this moment

mailboxes

Joining Amanda Soule at “Soulemama” in the tradition of :

{this moment} ~ A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment.

Room to make a big mistake

wide open spaces

“She needs wide open spaces, room to make a big mistake”. Dixie Chicks, my friends. Remember? I loved that song. Still do. And these photos I snapped the other day during a bit of a storm reminded me of the lyrics. When I made the decision to move my family into the barn here at the stables, many people were skeptical. Even told me not to do it. I couldn’t fathom why anyone would criticize an opportunity for such an experience. It wasn’t as if I was going away to prison. Or signing my life away. I wasn’t joining the military. Or leaving for a third world country. It’s a barn for crying out loud. It was an opportunity that presented itself so perfectly and with such possibility that I couldn’t pass it up. I knew there would be challenges. I did my usual pros and cons list that I rely so heavily on. I’m not great at decision making. Hard work, yes. Commitment, yes. Changes in life and routines, yes. And adventure that many wouldn’t ever see and memory making….YES! I feel like this has always been who I am at heart. I have jumped on adventure. I have lived all over the world…in England, in Ireland, in Japan and had many unique jobs and experiences. One day, going on around three years ago, I sat down and wrote an “intention letter” assignment for a class I was taking at a spiritual center. I realized that what I would like to see back in my life was adventure. I had settled down, married, had a child and found myself living in this current small town for several years now. I was afraid that I might get “stuck”. But I was also so very happy “stuck” here and raising my family. I longed for something new, challenging and adventurous that could still coincide with my settling down-happy-little-family life. Moving away, traveling, taking a job in another country just didn’t seem to fit anymore. I felt happy. Our business was thriving and growing. My daughter had solid friendships. We loved our spiritual community. Leaving such great things didn’t seem to fit. An adventure still did. It was less two years after writing this letter that I was invited here.

wide open spaces 2

To live, work and play. To dream. And to give my daughter an adventure to remember. “Room to make a big mistake”!!!

wide open spaces 3As I have passed our one year anniversary here, I remember those nay-sayers, the negativity that some projected, the caution that I even had going into this. But, what really stands out in my memory is the realization that life gives you what you need when you need it, if you let go and just accept you can have and do incredible things, to live life with passion, grace and a sense of adventure, to give yourself room to make a big mistake without letting the fear of a “mistake” guide you away from an adventure, a dream, something fun. Nothing is forever. Jump in head first, swim in the opportunity to learn, be and do something great. Enjoy. And, if it isn’t exactly perfect, you can always head for that next adventure. Enjoy it while it lasts. And, then set your next intentions. The freedom sometimes is in knowing you create your reality, your happiness, your place in this life-however it may show up. Cheers to that!

Anticipation

no baby

Well, now, I guess those “feed lots” don’t know as much as they lead you to believe. Why, oh why, am I surprised at this? And, what exactly does that say about me that I am surprised by their misguided information, if we want to get down to it? ANYWAYS, remember those rescues? Those wild horses? The pregnant mama that was due “any day now”. Yes, we are still waiting. Poor mamacita. She is so big and looks so ready to birth. Maybe she is nervous. Protective. And holding off. But it’s coming. My little girl asks every morning after I feed, “did she have the baby?” like a kid on Christmas morning asking if Santa came. Every morning, I head out to feed, feeling also like a child on that same Christmas morning. And then I see that she has not foaled. But is still healthy and happy. And I toss her just a bit more feed than I am “supposed” to. Hey, pregnancy is not easy. A little extra food is the LEAST I can do here.

RAFFLE

 

So…since we have to pass the time here. And the anticipation is killing us. We have the “guess the birthdate raffle” extravaganza. Dollar for a guess. Just sign your name on the square, drop your dollar in the lovely re-purposed psyllium bucket. Winner gets the money pot and names the baby! When is baby coming??? I’d rather bet my dollar that she is healthy, happy and comfortable in this process. But, in the meantime, we can have some fun, right?

no baby 2

Oh, sweet mama. And soon-to-be-baby. You were both destined to slaughter. But rescued. While your future is still so unknown, as all of ours are, we gaze upon you with grace and love everyday knowing that you both will know a better future. No matter the time it takes. Nothing can be rushed. Thank you for teaching us this.

