Wednesday, April 29, 2015

We have lift-off, or better yet - an answered prayer

Yes, I talked with Rachel last night!  I am so thankful to all of you who told me not to give up on this gal yet.  I knew she was busy, she'd told me that earlier, but I had no idea just how busy, she really was.  You know how some people always think they're way busier than everybody else is, and you're like uh-huh, sure thing...

Turns out she is, rather busy after all.  She works from her appointment book and had penciled me in to call the first week of May.  Go figure - I've never been, nor will I ever hope to be, that organized.  It's not my style.  Anyway, when she got my (rather whiny and desperate sounding) second message on her phone, she felt it necessary that we touch base earlier.  I am so thankful she did.  I feel soooo much better after having talked with her.  My gut tells me she's the right person, and I think she'll be a good match for Eagle.  

I trust my friend Terry, and she trusts Rachel, so I feel pretty confident.  I've only met her in person once before, it was either last summer or possibly the summer before, when Terry had one of her horses in training with Rachel.  We watched her work with the horse, and talked with her a while.  She seems very direct, up front and honest.  She has lots and lots of experience with Mustangs in particular, and last year took 2nd place in the Southern Cali Mustang Challenge and 3rd in the Nampa, Idaho Mustang Challenge.  There's a lot of competitors at those things, so the gal must be pretty competent.  Right now, she's working with this year's 2 competition horses.  The first one's coming up in May and she'll go to Idaho in and Eags will be in between those 2 competitions.  

She's coming out to meet Eagle this coming Monday.  We had a good, long conversation about expectations, techniques, desires, hopes and finances.  I think this will work.  I'm really excited for Eagle especially, and for us as a team too.  This may turn out to be the best shot for Eagle's long-term future.  He is coming 15 this year, and this horse has a lot of life experiences and water under his bridge that we're completely unaware, going in with our eyes wide open, we'll do our best and see what happens.  

This is very much outside my comfort zone.  I rarely send my horse out to someone and trust them to work with them, at will without me being present.  I'm putting a lot of faith into Rachel to treat my horse with respect and fairness.  I have to trust that she will respect my wishes as well, and overall and above everything/anything else, always keep Eagle's feelings about what he's doing or being asked to do, a priority over progress.  My number one priority is that he always feels good on the inside, about whatever it is that's being asked of him.  At the very core of good horsemanship, for me, is that it's always more important how we do something, rather than what we do with our horses.  

I believe that Eagle will blossom and surprise us all...he's already come so far from where he was when I got him.  He's kind, intelligent, sensitive and just a good horse.  His trust in me has grown exponentially and that's invaluable to me.  I feel honored to have his trust.  Some of you may think I'm exaggerating, but this horse was a basket case when I got him.  There were many times I questioned my judgement about keeping him because given his lack of trust, no confidence at all, a genuine fear of people, and his rather large size, he could have seriously hurt me or anyone else who didn't always remember to tread carefully around him.  He is not that horse anymore.  I now trust him and that's a beautiful thing.  

I've always believed there's a reason I have this horse.  If you remember, I pretty much fell in love with him from a picture on the internet.  Seriously.  There was just something in his gaze, that expression that went straight to my heart.  I have never had anything like that happen before, with a horse or anything else.  So for about a year, I watched him and kept track of him on the rescue's site...nobody took him, but according to Kate, everybody who saw him loved him, thought him beautiful.  But still he stayed.  Lots of the other horses were adopted, but not this horse.  I finally made the call, and asked Kate to bring Eagle to the Mustang event that summer in Central Oregon (half a state away from us).  She agreed.  What my thoughts were, was that I could finally meet this horse in person.  See for myself that there was nothing special about this horse in a plain bay package.  Then I could finally forget about him and move on.  I already had 6 horses and certainly didn't need another one - especially one who was aged and had a sketchy past.  Nope, hadn't even been looking for a horse when I happened upon that site...

but that's not what happened.  Far from it!  When I first laid eyes on that horse, amidst a sea of bay horses all over the place, I recognized him instantly.  My heart caught in my throat - and then he turned his head and looked directly at me - I will never forget that moment.  I can't really even describe it, but my heart just flipped, my eyes filled with tears and I had such an overwhelmingly emotional response to that gaze that I was a goner.  I just had to have this horse!!!  I still can't explain it.  But I accept it.  He is meant to be my horse.  And if I never, ever get to ride him and feel his strength beneath my body, well then, that's alright too.  I'll still have him, and I'll still spend time with him every single day.  We have a wonderful relationship and I feel blessed that he is mine.  

