The End

I ran 8 miles. 2 miles short of my goal. Which is ok since my goal may have killed me (or at least made me pass out).

I left you your after you gave me a hug and said you loved me. Love you too mommy. Mommy, always makes me laugh that in our 50’s Billy and I still call you mommy.
Running through the neighborhood behind the hospital I see all the pretty plants and flowers blooming. Things you love. I get out on the main road and run on the side walk. I look down and see someone has spray painted ‘you suck’ and I wonder if that’s meant for me since I selfishly went running instead of sitting by your side.

Then the next sidewalk message. Deeply engraved to last a long, long time. ‘God is Joy’. Worthy of a picture. You suck in pink won’t leave my head so no need for a picture of it.

I keep running. Past The ear doctor I took you to trying to get your hearing straight. The day he put the tubes in, I’ll never forget. The scene of you highfiving the big giant guy in the elevator because you can hear him say hi. ‘I can hear you ‘ you say, With tears in your eyes. The countless discussions about how cute and how nice Dr. Phillips was, with the perfectly ironed shirt and pants.

I keep running. Past Gainesville health and fitness where I bought you and dad a membership for a year. Remembering all the stories you told me about your times there and the shock you had that women walk around naked in the dressing room.

I keep running. Past your dentist office and then I cross the 4 lane road. Remembering when we lived in Miami you forbade us from crossing any road with more then two lanes. So much so that the first time I ever did it as an adult, I was certain I was going to be hit by a car and flattened like a pancake by all the traffic. I laugh because you really instilled some solid fear of pedestrian vs car in me. Multi-lane roads still freak me out to this day.

I keep running. Right past the shopping center where we’d frequently been together shopping long ago. I remember it like yesterday.

I keep running. This time turning on 34 th Ave. (no I didn’t cross that street, it’s 6 lanes 😳).

I was trying to run to the bus stop that the man with few teeth and a casted arm cheered Dennis and me on during a marathon. ‘Only Five More to Go!!’ He chants over and over with his arm in the air and all 5 fingers spread out high above his head. ‘Five more to go!!’

I needed that man now to cheer me on. Tell me how much farther to the finish line. ‘Five more to go’ I’m sure he has no idea the impact of how that moment and his cheers has stuck with me. The last 6.2 miles of a marathon always supposed to be the most grueling. ‘Five more to go’ man kindly helped us through. Never miss out on a chance to cheer someone on I think to myself.

I turn around at the five mile mark, afraid of the way I was starting to feel that I may not make it all the way back to the hospital.

The five mile mark being where ‘the graffiti’ wall is. The one message on The wall ever present is the memorial for the college students killed by a serial killer in the early 90’s. I lived at home with you in Miami back then. I remember being in your living room watching the news and the reports of students frantic and packing up to go home out of fear . Never knowing at that time we’d all be moving to Gainesville and that I’d be running by the wall while you were dying in the hospital. It seems so long ago.

5 more to go. I pass the same dead crow on the sidewalk. This time noticing the smell of death. You mom, always loved the crows. Throwing them old bread to eat and watching them walk around the yard with giant pieces of bread in their beaks.
The teacher teacher bird. The butterflies on your plants, the fruit on the trees. Always in the moment when sharing your yard.

Loving and fun, always positive right to the very end. Trying to make jokes with the nurses despite the pain and confusion you felt.

I wonder if at that time the five more to go guy would have said seven more to go! Seven days later you were gone. No more terrible suffering. Seven day ultra-marathon.  I am confident I can endure anything now after watching you suffer like that for over a week.
Hospice was a godsend to provide you relief from the pain. It took a lot to make you comfortable.

I’m so glad you were in such a place of kindness and care. Seven days later
Your defiant, stubborn heart finally let you go.
Miss you mom, you left one terribly lonely man behind !

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Conquering Worry and Guilt

My mom can barely create a full sentence that means anything that she means it to mean and she has been like this for months.  Somehow she pulled out her longest, sharpest knife of a sentence and used it on me, stabbing me right in the heart.   ‘I just don’t understand why we can’t live there with you, I just think it would be so much easier’.  Twenty words put together with perfect sound, thought and skill.  Able to make their way between my ribs and straight into my heart.   Why can’t you tell me in a sentence if you are hungry? What you want to eat? or how your day was? Or if you ate lunch, dinner or took your medicine?

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Hugging trees always feels good!

