Sunday, March 19, 2023

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

 Day one back to working with Tumbleweed was all about showing me his moves. 

Which I have to say, for sitting around all winter, they were quite impressive.

In fact, my herd is so old and decrepit, he and Epona are the only ones who have moves like this left anymore.

And they know it.

Epona wants her some Tumbleweed, but she is being babysat by Cowboy. (I love to watch the elders manage the wildness of the young ones.)

Oops, it's not working anymore. Epona has eyes on the bucking, running, young stud gelding.

However, Tumbleweed has his own elder babysitter, Little Joe.

After much running around and whinnying by Epona, old mama, Cowgirl, had to come to do the babysitting.

Yet, eventually, the inevitable occurred, and Epona grazed with Tumbleweed over the fence.

Today was day 2, and shockingly calm. Tumbleweed got all of his moves out yesterday, and he was very pleasant on the lead line today. I worked with him at the walk and trot, disengaging, and over obstacles, and he did everything I asked without any drama, so I released him much earlier than I had planned. 

My attitude is this: take it slow and reward him if he's calm. I'm not trying to "push his buttons," or "work out the buck," or anything like that. There will be plenty of situations very soon that will push his buttons and work out the buck without me having to even try. Right now, I just want him to be okay leaving his little mare herd and joining up with me. So far, so good.

I have a lesson with Rebecca Friday, and I'll be building on this each day until then. I hope to be back in saddle by Friday, but we will see. No rush.

I had forgotten how physical working with horses is. During the winter I kept walking, cleaning stalls (of course) and I'd be happy to get in 14,000 steps a day. Yesterday, first day back working with Tweed and taking a normal, short hike, cleaning house, stalls, etc.--20,000 steps. It's very physical work keeping up with young horses.

Monday, March 13, 2023

Happy Birthday to My Old Love

Please join me in wishing Cowboy, my original heart horse, a happy 28th birthday! 

The horse that gave me wings. I owe him more than he owes me, but I am sure happy we found each other 20 years ago.

Four years ago, I had professional photos taken with him, and I appreciate every one she took. This one (above) was my personal favorite, because it captured his softness and intelligence. 

Oh, the places we've been together.

He is doing great this winter. I started to see the Equioxx taper off, and decided to use it on an 'as needed' basis only. Instead of daily Equioxx, I made sure he had turnout everyday, hand-walking, and daily Cosequin ASU. He gets all you can eat alfalfa / grass, and about 5 pounds of equine senior per day.

I appreciate everyday that he is alive to imprint on my new boy, T and, of course, to greet me in the barn and pasture with his kisses.

Speaking of which, I had a lesson with T scheduled for last Friday, but it snowed like crazy!

We received 6"-8" inches of it. 

Oddly, I didn't really mind the snow, I'm resigned to it, but I was deeply disappointed that the lesson was canceled.

There was a lesson with Epona which was also scheduled and canceled, so my daughter and I worked with her together in the barn. She is almost the size of her mama now, and giving Cowgirl a run for her money. She will often rear up on her and push her around. Cowgirl is still in charge, but most of the time she doesn't seem to want the drama. 

We were worried that was going to translate to a wild Epona on the lead, too, but so far it hasn't. All that time nursing her in the early months of her life imprinted pretty deeply. She is very trusting of us when we work with her on the lead. She doesn't yet appear to be a reactive horse. No doubt, she will be extremely herd bound though, but we plan to work on that by degrees and not rip the band-aid off too quickly. She turns two May 30th, I believe. Mama and baby sure love each other. Epona was the greatest gift we could have given Cowgirl, and we will make sure they are always mostly together--except during training and other times. It's a gift to us to experience the mare / foal bond, too.


(the loveseat version I saw at The Bohemian store, April '22)

You will all probably remember how attracted to blue I became last year. I've written about it several times. I even bought Tweed a shiny new blue saddle pad! 

Well, I was also attracted to a blue couch last spring, but didn't purchase it because I wasn't sure if it was too extreme in my living room full of leather. I was considering replacing our couch of over 2 decades, but that is still in great shape, just boring and old.

Ahem. Fast forward to last month, and I pulled the trigger and purchased the blue couch,....and it is extreme!  It's like wowza, wa, wa, whooooaaaaa! Below is the most muted photo I have of it, taken a few days ago before some modifications in the LR. (the old leather couch is being moved to my husband's man cave.)

I immediately started to search for ways to balance the blue with the rest of the room. 

First, I ordered this leather pillow. (It hasn't arrived yet.)

I purchased a couple of blue accents.

This is a blue handmade pot from Vietnam, and a blue throw.

I added these to some of my special blue mementos already on display:

The baby book my great-grandmother, Alice, kept. My grandfather was only 1 1/2 when she died during childbirth with another baby. (The baby also died two weeks later, and my grandfather was sent to an orphanage because his dad had to work, and didn't have help caring for babies.) I display this book, rather than putting it away in a box, because I don't know if anyone past me will appreciate it as much as I do, and I want to see it everyday, as long as I'm alive.

My little blue horse and horse basket. I've had these for as long as I can remember.

A blue ceramic horse head I purchased on a trip to Italy with my husband, about 18 years ago.

