Thursday, December 31, 2009

Reaping Rewards

I'll finish my Ladybug story another day...I don't think too many folks are exactly on the edge of their seats over it.

I had a long day at work yesterday, and it was one of those times that I didn't feel like driving the 45 minutes to the barn. It was cold, snowing, and dark, and I could envision my nice warm house, a yummy meal cooked up by the hubby, and an early snuggle into my bedcovers. But, I hadn't been to the barn in over a week, was missing my gelding, and really wanted to get my client horses back to work. I had pre-arranged for 3 clients to come out at different times and for us to have an impromptu group lesson. After everyone arrived, I'm sure it was quite comical watching us try to piece together enough equipment for us to have that many horses working at one time. We had a lot of good laughs, and although it took us almost 30 minutes to get all the horses ready, it was fun and relaxing.

One of my clients in particular had not been out in a couple of months, as she has a family, and is studying law. I have been working her Arab for her, and putting some WP time on him, so I was looking forward to showing her his new moves. This is him below, hanging out in his paddock with my gelding, CJ. Isn't he a looker???

It was wonderful to show him off, and even better to see her ride him around and smile a little bit. She deserves it.

I also was able to see my friend Beth's horse being worked with by someone else. She sure is a nice little mare. I don't have photos of her, but I will get some soon. You can visit her at her blog, too, . We met in high school many moons ago, and I'm proud to be her friend.

And, then there was Dancer. What a booger she was! I started this mare lightly under saddle as a 2 year old, and have tried to make things interesting for her ever since. She's a BIG girl, so when she doesn't wanna do something, well... we don't do it. It's never been a problem before because she's a respectful and happy-go-lucky young lady...until last night. Squeeze for a trot = pin ears, toss head, and throw hip out at a balking halt. Bad Dancer. "Back up, Dancer" = pin ears, plant feet, toss head, sidepass. At one point, she got so mad at me for asking her to go forward with my legs that she struck out in slow motion with her left front leg, hitting the arena wall. Temper tantrum. No other words for it. So, I used reverse psychology and started praising her for everything she was doing right. Before you know it, we were trotting off happily. Little stinker. Well, big stinker. I've been working with her since she was 6 months old, so I can call her names if I want.

Baby Dancer

Anyway, before I get too off track...I'm very grateful for the opportunities to work with great horses and great people. And, even after getting stuck in the driveway for 20 minutes before I could leave the barn last night, I had that wonderful satisfied feeling in my gut and in my heart. Can it get any better than that???? Such rewards....

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Everyone talks about that "one" special horse...the one that touched them, the one that changed things for them, the one that they bonded with like no other. I have had several special horses. Does that make me strange? I respected and adored them all for different reasons, but I can't say that I held any one of them in higher esteem than any of the others. I think that each one of them came into my life (chose me, so to speak) to teach me something different, at a time in which that lesson was obviously necessary. Call me crazy, that's my outlook on it.

Before the birth of my youngest daughter, and after several years of having horses on the back burner while I built a career and was time. I didn't have the funds to purchase a horse, and really wanted to get things rolling, so I leased a TB gelding from my high school horse buddy who still had horses. It was quite a drive to go see this guy, and although he was just the right challenge for me at the time (reactive, energetic, short attention span, but talented), the drive to the barn combined with what I was spending on the lease didn't make sense in the long term. So, after getting my feet wet with that gelding, I got my hands on a few thousand bucks to start horse shopping. My husband was reluctant but supportive. I knew I needed to be smart about my purchase; something interesting enough for me but with the potential to be safe for children. After all, I was a wife and mom now...I had responsibilities, and of COURSE I wanted my family to be involved with the horse, too.

Horse shopping was ridiculous. I was drawn to all of the hot breeds. I looked at Arabs, Morabs, Morgans, NSH's, and a couple of Quarabs. I loved them all. I wanted them all. I thought they ALL had potential, and I got along with them well. But, when I tried to picture my 6 year old daughter being able to bomb around on any of them, I almost gave myself heart failure. I grew up with those types of horses, and they were what I knew. Their adrenaline fueled my own adrenaline. Riding or driving a flashy english type is such a rush. I realized I had to open up my mind and start looking at horses of all types. So, that next Sunday when I was looking through the newspaper at Livestock Sale ads (this was before household internet was commonplace, folks), I came across an advertisement for a 2 year old halter broke AQHA mare. She wasn't cheap, either. I thought it would be worth the drive. I called the owner, who was a very affable-sounding woman, and gave her my background and situation. She was confident that "Lady" would be a nice fit for my family, and it would be easy to get her going under saddle, that I should come and take a peek.

The day I met this sweet mare just so happened to be the anniversary of my mother's death. I tried to push that fact aside, so it wouldn't cloud my judgement. My mother asked me on her deathbed to never stop the horse thing. I had failed her, or so I thought at the time. Giving occasional lessons and taking on a training project every 2 years didn't count..., but that's a story for another day...
It was a beautiful sunny Sunday afternoon, early spring, and the smell of earth and new growth was heavy in the air. I brought the whole family this time (for the first time) on a whim. When we pulled in the drive, I was appalled at what I saw. This was a public trail riding facility...all the horses tied to the posts under the trees looked hideously skinny and sad. I tried to drive quickly past this point to the barn in which I was instructed to meet the owner...but the tears were already welling in my eyes. I vowed to buy this filly if she had even ONE bone showing.