Mom, I am gone 12 hours a day when I’m at work.  We have 3 big dogs that are guaranteed to make you fall down.  Old people fall, break their bones, have to go into the hospital, get pneumonia/constipation/more confused then ever and sometimes die.  All because of a simple fall.  It’s completely selfish on my part because I don’t want to have to worry about that all the time so it’s easier to keep the distance where I know you will be safer.

The internal struggle of guilt and worry battling in my brain like knights jousting in my head.  Who will win?    When I visited the assisted living place, the man says ‘you won’t have to worry about anything, it’s all taken care of’.  As I look around at the elderly people sitting in various places seeming dejected.   The other assisted living place I went to seemed full of happy people that wanted to be there?!  Oh but that was more of the independent living section of the facility.  Smartly keeping me out of the ‘memory care’ areas while getting a tour…And it just seemed like the people that needed mid-level care (somewhere between assisted living and memory care) that were mixed in with the independent living people,my mind chose to see all the happy people and not look at the details of the ones that may not be so happy.

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The worry is losing as the guilt of leaving them in a place  that seems so hollow takes the lead.

Going home I try and figure out all the ways I can to balance the guilt and worry so they cancel each other out.  We can pay someone to live with them in their home for as long as possible, feed them, drive them, do the daily chores.  That could work.  For a while.  Then as the confusion and mental decline progress to incontinence, there will be a hill race where worry will be stronger and start passing guilt.   Oh but we can hire a home health aid to come in and take care of the messiness of incontinence and care of cleanliness.  Not sure how long this will work either? But for now I have it balanced well.  The tide will come in and wash away my perfect foundation (that I have built in the sand, knowing it will fail)  holding it all together and at some point worry will win and away we go to the horror of ‘memory care’, guilt having no say anymore.  Although it is always possible my current plan will last till the end?

The truth is, life is pretty much at a standstill for the full experience as long at there is worry present.  Guilt is livable.  Worry is an ass.  Some people (me included) find things to worry about, where the mind gets distracted doing something else but wants to find that worry spot to obsess over again and again.  I find myself listing all the worries I have in my head so when I get to the one that is greatest I’m like ‘there it is’ and let it roll over in my head to where it is sufficiently still alive.    I have work worries and people worries and personal worries.  Yesterday Dennis asked me what I was thinking about (as we were eating ice creme…) and I said, all I am thinking about right now is eating this ice creme :0

That’s where my worry is going, causing me to actually develop a third emotional energy called ‘The chopper’…The chopper is a very sharp samurai sword that slashes worry and guilt into tiny little bits.  Destroying those emotions to leave behind a sense of peace no matter what the moments bring.  I am a professional worrier, if I didn’t worry about my patients and their outcomes, I probably shouldn’t do the job anymore.  I will still worry (just like the grass will still grow…) but I won’t let it get out of hand and hopefully the chopper can keep up.

I don’t like not being present with the moment and that’s what worry does, takes away the present.

Here is to living in the moment (raising my coffee cup) and all the lessons we have to experience along the way to actually achieve that goal!

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A doodle I did at work one day…which is completely what it feels like from time to time.

 

Where’s Your Line

Heartline Horse

DSC_0035 Photo: Crissi McDonald

I have a little puzzle for you:

How would you make this line shorter?

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Erase it?  Cut it in half? Scribble on it?

“It’s time you realized that you have something in you more powerful and miraculous than the things that affect you and make you dance like a puppet.”  Marcus Aurelius

How would you make the first line shorter?

You could do something like this:

___________________________

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Instead of focusing on how we can deface the original line, we simply draw a longer line underneath it.

We often use this thought experiment when teaching our horsemanship courses because it illuminates a pretty common way of thinking. Sometimes we get so caught up in how someone else is doing something wrong or bad, we forget to put our time and energy into finding ways to increase the length of our own line.

If you look…

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It goes so fast

 

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There is one particular very selfish motive to parents teaching their children to respect them that I am just starting to learn…it’s when they get old and can’t and shouldn’t be doing anything (like driving) that the children are frozen into not knowing how or when or what to do when their parents are hiding their struggle. The selfish part being that they can live how they want a lot longer then they probably should and have conscientious children that will help them along the way.   We all know it’s happening (except the parents) but no one wants to confront it.  I know I don’t want to be a parent to my parents.  Of course I want to help them and do everything I can but  I don’t even know how (or ever wanted) to be a parent to any child, much less two people that always parented me.   Plus it’s too close to where I will be in a few years and I don’t have the children to take care of me so I would rather live in blissful denial of what might happen to my brain.  I am just glad I am happy with a sandwich for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

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I really don’t believe that parents can see their decline as real once their brain starts to get muddled so what they are not aware of doesn’t even enter their thought process.  So when you try to bring those difficult questions up, you want to respect and trust them when they say they are ok.  But I know it’s not ok.   I know it is going to happen soon.  Just this week I took my dad to Lowes to buy a microwave.  When it came time to check out my dad says ‘I hope you brought your checkbook’ which made me really laugh because that is what I say to Dennis when we go out somewhere to buy anything.  Yes, dad I have my wallet, you didn’t bring yours?  No, I forgot.