*sigh*  I do admit though, I have daydreams of sharing rides in the mountains and going on grand adventures with Eagle.  In my dreams, we're the perfect team.  

And so we move forward with hope and trust...for more.

I still have a month to wait, but this coming Monday I'll watch with keen eyes, just how Rachel interacts with my boy.  I'll know if it's a good match, and I'll know in my gut if she'll treat my horse with love and respect.  

You probably think I'm a silly romantic.  It's just a horse.  Lady must be crazy...

maybe so.

Then again, maybe not.  

I'm pretty excited.  Can you tell?  :)

Monday, April 27, 2015

So...I totally suck at keeping my mouth shut

Monday already!?  It just seems like it was Friday, and I was so looking forward to the weekend, and it's hard to believe it's come and gone...where does the time go?

We didn't do much at all.  Went to church.  I stubbed my pinky toe on a kitchen chair and almost died! hurt so bad I did a little jig and had to hold my tongue for fear of what might come out.  I'm still gimping around a bit, but it's better than it was.  However, getting out of the shower this morning brought on a whole new level of pain when I temporarily forgot I was wounded and attempted to dry between my toes with that big, fat, hideously awful towel!!!  Good grief, I think I actually saw stars!

I'll live.  But just barely.

In other news that really isn't news, our weekend weather-wise was very nice.  Saturday was all sunshine and big, fluffy white clouds.  Sunday, not a bad day, but it misted pretty much all day long.  Ruby and I attempted to take a walk and made it only about a quarter of the way around the big field before I got the bright idea to cross the little creek and head back (because my toe hurt, alright?) and knew I wouldn't make it if I attempted to, I found a spot where the creek was narrow enough that I could step over it.  What I failed to realize though was how very steep the embankment on the other side was.  What was I thinking???  *sigh*  

No, I did not fall backwards into the slimy, little creek!  I did however hover in a precariously crouched position for what felt like, forever! - grappeling in the mud and trying to find anything at all to help me climb out of the cavernous (and very slick, I might add) ravine that I was stuck in.  Oh, okay it wasn't really cavernous at all, but for a while it sure felt like it was!  Suffice it to say, I eventually managed to claw my way up and out of harm's way and vowed to tell no one of my little mis-adventure.  

Ruby promised to keep this just between us...mum's the word.  I really think the little brat was secretly laughing at me!  She just stood there watching me with the most bemused expression on her face!!  No offer of assistance either!  Some dog she is...

Anyway, I'm just thankful she can't talk.  

Did I mention just how much more my toe hurt on the way back?   

Sometimes I wonder just how in the world I can get myself into such predicaments - and at my age???  You would think I'd grown out of these shenanigans by now...

Remember how I'm always saying there's always something to be thankful for?  Well.  The hubby was sound asleep when we got back home.

I did a little laundry, and decided that a nice, warm bath sounded mighty nice.  Perhaps a bit safer too...

How was your weekend?  Do tell, and please don't spare us the details.  :)

Until next time,

Thursday, April 23, 2015

On being a sponge

That's exactly how I've been feeling lately...just like a sponge.  

Although if truth be told, I'm not altogether certain how well I'm soaking in all the information that's being thrown my way.  My brain doesn't enjoy being overloaded these days.  I'm way past my student days, unless of course it's something that I love and enjoy learning about.  

That's a different story.

I'd briefly mentioned in weeks past that I've recently been diagnosed as having CKD, chronic kidney disease.  Oh the joy.  We all have something that we deal with in our lifetimes, and this apparently is mine.  I've had high blood pressure for years, probably even much longer than I'd realized, and my doc now believes this is the likely cause of my CKD.  I also have Type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol and occasional bouts of depression that we've determined to be SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder.  Good grief, I sound like a basket case!  Taking all this into consideration, I hardly ever get sick.  I feel good most of the time, with occasional tiredness, which I've always associated with physical work and mental stresses from my job and life.  Normal stuff.  I'm pretty active, but like most people, could certainly do well with much more physical activity.  But seriously, how can so many different things be out of whack in my body and I have absolutely no clue???  Luckily, I guess, we've diagnosed my issue fairly early on.  They say I'm Stage 3 in CKD, about the middle of that level of classification.  Scared the hell outa me!  My mom had diabetes and died from renal failure, and was on dialysis for over 6 long years.  I'd just rather die than go through what she did.  Of that, I'm certain.  However, come to find out, there were other options than what we/she were told about.  Gotta love doctors!  Had my mom been given some of these newer and better options, who knows how much longer she may have lived...water under the bridge at this point though.  Just makes me so sad to realize all these years later that we were not given all the information that certainly could have proved very useful in her strategy and choices in care.  We took what they told us with faith that they were acting on my mom's best behalf.  Live and learn my friends, live and learn.  Anyway, I digress...

