As I get older, I find myself getting more self protective. Don’t get your hopes too high. If you never get your hopes up to high, then you won’t be disappointed with it doesn’t work out. When you have gone through some tough things, had some disappointments, seen people you love hurting or dying, it gets hard to stay optimistic and believe that it will get better, not worse. Sometimes life is just damn hard. PERIOD. A few more poop storms later, you realize, this is just part of life and there is always joy to be had right in the middle of your poop storm. I think that’s the challenge is learning to have today’s joy today. I struggle with worrying about the future, and that robs me of the joy God has for me today. If you fear for what may happen in the future, you miss what God has for you today.
Of course, my horse life is the part that usually drives all these lovely life lessons home. My mare Holly, has been a huge instrument for GOD! She is talented, beautiful, smart, athletic, and on paper, the horse of my dreams. BUT, it has not worked out like I had hoped. We have been plagued with random injuries and medical issues. It seems like we just keep fixing one thing and then another. I have gone from super star to not knowing if she would ever be usable again. Sound, lame, sound, lame, make plans, lame, cancel them, fix the problem, get my hopes up, have a couple good rides and then the cycle begins again.
Today, I feel like we have had a major breakthrough. A talented and intuitive lady named Belinda Burnside worked on her today. I only wish I had it on video. I went to have a cow horse lesson last weekend and she was so lame. Today, Holly was as sore as she has ever been. She refused to trot a circle to the left, shaking her head, striking at the air before coming to a grinding halt. If she could have flipped me off, she would have. She could not make her body do it. It was clear that we have big problems. Belinda went to work methodically and with great care. Holly was so different during her session. She licked me the entire time. She was totally still for Belinda which is out of character. She found several areas that would explain the refusal to circle left. She adjusted the areas and moved on to the next. Holly has been high in her right hip for at least 4 yrs. Nothing has ever effected it until today. Belinda was able to get her sacrum and pelvis to release and low and behold, her hips are level now! No other chiro has ever made a difference like this. When she was all done, we went back to the arena to see her move. Right, no problem. Now left at a walk……she went first reluctant and then with more confidence. For the first time in years, she began to track straight in her right hind. Not every stride but every other. The fact that she was able to travel in a circle to the left were an hour before she was incapable was astonishing. I was speechless. So now, here comes the hope and joy. Maybe she will get better. Maybe we can even show a little, maybe maybe maybe. Then not shortly after that comes Satan to steal my joy. Reminding me of all the other times I have been disappointed when I got my hopes up for my horse. Then I thought “NO” Today, I am going to let this joy stick around. I will not let the past make me so cynical that I never feel hope for the future. I would rather hope for a full recovery and only get half than hope for nothing and get all of that!
Crap happens. Good happens. I think in the middle of it, my goal is to try to remain stable. Don’t let the lows get me so low that I never want to do ride or do anything new for fear it will just end up in disappointment. Not let the highs get so high that I become unrealistic. Take each day for what it has to offer. Today I will not think about the trials of the past. I will enjoy what God has put before me to enjoy. Keep it simple. Keep it light. Keep looking up.
Thank you God for my blessings today. Of course for all my blessings but especially today. Whatever tomorrow brings, I know you will be my hope and I cant wait to see what you have in store. I know you have a wonderful plan for my lfe.
In Christ. Carla
When is pride a good thing and when is a thing? Isn’t being proud of something good? Does pride really come before a fall? Can pride hold us back? Keep us from seeing the truth about ourselves? I think it sure can. I can always draw a parallel between my real life and my horse life. I am faced with a time dilemma. I no longer have time to travel 3 hours one way for a reining lesson. I no longer have time to give up one whole day away from my office and family to take riding lessons. I don’t want to put my horses in training. BUT I love reining. I am a reiner. I ride reiners. It’s who I am and what I do! My horse life has been reining for 20 + years. So what do I do if I can’t train with a trainer? Do I change disciplines? Who will I be then? If I want to do something in the competitive arena, I will have to do just that. My reiner life and my regular life are at an impasse. I can’t pull off the hours of riding, training and traveling that it requires to stay competitive or even justify the expense of an NRHA show. I have been there and done that and I know what it takes to play the game at that level.