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Then there is the confusion with how to use a new microwave.  I call as I am driving home from work.  ‘Did they install the microwave today?’  Yes, says my dad, but I don’t know if it’s ready.  Do you mean they didn’t finish installing it?  No, I don’t know if it is ready, can you come over?  My first reaction is, I need to go home, I’ve been gone since 6 am, have a 45 minute drive home with 3 big dogs in the car, it’s 6pm…Can I come over tomorrow?  Yes he says, tomorrow is fine.

Thankfully my drive is 45 minutes because the selfish parents instilled in me tremendous sensitivity and a guilty conscious and supreme worry (that there is cardboard in the microwave and they may try to use it and it will start a fire and burn them and the house down and it will be all my fault for not going over there!).

So I drive to their house and go inside and they are both standing in the kitchen looking around, not doing anything really.   I think they were hungry.  They really don’t have anything to eat that is dinner-like but what can be microwaved.  They have stopped using the oven and the stove for most things.

I’ve lived my whole life being happy with a peanut butter sandwich for dinner if nothing else is available.  My mom cooked elaborate meals for dinner ever since she was a housewife so for them dinner is a ritual that involves hot food and items that are eaten at dinner, not a lunchtime meal.

So I show my dad how to use the microwave and make them dinner.  They are happy, he is thankful.  I hug and kiss them both and tell them I love them.  Meanwhile the unruly dogs in my truck spill a giant water bottle and it pours all over my treasured camera on the floor.

My insides just getting crushed a little more (because of my parents helplessness, not the camera, I have wanted to get a new camera for a long time!).

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If anyone knows dogs, I hope they have known some elderly labrador retrievers.  The sweetest age for a dog ever in one of the best personalities a breed could have.  My parents are like two very old labrador retrievers now.  Amazingly sweet and good at breaking your heart with their obvious decline.  If my parents had tails they would be slapping the ground when you walked in the door.

Mom, what are you going to do when Dad can’t drive anymore?

‘Well’, she says, ‘I will just have to start driving again’…this from my mom with pretty advanced alzheimers and can not remember hardly anything and has a look on her face like she doesn’t really know what’s happening moment to moment.

Dad, do you need me to check your bills and make sure all is well?

It’s automatic he says, pulling out his bank card saying all he has to do is swipe this and it’s automatically taken out of his bank.  I said dad, that is your discover card, it’s a credit card, there is no automatic withdrawal with a discover card.  You should get a bill in the mail that you have to pay with a check.  There are no bills he says, it comes out automatically.    Can I see if you are paying your discover card bill?  Feeling like I am being forward with asking to check his finances.  This is a man that NEVER discussed money.  Never freely gave money to his kids for anything other then what we truly needed (like school etc).    If we got money, we had worked for it.   I never saw my parents as people to go get money from.   They took care of us and paid for things but the primary money lesson I got from my dad was that money did not come easy.  You had to work for it and you never talked about it or how much you had or how much things cost or how much you or anyone else makes.  Ever.   So having to ask to help him with his bills and personal accounts is very strange turn of events that makes me extremely uncomfortable.

Even talking about him in this sense makes me feel like I am being small minded and sharing his decline is a form of betrayal.

I know there are countless people that have gone through this experience with their parents.  Then I think about all the parents that have gone through this alone.  What happens then?  That will be me!  Shit, I need to get myself together before my brain just adapts and thinks all is well when it really isn’t.  Like my mom says now, ‘it all goes so fast’.

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Patience and Trust

fullsizeoutput_208I’m sure if a person searches the internet with the word Patience (capitalized on purpose), one would find tntc (too numerous to count) articles to read.  I personally really like this one, here.

TNTC is  a commonly written acronym  in medical records.  When you have tntc next to a cytology reading or a fecal exam, that’s usually not a good thing.   Too many of anything you don’t want to see is an indication of a problem that needs to be treated and hopefully there is a treatment and that that treatment is within the clients means.