I am nowhere near needing dialysis.  Thankfully!  I will have to watch my diet choices more closely, and monitor my meds more carefully, get even more regular exercise, try harder to lose more weight, get more education about this disease and how everything I do and eat will affect my kidneys.  My brain is beyond its' saturation point.  Totally.  I need to make one more appointment with a renal dietitian (spelling?), and also my kidney dietitian to make sure I'm making healthy choices, and to make sure the two coincide and then, hopefully I'm finished for a good, long while with doctors.  How I hate going to doctors!  But, I do realize that a little of that now, will go a long ways in preventing future visits that I'd enjoy even less.  *sigh*  My granny was's a bitch and then you die.  Sorry, I don't mean to sound morose, but like I said, I'm overwhelmed and I'm tired. 

My commitment to writing on my blog for 30 days in a row is kaput, and frankly I don't even care.  Sorry.  I did give it a pretty good go, for me!  :)  But having said that, I will try to write with more regularity, even if just for myself; which is why I started writing here in the first place.  This is my journal.  My recorded life and all the happenings in my life.  Well, some of the happenings in my life anyway.  

So, enough of that crap!  As always, I've been feeling blessed and so very thankful for so many things in my life.  We all need to remember that life is never perfect, not for any of us, so we acknowledge what we have to give thanks for, and move on.  Because this life, it's pretty darn good!!  I focus on the good, pray, give thanks and enjoy all the blessings that I have, and all the not so good things just fade into the background.  Exactly where they should be!!  Live, love, laugh...that's what we shall focus on!!  

If there's one thing that I know for sure - it's that we all need to be ready, all the time, to say good-bye to this wonderful life and be rock-solid in our relationship with our Maker, for not a single one of us knows when our exit shall take place.  But we will all certainly, have our time.  So get ready!  Then enjoy your life!  There's so much in this world to see, do, experience and enjoy.  There's sure a lot more that I want to do.  

I've been working with Eagle and we're progressing nicely.  We continue to enjoy baby steps of building trust and confidence every single day.  There are times I grow impatient for more, but have to quell that feeling and enjoy the journey.  Isn't that where the joy is involved in everything?  The journey that we experience, not necessarily the destination. I'm able to position Eags at the block, climb aboard and do lots of fussing, slapping stirrups, and even putting my foot in the stirrup and applying some pressure.  He still lifts his head, which is a sign of brace, but there are times he doesn't, and when he's relaxed he typically looks back at me with a genuine look of acceptance and trust.  That is what we want!  I haven't attempted to actually mount and sit on him yet, because I want that quiet reaction and expression routinely before I get on him.  But like I said, progress is being made and I am so happy about that.  Consistency is key, I've always known that, but I have to consider our time spent together a priority in my life, not anything less if I want to start riding and enjoying this horse outside our roundpen or pasture.  I'll get out of this relationship, just what I'm willing to put into it.  Sound familiar?

So, remember I'd mentioned that I left a message for Rachel (trainer, gosh I hate that word!) on her phone and privately on Facebook last Friday?  Well...I'm still waiting to hear from her.  That scares me.  Because if she isn't willing to meet my horse, and meet with me to discuss everything, before our scheduled time begins, how am I supposed to make an educated decision if she's the person I want working with my horse, and with me?  This is vital to me, and if she isn't the right person, I need to start looking for someone else right away.  Communication is very important, and this isn't a good sign.  I absolutely have to be able to trust the person who I'm choosing to spend private time with my horse.  And, unfortunately I don't place much faith in very many "professionals" who work with other people's horses.  It's a scary world of people who refer to themselves as "trainers".  I'd prefer a real horseman, but they are very few and far between.  

Our spring weather has been pretty typical in my opinion.  We've had nice, warm days with plenty of sunshine, we had 80 degrees this past Monday and it was followed by a rather cold, frosty morning and some showers intermixed with sun breaks for most of this remaining week.  Our forecast calls for more of the same...showers, sunshine, breezes and temps in the 60's for the next several days.  Our grass is growing at breakneck speed, at least in the areas where the horses don't keep it nipped at the ground and they're having no trouble at all maintaining their "figures".  Our hay supply continues to dwindle and we've cut rations to about half, with no apparent loss of weight.  Ahem...they think they're being starved though.  Seriously.  Poor babies.