This is were the bad pride comes in. I am proud of what I know, what I have done and the level of riding I have achieved. I hate the idea of starting over in another equine sport. Letting go of what I have been and what I am good at to be the beginner, the rookie. It’s PRIDE and it’s not the good kind. If God wanted me to continue in reining, He would keep that door open for me. It seems like that door swings open for a time then swings shut again! Distance, time and soundness issues seem to keep me stuck here just spinning my wheels going no were for the past 2 years. As my good friend Molly pointed out……I am trying to put a square peg in a round hole. I just cant make this fit into my life anymore.
Now enter in last Thursday and Friday. I took both girls up to work cattle for the first time. Both my horses had a ball. Holly, my finished reiner was like she was missile locked on the cow! I have never seen her be that intense on anything! The trainer on her back was grinning from ear to ear. She worked cow after cow and it seems as if that is her true calling. When we were done, her eye was soft, she wasn’t spooky or stupid. It was like giving her a tranquilizer. She was so content!
Lucy was just as good. She too loved working cows and took right to it AND I had a ball doing it on both mares. The trainer said I could have Lucy going good enough on cows to be able to show her in the ranch cutting by March. Holly on the other hand would need a professional to channel all that intense cow sense she has. Is this God opening a door? Maybe God is showing me that the season of reining in my horse life is over and it’s time to begin a new chapter. I think it’s time to pray about this one, leave my pride behind and be willing to look goofy, make mistakes and be the BEGINNER! What the heck. At least my horses may really enjoy their work and might stay sound. I might really love it!
Here’s what I know: When I am doing reining, with my reiner friends…I love it and think “yes! this is what I want to do!”
When I take my dressage lessons with Jane, I love that too and think this is tons of fun and maybe I could do english with Lucy. She seems really happy.
When I was at Dylans working cows all day, I really loved that and so did my horses and thought “yes! this is it what I should be doing with my horses!”
I guess the bottom line is that it’s just about enjoying what we are doing and having fun. It’s not about being on the latest name brand bred horse or all those other things that we as competitive horsemen measure ourselves against each other with. Fancy breeding, stud fees, high prices, earnings or what level you show at, were you have been or were you are going to show next.
We go back to the vet tomorrow. Recheck Lucy’s knee and Holly’s feet and pelvis. I’ll run it by him and see if he thinks it would be a better option for them physically. (I know it is mentally) If he gives us the go ahead, I have a lesson scheduled right after our appt to work cattle with Dylan at the Wright Ranch.
Here’s to a new year of learning a new discipline, staying away from pride and moving in a new direction with my mares. Hoping this is the square peg that fits into this square woman’s life. Here’s hoping for balance, humility and learning a new horse sport!
Thanks for reading and if anyone has been down this road, please share your story with me
God Bless you, Carla, Holly and Lucy
Feeling pretty good about things these days out in the barn! My mares are feeling good and that translates to me feeling pretty good too They both are happy and working well. Holly has been so happy to get back to work and it’s like she never had any time off. Say whoa and she hits the dirt! Lead changes, spins, stops………it’s all right there still. In fact, I have been getting a few free lead changes! Makes me smile…she always wants to do the hard stuff first. I am a little concerned about her tonight, she felt off on the left hind and it was hard for her to say at the lope. HOPEFULLY, it’s just a some aches and pains from getting back into shape and back to arena and reining work. Last night we had a more intense workout , so that may be it. I WILL NOT PANIC I WILL NOT PANIC I WILL NOT PANIC! Could be it ’s time for some more chiro AND I am admitting to all who read, I have not given her her Flex EZ in a week as I have been out and need to get more in………….I KNOW! BAD MOMMY BAD MOMMY! I am hoping that that is playing a part in it too. I know she feels great when she gets her joint supplements so keep fingers crossed. Chiro, joint supps and more fitness and hopefully, this will resolve. She’s had her hocks done, she’s got sliders on, so I am thinking it’s tight sore muscles. I might have been able to push her through it if I worked at it a little longer but I just didn’t see the point. I am in NO hurry and owe it to her to make sure she’s not hurting anywhere before I ask her to work. I’m just so happy to be riding her again.
I will keep you posted.