Patience on the other hand…I don’t believe anyone could have too much of that one ability.   I am sure no one has ever said ‘She/he has wayyyyy too much patience’….

In February it will be one year that Richard has consistently worked with Repay.  One year of 2 to sometimes 3 times a week of consistent handling, presence, work.    One year of me letting go of needing to do anything, see anything, be anything other then patient (although it could be me being lazy, I haven’t decided).  Having patience takes a lot of trust.  If you can trust then patience follows along like a helium filled balloon tied to a string you are holding.  If you lose trust, goodbye patience!

As a veterinarian, I have no desire at all to doctor any pet whose owners don’t have trust in me.  There is no ego involved, the most important thing you can do as a client is trust your doctor and once that is lacking then everyone is better off if you go seek out someone you trust.

I love it when people say ‘I trust you’ because that means that they have surrendered and giving me the ability to do all that I can do and allows me to communicate with them knowing what they are able to do.  They can trust that I will recommend someone else when I don’t feel I can handle it (or even if I can but know there is someone even better).  They can trust me when I realize their situation won’t allow the ‘Cadillac’ treatment that I will offer them the ‘Chevy’ treatment with great compassion and care without judgement.   Over time I have realized that I too need to trust and find patience in people.  Trust for me is very easy, I trust everyone to be who they are. Patience on the other hand, I had no real relationship with patience until now.

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One year with patiently watching Richard work his magic on Repay (magic = caring + lifetime experience + open mind + a  billion times patience) and seeing and hearing all sorts of very consistent, skilled ways of working, patiently waiting and watching, I rode a canter that for maybe 3 strides was perfectly balanced!  Not an entire circle, not even 4 strides, but 3 bounces on a ball.  It felt strong and collected and completely controlled.  It was something that made me wonder how she will be in another year.  I knew it could fall apart pretty quick since I am not that effective at my own abilities of keeping it there so we stopped.

I was instantly (almost a year later) rewarded for my patience and trust.  Sometimes we want things to happen so fast that fast destroys us.  Same with work, people want things to happen fast, to get better quick to give up way too soon.  Having patience and having trust are two areas that everyone would be better off if they practiced more of it.  I have two decades of experience working in a small animal clinic in a very rural town.  We’ve seen a lot of things over the years, a lot of practical experience.  No one can beat years of real life experience…Things get better despite us.  They get better because of us.  Sometimes we are the ones that do things too quickly because owners want them done quickly.  Then they are mad when things go how  our experience told them it would go…but oh well.   More experience, tempting defiance, under our belts.

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I don’t know what that has to do with patience and trust and Richard and Repay…I think it is a professionals conundrum.  How do you gain trust when someone doesn’t give you the time to develop it?

‘They won’t care how much you know until they know how much you care’ ,  this being a quote heard or seen somewhere in veterinary school.  One of the main reasons I trust Richard so much is because from the very start he impressed upon me his care of the horse.  Care completely visible in his patience, his listening (to Repay, not me), in his words, in his actions.  It was there instantly from the very start and it has been present this entire year.   He cares if she is physically fit enough to do a move, he cares if she is flexible and even on both sides, he cares if she doesn’t like groundwork to go to something she likes.  He cares if she needs to be just sat on to do nothing at all.  He cares about getting on her to do absolutely nothing at all because that is what she needs to gain quietness more then creating movement to get her quiet.  It’s the most patient driven riding I have ever seen.  Not without discipline or some hardness but with a perfect mix of giving and taking to gain respect and her surrendering trust in her rider in a way that makes her not always out to just save herself.

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I guess his patience lies in the fact that  he knows what is needed to get the end result of a ‘broke’ horse.  Although in his mind he wouldn’t consider it his own patience, just what needs to be done.  In his experience of watching people with their horses, his view is that a lot of people don’t ride horses that are broke.  I believe that is a sad truth for a lot of horses.  Sometimes it seems as if horses and people are always on the edge of disaster.  I was there too for all my years.  I am not sure if I ever have had a truly broke horse, I was just lucky.  I know people hate the word broke, but I use it in a way that Richard means it.  A horse that gives you all it’s trust and lets you guide it without question, they don’t think, they just do, which probably means they are thinking but thinking about what you want and not want they want.

