message I didn't want to send about a horse I didn't want to care about. Sixteen days after Austen let us. It was too soon for me to reply to the post publicly so I sent a message instead. I was as afraid as I was guilty, for caring about this mare who had the softest of eyes and nowhere to go.

I sent the message. Agreed to meet her, knew I was had, and I was right.

I went to meet her. I didn't spend much time with her, I didn't ride her. I watched her with a young woman who loved her dearly. I saw the kindness in her eye. I saw the love she had grown to know at the hands of the young woman who could not keep her and all I wanted was to keep her safe, see her happy, watch her run. I didn't even care if I ever rode her and that's when I knew I was had. That's when I knew it was right.

She's been home a week today. She could spend the rest of her days as Brody and Lou do, prancing about the pasture, eating away all my money, sampling Cheerios and Granola Bars, kicking over water buckets, and playing I'm in charge of the barn; I'd be happy with that.

She is different though, from the boys. Her and I could, and will, have fun in and out of the saddle. I look forward to "not being done" with her; I am pretty sure she'd say the same.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Anger, for what it's worth

My last post caused quite a stir, it was about Austen, it named the woman I held responsible, it publicly shamed the same. I know better.

I wish I could have stepped outside of my anger long enough to realize how scared she must have been watching him lose the weight he lost.

I've been there, scared to death that I'd not be able to do enough for a horse I had taken on.

In my defense I asked for help.

In her defense, she thought she had done the same. I disagree. I still believe that she did a great injustice to him on a few levels. I do not believe she went as far as she could for him. I still think someone needs to stand up when those injustices are done, regardless of intent. I do know that expressing that in anger solves nothing.

I apologize for my assumption that she did not care enough. Again, I know better than to put that out there. I, typically, recognize my anger for what it is and examine it before I unleash it. I did not do that in the case of my last post. As a result of that I accomplished nothing more than publicly shaming when I could have publicly educated.

For that, I apologize. To Austen who deserved a better telling of his story. To Shannon who deserved a little compassion even if I didn't feel it. To myself as well; the post has haunted me for it's lack of compassion and forgiveness. I strive to live my life with great compassion and next time I will do my level best to remember the same before the anger, for what it's worth, clouds that.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Open letter to the person whom will remain nameless

Dear person whom will remain nameless,

You don't know me personally, I suggest we keep it that way. You and I meeting would simply challenge every peace loving, forgiving bone in my body; I can see nothing good coming from that. I know of you only through a very sweet older Tennessee Walker you were given the opportunity to love. You likely only know of me because I posted his before and after pictures on a horse related web page that we both belong to. You deleted the post, I know this because the admin of the page confirmed they did not. I suppose I understand you deleting the post, goodness knows had I done what you've done I'd likely want little in the way of public evidence. I did speak to the admin of the page and out of respect for the community and the admin decided that I'd address you here in my own forum. Good luck in deleting my blog :-)

Austen has been with me for a little over a month now. He has gained back the weight he lost under your care, his eyes are bright again, his coat is shiny again, and has personality is coming back strong as well. It's been a trying month for him and our little family here but we're all coming along fine. This, by the way, is no thanks to you.

This is what Austen looked like after you neglected to care for him for the two months (barely) that you had him.

Let me ask you, does that look like the face of a happy horse? Or maybe I should be a bit more to the point, do you see the look of defeat? 

This is the horse you took on as a horse for a young girl who needed a safe and sane horse to learn with, to grow with. This horse would have been perfect for such a task. You do not get a kinder soul than the one that you took home. 

This is what you did him! You are the reason his hind end will likely not be well enough to ever carry anyone again. Not only did you not feed him properly, you had the audacity to plop two adults on him at once. Had Austen been stronger and or another horse you and your riding buddy might have landed ass over tea kettle. As it stands he didn't toss you and your equally ignorant friend, rather he further strained an already older and taxed hind end trying to do what you were asking of him. Please save any denial of knowledge concerning his abilities because I happen to remember the thread that caught your attention and led to your taking him home. I also know his previous owners, Joe and Stacey Bryan, very well and know without a shred of doubt that you were told of his limitations. You ignored them and plopped two full grown adults on him. In case you need a lesson in weight bearing, Austen is roughly 15hh and maybe 950 pounds when he is at his best. A horse "should" carry approximately 15-20% of their weight. Let's say Austen was at his optimum weight (we're pretending now because he was anything but that once you got your hands on him) he could carry approximately 190lbs without much trouble. Judgments aside I think it's safe to say yourself plus tack finds us there without the addition of another adult. So congrats on fucking up his back leg, likely permanently. Maybe one day this summer Austen and I will be able to walk around and pretend we're on a trail riding adventure, no one else will be able to climb up on him though and our adventure will be limited at best. I happen to top the scales at a whopping 117 on a bad day in case you wondered about me hurting him. Please do not mistake that last sentence as anything but sarcasm, we both know your concern does not lie with Austen's well being.

Considering his condition I am assuming you might also need a lesson in nutrition. Austen is older, this you were aware of. Older horses rarely survive on hay alone. I'm going to assume you've never had the pleasure of owning an older animal. 

Austen needed grain and beet pulp along with his hay, I know this is not something that was left out in the transfer of his care. Again, I do know the couple whom you received Austen from and have for long enough to know that you were well informed. Austen also can not, rather will not, eat on the ground. Again, information you were given freely. Seems you also felt free enough to ignore the advice. Perhaps you are one of the many who figure "he's just a horse". Please feel free to offer my condolences to the other animals in your care, from what I've seen they will need it as they progress in age (if they don't already).

I've thought and thought about how he could have deteriorated so rapidly under your care. It took me a couple weeks to really nail it down however I did come to a very well educated conclusion. I am pleased to share the same with you. You did not listen to one word of advice given to you when you took him home. You tossed him hay like he was just your every day average well broke kids horse and ignored any and all signs that he was not getting what he needed. You continued to do this until you had no recourse but to return him, a shell of his former self, to his original owners. You even had the nerve to act dumbfounded. 