Hope all is well with all of you.
Blessings and until tomorrow (?),

Friday, April 17, 2015

Finally - a moment of clarity!

I've been thinking a lot lately about why Eagle is currently reacting to being mounted the way he is.  For me it's been frustrating to say the least, because I really didn't understand.  I knew he was upset when my hubs came off of him a couple of months (?) back, but I didn't think it was that big of a deal to him.  Within a few minutes, he was remounted, rode around a little bit and that was it.  But today Kate left a comment with a couple of links for me to read about horses with similar issues.  I've always known that Eagle's confidence is a tender thing - to be handled gently.  I don't treat him with kid gloves, not for a long while now.  He's one of the herd and what's expected of one, is expected of all.  House rules.  He gets that, he fits right in and usually has no problems at all.  In fact, I think he's a very content, happy and well-adjusted horse.  But in reading about these other horses, one of which was badly shaken because their rider came off, something resonated with me...yes, MH did get right back on Eagle.  Where I now firmly believe we made our mistake, was that we didn't take the time to get either Eagle or MH totally relaxed before calling it good.  We quit too soon, and that didn't do Eagle any good at all.  

In fact, it was probably just as bad as if MH hadn't even gotten back on him at all.  We left him feeling badly about the incident and then I didn't work with him for quite a while.  That left an indelible mark on Eagle's brain.  And not a good one, I'm afraid.  I'm convinced that's the problem.  So, at least I feel better because I think I understand where he's coming from a little bit better.  I have some clarity and that's good.  So, for me it's in the past.  We're done with that - no more wondering, we're just moving forward from here.  

Last night's session was fairly short and sweet.  I worked with Eags for 30-45 minutes without any tack.  Just walk, trot, backing, trotting over the (dreaded) poles, in and around the barrels and even tried a little sidepass.  Not bad at all.  We were relaxed and in sync.  All good stuff.  We had some issues standing quietly at the mounting block again, but in the end, Eagle stood quietly and I rubbed him and patted him all over for maybe 5 solid minutes and that's where we called it a night.  Eags got led quietly to his stall and had a carrot.  While he yawned and chewed on his lesson, I finished the watering and feeding, then brought everybody else in for the night.  Seeing those big, old yawns made me smile all the way down to my toes...  :)

Tonight, I'll be saddling Ladde up and have Eagle in hand while I mount and dismount Ladde. Over and over and over again.  Lad will probably fall asleep...he's had plenty of practice sleeping while I figure out how to come aboard.  I've always believed that in part anyway, horses learn by observation, just like us.  I'll have Eagle in tow while I ride Ladde a little, and then work with Eags in-hand again.  

It sure feels good to be working regularly with my horse again.  Feels really good!  I left a message for Rachel today, and am hoping to get together with her really soon.  I'd like her to come over and interact with Eagle and maybe watch us work together as well.  

I realize my pictures have absolutely nothing to do with today's post...I just like pretty pictures!  I'm starting (sometimes) to be able to look at pictures of Annie without tearing up...progress.  Baby steps for both of us.

Until Monday,

Thursday, April 16, 2015

When ya got nothing, make a list

And that's about the size of it - today, I got nothin'.  No witty comments, no cute puppy pics, no delightful tales of life in the country.  

I'm tired.  I didn't sleep much last night and it's been a rather depressing day at work.  Let me just say this - colic sucks.

There are some days when it can be very life-sucking working at a veterinary clinic.  

I'm really (again) looking forward to this weekend, and just laying low, hanging out, sleeping in and frittering my time away.  It's all about the mental breaks, don't ya know?  Oh ya, and planning a vacation.  I really need an extended weekend, and soon.  


So, 10 extremely random things about me...I know, but it's my best subject.  Sorry, I told you I had nothin'.

1)  Whenever I'm scared or nervous, I sing.  

2)  I am the most opinionated person that I've ever known...some may say stubborn, and I'd be lying if I disagreed.  

3)  I used to go to a lot of concerts.  Mostly rock, but lots of other genres too.

4)  I have always been an avid animal lover, and many times prefer their company to people.

5)  I am nurtured and inspired by spending time in the great outdoors.

6)  I enjoy cooking, but rarely follow a recipe.

7)  My most favorite desert in the whole, wide world is pie.  My mom's pie to be exact.

8)  My happy place is at the beach.

9)  I've been riding horses since I was 3 years old.

10)  I don't think I could live a happy, well-adjusted life without 2 things:  horses and scented lotion.  In that order.

