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Friday, June 26, 2015

Take Time to Play


Last night while walking back to the barn after "dutifully" completing my "scheduled" training session with my mare, I got a little "reminder" from two giggly, blonde, side-braided, long-legged, teenage girls and one big old gelding grinning from head to tail about what’s really important between a horse and rider! 

As they cantered around circling the rolling grass field together, I couldn’t help but notice the lovely, balanced, collected, free, PROUD frame this horse had carrying his crew around and the synergy of his precious cargo aboard. I’m a connoisseur of centered riding and natural movement and balance and this to me was a more authentic beautiful, achievement in horse/rider teamwork than a medal winning round at equitation final! It spoke a truth and lesson for me that many of us "adults" need a reminder in!

We can regiment, schedule, task, and work ourselves to death and take the real meaning of life…JOY… FUN...right out of the very things we love most when we get too ahead or even too behind of where we are in life...at that very moment! Don’t underestimate the power of JOY. The energy that comes from both happiness and joy can make a horse you’ve seen a thousand times before appear LARGER than life when truly CONNECTED.
 
I had to laugh at myself once I realize that it’s okay to deviate from my "scheduled" tasks once in a while and just have a little fun and PLAY! Sometimes, I need to give myself a break! You can kill the fun in the very thing you love the most by turning it into WORK all of the time!!! Who wants to work all of the time? Horses sure don’t….AND teenagers ABSOLUTELY don’t!

Therein lies the lesson in this for me, and probably a lot of busy adults about BALANCE and JOY in life. As I watched these girls and this horse in perfect, joyful, harmony and BALANCE, I realized that I could ride without stirrups, work on serpentines, transitions, and spiral in and out till the cows come home….. BUT what makes the most impactful achievement between horse and rider is a HAPPY horse and rider, enjoying their connected moments in time….TOGETHER.

Don’t forget to keep your time with horses BALANCED and just LET IT GO and have fun with your horse OFTEN! These girls reminded me that it’s a good thing to allow your horse to carry you to that fun place of joy that you both need to go to. Which is part of the very reason us horse crazy people became horse crazy in the first place and have the love that we do for our horses! Kids and horses….sometimes it’s wise to listen to them!


 
 


Friday, June 19, 2015

Horse Lover's: Dream Your Life With Horses!

Horse lovers' dream of horses...it's in our blood. We NEED them to help us find our way to who we are and who we are meant to be as they give us guidance along this superhighway of life. A horse lover is called to horses and them to us despite "life" trying to get in the way and break us apart. Life may succeed for a time, but the polar attraction of a horse lover to a horse and vice versa is like a neodymium magnet.

You see, we are better together. We are at our most powerful true selves. Life has meaning, purpose, intent. We learn to triumph with horses, we learn to fail with horses. We learn to handle joy and sadness with horses. We learn to be present and accept what is with horses.

Understand that we are capable of handling what is to come because life is not a constant ...neither all good nor all bad. Life is a challenge of change that we handle. Like a trail filled with different terrain that we handle along the ride. Like a course we jump filled with different types of jumps, strides, approaches, options. Horse lovers' NEED horses to handle life's terrain. We can't jump the course of life very well on our own feet either. Deep down, a horse lover knows that we weren't created and put on this earth to go it on our own two feet. We were put here to move on six feet...two our own, four our horses. That's the beat our drum gallops to. And that's the only beat our heart's can beat whole-heartedly and happily to. To the sound of hoof beats!

Some advice to non-horse lovers', do NOT EVER ask or expect a horse lover to GIVE UP their hoof beating heart and horse loving soul for you or something YOU want! If you ask this of a horse lover or expect it, YOU should be ashamed of yourself! Asking this of a horse lover is asking them to give up their identity, their heart, their soul and you are being selfish! If you can't handle or appreciate that a horse lover is a horse lover, MOVE ON! You won't be happy, you will be resented. You will figure out the hard way that the secret to your happiness is to work on yourself, NOT take away something from another in an attempt to satisfy you. You make happiness by building it not tearing down!

I get frustrated when people give up on their horse dreams because of life circumstances. Maybe you can't afford your "hobby" the way you used to experience it. Maybe you get married or start a family and don't have the support, finances, energy you need to be involved with horses at the moment. Maybe you have a job that doesn't allow time for it....Remember, life is full of moments. Just because one moment of time doesn't  easily allow for your involvement with horses does NOT mean that you have to "Give Horses Up!" It just means that you have to find a way to balance life so that you can continue to have horses in your life. You WILL have to ADAPT. Perhaps experience horses differently than you have before. But you will LEARN from this new experience. Trust me, a horse lover's soul will NOT allow you to live away from a horse happily for long. You will find your way back to each other as you are meant to!