How in the hell did you not notice the weight falling off of him? 

You didn't pay him any attention that's how. 

How the hell did you let him go from healthy to half fucking dead before you acted?

You didn't pay attention that's how.

You should be ashamed of yourself. You should be apologizing all over yourself and him for what you did to him. He is a living, breathing, feeling being and you treated him like garbage.

Over the last month, he's come back to himself. It wasn't too terribly hard. We had to take it slow, he started on four smaller meals a day as to not shock his completely run down body. We made sure he had the peace he needed to eat by making sure he was away from the other boys here whom by the way are anything but "aggressive". Austen barely had the energy to get himself up from laying down, I surely wouldn't expect him to tell another horse to bugger off his dinner so he had an area to himself. We spent time brushing him, talking to him, loving him. And guess what has happened.....

He came back! He's enjoying more time with the boys here, he's becoming vocal again, he's alert, and he is starting to remember that even though there are people like you out there that could give two shakes about his well being he is safe. 

You really ought to be completely ashamed of what you did to this gentle being. You owe him the biggest apology one can imagine for what you put him through. Don't get me wrong you won't ever get close enough to him to offer up that apology, perhaps you can offer it up to the next animal you treat like a toy.

I do promise to make sure to warn every horse person I know about the likes of you if they are leasing or selling a horse in your general area. I've done plenty of that already and an army of Austen's supporters have as well. I will continue to do so for as long as I am able. 

You completely disregarded any and all advice surrounding his care and put his very life in danger. It is a terrible shame that nothing outside of my blog can be done.

A terrible shame.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Pussy footing around

I would like to talk about Austen, I have been a little hesitant to discuss him for a couple of reasons. It was hard for me to come to terms with what had happened to him and I wanted to discuss it without anger. My being angry and writing almost always results in swearing and rambling. I also wanted us to have a chance to settle. Finally I had to decide how angry I was going to stay at the lady whom is responsible for Austen's current condition as seen below.

Austen is not some random horse that networking brought to my attention. Austen is the horse that helped me remember why I loved them all so much. I had come close to throwing in the towel when Austen walked into my life. It really doesn't matter why, let's just say I was at my wits end. Enter Austen, see below.

Yes, folks it is the same horse.

Austen was not my horse. I leased Austen.

Austen was eventually sold to a woman by the name of Shannon. Shannon bought Austen for a young (like under 10) girl. Austen is absolutely perfect for a job like that.

Austen is also older, as we all know older often means a few quirks. Austen needs senior grain and beet pulp. Austen has a hard time with hay. His teeth are questionable, he won't eat on the ground (he'll pee on it and subsequently waste it all), he really needs to be supplemented with the grain/beet pulp. This is not only easy to accommodate it is also pretty damn standard with an older horse.

I don't know what happened with Austen when he at his "new" home. I only know the end result. He came back to his original owners in the condition of the first picture and came to me shortly thereafter.

His original owners and I have been friends for some time and had things worked out differently I probably would have bought Austen. As life happened I didn't have room and Austen went to Shannon.

Austen came to me shortly after he was returned to his original owners for a couple reasons. Austen and I have history, his owners trust me, I had room.

There has been an internal debate going on since Austen came to me. Is it worth my energy to be angry at this woman whom did not take care of him properly? With all the others that have made their way to me I figured it was not. My stance has always been, the person behind this mess doesn't matter, the animal in the mess does.

Enter Austen.

Austen, one of the kindest souls on the planet. Austen, the one that helped reaffirm my faith when I was pretty heartbroken and scared. Austen who came to my house a few days ago looking like Brody did when Drea found him.

I don't know this lady that had him. I don't want to know her. I'm afraid I'd be very mean if I did know her.

Couple of questions, if she couldn't take care of him why did she hang onto him? A horse does not drop that weight overnight, why was she not paying attention?

He did drop it rapidly, I'll give her that.

That is all I will give her.

Again, I don't know what happened when he was with Shannon, I only truly know the end result of his time there. I can make an educated guess though.

Austen did not get anything but hay. She didn't listen. She may as well have not fed him for a month.

I am completely flabbergasted by the situation. I'm livid.

I've had others come into my care that have suffered at someone else's hand. It is always a little heartbreaking. I am always angry at the things people can do to animals when a new one comes into my life like that. Rarely am I as livid as I am at this woman.

I've always thought to take the high road if you will. To focus on the animal not the person that brought them into your life. It has always seemed pointless to waste my time on that part of rescuing. It certainly didn't seem wise, forgiving, or healthy. It wasn't always easy. There have been days with each and every one of them where I am quite pissed at the person that brought them to me, their previous owners if you will. However I have traditionally chosen to let that go and focus on the horse in question. They come my way for a reason, each and every one of them. Most of them have passed through after getting healthy and I like to believe that somehow they'd remember me for giving them that second chance. I know I remember them for what they brought me, each one a lesson; sometimes an old one I needed to be reminded of and some a brand new one I had yet to consider.

Really their previous owners were almost always forgotten the minute the horse arrived, save the occasional "fucking people" thoughts.

This woman, this Shannon person that is still crawling about CL and FB looking for a pony for this young girl that was intended for Austen...

I'm tired of pussy footing around about her. I think of her and I can feel the heat raise in my face. I can feel the change of expression come over me.

How dare she take him on and think nothing of what he needs. Maybe she didn't realize how much effort he took. I have considered that and you know what I don't give two shits. Ignorance is the excuse for neglect far too often. If you don't know what you are doing, ask, research, call someone for fucks sake. This belief that you can toss every one of them two flakes of hay morning and night with no recourse is as bad as thinking that cats can be left behind cause they are hunters and will fend for themselves. Pisses me right off. There is absolutely no excuse.