The ceramic pitcher I purchased from a local artist about five years ago. It was on display in our local museum, with some of her other pieces. She told me to promise I'd use it to serve drinks, but I haven't done that yet. 

And a piece my youngest son made for me when he was in Junior high school.

One thing is CERTAIN, my desire for blue has been satisfied / satiated. 

Now, maybe I can go back to enjoying all the colors the world has to offer, and move forward from my "blue year."

(The world really does have a lot of blue.)

"Here comes the sun!"

I will end with some of that color I'm talking about--the lovely colors of life!

My husband and I took a little vacation to the west side of our state, and Whidbey Island. On that island, there is an art gallery called "Fire of the Heart." Here is some of that fire. Notice the wool felt flower arrangements? They were really cool! The female artist there made everything that was in the shop. You can find her on Instagram or her website to learn more.

(interesting that the woman here is, again, blue.)

These were both very large, perhaps 3 feet tall. Maybe more. I think they are her originals.

I love journals, and I love birds, one of which is ravens. They are not necessarily my favorite bird, (Canada geese are the most meaningful) even though I have so much raven art around my house, I wear it, and I use Raven as a moniker on my leather goods. Let's see...I also wear a black leather coat, boots, and most often shirts....maybe ravens mean a bit more to me than I realized.

Almost all of my raven art was gifted to me by artistic, spiritual friends. Because I have been gifted so many precious ravens, they have become a dearer symbol to me of those mystical, other-worldly women who were willing to fully open themselves to friendship, and with that friendship and openness, an other-worldly grace. (You can tell the good spirit of a person by the depth of their grace.)

When I ride in the woods alone, I always listen for the call of ravens / crows, because they alert me to whatever is happening down the trail. Many times, they have warned me of upcoming people, dogs, bikes, and other things that could surprise a horse and rider. I'm sure I will learn much more about ravens before I pass through this life, but suffice to say, they have become a prominent part of my journey, even though, I think they freak some people out. (Not sure why.) Perhaps, because like black cats, they are scary and symbolize witches, ghosts, and goblins.  

Who knows, but whenever ravens come prominently into my life, they always seem to be accompanied by a new awareness of some sort, an enhanced discernment. 

Anyway, I have a new raven journal from Fire of the Heart, and it is not lost on me that the entire painting is framed in blue.

Did I mention that ravens also seem to follow me around in the natural world?

Perhaps, when they know you're not scared of them and, in fact, enjoy them, they are drawn to your presence. 

I can see some interesting parallels to horses and people. Maybe ravens tell us to tap into our most courageous, authentic selves, (our dark spots, our bright spots, ...our blue seasons) and, despite what the world tells us to do, soar above all the fear and fakery.

Yep, horses do that, too.

Friday, March 3, 2023

Back to the Living


This has been the week of the Ash Wednesdays, 2/22-3/2, the dates around my dad's passing. The summer of almost losing Epona aka 'Empty Hands,' was intertwined with losing my dad at the same time.

I didn't write about his impending death much because he had this blog bookmarked on his laptop and would silently follow my posts. I didn't want to discourage him.

Teresa commented on an old Epona post yesterday, 'It's Out of My Control,' and it took me down memory lane of that summer.

What a heartbreak it would have been to lose this sweet girl! You breed your horse, nurse it along, wait 11 long months, help them through birth and afterbirth only to ....lose the beautiful foal who so miraculously arrived?

Nooooo! God no! 

But we didn't lose her. We got a miracle. We didn't lose my dad that summer either. He powered on until March 2, 2022, which is another miracle. But if Ash Wednesday teaches us anything it is that these bodies are mortal, and we need to prepare our hearts to lose the souls we love, and to eventually lose our own lives. And at the same time, not to lose anything at all. Ha! Take that, Death!

That is why visiting my dad's gravesite (pictured middle with the flag and flowers) was not a morbid, sad thing to do yesterday. I do it to honor him, and his choice to be buried there, in the veteran's cemetery. But do I think he's there? No, no, no.

(Coffee date with the cowgirls)

Love. I sent my kids a text about the day and told them that their grandfather loved them more than anything on earth, and to honor his memory, love each other like he loved them. And since he loved God first and foremost, pray for the ones we love. That is what he would want.

After a year of 'first withouts,' first father's day without, first birthday without, first Christmas without--I'm ready to turn to the living. 

So, I made a call to my old trainer, Rebecca, to see if she would come by and help me get Tumbleweed restarted for spring. Shiloh also wants help with her little miracle baby, Epona. Rebecca has agreed to do so, and we're in the process of choosing the first possible date. Yay! Bravo! Let's get this party started!

Rebecca is such a great resource for the relationship building aspect of horsemanship. She can't be beat. That is what I most want with Tumbleweed this year. Epona just needs basic handling and obstacle / trust work. 

When you take lessons with Rebecca, she is an advisor from the ground, but she sure works magic. 

Update: My dad's funeral orchid did, indeed, begin to open during my dad's 8 days of Ash Wednesdays.

Another miracle. 

Life goes on, and look how beautiful that life is.

There are many adventures ahead! And I am starting to get excited...

About what 2023 has to reveal about living.