To those of you horse lovers teetering on this decision, to try to dream a life without horses...you are probably beat down by life. You are probably at a low where you feel that giving this up will bring you some relief, you've been treading water for what feels right now like a long time, and are probably thinking that giving up and going under may be your best option....DON'T DO IT!!! Think about what horses have taught you! The life lessons. The power that you have when you are YOU with horses! Don't give up this piece of you! This is WHO YOU ARE! You will find a way to make it through this "moment" You will be stronger because of if....better ...and if you stick with your horse love and FIND A WAY, you will be closer to your BEST HAPPIEST SELF quicker than if you diverge on a path that takes you away from yourself and your happiness. You can have all that you want in life...ALL...WITH HORSES! Where there's a will there's a way. Find your way toward your dreams with horses!!!

PS:
I speak from first-hand experience on this topic. From giving up to coming back. From sacrificing to reclaiming. From the fog of manipulation to the crystal clearness of reality. From weak to strong. If I can do it- so can YOU...WITH HORSES because that is who you ARE!!!

Friday, December 05, 2014

The Life Float God's Thrown Me

Praise God for making this Bad Boy to get me through life's roller-coasters AND to remind me when I doubt what true love is! Thank you Bucky (my rock) for helping me see clearly what is really important when I don't understand this crazy world!
When God created my horse Bucky, he made me a life float that he  knew I'd need from time to time to keep me from drowning. From the moment I laid eyes on this prankster, I knew. I didn't need to ride him. I knew. He sized me up with a look out of one-eye that spoke right to my soul...you are T.R.O.U.B.L.E...but you "see" me for who I am, and I knew.

He challenges me. He infuriates me. He makes me laugh. He worries me...but most of all, he loves me and relishes in that I love him. He respects me and has learned to trust me. Bucky can be an insecure, worry-wort like me at times. I keep Omeprazole in stock for us both just in case!

Bucky makes bad choices A LOT like me too. Some more costly than others! Bucky has needed me and I have needed him. Bucky is smart. He knows that he is lucky to have me and that my love has blessed him and probably even saved him. I am lucky to have him.

Ironically, the great relationship heartbreaks of my life to date, have occurred during the time I've owned Bucky. Relationships scare me! It's hard for me to let "people" in. Bucky helped give me the courage to let a few in. Bucky was in my engagement photos over my shoulder, and he gave me a shoulder to lean on and cry into when my marriage fell apart. When I didn't understand which way I was coming or going. When my usual ability to make clear decisions was gone. When my trust in myself and people was shattered. When those who spoke of love didn't show it. When I saw control, manipulation, and insults being fired at me like bullets, Bucky was my shield. My love for Bucky and my responsibility to take care of him, kept me from fading away and drowning! Thank God for Bucky for preventing me from disappearing and for giving me the strength to do what I needed to in order to take care of us both.

When men in my life have said they'd be there, but failed to elaborate that they really meant they'd also be there for Barbie, Heather, and Jill...Bucky has truly been there for me! Loyal. Accepting. True....keeping me afloat. One of these days, I'm going to get better at "seeing" a good catch...like Bucky!

Until then, I'm going to keep learning from Bucky. How to be brave enough to cautiously trust as it is earned. To respect when shown respect. There are and will always be plenty of wolves in sheep's clothing out there. They are their own undoing in time. Don't allow their cowardice and emotional limitations to be your undoing too.  Recognize their limitations for what they are and pray they grow and evolve into what they are meant to become. Too bad they don't have a life float like Bucky.  I will learn from Bucky how to look closely and size up what may be worth another shot at earning my trust and respect. Come to think of it, I bet if I asked Bucky, he'd say..."Why don't you keep an eye out for a man just like me silly human? An extra life float may not be a bad idea for you? Just saying. Now, give me a treat!" 

Hum....told you Bucky was smart!

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Horse Crazy

I know who I am. I’m the horse-crazy, girl who loves horses…. I’m the girl who has difficulty trusting in much else.  Many lessons I've taken in the arena of life, have let me down. It is people who have contributed to me feeling like when push comes to shove, I’m left with one thing and one thing only to count on- myself! Well, myself and a horse, or two, or three- of course!