Maybe she didn't believe his owners when they explained his needs. Maybe she is of the mind that "he's just a horse".

Maybe she is just plain old neglectful. Maybe she just doesn't pay enough damn attention to own an older horse that has already ONCE been through neglect. Maybe she ought to buy a fish and leave the large animals to people who pay enough attention to care for them. It really floors me that with the proper information she choose not to care for him properly. I'd probably not be near as flabbergasted if I thought for one second that she was not told what he needed. I know his owners and I know she was given full disclosure.

Honestly I'd not care if she was flat out lied to. She did not pay attention. I can not, will not, excuse that. I am about sick of pussy footing around it. I've been flat out lied to about a horse. Who hasn't? That she was not flat out lied to just makes it that much worse.

Yes it bothers me more because it is him. Because I have cared for him before, because I love him, because I know him, have known him, because he was there for me. I admit that I am biased and am not as objective as I have been able to be in the past.

I am about sick of people doing this shit. I am about sick of the pussy footing around. This woman hurt this horse. This woman hurt this horse with no fear of recourse. She hurt him then returned him as if there was not a thing wrong. He is god damn 150lbs underweight. His tail head is sticking out. His spine is exposed. His ribs are exposed. His coat is covered with that horrible film that only comes with a dose of neglect. You rub him and come back with this film on your hands. His hair is coming out like crazy. He doesn't have much in the way of energy. His back leg is worse off now being she and her buddies rode this child's horse double. She hurt him. He is not healthy at the moment. He will be ok however he will have scars. It infuriates me.

Why should I keep my mouth shut? She is looking for a horse! She may have already found one. God help the horse she finds if they have any additional needs. She has animals you see, supposedly they are well taken care of, or perhaps they are simply less maintenance. That's probably the case. I'd bet my last tub of beet pulp that they are easy keepers in every sense.

Besides her specifically why in the world do we keep it hush hush when someone does something like this? Why do we not call them out? It's crap. If I neglected my boys like these people do I'd expected to be shamed right into the goldfish corner.

I am not talking about the random person who finds them self unable to care for them. I am talking about the perfectly capable who do not.

Why should they not be ashamed? Why should they be able to discard of them with no fear of consequence? Why am I afraid I will look like a bitch for stating the obvious?

Don't judge right?

I work everyday at not judging. I am not perfect. I judge. I also think through the judgement to find my part in it and then try to let it go. I try my damnedest to understand, taken into consideration, etc... All that peace loving, live and let live, be kind, violence begets violence, pile on the cliche's, I really believe that shit. I also try to live by it.

Sometimes it is not judging, it is stating the obvious, like now. This woman whom bought Austen, in my opinion, has no excuse. She's an ass, an ignorant ass that has no business being in charge of anyone's well being. I don't care that this horse community is small and that someone I know might know her and somewhere along the way someone might get offended by my blaming her. I could give two shits (and I have a LOT of shits to choose from) if it offends her or anyone. We all should be offended. We should all be pissed off. 

I've spent pretty much every night this week in the barn sitting here, talking to him sometimes, just being there sometimes. We've walked about the yard. I've sat with him while he napped. Mostly we've just been getting reacquainted.

His diet is pretty set for the next month, we'll evaluate again at 30 days unless he shows no improvement. Truthfully I will reevaluate when I get home next week, I probably just won't change it.

He's eating smaller meals about four times a day. It's easier on the system. I am very thankful that my nephew is here to help with the lunchtime feeding.

He's primarily getting a "mash", he is getting hay too of course. We are trying compressed alfalfa bales, it seems easier for him. He loved the chopped hay you can buy however that is 15.00 a 40lb bag. Hardly reasonable.

He'll come back to himself I am sure. He'll be a little different as a result of the experience, just as a person would be. It's going to take a bit of time, just as it would with a person. He has feelings and they have been hurt. That part of it is as big as the physicality of the situation. For that I'd like to do more than call this woman an ass. 

How dare she tell him, with her actions, that he was not worth proper care? How dare she plant that seed and not expect it to hurt him.

How dare she.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The what and why

A friend of mine posted something on facebook asking everyone who knew her if they knew why she did what she did. It's a question I ask myself frequently, not about her of course. About her the answer came simple cause it needs to be done and who better than her. For me answering that question takes five hundred blog posts!

Sitting here looking at Mac's adorable spotted ass while he eats I wonder again, why do I do it? I love looking at Mac; that's an easy answer, if only the question was why do I sit her and look at his little spotted butt.

Question is, why do I bring them in, get them all happy and healthy and send them about their way, this is not to imply I have ever haphazardly placed a horse. Hell it took me two years to find Katie's perfect partner. Anyway back to the subject at hand, why do it.

I've always felt the need to hide my many fears. We can talk about unrealistic expectations another time. In any case the horses, not only did they accept me scared shitless, they stood by me while I fell out of fear and into love. There aren't many animals on the planet, regardless of limb count, that would have done that. I will forever be grateful for that. That's the why, the core of the why. It also blows me away that they can be so broken at the hands of humans yet trust again. Brody for example. If I were him, I'd never trust another human being, yet he trusts. He let himself heal. He lets himself love. He lets himself trust. After all that he went through that is as close to miraculous to me as it gets. To be a part of that process is nothing short of phenomenal.

I also find it deplorable that there are so many that are so capable of hurting anything that they have the ability to hurt. I can't do much about it, I can help one at a time though.

The why is fairly easy I suppose. It needs to be done, and why not me.

It's also pretty heartbreaking.

You see more neglect then you can imagine if you even glance through the many places where animals for sale are advertised. Not to mention the stories that get passed about through the wonder of facebook. It's heartbreaking.

So many animals, of all species, being neglected at our hands. It makes me feel guilty, a little like survivor guilt.

It's also very expensive to decide to save a, what should be, thousand pound animal.