When I asked Richard who he learned from, he talked about various influences but there is one he shared that sticks with me most.   Richard and another trainer worked at a dressage barn and the two would have horses that could do the exact same moves but he said that the other trainers horses always looked so much better then his did.  Since that time he changed his ways to similar training methods, training  the horse to move correctly and thus developing the strength and flexibility to complete the moves in collection and with self carriage.  Allowing as much time needed for each individual horse to move on to the next stage of training.

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I really don’t always know where I am going with Repay or if I am driven to do anything specific anymore and I think that might be patience at it’s best. Although I also fight it feeling lackadaisical if that makes sense. Life is suffering (if you follow buddhist teachings), the end of suffering is an acceptance of this fact (my interpretation). Is that so?  (click the link to read) is one of my favorite stories and how I really try to be at work.  Acceptance of what the moment brings is really great practice for horsemanship.  When you can be quiet and sit with watching growth, whether it be a blade of grass or a horse developing under the tutelage of a master, neither can be hurried.  Sitting in patience of all things is action that is very difficult.  Six months had gone by and Richard said, ‘I’m just working with her, I haven’t started training her yet’…what ?  I really didn’t know what that meant at the time, but I think I do now.

At different times Richard will say ‘she may never get broke’ because she is a thoroughbred and at her most impressionable age she was race trained and that sticks with them so well it may never get out of her.  She sometimes gets the bit under her tongue and rides around with her head in giraffe position or reverts back to lolly her tongue when something is difficult or makes her nervous,  behaviors she developed while on the track 12 years ago.  Richard just lets her do those things without a care in the world.  Doesn’t worry about it, doesn’t try and correct it because he knows when she gets her tongue right again she will get back into normal position and over time these habits will eventually disappear.  I feel like he’s saying ‘is that so’ as she does various things while he is working with her.  I think even he doesn’t know how she will progress but he keeps doing what he knows and I keep carrying my trust balloon while watching my patience in all things blossom.

 

You’re Fired

“It is a wise thing to be polite; consequently, it is a stupid thing to be rude. To make enemies by unnecessary and willful incivility, is just as insane a proceeding as to set your house on fire. For politeness is like a counter–an avowedly false coin, with which it is foolish to be stingy.”
Arthur Schopenhauer

 

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Who is the difficult one?  The person that demands a certain level of politeness or the person that never refrains from displaying their lack of civility any chance they get?

Working in a field where skill is involved in handling animals, often times to hurt them for their own good, one learns that calmness and respect go a long way to keeping the situations manageable.  Trust comes from respectful interactions.  Trust is never gained through any kind of force.  Unless it is a polite, emotionless force that is applied.  Which is a zen kind of holding and releasing at the same time (and maybe the addition of some helpful drugs).

My ‘You’re Fired’ story is making me wonder who is the asshole…me or her…and truthfully at this moment in time, I believe it to be me because I don’t care, which is comical and eye opening at the same time.  When you no longer care, you no longer try.   The one thing I cling to without clinging to it is a solid decision to never see this person again.  Three strikes and you are out.  I’m sure we gave her more then three tries too.  The final being added on to the end of a very long day which included a client falling and breaking her arm and her knee cap in our waiting room.

Pink slip, client firing letter, go away forever and never come back run through my mind like a raging river.   No desire whatsoever to make this situation work out.  Ignorance combined with complete rudeness are one ugly combination.

I know this is one of those people that are testing me, and I am choosing failure because I want to.  I don’t believe in rudeness. Ever and if I’ve ever been rude, I try to apologize within 24 hours to whoever it was.  And I didn’t react rudely this time,  she hung up on me before I could get there.  To send a firing letter is to admit defeat (and feels rude).   The inability to make everyone happy flashing in my mind as we discuss it.  Goodbye evilness is the bigger neon sign flashing in my brain.

We have the most amazing office manager, in reality, an angel sent from heaven.  The most giving of herself person I have ever met and only wish I had half of her genuine care and generosity with no expectation of anything in return.   If I learned anything yesterday, it was the complete obviousness of good and evil in the  simple, everyday interaction of people.    Kindness magnified a billion times over and it’s just her nature, she doesn’t have to try  to be this way.  The Mother Theresa gene just a part of her DNA.  So why didn’t we fire this person when she made our office manager cry a year ago?

I think I came to a conclusion that if that was done back then, then it would have been done more out of frustration and anger.  This time it was pretty much already decided.  The calm, ‘that was your last chance’ achieved with really no emotion at all.  It felt right because we were so done.   I’m not really sure if we should have gone farther with her, maybe eventually seen the entire circle of her coming around to being the good person that she must be?   There will always be more interactions, more learning experiences, more ways to practice internal awareness of choices and ego and emotion.    I am always thankful for these experiences because they are there simply for the lesson.  Where one can see and apply this kind of thought by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, ‘We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.’  The human experience being the nitty gritty ego driven emotional rollercoaster that we sometimes get stuck on.