the other side of fear

“Everything you want is on the other side of fear”    –unknown

Romance

I was teaching a “saddle club” group lesson the other day with my teaching partner, a lovely lady who is passionate about teaching “riding lessons”. She does not, however, have the background I have in working with children, children with special needs and in the counseling/social work field. She has a 1:1 student-we’ll call her Jane-who also participates in our weekly girl’s group “Saddle Club” riding and education class. My partner has expressed to me frustration in teaching Jane. You see Jane is ten years old, but presents as somewhat slow, unfocused and doesn’t seem to progress in riding skills. During the group lesson, Jane was having difficulty and really holding up the class. She was on a new horse, and could not even get the horse to MOVE. My partner expressed quietly to me that she was increasingly frustrated with Jane and simply losing patience…she expressed that she doesn’t know how to “get through to this girl”. I suggested that we split the group and one of us could take Jane individually so the others would be allowed to continue on with the group lesson. I told my partner that if she wanted I would be willing to work one-on-one with Jane today. She said “yes, please!”. I took Jane to the far end of the arena and started working with her. After some time I picked up on some patterns she was displaying. And I picked up on some tension in her body. I picked up on her fear. I asked her about it and she expressed that she was terrified. So we broke it down, took it literally ONE step at a time. I did some focus excersices with her that I do with my riders who have special needs and/or fear trauma issues. I find it really brings them into the moment, gives them a focus and reduces the anxiety build up. Jane then began to relax and by the end of our time together she was circling her horse around a barrel and back to me, over and over. Thus-as I pointed out to her-showing her that she has control and knows what to do, even beyond her fear. With intention, her horse will respond. It was an amazing 20 minutes. Later, my partner expressed to me that she wishes she had my patience. And that she feels like the parents are “wasting their money” on lessons. I responded back that, perhaps she was looking at this wrong. No, it’s not a “waste”. My partner is focused on “riding lessons”. She wants to see Jane progress in her RIDING. Sometimes, I told her, when I have a child like Jane who has some special needs (in this case, fear), I realign my intention-this is where I firmly believe that riding is therapy. Ok, I do have my “regular” riding lessons. And, yes, I enjoy seeing my girls win their ribbons at shows. My passion, though, is with the deeper stuff. What Jane can do and learn through horseback riding is priceless and worth far more than those ribbons. She is an extremely timid, shy, insecure girl. I suspect, but don’t know (and won’t address because she isn’t my student) that there may be some disability (alter-ability) such as mild Autism or something developmental. Jane is gaining so much more from this experience than my girls who bring home the ribbons are. I promise you that. Strength, focus, confidence, assertiveness, perserverence…. Just getting up on a horse for her is more brave and amazing than you can imagine. AND this is a form of therapy that she LOVES to go to and participate in. Do you know how many kids tell me they hate going to therapy??? So boring! And, all while they sit on the back of a horse in my therapy (office) arena. It really is a beautiful thing.

Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyways”….John Wayne

horse sense

MOnty pic

Well, well it has been quite the exciting time around here the past couple of weeks. Last weekend was a Saturday Hippotherapy clinic. Sunday was a Centered Riding Clinic. And then, this past weekend was a Monty Roberts demonstration which we attended with VIP tickets. Mind you, I have traveled to California “Flag is Up Farms” for clinics and expected to meet Mr. Roberts, but, alas-no he was out of the country. So to finally see him in person and talk with him (per the VIP splurge) was excellent to say the least. What I really like about him, specifically, is how he relates working with horses to life in general, to working with people. His book “Horse Sense for People” really is the greatest book I have ever read. He projects the skills used in horse communication to parenting, work relationships, career, life, everything. Trust, respect and communication being the basis for all things. He promotes non-violence in all ways (including our words). Also, he is 80 years old and still touring, teaching, training and riding. What an inspiration.

MOnty pic 2

The funny thing is that in all my horsey years I really didn’t know too much about Monty Roberts. Not long ago, an old college friend of mine who was visiting mentioned watching some Monty Roberts videos in his master’s program for teaching. He explained how it was used to open a discussion about how teachers teach and treat children. For some reason, that really fascinated me. And, from there, I started reading his books. Then, of course, my daughter fell in love with Shy Boy. We watched the documentary, read the children’s version of the book together and met Mr. Shy Boy when we visited the farm. I’m not one to be “star struck”, but I will say if I’m going to be–it’s gotta be Monty. Did I mention, that I (out of all the hundreds there this weekend) won the raffle for some free equipment AND got a hug from the Horse Whisperer. Ok, anyways. It’s been a good couple of weeks of learning and re-energizing. For all we know, we always continue to learn. Any (horse) person who treats others as if they know it all, is only kidding themselves and limiting their own possibilities. We are a community of people and we can learn from each other, we can respect each other, and we can always pick and choose what we want to use and/or believe. To accept from another and be open to new things is not to limit ourselves.

this moment

tractor and hay

Joining Amanda Soule at “Soulemama” in the tradition of “this moment”:

{this moment} ~ A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment.

one year, down

home sweet

One year.

A few days ago marks our one year anniversary living here in the barn. What a (literal) ride it has been!

A few things I’ve learned so far along this ride:

Today 2

Hold on, but not too hard –trust me, your horse will just run faster

Know how to ride –and know how to take a fall

Crying is okay –as long as you wait until you and your horse (child, boss, etc…) are safe and no one is watching 🙂

Be wise enough to walk away from any nonsense around you  –running allowed

Focus on the positives –and soon the negatives are harder to see

Don’t take things too personally, even if it seems they are. Rarely do people do things because of you-they do things because of THEM –unless we’re talking horses and then that’s void, they are definetly doing it because of you!

Never mistake kindness for weakness –humans and horses. Believe me, a horse is powerful enough to hurt you but generally chooses not to

Do not come from a place of anger  –a moment of breathing can change everything

There is a HUGE difference between aggressive and ASSERTIVE  –again, breathe and stand in your confidence

Remember who you are at all times –see above

“Never approach a bull from the front, a horse from the rear, or a fool from any direction” –old cowboy saying

Always jump on for the ride, never say no to an adventure, live passionately –and learn all you can while the ride lasts

Watch out for barbed wire

And don’t forget to enjoy the scenery

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