And then you have the letting go. The watching them come back into themselves and relationship or not, it's time to weigh their best interests. Sometimes that means letting go.

You get to know them pretty well, ok let's stop with the generalizations. I get to know them pretty well and it's usually pretty easy to determine if someone 'could' be happier. It takes a pretty laid back (lazy) horse to get granted permanent residence. It's just a fact and it's one I have to consider, lets take Mac for instance.

Mac is great. He's cute as all get out, has every Appy characteristic you could ask for, smart, funny, sweet, loves massages, cute little trot, responsive, safe, and smart (oops mentioned that twice).

I would love love love taking lessons with Mac. I would love love love resuming lessons with Mac.

Am I going to resume lessons? I am betting not anytime soon. Now if I could figure out how to board him and take lessons away from home I'd probably do it. Let me rephrase, if I made time for it. It's a quandary.

It's always a quandary.

It's both rewarding and heartbreaking.

Course if I'm gonna get heartbreak it may as well be mixed in with some spots now and again right?

It is the letting go, the awareness that you gain, it's the exposure to what can happen, it's the unbelievable amount of time and money, it's the constant worry, its the guilt you feel every time you see one in need. Those things are probably why most people think it's pure lunacy. Who in their right mind signs up for what could be a veritable heartbreaking money pit on four long ass legs?

It is the light that comes back into their eyes, it is the first nicker they give you, it is the shine coming back to their coat, it is seeing them run and play without a care in the world, it's sitting next to them while they nap, it's the first time you climb up there trusting them to trust you, it's watching them find that special person and shine under their hand, its knowing you did the right thing for the right reason, love. Having felt all that, how can you choose not to?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Flowers and cowboy boots

Recently - yesterday - there was an ad on CL for a mare, the ad included a threat to take her to the kill buyer. I don't think the threat was empty however that is neither here nor there. More recently the owner of this mare added text to her ad stating that she was tired of harassing phone calls, added that the more calls she got taking her to task the more she was inclined to take her to the kill buyer. For the record I didn't contact them and had I done that it would have been to offer a home and bite a hole through my tongue while I arranged moving her.

See you aren't supposed to pass judgement. You aren't supposed to take these type of people to task. You are supposed to be all flowers and cowboy hats to get the horse out of the situation she is in, if you do not you risk her life. That my friends is both a reality and the biggest pile of horseshit ever. They ought to be taken to task. Someone ought to be able to voice their opinion about their treatment of another being without the guilt of "say another word and off to the kill buyer/high kill shelter they go". You can't though, people like this person will in fact ship said being off to the kill buyer if pushed. After all, she/he/they "own" the horse and it's really none of your concern unless you want to pony up the money for her. If you don't they would thank you to shut your mouth. It is a double shame that this is the belief of many animal "owners". As "owners" they have every right to do whatever they want with the animal, you'd do best to shut the hell up.

I have three horses, two dogs, a cat and a recent addition of a mini. I do not "own" them anymore then I "own" my child. They were brought into my life and because they are unable to care for themselves it is my responsibility to care for them. I am their guardian, it is my job to make sure they have the best life possible, if I can not provide that it is also my responsibility to find someone who can. It's really very simple.

I saw someone post the other day that they were inches from taking their dog to the pound because they just couldn't deal with this dog anymore. I imagine the dog is a pain in the ass. I have a pain in the ass dog. There are days when little Jack makes me want to find a band of gypsies just so I can plop him on the trailer, buggy, or whatever modern day gypsies drive. That being said little Jack depends on me to care for him, pain in the ass or not. I promised him that when I took him into my home.

I am not saying one can not rehome an animal. I certainly have however those homes were carefully selected and I maintain enough contact to know that they are still happy, safe, and well taken care of. It is my responsibility to do so.

If you see a child, who is helpless, being neglected or mistreated you are encouraged to do all you can to help that child. You do not worry about the child's parents and their feelings. They are mistreating a child, a helpless and defenseless child. How dare you turn the other way and not do something.

If you see a dog chained to a tree day in and day out you are completely discouraged from reporting such a thing. That dog is "fine". See that water dish? See the food he's knocked over running in circles? Stupid dog...

Go tend to your own life, this dog is not "yours". Don't be a busy body, a "crazy" animal loving freak. Mind your own business and shut your mouth.

If you see a horse, ribs and spine showing, obviously lacking in energy, not getting what they need. Tread carefully because you might upset this horse owners sensibilities and we don't want that. See above, this animal is none of your business etc etc etc...

You can go right ahead and replace any species in the above with a simple twist of circumstance and it's the same old story.

And the asshats that place their animal on the wonder that is CL with threats of pounds, kill buyers and the like; tread even more carefully. You say one word and that life is on you. More of "your own business, my animal, etc etc..."  followed by the very open threat of doing exactly what the ad says if "people like you" don't shut your mouth and let them do what they want with their animal.

I can not begin to express how very angry it makes me. This idea that you are not to defend the animal just because they are not "yours" is complete bullshit. They can't speak english. They can not look to their owner and say "ya know what this is not cool, I am hungry, my feet are overgrown, I am thirsty over here, please I don't want to have another baby, etc etc etc...". They can not decide their living conditions are crap and mosey on to the next caring home. If we don't speak up who the hell is?

It is our job to care for them, to make sure they have what they need. How hard is that? If you can't then don't bring them into your home. How hard is that?

I'm not perfect, my horses don't live in a fancy barn, my dogs don't go to a fancy groomer every six weeks, and my poor pure white cat is almost constantly covered in the dust from the barn. There are days when the work finds me wondering if they all should go live somewhere else. There are months when the unexpected costs pile up beyond my 5'4' frame and I sit and crunch numbers until 1am. They are all loved, they are all well taken care of, they are tended to as they deserve because it is my responsibility and if one day I am unable, I will do them the justice they deserve.