Well, my barn and my arena are my happy places again. My two mares are sound for today. I will never take a sound horse for granted again and I NEVER want to go through the rehab process again……..at least not two at once. I may I have PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) (joking-sorta) I am so afraid that they will get hurt while I ride and train or hurt themselves in the field again. I know they are in God’s hands and I cannot protect them 24/7, but I don’t think I can go another round of rehab if they get hurt again. Every time one of them trips or takes a funny step, my antenna go up and I begin to analyze every step, every ear twitch, every snort, every tail swish. I have become slightly neurotic were my horses soundness is concerned! BUT I plan on getting over it!
Holly is so eager to go back to work in the arena and her maneuvers are right there as if we never stopped riding her. It’s been a long two years and I miss my girl. She’s a handful for sure but as far as reiners go, she’s pretty bionic to ride. It’s like I am home again.
Lucy…….my little dreamboat! She’s just soft, sweet and doesn’t want to get too excited about anything. She also doesn’t want to do anything too fast. She just wants to be a good girl and stay out of trouble. I could lope that filly all day! These two horses could not be more polar opposites! Either way, I am a grateful woman! I feel like a new person just having my girls to ride, goals to set and most of all being back in the saddle breathing the air up there!
I hope that as time goes on and I have more riding days under my belt, the memory of the rehab season in my life will fade and the little black rain cloud will stay gone for good. If it’s God’s will for me to be back in the show pen, it will happen. If not, it will be because HE has something better in mind.
God Bless~ Carla
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After we got done burying him, Lexi (my other Shepherd) laid down on top of his grave. Reminded me of ‘Were the red fern grows’. She is so sad today and won’t leave the kitchen laying next to his empty bed. She’s breaking my heart! Seems like the joy these wonderful pets bring to our lives equals the pain of losing them.
I am looking forward to an outing with my mares! I tell ya, Lucy was like a little horse healer for me last night. I just got on, no lunging, and off we went. She is perfect out of her stall even with all the confinement she has had to go through! So happy to be out and so sweet. I could feel the pain and stress of the day drain from my body as soon as I got in the saddle. It must be the air up there. I wonder if it’s like that for everyone. I know this for sure……….I need horses in my life. Only God knows what shape and direction they will take me!
Goodbye Bruno. You are such a good boy. You can pop all the soccer balls you want now.
Thank you Dr. Steere for letting him go to sleep here at home.
Thank you Molly. Your friendship, loyalty and selflessness was beyond measure.
Thank you mares. I know you know my heart is broken. I feel you healing me.
I am looking forward to the joy that comes after walking through the valley.
<snif> Thank you God for the amazing blessings, friends, family and pets in my life. I will continue to do my best to care for all of them like the precious gifts I know they are
My good friend was concerned that my barn, my happy place was no longer that for me. It seems I have been so focused on the physical soundness of my mares that I was missing the fact that mentally, we were becoming unsound………..all of us, me included! I love my horses but it was definitely becoming a ‘love/hate’ relationship. The rehab, the worry, the looking at every step they took to make sure there was no pain, a shorter stride, a gimp…… I came to the conclusion that I need to get more energy off for Lucy, anyway I can. The Hydro Horse is really helping. I have upped her work and as long as she stays sound, I am going to keep working her to the point were she is ready to walk. It only took 10 minutes! Something about actual work, rather than trotting behind the 4-wheeler, made her tired faster! YAY. So far, so good. Still have good flexion in the knee. Still have a sound horse. The best part is that the last three mornings in the barn have been quiet, peaceful and civilized. No screaming, no pounding on the stall door and stall floor. My Lucy is coming back! If she does not come back sound enough for reining it just means that God has a different plan in mind for me and Lucy. Maybe it will be roping, cutting or something else. I cannot restrict her every move. I cannot control her to the point that she will not possibly re-injure herself. I have surrendered to the fact that it will be what it will be and my horse life is not in my hands. As much as I try to control and direct it’s path, my horse life will go were God wants us to go. All parts of my life are in God’s hands. Me, my horses, my business and my family are all in God’s hands. It feels good to say that, like a burden lifted from my shoulders. Sometimes I forget these simple truths.
“My yoke is easy,” he said. Once we are yoked together, our burden becomes his; suddenly it feels light.
Thanks Ms. H!