Horses don’t lie. They don’t cheat. They don’t manipulate when they aren’t sure what they want in order to “keep their options open,” for when they figure it out.  Horses know exactly who they are and where they fit in at every single, exact moment in time.  Horses don’t miss out on life, they live it!

Horses don’t judge. They don’t make me feel like I’m not good enough. Like I need to work out more, wear makeup, wear a padded bra, be tanner, or get a different hairstyle! They don’t make me feel like I have to “compete” with others in order to be noticed or to be “worthy". In fact, horses don’t make me feel like I need to change one damn thing about myself! They accept me as I am. They allow me to be me and feel good about it! 

Horses have always shown me love-unconditional, insightful, honest, secure, strong, healthy, powerful love! They have let me love them which has helped me to grow into the person that I am. They have taught me what true love is. It is acceptance. It is kind. It is honest. It is loyal. It is humble in that it is capable of sacrificing self for something or someone else. Respect is the beat to which true love beats.

Horses have given me something to believe in when I’ve been destroyed. They’ve given me the will to gather up the pieces of a shattered heart and put them back together again, one at a time, until I can lift myself up and stand taller than before. Horses have made me tough, strong, and proud! But they have also taught me to have a heart and to care because horses have been my best teacher of  awareness, humility, respect, and sacrifice.

Horses show me truth. They have taught me to pay no attention to what people say. I watch what actions people take. I observe... I see… Watch a horse watching you and tell me that they don’t see!

So when I’m in a pinch, I turn to horses. I go to them to discover what it is in me that will get me through. What will get me on track to where I’m headed. They know me. They allow me to learn what they know of me on my own time. They’re with me when I’m being a slow, stubborn learner, and I can trust that they won’t let up until I learn the lesson I’m supposed to.

Horses have not abandoned me, as many people have. When I need them most, they are there. They speak to my heart offering me the clarity needed for me to make the best decisions for me. Horses of  my past, come back to me in my dreams and memories to guide me when I need them. Noble ghosts who are still teaching me. I can trust they are always with me, still carrying me over the hurdles and fields of life.

Horses have given me the inspiration to share this passion with others drawn to these powerful creatures. Everyone needs something to believe in...something to turn to for guidance when they are struggling. Something to help show some beauty in an ordinary day that will give them hope. I believe in horses and they believe in me. Indeed, life has taught me that there are far crazier things than being Horse Crazy!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Why No Horse Slaughter in Tennessee

Horse Slaughter Plants in Tennessee are once again on the agenda for Tennessee legislators. A bill sponsored by Republican Rep. Andy Holt of Dresden, to encourage opening horse slaughter plants in Tennessee was put off Monday for three weeks.

Here are just a few reasons (with supporting data) as to why I feel horse slaughter plants in Tennessee are a BAD idea:

Horse slaughter proponents argue it as a form of humane equine welfare for so-called “unwanted horses”. The process and mechanics of horse slaughter and the conditions are far from humane. They are horrific. There are plenty of undercover videos showing the graphic process. You can search for and watch such videos online for yourself if you dare and determine if you feel it is “humane.”


No Market & Cost Prohibitive
Slaughter for human consumption in Europe or the United States will not be effective in controlling “unwanted horses.” Due to new strict drug restrictions imposed by the EU (European Union), by 2013, slaughter will be too cost prohibitive a method to use as a means of controlling the “unwanted horse” population, because:

-Effective July 31, 2010, the EU will not accept imported horse meat from countries like Canada and Mexico unless it can prove that certain drugs and steroids were not ingested by the horse within six months of slaughter.


-By 2013, the EU rule will require each slaughtered horse to be shipped with an Equine Identification Document (EID) - a detailed electronic log of a horse's lifetime veterinary record and the drugs it has been given. A number of drugs - including, but not limited to phenylbutazone, testosterone, common dewormers and some antibiotics - must not have been given to the horse in at least the last 180 days prior to slaughter or they cannot be imported into EU nations.” Rachel Whitcomb, EU Standards Could Signal New Challenges for Veterinary Records, Horse Transport and Slaughter, DVM, August 2010, at 2E, Vol. 41, No. 8.


-Under these regulations the only way US horse meat would be acceptable to the EU market is if processors keep the horses in feed lots for 180 days, which is not cost effective, or we breed horses specifically for slaughter and then we are in the same boat as to the so-called unwanted horses.