These people running about fighting dogs, starving horses, dumping dogs, abandoning cats, threatening to kill them if someone doesn't take them off their hands. Why must we hand them flowers while we discuss the possibility of saving a life they care nothing about? That's right, what they are doing is by in large legal...

It's fucking bullshit is what it is. One day this disregard is going to kick us in our collective asses. Any species that can look into the eyes of the defenseless and care not one bit is doomed to destruct at some point. I hope to god myself, my kids, my grandkids, and my animals have passed on naturally and never really see the implosion.

Monday, July 8, 2013

The boys

The boys and I haven't really been doing much. You know skipping the shows and hanging out at home (haha). But no really we've just been hanging out. Brody is doing well, he's got a touch of an upset tummy. I attribute it to hay I bought. Other than that he's actually come into himself quite well. Hard to fathom that two years ago he was the one I played food police for. Now if there is any food policing going on it is me protecting someone else from Brody stealing their food. Last night we did a bit of a dance outside Lou's door cause Brody was convinced that it was completely acceptable to walk in there and steal Lou's beet pulp. I have to admit it's a little funny to watch his face when I hop from one side to the next blocking him. Eventually he snorts and off he goes to bother Mac.

He's certainly come a long way. It's nice to see, can't say that I mind having to remind him from time to time that he may be the boss of the other boys but not of me (wow nice sentence!).

Lou is doing pretty good too. I really can't say much new about Mr. Lou; I think he is perfect. He's still perfect in my eyes. He likely always be my perfectly shining dinosaur. I think I could stare at him for days and not be bored. Think, my ass, I do :-)

Mac is the new guy in town. He's an Appy and has every possible Appy characteristic you can imagine. He's pretty funny too. He loves massages, will follow you about anywhere and refuses to be pushed around by the other two. We stand in the barn and do a nightly massage, I am not sure which one of us enjoys it more. I get to look at the sky and forget the world while he rocks back and forth under my hands and he gets a pretty decent massage out of the whole thing. I'd love to go to school and learn how to do it properly. For now Mac, Brody and Leo all get amatuer massages. Brody has always loved it. Apparently Mr Mac does too! Thank goodness for organic curry combs (fingernails).

It's kind  of funny right now we are sitting in the barn, they have their hay, they just had some cheerios, Leo is guarding the door for me (in case of monsters), all I can hear is the smacking of lips and the occasional step to double check if maybe I'd like to give out another handful of cheerios. Brody is standing quite stoically at the stall door staring a hole through the back of my head. Lou is going back and forth, he thought about kicking his door but he's working on manners and has apparently changed his mind. Mac hasn't learned the manipulation tricks these two have quite yet so he has since left and will be back if I make the mistake of opening the treat door. Amazing, they can be in the arena and hear that door open and all of a sudden you have three giant noses standing at attention. Brody is perhaps the best at it. If he stares long enough the other boys leave and I end up looking at him and sneaking to the door to quietly give him something extra (like ummm just now).

Well I suppose that's enough of this, I gotta get them settled for the night and I haven't much of anything worth writing about tonight. Babbling is about all I have to offer.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Forgetting myself

The last few months have been especially challenging. Struggling with my ability to forget myself has been a constant battle, a lifelong theme if there ever was one for me. Finding a balance is often very hard for me as a result. I want to give, I want to help, I want to do those things while taking proper care of myself. Therein lies  the struggle. There is a part of me that still holds on to the belief that I've never deserved to be properly cared for, that properly caring for myself equated selfishness, only in taking care of everyone and everything will I ever be worthy (and even then it's pretty conceited to believe it). It's so ingrained that I quite honestly talk myself out of believing it every single day and I am 44.

I've often wondered why the animals that fill most of my time don't fall victim to what eventually happens when turning myself inside out starts to hurt so much I shut down. Goodness knows the people in my life do; I have references. The animals, not so much.

I'd like to say I don't understand why, I think I might though.

If I were to look at Leo for example. Leo is on Benadryl twice a day, he has allergies to fleas and recently had a horrible bout with the same. Leo is on a grain free, filler free diet because it's best for him. Leo gets probiotics that I have to put in wet food or otherwise disguise cause he doesn't like them. Leo gets coconut oil to help him with the skin problem that has creeped up due to the earlier mentioned flea/allergy problem. Leo has separation anxiety and quite literally spends two minutes yelling (not barking) at me when I come home from work. Leo gets a treat everytime we go to the store because he expects it, I will go back and get one if I am silly enough to forget. Leo destroys our bed every night digging a circle in the sheets only to sprawl about as if the entire bed is his. Leo has ate shoes, destroyed couches, sheets, blankets, bruised me like there is no tomorrow, has given me a black eye, and cost me a small fortune. There has never been one second of resentment for all I do for Leo, not one single regret, and never a second thought when it came to his needs. Leo also kisses away my tears if he finds me crying. Tonight I was lugging hay to the barn and dropped an unusually heavy bale three times (sucked). By the time I was at the barn door, bent over the wheelbarrow, dripping in sweat and breathing harder than I care to admit, Leo snuck between my legs and licked my forehead. Why? I was sweating and it was dripping off me. He was doing all he could to help, he always does. We're partners, plain and simple. I don't forget myself in his "care". I do the opposite, I remember myself.

Strange? Maybe, or maybe more people should behave like dogs.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Sometimes I wish I wasn't a people

Ten years ago I'd have laughed if you told me that my horsey / dog budget was larger than my human budget. Ten years ago I'd have labeled anyone who "researched" their dog's food as "nuts". Ten years ago I'd have never known that people can, will, and more often than not, do awful things to animals. It quite honestly never crossed my mind. I was busy. I was building my career, I was single, I had a teenage son, I lived in Seattle, had a local bar I stopped in, had no idea what a feed store was, and I "owned" a cat. Ten years ago I wore make up, did my hair, would have been horrified at shoveling shit, much less examining it for it's "quality"!

