Monday, October 10, 2011

Invisible Horse Stories

You know that eyelash on your horse that curls out of place in just the right spot sometimes poking them inadvertently in the eye.  You know the one I am talking about.... It's the one that you thought at one point you want to pluck out but it would hurt too much to do that! That eyelash has seen the raindrops of perhaps only one summer or perhaps 40 snows greeting each one with a knowing-ness of how to tell the weather. 

Her daughter squeals with delight and screams, "tiger stripes, mommy! Look! Your horse has tiger stripes."  That horse already took two other women through a miscarriage and the other through not being able to have children.  That horse now has a comprehension about children and somehow understands them as if they are their own.  Rose outgrew her tiger stripes. She had two owners after that.  The other owners thought that Rose may have had markings like a tiger before.  Rose was the only one who remembered the little girl and other women who loved children.  Rose was amazingly kind and sweet and was treated well her entire life. She had a career as a trail horse.  However, she fell to the wayside with each owner and with tears of good bye, Rose finally found her permanent parents in home #5.  Her last set of parents wondered so much about her but didn't have her history. They loved her just the same.  But still....Rose remembered it all.

His black mane absorbed the tears of a man who just lost his wife.  This widower couldn't saddle up for almost month after that but Buddy was always there to listen and nicker back.  Buddy also knew this mans' deceased wife.  Buddy hadn't had one mis-step in his four years on the planet yet.  The man cried and hugged his horse until Buddy just hugged and rocked him back.  What the man didn't notice was that Buddy was crying too. Buddy had a windpuff on his right hock that healed shortly after the man stopped grieving. Buddy was given away in the man's estate when the widower joined his wife in death.  Buddy was jet black and stately he was grateful for an awesome life as a therapy horse.  The owner of the program asked Buddy one day, "How did you learn to do this.". Buddy just gave a deep elegant stare and with a slight head nod and tilt to the right....the flick of an ear, he told the program director how he had already handled sorrow, grief and the healing of a family before.  He smacked his lips and took the treat gently from the hands of a child with Autism who rewarded him for his efforts.  Buddy thought to himself, 'How kind of that little one to reward himself".   

On top of an amazing hill, the reminiscing soldier says into the wind, "Heron, I can feel your ghost, my friend.  You carried me over this hill under saddle when you were with me in battle.   I'm not sure if it was you who made me brave or the reverse.  We won the battle that day and you came home with me as retirement present from the Cav.  The last Cav. battalion that ever existed.  You have long since passed, but I remember." Heron died at the age of 33 having only one owner.  Heron had a wounded knee but was still sound to ride up until the end.  

His name was Chico.  She was an Appaloosa without spots. No one could understand it though.  That horse pulled that child out of river with her teeth and waded in after him to save his life.  Hung on wires the boy struggled:  ....on the sidelines --  a mare--- not too big in size, who had just lost a foal herself a few days before that, made a magnificent leap into the water and saved that human boy.  Chico has a scar on her left shoulder.  Chico went on to three other people before she found a permanent home. 

Many circumstances befall a horse in their lifetime.  They are asked to be fostered by several parents, asked to go back to school to learn a new trade they may already know. But one thing is for certain, if you get a horse from someplace else,  don't under estimate those scars, bumps, bruises and scrapes.....for within them are lay these amazing invisible horse stories too awesome to fathom and you know what...??? Horses keep their silence for they are too sacred to tell.


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Star of the Show: Evangeline!

Here's just the girl to do the job of a long rider horse.  This is Evangeline, AKA "Eve".  She is an old style Plantation Tennessee Walking Horse!  She has stamina, grace, character and class.  And as always Eve will never be "Just a Horse".  Please read the anonymous poem that someone wrote...that definitely is worth the read after the video.  

Eve rides bitless without a problem!  Even though she is evading me some, we are working on that and my stirrups are too long (WHO's been riding in my saddle).  ACK!  I was too lazy to change them up a notch!

This is to demonstrate her natural rate of travel. During a long ride she travels at an actual 4-6 miles per hour.  

Thanks for Mark for being my videographer!  The description on the video also discusses the Tenn. Walking horse and the gaits in which are demonstrated here.

You will find the poem below the video.

We're Walkin!

From time to time,
People tell me 'lighten up, it's just a horse.'
From time to time
People tell me, ' a lot of money spent'
From time to time
People tell me, 'it's just a horse.'