Sometimes we want to get stuck in the moments, that’s why I wonder if I am the one being difficult demanding civility.  When I should just ride the waves as they come and go and not get attached either way.  Maybe next time!

 

“Are you a Buddhist?”

“No, I’m an asshole. But I keep trying.”
Scott Hawkins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What are you a Master of?

 

To my mind the old masters are not art; their value is in their scarcity.

Thomas A. Edison

 

I read that quote and had thoughts of a few people that I’ve had the pleasure of working with and learning from.

If a master is defined as someone who has acquired complete knowledge or skill of an art or a task, what am I a master of?   I think I am a master of being able to find real masters, or getting them sent my way.

One of these people is Repay’s trainer, Richard. Richard is a master of this art of horsemanship.  I know this from only one source…Repay.   I can see it in her attitude, in the condition of her body, in her willingness to be with us.  A wise friend once said ‘you can look at your horse to know if you have the right person helping you’ and she is so right (thank you Crissi!).

The more I learn about Richard, the more I feel a giddiness for my horse.  It’s a strange feeling to have found this kind of treasure (thanks to my friend Leslie).    It’s been 6 months since he has been working with her and it’s been mostly at the walk and trot, sometimes just sitting on her under a shade tree for 90% of the lesson.   Varying from the arena to the trail.   Developing quietness and flexibility.  I’ve had her for almost 10 years and I’ve never seen her so at peace.  The other day Richard said ‘she’s just misunderstood and never been ridden right’…which was such a revelation to me because I’ve been the only one that has ever really ridden her most of her life.     I don’t take offense to that at all.  I just wonder how I got here. It’s one thing to learn how to ride a horse but to train one?  Maybe I thought that miraculously she came trained since she was rideable…and all that was needed was for me to learn to ride better and then we would go together?  I am sure this isn’t news to a lot of people, especially people who grew up riding horses or owning horses that were thoroughly trained by a professional.

I’ve have been fortunate to have had some really great teachers helping me along the way  that definitely got her to a place where I could do a lot more then I could ever do without them.   I didn’t know what I was doing or couldn’t maintain that once I got her back home.  I had just not realized how important it was for Repay to have her own teacher.  I can’t teach her what I don’t know.   Imagine trying to teach a kid calculus when you don’t know calculus and you are learning it yourself and the the kid would rather do other things.  I would surely fail at that, as I have kinda of failed with Repay.

I often  question ‘what am I doing here?’   Lately, as I lose my youthful courage,  I’ve come to understand my goal.  My number one desire is the same as hers.  To stay safe.

People don’t believe me, but Repay is the Chicken Little of horses…The sky is falling even when I am not with her. I’ve been accused of making her like this and I would admit it if that was the case.  I am sure I don’t help her because I am my own Chicken Little at times…but she can be out in the pasture grazing and a tree branch cracks in the woods a few acres away and she is off to the races all on her own.  The sky is definitely falling in her world.    If there is a new limb that has fallen somewhere on the property she will take days to walk by it on her own…she will run (like I use to run through the dark house when I was little thinking there was a monster behind me) as fast as she can all the way around the perimeter of the property to get back to the barn if the tree limb happens to be in her normal path.  I watch her from the inside of the house, so I know it isn’t me giving her these ideas! It is such a relief to feel her lose some of this kind of reactiveness when I am with her, and really lose it, not just being obedient and holding it in, but losing that ‘save myself because no one else will save me’ kind of reaction that would build up in her if the conditions were right.   Really learning to trust that I will save her from these terrifying things so that we can actually progress with both of our learning beyond where we have made it so far.

We all have our own periods of enlightenment on our path of learning, no matter what we may be learning.   I doubt Richard will ever read this or really understand how much I appreciate him and his commitment to putting the horse first.  He doesn’t succumb to the pressure of time to make his clients happy, for he does it for the horse and nothing else. If someone doesn’t like that, he just won’t work for them anymore.  It’s like I have reached a place that is like I was running uphill a long time and now I am on the flat.  It’s so much easier to just run on a flat surface.  To let go of a time pressure (who instilled that pressure to begin with??!!) and just go with what ever needs to be done by someone who knows what to do (as evidenced by the results),  is such a relief.

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