Time is flying by! In the hustle and bustle of daily life, it seems that finding time to sit down to write is fleeting.
I have been busily working in the office, filling orders, talking to my wonderful customers and enjoying the feedback from happy horse owners!
In my own barn, things are not going so smooth. What once was my ‘happy place’, my barn is now a home for two VERY wired up horses who want out of their stalls NOW! Holly is holding up fairly well. She’s older and seems to be more mature about accepting her fate for the time being. Meltdowns are short lived.
Lucy is another story. She used to be my calm, quiet, well adjusted, stable one! The horse I could ride bareback in a halter! Now she paces back and forth in her stall incessantly. She screams when I take Holly out. She gets out twice daily, she walks, trots and briefly canters according to Dr. Gardners rehab protocol. The second I put her back in the stall, she begins to protest, twisting head, trotting in a circle and banging on her stall door. She actually reared in her stall and hit her head on the ceiling, shattering the light bulb on her head! UGH! Now she’s out in her poll and needs the chiropractor! GEEEEZ Lucy!!! What is an owner to do? I can’t seem to make this mare happy no matter what I do. I take that back. If I were to pull up a bucket and sit in there with her, she’d be quiet as a church mouse. If she could come in the house and be with me, that would also suit her just fine. She just wants interaction from someone. Anyone. All the time! UGH!
I hate in when I know my horses are not happy and content. What if all these annoying habits remain even after she goes back to work? What if she stays a big pain in the BUTT? My sweet, quiet, stable mare……gone forever and in her place a totally impatient little booger! When I take Holly out of the barn for her rehab, I have to tie Lucy to the stall wall with a Blocker Tie Ring AND hobble her front feet so she does not paw incessantly. Pounding her front feet on the floor. (I have wood floors that are very loud!) Lately, I have returned to the barn to find Lucy loose in her stall, halter on, lead rope attached AND Blocker Tie Ring still on her lead rope. She has learned to undo the carbine latch from the eye bolt on the wall! I have yet to see her do it but I plan to set up a video n
ext time. I want to see how she opens that spring loaded carbine! Maybe I can send it in to one of those animal shows and make a lot of money! She is driving me nuts and ruining my happy place!
So my new plan for her is to haul into Circle Oak Rehab and put her in their AquaTread in an attempt to let her really work hard and burn off some excess energy. We did this yesterday and she LOVED it but it did not take the edge off like I had hoped. I told the gals to leave her in there till she was blowing good and hard!!!!!!!!! They laughed and then discouraged that idea as they want her to have a positive association to the Aqua Tread. I know they are right but secretly, I wanted to leave her in there till her tongue was hangin out!!!!! I wanted to poop her out totally! I need some PEACE! In 25 years of horses and showing, I have never had to rehab a horse, let alone two at the same time. I love my girls and would do anything for them but if I had and extra $2,000 a month, they would go to a rehab facility in a hot minute! I am totally burned out! I know I am whining….I know but darn it, I have paid my dues, and the vet, and the chiropractor and the rehab facility! And paid and paid and paid!
So, I will keep on doing what the doctor orders. I will also be in search of a new happy place!
Sooner or later, if you own horses, you will be faced with the tough choice to put your horse down. Whether it be due to injury, old age, colic or some other tragedy, I don’t think that there is anything that compares to the anguish one feels when it’s your horses time to go. The grief, immeasurable, the hole in your heart, too big to ever really heal. Unless you have been there yourself, it’s hard to explain to others what kind of pain one feels at the loss of an equine friend. It is a grief like no other. Just writing this now brings tears to my eyes when I think back on the horses I have owned and lost and how each one shaped my character, made me a better rider and human being. These horses are gifts and we owe them a graceful exit out of this life whenever possible. Sandy and Nicki, I thank you for the privilege of caring for Hero all these years. She has become one of the family, the gang, our little white welcoming committee for all visitors to pet. She has had a lovely, happy life with you both and a horse could not ask for better ‘moms’ than she had in you both. I know you will cherish the good times, ups and downs, her sassy personality and everything that the three of you shared. God Bless you both and again, thank you for trusting me with her care and well being all these years. I will miss her terribly but will have peace in knowing that she is pain free and her legs are carrying her across green fields and that she is the boss mare in heaven! <snif>
I love you both and God Bless