Ten years ago I had no idea my heart could be broken and mended so frequently by beings that could not talk. Ten years ago it never crossed my mind to be ashamed of being "a people".

A lot has changed.

Sitting in the barn tonight, I wonder how my heart will survive the next ten years with the animals that break and mend it so frequently.

Sometimes I wish I wasn't a "people".

Saturday, May 25, 2013

He let's me go fast

If you've ever read my blog you know that I am not a fan of going fast. I don't drive fast, I don't run fast, I don't ride fast. The only thing I really ever do quickly is talk and or type. I am mind boggling fast with a keyboard and I can talk a mile a minute when even a touch excited. Everything else I'd prefer to do slow, snail paced slow. I often wonder if it is because in my youth I did everything fast, break neck speed fast, it's hard to say.

Enter Lou. Lou is a lumbering 16.3hh hunk of a horse. I adopted Lou from Pony Up (shocking!). I can't even remember how Lou became a conversation between Rosemary and I. However he did and he eventually came home with me. I remember meeting him that first day, he was lazing about in the arena at "PU 1" which is funny in a full circle kinda way considering it's where we are today. In any case, he was perhaps one of the biggest horses I'd met to date. He towered over my horses, he gave Carter and the Kingston Boys a run for their money and was certainly more Rosemary or Kate's type than mine. I didn't like the "big ones". Climbing on something that was taller than me, at their ass, was lunacy in my opinion. Enter Lou. Lou is so big I can climb under him, hide behind him, and it takes me an hour to brush the big giant dinosaur of a horse that he is, getting up there; lunacy, plain old lunacy.

Enter Lou. Lou who would catch me if I fell, and has. Lou who lets me canter without a care in the world. Lou who makes me feel safe no matter what we are doing. Lou who leaves me with the glow of a smitten school girl every time we have the time to play. 

Lou who finds me babbling stupidly in my blog about what a great guy he is forgetting that I can actually write a sentence that goes beyond, "isn't he the greatest guy ever?!".

I wonder if I'll ever be able to tell Rosemary how grateful I am to Pony Up for leading me to Lou. I've known a few horses over the years that I adore, known a few over the years that I wanted desperately to "fit" with. I've never known one that I made my entire being smile. That about sums it up; he makes my whole being smile. From head to toe, that big lumbering dinosaur sized horse, makes me smile and I feel it with every fiber of my being. 

And...he let's me go fast ;-)

Monday, May 6, 2013

Rev's mom

I'm sitting in the barn, Abbey is climbing on my lap, Lou and Brody are munching on hay, Leo is faithfully guarding the door, Jack is in his yard and Rev is with his new mommy. I miss Rev no doubt there however every day there is a post by Tracy talking about how much fun they are having together and I can't for one second regret the decision. It brings tears to my eyes in the most satisfying way. He's not the first horse that has come into my life and somehow found the perfect partner. Someone mentioned to me not too long ago that perhaps that was my calling if you will, with the horses, to find them that perfect partner. See I don't show, I don't ride the boys every day, I am often discounted in the traditional horsey world as a result. As if my knowledge is lacking due to the lack of blue ribbons and barrels raced around. I have been around long enough now to realize that is complete bullshit. Some of my closest friends are guilty of the judgement, difference is that today, sitting here in the barn with my boys, I don't care. Katie came into my life and taught me so very much, she lives with her new mommy who is the best person for her. Amber came into my life and ended up finding the perfect family for her. Rev came to me and eventually found Tracy who is perfect for him. Do I have a knack for finding the perfect person, no. Do I have a problem loving them enough to let them go when I am not the perfect partner, no. Does that equate to my place in the horsey world, no.

Ok so it still pisses me off that some people in this "world" discount me, I think it's insulting. I likely will continue to think it is insulting, I suppose I just no longer let that discourage me. I look at Lou and I look at Brody and I know that they'd both agree, it's insulting bullshit. These boys don't belong anywhere but with me, never will. Did Rev belong "anywhere but with me", no. Did I love him enough to know that, yes. Does that make me less of a horse person than say the person riding a pattern every day, practicing dressage, jumping barrels every Friday night, or hitting the trails five times a week? No. Will another horse end up in my care only to find that perfect person, I sure the hell hope so. It's an honor to be a part of that. Is that my "place" in this "horsey world". Umm no.

Ok, slightly off course now. This post did not start out with the intention of being a rant.

I moved recently and a little known fact is that part of the attraction was being away from the judgmental bullshit. I have never admitted that piece because I value the friendships and was afraid of such an admission.

Watching Rev and Tracy taught me a lot, thanks to Rev for being yet another wonderful being to teach his guardian for a time, a lesson she needed! It did not matter to me what everyone thought. I knew that I was more comfortable riding with Lou. Gosh Lou and I are an entirely different post so I won't go there now. Suffice it to say that I knew the minute I touched Lou that it'd be hard on Rev. I entertained the thought of finding someone for Rev to play with (I refuse to call it work). I never found anyone (not that I looked hard) that I thought deserved HIM.

Tracy and I ran into each other at Pony Up on a Sunday when I was not scheduled to be there, I feed on Saturday but I had over slept and volunteered to do Sunday since I was such a lazy ass on Saturday! Tracy does Sunday and about half way through feeding she pulled up and wondered what the hell I was doing there! We had never met face to face, she was a volunteer, so was I but our paths had only crossed via Facebook post (welcome to the age of electronic communication)! We got to talking and she mentioned her boy Otto, he was in training, she couldn't ride him freely, etc. I stood there and kicked the dirt floor (I only kick the dirt when I know I am getting myself into something potentially painful) and talked a bit about Katie. My goodness that is still a sore subject for me. Then standing there I remembered Rev, sitting at home probably off to himself because Lou and Brody are... and I casually mentioned that she was welcome to ride Rev. Did I really think it'd become anything? Probably not. The dirt kicking was more about Katie then it was about Rev at that point.

