Monday, March 30, 2020

My CoronaVirus Post



Hello from Washington state, sadly, one of the epicenters of the CoronaVirus breakout. Here in Washington, we have been on a shelter at home order for about a week. I am on the east side of the state where there are about 136 cases and, as of today, 4 deaths--out of 500,000 population.  The state, as a whole, has 4,896 infections, 195 deaths, but they say our new infections are leveling off.



Tragically, it targeted our most vulnerable population--nursing homes. A friend of mine lost her mother last week and couldn't be by her side because of the nursing home rule.  Another is losing his mom, probably today--a problem breathing, that occurred while she was hospitalized for cancer complications--most likely she also contracted Covid-19.

I do wonder, now, if I had Covid-19 late January when I returned from Sedona. It had all the hallmarks, but I hadn't been to China--and they were like, "If you haven't been to China..!" But I did have close contact with Chinese tourists--who probably had been to China--and I offered to take their group picture--with their phone--and did not wash my hands after (because I had hiked there). They looked healthy and happy, and I highly doubt I had it--and would do it all over again (except now I'm better at carrying anti-bacterial) --but I will get the antibody test when it's finally out. 

What I had was a horrible virus that didn't go through any of the normal stages--it just hit the lungs like BOOM!  I coughed so much and so hard, I pulled the muscles around my ribs, and they are still not fully healed, over a month later.

My toe isn't healed either, but I was able to wear big boots and ride bareback last week.


I rode everyday last week, but that seems like a lifetime ago. This week, since the shelter at home, order, the weather has been full on crapola. Wind. Rain. Cold.

We did finish installing new flooring in the Dining Room and my music room.


There had been carpet there before and, it's embarrassing to say, but that spot had become a doggy peeing place.  Any new dog who came into our house smelled it, and confused it for the okay place to relieve themselves.  LOL.  It was a long overdue project.  The room had also become overcrowded after I moved my electric piano back from the office.  I took out my large desk and now it seems so much bigger. 

As for the future, Covid 19 is here to stay.  We're all doing our part to flatten the curve and hope it works fast so that the economy can get going again.  But our lives aren't going to be the same for a long time--and maybe never.  Just how they've changed, we don't know. As I search for things to ground myself to--the horses are an anchor.  If there is any light at the end of the tunnel, maybe it's that spring is here--and the return of living things--an awakening that will hopefully console all of us.

Sunday, March 8, 2020

The "If Only" Pit Versus the Healing Power of Gratitude

I've had my share of physical trials and tribulations since late January, and there have been many moments I've felt sorry for myself. Between cough, limp, cough, limp, cough--there has been a futile attempt to make sense of it all.

If only's abound. If only my husband hadn't gotten the virus. If only I'd bought a new trailer before the wreck happened...!!

There is a pit of despair, and it's called--

If Only.



The pit of If Only has the ability to magnify one's challenges.  It makes small set backs seem much larger than they are.  It makes huge setbacks seem insurmountable.


Before I became sick and lame, my husband and I took a trip to beautiful Sedona, land of the fabled vortexes.  People consider these vortexes to be places of energy.  They hike to them and erect cairns.


Or meditate.


As a horsewoman, specifically, a trail rider, I am accustomed to being in awe of natural habitats--and Sedona is certainly one of the most stunning.


Yet, my personal opinion is that the greatest energy vortex in the world is inside of us.

It's free.  You don't have to hike to it. It's a powerful drug and can heal almost any hurt.

It's called Gratitude.  

Yeah, the opposite of the pit of, If ONLY.

Now, get ready, brace yourself...but please don't think I'm trying to be this...


The world has enough of those, and doesn't need any more.

But I was raised in the Christian faith, and as such, I read the King James version of the Bible since the day my parents presented it to me and said, "Read this in the spirit of the word, not the letter of the word."  

No one ever made me memorize Bible verses, but I read it, and loved it, and memorized portions of it anyway.  And now, at 52 years old, verses rattle around in my head, and bring me comfort.

My favorite, and the ones that rattle around most are from Job.

"Thou he slay me, yet will I trust in him."  
"Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return.  The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord."
"Shall we receive good from the Lord, and not receive bad?"

(disclaimer: these are not exact quotes--they're how I still say them in my head.)

Those verses remind to thank God in all circumstances.  And for me, gratitude is the most powerful vortex I have EVER experienced.


Science backs it up.

Oh, GRATITUDE!!  YOU ARE WONDERFUL!!

With that in mind, I finally limped back to my gratitude place. I  have blogged about it before:


I'm not Catholic, but my Catholic friend made my husband and I rosaries, and when we were in Sedona, having forgotten ours, we purchased another at The Chapel of the Holy Cross. When we hiked, we brought it with us, and we'd find a beautiful, quiet spot, and take turns offering thanks at every bead.

Some days, it's easy to be thankful, and I just whiz through the beads.  Other days, I get stuck and have to reach for anything to be thankful for--but I dig deep and find something. I mean...a rosary does have A LOT of beads!


After I light my candle and offer up thanks, I go to the yoga mat and perform whatever poses I can--which are very few at present.


And I leave feeling better than I did before. Don't get me wrong, I still cough and limp,...

but I'm NOT doing it from inside the bottomless pit of "If Only."

This, too, shall pass. My body will heal, and I will have wonderful adventures in my happy place.


Abraham Lincoln: "It is said an Eastern monarch once charged his wise men to invent him a sentence, to be ever in view, and which should be true and appropriate in all times and situations. They presented him the words: "And this, too, shall pass away." How much it expresses! How chastening in the hour of pride! How consoling in the depths of affliction!"