I spent time working with Eags again last evening.  It was really, really good - until it wasn't.  At one point, Eagle decided he did not want to trot over the poles anymore and pointed his butt in my general direction and did a short, butt lift towards me...then his eyes rolled back in his head and he thought better of that decision.  But, it was too late for that - I had already reacted with a big jerk on the lead and a big, HUGE bellow from me that, that was absolutely NOT acceptable!!!!  He became acutely humble, apologized and we moved some more trotting over the poles.  I am an evil woman.  

Pretty much everything we did work on last night went very well, except for his tiny infraction involving his butt, and me being on his left side while standing on top of the mounting block.  *sigh*

I keep reminding myself to be patient.  It's only day 3 of our lessons.

I just keep wondering where in the world this problem has come from???  The only thing I can come up with is that fall my hubby took.  Does he think I'm going to get hurt if I get on his back or what?  Or, does he just enjoy his life of total leisure?   If only I knew...

Until tomorrow...

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Simple pleasures

For me, right at the top of my list is spending time with my horse.  I have more than one horse, so it's a different and unique experience with each one.  They are all so special, and different from one another.  But when we are together, I am with my horse.  Wholly, completely in love and awe of that beautiful individual.  My horse.  

I am never more at peace than time spent in the presence of our horses.  I wouldn't give that up for all the money in the world.  And it's a good thing, because I might actually have some money if we didn't have horses!  Aahh, but money doesn't snuggle up to your neck and give you goosebumps and make you giggle in delight.  You can't wrap your arms around money and bury your nose in their sweet, sweet scent.  You can't cry on their shoulders and tell all your problems to money, and money does not love you in return, or nicker in the silence at your return.  That's heaven!  There is simply no more precious pleasure than spending time with a horse.  God's greatest gift to mankind...

And speaking of spending time with my horse - my time with Eagle last night was incredible.  We were both relaxed and everything we did, we did together.  I asked and Eagle tried.  That's all I've ever wanted from him, and he gave of his heart and for that, I am thankful.  He is a beautiful soul, gentle and kind.  Super, super sensitive and tender.  His trust in humans is so very tender, he brings forth such emotion from me that I have trouble putting into words how he makes me feel.  I am so honored to have this relationship with him.  It is the most beautiful thing just being with this horse.  Anyway, before I get really weepy and make myself cry, I just want to say that our session was an overall success.  I set up poles and some barrels, we did some walking and trotting in the round pen.  We went for a little stroll, we backed, I did some work on the mounting block, and only twice put my foot in the stirrup, applied some pressure and removed it, from the off-side only.  But Eagle stood quietly, elevated his head slightly, but waited. We did hindquarter release, flexing both directions, backing and even a little flag work. Eagle was groomed, saddled and throughout most everything, he remained quiet and relaxed.  I decided not to try mounting and have something go wrong, so we called it good and will pick it up again on another day.  Likely this evening.  I just heaved a big sigh of relief that everything went so well.  We still have a ways to go to get back to where we were last fall, but I have faith.  We will get there.  I just have to learn to have patience and not to expect to just pick up where we left off last year.  Consistency is the name of the game.

This is a picture of Eagle taken just before I picked him up.  He had apparently gotten tired of climbing the mountain and decided to stop and have a little rest.  He was on the end of a 4-horse pack string and Kate had to go about a quarter mile up the trail to find a place to dismount and tie the horses up, and go back for Eagle.   Silly guy, he was just standing there resting and waiting for her...

 Another simple pleasure for me is spending time with my husband.  He can be really annoying at times, but he really is my best friend.  We've been together for almost 33 years and I don't know what I'd do without him. This was taken in Hawaii and we'd just been snorkeling in the bay behind us in the picture. I remember feeling pretty fried.  

*sigh*  Will I ever have a waistline?  Oh well, it is what it is...

Another simple pleasure that I just love is spending time with our animals.  Over the years we've had our share of dogs, cats, horses and even a few birds.  But the joy we've experienced with our dogs is just the best.  Best friends, indeed!  

Oh, when I start thinking about all the simple pleasures in my life, then and now - I get overwhelmed with emotion, nostalgia and above all, thankfulness.  I am blessed!  

I could go on and on...trips to the beach, horseback riding, walks with the dogs, swimming, lying in the sun, beautiful flowers, long baths, sleeping in, family and dear friends, pie, vegetable gardens, sunsets, puppies, ice cream, vacations, a good book, pie, kisses, soft and squishy pillows, did I say pie?  :)

Blessings everyone,