Have to get to work ...I'll add to the story tomorrow. Happy Trails, folks!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Old Me

Yeah, that was me. For almost 20 years. I quit cold turkey a couple of months ago. Matter of fact:

I have been quit for 2 Months, 1 Week, 23 minutes and 26 seconds (68 days). I have saved $552.62 by not smoking 1,700 cigarettes. I have saved 3 Weeks, 2 Days, 14 hours and 40 minutes of my life. My Quit Date: 10/19/2009 1:00 PM

Don't laugh...that stuff is the kinda stuff that motivates me. Because, as much as I have tried to be a positive person, it's a daily struggle. So, I focus on positives and by making that a priority, it becomes easier every day.


The Old Me wouldn't recognize what I've recognized today. A couple of days ago, I blogged about my horse, his lameness, my frustration, etc really did come across very negative. You see, I felt I was justified to complain about such things, as it had been a battle we have fought for several years. I recognize DEGREES of frustration and sadness now. The Old Me didn't care about such things...the Old Me was more of the "it's black or it's white" type of mindset.
After typing my entry that day, I realized how silly I sounded when there are people out there with much bigger problems than mine. I suddenly then felt very grateful for all the wonderful blessings in my life. I went home and wrapped the last few gifts for my girls and no longer felt intense guilt that I couldn't buy them EVERYTHING on their list...because I did the best I could, and no one can ask for more, right? I was grateful for my girls, and my loving husband (even if he's always grouchy) and my loyal old dog, Sunshine.

Life is fragile. A short and sweet gift. What we do with it is our decision. However, what happens along the way is out of our hands. It's filled with ups and downs. It has so much to teach us.

Having lost a child, I know the immense pain and heartache. I don't wish that on any other living soul. There is nothing that will test a person's faith more. I have a beloved friend who's oldest son is in a coma today, having been struck by a car on Christmas Eve. It doesn't look good for him. My daughter is one of his closest friends. Sure, they drifted apart as they got a little older, but they grew up together. They were always in trouble; playing in the dirt, riding bikes out of the neighborhood, raiding garbage cans...doing all the kid stuff. He had a speech impediment when he was small, and called me "yo-wah" instead of Lora. He hated grilled cheese until my husband made him one once. He loved pro wrestling and collected all of the little dudes and accessories. He looked at me like an Auntie and my husband as an Uncle. He is only 15. My daughter is devastated at the thought of losing him.

As we head into a New Year, and I look back at The Old Me, I realize how much I've grown and changed. I realize how lucky I am that I can watch my daughters grow up; and not only because I'm still here, but because they are, too. They have so much to contribute to this world.

I'm just grateful for another day. Another day to celebrate. Another day to pray. Another day to just BE.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Welcome to My Blog

I, first, must apologize for not including a single photo in my blog as of yet. It's not a good excuse, but the only reason that I haven't added any pics is because I am always at work, and of course...none of my photos are on my work computer. I do promise to make it up to you.

I should probably give a background of myself, but to be honest, it's my blog and I'm not in the mood right now. Right now I have a dilemma, or at least what I believe to be a dilemma. I'm hoping by typing this all out, and possibly getting feedback from some stray reader, I can solve my perceived dilemma. Here goes nuttn'.

My horse, CJ, will be 11 years old in May of next year. He has been loosely diagnosed with navicular syndrome for approximately 3 years. We followed the traditional prescriptions for the first year, and since that time I have been venturing into more holistic and conventional methods of "treatment". To be honest, I just want him to be comfortable, but I see no real reason why my otherwise healthy, in-his-prime, multi-talented gelding can't also be useful at the same time. His lameness and comfort levels seem to rise and fall with as much randomness as my own brainfarts. Right when I think I have discovered a slight breakthrough, right at the moment that the clouds begin to part and the sun's rays peek through to shine on us, he comes up 3-legged lame again. It's heartbreaking and taxing and to be's pissing me off.

Currently, after completing a course of PHW's, my boy is barefoot and using Boa boots on loan from our wonderful farrier, to be used only for riding. I am not regretting pulling his shoes, allowing his toe to grow back out, and watching his hoof structures rebound from captivity in those shoes. I am just wondering if this is enough. If this is the right thing. If I should just leave him alone out to pasture to live out his days. Maybe I should be taking him in for an MRI and more x-rays, getting more chiro and massage, experimenting with even more supplements and pain management treatments. Can someone help me try to find the correct answer? How much time do I have left to get this right? If navicular syndrome is a degenerative condition, the clock is ticking whilst I "play around" with the most convenient and cost-effective ideas, and my horse is getting worse by the minute?

Anywho, those are my random thoughts today. Aren't you lucky that you stumbled over here?