Tracy came and met Rev twice that day, the second time Josh and I were riding with Lou and Brody in the arena. Eventually she saddled Rev up and as I cleaned the pasture (read spied on her and Rev) her and Rev tripped around the arena a bit.

I was pretty impressed, he was so obviously happy. I do know the horse quite well and I have seen him with a few people. He was relaxed under her hand and happily doing as she asked. He wasn't bored with her or frustrated with her. I can't say that I was instantly struck but I was impressed.

She took him for a trail ride not long after that while I sat at work and worried about everything from him throwing her and running wild to him and her having the time of their life and not loving me anymore. I don't think I stopped obsessing over said trail ride until I knew he was home safe.

She came over again and just sorta hung out, lunged a bit, braided every inch of hair she could, hand grazed him and just well generally fussed over him.

Watching her that night, through the windows to give her privacy and satisfy my need to watch, I started remembering Katie and Perris and all that happened "back then".

I remembered loving Katie beyond reason. I remembered P. I remembered feeling with P like Tracy felt with Rev. I remembered how tangled it became. I remembered how, still to this day, P breaks my heart.

Eventually I came out and Tracy was leaving for the evening. She said goodbye to Rev and climbed into her truck. Rev was in his stall, eating.

Rev walked out of his stall when he heard her truck. Rev watched her pull out of the driveway. Rev went back to his food after looking very sad and I said (much to my surprise) "Don't worry baby, mom will be back".  I swear I didn't realize that "mom" was headed out of my mouth until it was there. I however could not deny that it had come out.

I sat in the barn for quite some time and talked to Rev, stared at Rev and tried to figure what to do.

I remembered P. I remembered how I had almost given up. I remembered how much it had hurt to know she'd never "belong" with me and I realized that once again that gorgeous blonde was teaching me how to love properly, and I sent the text to Tracy that started the conversations that changed Rev's life.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Top Ten Misconceptions Vs. Reality 101

Misconception: I'm not "touchy feely".
Reality: Pure bullshit. ask my dog, my horses, my cat, my kids or grandkids, even my mom.

Misconception: I'm "skinny", "small", etc... and physically limited
Reality: I can buck 100lbs of hay, carry at least that in groceries, and weigh a good ten pounds more than anyone thinks

Misconception: I don't wear open toes shoes cause I have ugly feet
Reality: I don't like my feet to be cold, or wet, or exposed to the open air. I like socks.

Misconception: I forget
Reality: I choose not to remember


Misconception: My writing is always a direct result of my personal experience
Reality: I have an imagination, I use it

Misconception: I'm outgoing
Reality: I am the definition of painfully shy.

Misconception: I spoiled my son
Reality: That's pure bullshit, ask him about the year he spent with no bedroom door and a mattress on a floor; more importantly ask him why.

Misconception: I'm a prude.
Reality: I'm private

Misconception: I'm confident
Reality: I am aware of my abilities and respect them only when I am not doubting them!

Misconception: I'm cynical/bitter
Reality: I believe in people even when I don't want to and often times it breaks my heart.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A coon's age & frogs in the yard

It's been quite awhile since I sat here and wrote. Longer still since I actually completed a post; I have more drafts in the last year than I have frogs in  the yard. Oh yes, we moved. Perhaps later I will visit the move, not tonight. Suffice it to say everyone is happy with it, even the local frogs have decided we can stay. Can you imagine had they decided to boot the whole lot of us out? A frog led overthrow, scary.

And I illustrate why I have not written.

My son found me a few days ago in the barn writing on a notepad and mentioned that I only write when I am "bothered". I kinda smiled my "how I wish you knew me better" smile and reminded him that the only time I could write with any success is when I wasn't "bothered". He pretended to understand what I was saying and I let my mind drift off into some silliness that involved frogs or horse supplements.

A lot like I am doing now, which is why it's been a coon's age; I spent a few hours researching the meaning/origin of that one before deciding on the expression (god love google).

My second grandson (Aiden) entered the world yesterday. I was fortunate enough to be there. It's pretty awe-inspiring. You can't ever, or I can't, describe what it is like to be a part of a life coming into this world. I was there with Tonio, I was there with Ethan. I was there for a friend of mine a lifetime ago. It is the most amazing thing to witness. If the word honor belonged anywhere it'd be there.

It has been wonderful to watch Joshua through this, I am so happy for him. Seeing his face, watching him watch Aiden, pretty indescribable.

Last evening I came home to the house completely quiet, the baby had been born, the kids were at the hospital. It was only the dogs and me. Ok the dogs, the horses, the cat, and me. You get it, it was quiet.

I sat in the barn, where the best thinking happens, and thought about this little one that was gracing our family. I remembered my Uncle Tim who had just left. I remembered walking through the front room the evening that my Uncle left and saying flippantly to the kids that they had to change the baby's name now to include Timothy. I don't even know why it came out of my mouth, somewhere I knew I'd not make the service and goodness knows I wanted to honor him in some way... It was a flip remark born out of the grief that I knew was headed my way. Shortly after I made the announcement I felt the need to apologize, I certainly didn't want to dictate this little one's name. It stuck though because Mr. Aiden Donovan Timothy McCormick was welcomed into the world yesterday. I think I will always be grateful that they felt the need to honor him by including Timothy in Aiden's name.

Tonight as I drove home from the hospital I had a million things to share, at least four examples of growth over the last so many months. I was gonna write!

I got home and all that brilliance went the way of the wind and I ended up sitting here researching the origin of "coon's age". By researching I do, of course, mean getting lost on google.

It's hard to lay it out there, even here, when the truth is as heavy as it is lately. So I babble, artfully when I am lucky (or delusional in my assessment).