If you really think it's
'Just a horse, '
Like 'just a promise, '
'Just a friend, '
Than you can't see
The beauty of it all.
You just can't see.

The distance traveled,
The time spent,
And the costs involved for
'Just a horse.'
The reason to rise,
Early in the morning,
Taking those long walks,
Even when it's pouring.

It's my proudest moments,
My only company
The saddest moments,
And the gentle touch,
That gave me a reason to go on.

It's the hopes and dreams
And the coming of the future.
The fond memories of the past,
And the unforgettable joy of the coming day.

If you really think it's,
'Just a horse, '
Like 'just a promise, '
'Just a friend, '
Than you can't see,
The beauty of it all.
You just can't see.

'Just a horse'
Brings out the best in me,
'Just a horse'
It gives me who I am and
Keeping me from being,
'Just a girl.'
'Just a woman'
'Just another Man'

I'll smile and nod to agree,
knowing deep down I don't.
you may think it's 'just a horse, '
but it never will be for me.

If you really think it's,
'Just a horse, '
Like 'just a promise, '
'Just a friend, '
Than you can't see,
The beauty of it all.
You just can't see. 

And whenever you tell me "It's just a horse"
I'll smile inwardly and say to myself....

You Just Don't Understand

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Emotional Freedom Comes at a Price

...When I walked into that kitchen at my hosts house in New Mexico, I had no idea how that day their heart's would be unlocked.  I just rode into town with a group of other expeditioners hoping for a shower and some rest. Inevitably and gratefully, they shared their hearts and home with me.  

They shared their stories of ranching and stories of an adult child struggling with addiction.  Without mentioning I had worked with individuals who battled addiction, word by word as it fell from their lips they described in detail how they didn't know how to help themselves help their adult son. I said, "there's not any amount of money you can give, or anything that you can do for him, you just have to let him "Be" and have him figure it out on his own."  The father got edgy and didn't like what I had to say. "Surely, there must be something, " he said. "Unfortunately, " I stated, "You have done all you can.  Trying to fix it for him will only make it worse."

I asked them at one point to please go get a rock from their garden and give it to me so I can place it in my med bag so I could ride for him.  Two days pass and miles of emotional ground covered, I never received a rock from them. Out of the blue and 100 miles down the road, they showed up at my accommodations for the evening baring food, drinks and a plethora of good will.

Right before they went to leave I asked them if they ever found a rock to give me for their son.  The dad looked at me and got all choked up and said, "Yes, I have a rock....but instead, I want you to ride for me".  He wept on me..and I hugged him with tears of joy that he learned the lesson of tough love.

Emotional Freedom Comes at a Price

As I lay inside that horse trailer, that was clean as a whistle up the road from Waggoner and down the Road from Inola,  I was scared to death.  The bar was in full rip that night and my hosts were the owners of this establishment.  Dusty, my previous night's host, came up to check and have dinner with me as I stayed comfy in this biker bar.   

This was my first night alone, in a strange place, sleeping under the starts EVER on a long ride.  Fancy, my horse was munching happily in the adjacent field and I could hear her.

The trailer was a three horse slant load trailer in mint condition and I think it never hauled a horse. With my saddle strings, I tied myself in there as best as I could.  It was warm in there.

I became more scared.  I called Long Rider Stan P. and said, "If you tell me I will be alright in here, I will be alright."  He gave me some Long Rider reassurance about all the times he slept under bridges and what not and allayed my fears.

In a few minutes, after thinking I was heading out for an interesting 18 miles the next day, I was sleeping like a baby with my horse grazing nearby. 

We had ridden 200 miles already.  The Parrish's in Waggoner shared their family with me a night or to ago. They said I added a new dynamic that really helped them bond more.  I was treated like a part of their family and we barbecued.

Emotional Freedom Comes at a Price.

The unattainable horizon as we view it between our horse's ears and below our feet accelerates personal growth exponentially. We leave one person and come back another..and we just think that we are helping people, listening to their stories,  when it is really ours that is unfolding, changing as the scenery melts from rock to sand to grass into mountains and back again as the rhythmic "clop,clop,clop,clop" beneath us allows us to ride the wind of heaven at the pace of 3-5 miles per hour.

Emotional Freedom Comes at a Price....and it all starts right on the trail for me. 24 days until launch...

Blog Entry Over and Out - October Fourth Twenty-Eleven