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

A New Horse Trailer--2019 Logan Edge

The day finally came--I had to bite the bullet and buy a new horse trailer.  The one I had had served me well for almost two decades, but after being stored out in the elements--open--it gave up the ghost.

It's a long story, but the short version is this: one of the dividers broke off (the weld broke) when I was loading horses last Friday.  The force of it dropping frightened Cowgirl, and she pulled back on me while I was holding up the other end. I was able to get out of her way without getting crushed, but I did receive a blow to the foot and a shove into the side of the trailer that left my arm bruised.  My toe was split open at the bottom, from the force, and the bone either bruised or broken, but we don't know because my husband closed it with butterfly stitches and taped the toes together--which is what they'd have done at the hospital.  It's healing so well, I'm thinking it was bruised. The cut, however, will take a while to seal back up. Minor though.

Somehow, I was able to hold onto the divider and pull it out of the trailer to drop it and escape.  She stopped pulling back and stood to be untied. I limped over to a fence and pulled off my boot, which was drenched in blood and made me want to puke--because I hate blood, and I thought the bone was coming out--but it was actually the white, fat of the toe--which is funny, in retrospect.

The whole thing is what you call a "train-wreck" in the horse world.  Something you never want to see happen. People have died from less.  Horses have been injured from less.  Neither happened to me, or my horse, and I am grateful.

But there was no way I was EVER, EVER, EVER going to haul in that trailer again.  Two days later, I was driving to Kiperts in Olympia, WA to buy a new Logan. (They were highly recommended, and for good reason.)

Here it is, my newest and most important piece of equipment: the 2019 Logan Edge 3-Horse Slant trailer.


Since it's a 2019, we were able to get a substantial amount taken off the price, which put it in our range and, since it will probably be the last trailer I buy, I wanted it to be solid enough to take me another couple or three decades.

As for specs, I needed the widest stalls they had standard (no time to custom order), and the Edge boasts 3, 40" stalls with drop down windows and bars. Since the trailer is 7'3" wide, the diagonal lengths of the stalls are also longer than most. They close with slam latches. (To get that extra width, they incorporate a portion of the wheel wells, which you can see in the photos.)




I didn't know I needed the front door, but the benefits of being able to haul more gear when you only have two horses and can keep the first slot empty--and of being able to get to the front horse, if necessary, without unloading the others, was a good selling point. (Oh, and don't forget the logo--gotta love a horse logo--it's a $900 option from Logan, but comes standard on the Edges. I think it should be on all their trailers).



It also has double back doors with windows, bringing in more light for the horses.  Again, not something I thought I needed, but it sure makes a difference in an enclosed trailer. The off-side windows slide open and have screens.


All the doors have latches and stoppers to keep them open.  I've already tested them against the wind, and they hold great.  The Edge also comes with low-profile LED flood lights on the outside. They're as bright as I will need them.

I'm more of a wood floor person, but the Edge wasn't offered that way--it has their their aluminum, whiz proof flooring..




Many of my friends have it, and they all love it.  They say it cuts down on the odor of urine, it's easy to clean, and it drains well.  If a horse paws a hole into it, they sell an epoxy form of it that you can mix and apply at home to patch it.  (I'm sure we will be doing this.)

Here's more information on their website. Suregrip Permanent Rubber Floor.  We shall see how I like it. The jury is still out.  Advocates of wood floors say that aluminum has more vibration, thus more stress on your horse's legs.  Some of the people I know who own Logan Edges disagree. Has anyone else had experience with them?  

I got in the back and had my husband haul me around so I could get a feel for what the horse's feel.  Ahem! He went over a speed bump too fast, and I have yet to forgive him for that, but I'm getting closer.

The trailer is aluminum on steel frame with triple walls and insulated coach and tack room.  The tack room also has an extra 1', plus the extra width of the trailer.  It is slightly bigger than my old trailer's tack room.  There is no way I could have gone any smaller.


I love the window on the tack room door.  The room is large enough to be a comfortable size dressing room, and the natural light and breeze (when screen is used) is wonderful. My husband is installing a 12 volt deep charge battery that will operate all the LED lights without the trailer being run by the truck. It's super simple.



All moved in.



\

I didn't think I'd like the swinging blanket bar on the door, but it turns out I love it.  It gets the bulky blankets out of the trailer space, and it puts them out in the sun and breeze to dry off and air out!  I found that my tack room is much more orderly and spacious with them outside.  It's also good because when you swing the saddle rack out, you can discard of both items, saddle and blanket, without climbing into the trailer.

***

As odd as it sounds, right after I purchased the trailer, I wasn't really feeling the joy.  My head was swimming with horse trailer images and factoids, and I even dreamed of horse trailers for two nights. Horse trailer nightmares! Blah-humbug.

But when I put them side by side, and walked back into my broken down, rusted old trailer, I realized it was the right thing to do, and my trailer had become a hazard.  It is so bad, I've decided not to sell it, but to keep it, instead, as a utility trailer.


The old trailer earned every bit of the $4,200 I bought it for in 2003.  Oh my!  The adventures I had!!  For a trail rider, like myself, a trailer is worth its weight in gold. And I am so excited to use this one!

And here is Tumbleweed checking it out. He jumped right in.




Update : I have used the new trailer now, several times, and I love it.  It's so much sturdier, and when the horses move around, there's very little movement. The tack room is just wonderful. The flooring--amazing!  I love it.