-If we cannot ship horse meat to the EU because of its regulations, who is going to buy the horse meat?


-Will the market for horse meat in the United States be large enough to support this industry, given the amount of drugs labeled “not for human consumption” given to our horses?


-How will the USDA regulate horse meat for US consumption?



Again, we are back to the same problem of horse slaughter not being cost effective, nor solving the problem of the current “unwanted Horse” population. Better alternative to slaughter: work w veterinarians & vet schools to provide low cost/ no cost euthanasia.

Many other reasons slaughter plants are a BAD idea for communities based on previous slaughter plant history in this country (Dallas Crown and DeKalb, IL) are:
-Horse slaughter plants create environmental hazards and pollution.


-Plants create negative social impact on communities and lead to increase in crime rates.


-Plants deter other businesses from coming into their area.



-Lead to increase in migrant workforce.


-They devalue property.


-Blatant Animal Cruelty occurs- the USDA has documented 900 pages of graphic photos displaying the horrors horses are subjected to in these plants. Not to mention there are plenty of undercover videos on the internet displaying inhumane treatment and cruelty.



Don't take my word on it though, read for yourself the following letter from former Mayor Paula Bacon of Kaufman, TX outlining such problems and issues from her own personal experiences with slaughter plants in her state:


-http://www.animallawcoalition.com/horse-slaughter/article/686
Also see article presented by “The Community Preservation Project” opposing a slaughter plant opeining in Mountain Grove, MO.

-http://www.facebook.com/messages/1267396169#!/notes/jan-myers/information-regarding-the-horse-breeding-and-slaughter-plant-to-be-opened-in-mou/10150554078845855

There is no time like the present to contact your Tennessee legislators and let them know how you feel about horse slaughter plants in this state. Look up and contact your representatives here. Let Governor Haslam know your position too here or twitter @BillHaslam.
Follow on twitter #NoTNHorseSlaughter






Thursday, February 02, 2012

Horse as Teacher.The Path to Authenticity



I'm reading th BEST book that I have to share! It's one I'm reading slowly because I'm relishing in its richness. It is chock full of wonderful insights and beautifully written from the different perspectives of women contributors having one thing in common- life-changing experiences with horses! Their stories explore the profound and life-changing effects horses have had on their lives. Definitely check this one out for a feel-good and soulful horsey read that will warm your heart.


Warning: This read may induce the urge to kick up your heels and nicker with joy. In such cases, simply "Go to the horses." They'll accept you as one of their "herd" wannabees...














Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Buck Brannaman on ABC: Lessons in Life from Horses

Photo from http://www.brannaman.com


I just ran across this interview abc did with Buck Brannaman. Of course, "Buck" is naturally my favorite movie of the year. Yes, it's horsey....yes, it's got a cute cowboy....yes, I have a horse named Buck(Y)....perhaps I'm a bit biased? Nah..... or should I say....NEIGH?

The movie has gotten lots of buzz, and been enjoyed by plenty of non-horsey folks too. So, there's something of interest to folks about horses and their mysterious connection and relationship with humans. Even though the "Oscar's" have snubbed this documentary film this year, people have already chosen this film as a feel-good favorite! People have voted this enlightening film the winner of the People's Choice award at Sundance Film Festival and the Audience Choice prize at the documentary community's love Cinema Eye Honors fest.

So what is it about horses that draw people in? The reasons will be different for different people, but I believe one key has to do with horses' mystical, shaman-like connection to humans. Horses have an ability to "see" deep within what we often hide from the world and ourselves. Horses live in the authentic present. People do not. Horses will expose our "masks" and reveal our truth's. They can help us to better "see" ourselves, our world, and develop an understanding of broader connections...of our interconnectedness.


Why am I so fascinated with horses? It's really quite simple. I'm obsessed with "learning" and in my own experience, there has been no greater teacher of authentic, honest, truth in life, and present moment, than a horse. It's a profound experience and bond that transcends thinking, feeling, and reaches beyond to the soul. Who needs a phD when you've got a horse? Heck, even the interviewer made this connection....

Interviewer: "I thought I'd get a lesson in how to ride. Instead, I got a lesson in life.".....I couldn't have summed it up better myself!



Enjoy this interview and be sure to get more bang for your BUCK, and check out this fascinating man and his life journey with the even more fascinating horse!

http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/video/buck-describes-abuse-finding-peace-15426113