I miss my uncle. He was truly one of the very few genuine people I've been blessed with in my lifetime. I am still so very sorry I could not be there when everyone gathered to honor his life. I feel fragmented by it, or rather, I feel the fragments of my relationships more acutely than I am comfortable with. A lot of my family was able to gather and celebrate the love they shared for him and I was at home shoveling shit, literally. Note how miserable that sounds. Fact is I could not be there because I had to be here for Aiden and the shit I was shoveling belonged to beings that I love beyond reason; neither is miserable. Still I wanted to hug my grandmother and lay eyes on my cousin whom I hadn't seen in a "coon's age" and let her know I "got it". I'm not convinced that it would have made either feel better, it might have made me feel better. It's hard to say.

It was a tough one for me, still is. It's all a bit mixed up. You know that room that belongs to the teenager that finally got a lock on her door and with a fever made a mess no one could see through? That's about where my mind is; loving the mess but being blind to much beyond it, the good, bad, ugly, and everything in between blending about.

It doesn't make for good writing and it makes about as much sense as saying "a coon's age" and / or waxing poetic where frogs are concerned.


Friday, December 14, 2012

Losing your zen

I have said, over and over, that the horses, the animals in general, have taught me to be a better person. They taught be a lot about peace. They teach me forgiveness everyday. They teach me a bit more about trust each day. They help me to be true to myself.

My guys are all rescues of sorts. I say of sorts cause there is no real word for "needed a home". Brody is truly a rescue situation. Brody would have died, and probably sooner then anyone really wants to think about, had he been left in the situation he was in. The others, well they just needed a safe landing for one reason or the next.

When you have "rescues" people often say things like "You've done such a great job" or "They are lucky to have you" or something along those lines. I suppose that is true; thing is I don't think many know that the truth is, I need them as badly as they need me. I am lucky to have them in my life.

Lately there have been many occasions when I have come dangerously close to forgetting that I choose peace. I don't choose resentment, I don't choose accusatory behavior, I do not choose vindictive, vengeful, or hurtful behavior. I often forget that I choose peace for me, I choose forgiveness for me; not for someone else's well being, for mine. I also tend to forget that all of that does not mean that I lack strength, neither does it mean I accept those behaviors from others in my life.

It's a string of lessons I've been learning and relearning for the last two years. By learning I mean actively learning, or paying attention to! It's tough to wrap your head around peace when all around us we see violence, revenge, aggression. It's hard not to lash out and strike the offending aggressor, regardless of what it is. It is hard not to be self righteous in your anger, self righteous anger is dangerous. Fighting that is hard when you're hurt, confused, or just generally pissed off.

I've been pissed off a lot lately, rather I have had to examine being pissed off, quite a bit lately. It doesn't matter at who/what really because this idea of living life with peace means (to me) that the why is more important than the who/what.

It's taken a lot of barn time for me to figure this one out, truth be told. I mentioned to a co-worker that being in the barn, staring at the ponies, kept me sane. It certainly does that, more importantly it helps me figure it all out so that I come through it with peace. I stand there, my fingers freezing cause my gloves are inevitably wet, feet cold and wet (if not muddy) cause my boots have a hole and I have yet to apply my fix to this problem (duct tape), and listen to them eat; let the sound of hay being crunched, water being sloshed, and the occasional swoosh of a tail, remind me again that peace is a choice. The only choice.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Brody, a whole lotta magic.

I don't talk much about Brody. Brody touches on a lot of things I tend to keep to myself. Brody embodies a lot of things that I tend to keep to myself.

The other night I was brushing Brody and he stopped eating. He doesn't always stop eating and wait for me to finish, sometimes he continues and I work around him. The other night, he stood there and just enjoyed it. A friend of mine remarked on space and the like, I agreed that Brody did in fact respect mine. I also knew that wasn't why he was standing there, oblivious to the hay (alfalfa no less). He was standing there because he was letting himself quietly enjoy the attention.

He's always liked the brushing, the contact, the reassurance that he is loved, the touch that says trust can be had. We don't get near enough time, in my opinion, but when we do he loves it as much as I do. I like the brushing, the contact, the reassurance that I am loved, the touch that says trust can be had.

It's different when they come to you as damaged as Brody was. I am constantly amazed that he can trust any human. That he feels safe enough to enjoy the feel of the brush or my hand still chokes me up. I often wonder if I have that level of forgiveness in me.

It's magical to witness someone coming back to life, it is also (and more importantly) an incredible honor. I said someone on purpose. I don't think "someone" applies strictly to humans. He's not a "something" which is likely the word I would have used ten years ago. Ten years ago I loved animals, ten years ago I also had no idea how much they gave, felt, or taught us, without even trying.

I can't remember when, or who, tapped into that part of me that needed them as much as I believed they needed me. It probably started with Patch. That's probably why Brody is so tough a subject for me. He reminds me so much of Patch, he and I met the day after Patch died, he was so sad, I was so sad. I wasn't sure if Brody and I had any business together but I couldn't walk away.

When I met Patch it was much the same. A friend had talked me into going to see this pony; he was lame, he was likely going to head to the game farm as a result. I remember agreeing that sure we'd take the pony home and no no the gentleman had no worries because after all it wasn't really me, it was me and Kate; she knew all we needed to know. I figured this pony was a Kate project disguised as a pony for my grandson. For goodness sakes I didn't even like Appy's and Patch was an Appy in every way. I didn't know a damn thing about rehabilitating anything much less a horse. I stood there when Jeff asked if I could take him on and shook, thank goodness not visibly, and told him that it wasn't a problem cause Kate would do the lion's share of the work.

Then I got to know Patch. He is still one of the most special 'someones' I've ever had the pleasure of loving.

It was a lot like that with Brody. It's a lot like that with Brody every day.

It's different when they come to you like that. It changes you, if you let it. It changes them, if you're lucky. It makes you grateful for every single day, if you pay attention. If there isn't a whole lotta magic's not likely to be found anywhere else.


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