final post

Deep well 5

Final post of 3 in the saga:  History made. The end of May will be the one year anniversary of “Romance” joining our family. My daughter’s “dream horse”. Who gave her a run for her money. My little girl so desperately wanted one thing. To go out on the trail with her. Out of the arena, off the property. Out into the endless miles of open ranch land and mountains. Needless to say, it was slow in coming. Both girl and horse are timid, yet stubborn personalities. I admit, there were times that I thought this was just the wrong horse for her. We had those hard conversations about maybe finding something else for her. Well…

Deep well 4

I underestimated both…girl and horse. And I am reminded of what a horse can do for our soul, our character, our inner strength.

Deep well

Every therapeutic riding session I have ever instructed pales in comparison to what this baby girl has accomplished of her own free-will, desire, drive and commitment.

My friends, …”well-behaved women seldom make history”…and these two commited souls have gone down in my history book as heroes. It may be small in the scheme of the horrors, challenges  and hardships of the world, but it is huge in the heart of a small girl who now, I believe, can do and will do amazing things in this world. More importantly, she believes.

Thank you for reading through this little series of posts. I felt like both, she and I, needed it. And it offers a little celebration of sorts into the BIGGER WORLD out there.

making history

“Well behaved women seldom make history”

We did it

“Some history-making is intentional; much of it is accidental. People make history when they scale a mountain, ignite a bomb, or refuse to move to the back of the bus. But they also make history by keeping diaries, writing letters, or embroidering initials on linen sheets. History is a conversation and sometimes a shouting match between present and past, though often the voices we most want to hear are barely audible. People make history by passing on gossip, saving old records, and by naming rivers, mountains, and children. Some people leave only their bones, though bones too make a history when someone notices.”
Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History

*more to come on the back story of this post 🙂

Freedom’s just another word

Deep Well Ranch

Hows that lyric end? for nothin’ left to lose. Today I set out for freedom.

You see, my horse. The one I’ve blogged about before. He has been a challenge. A wonderful challenge. We have gone from a bucking maniac to a horse that trail rides, arena works, JUMPS, took second all around in five classes in an English show with one of my students on him. Really, one and a half years of work with this guy and he’s become a wonderful horse. Our last hurdle (I hope anyways) has been venturing out on trails ALONE. A touch of the back story…when I got him I wanted an easy trail horse that I could go out alone on trail rides with. Well, my guy of course took that opportunity to show me the mirror. Show me what I needed to learn myself. I thought about giving up and just getting “an old quarter horse”. Nothing against Quarter horses of course. I love them. But I had to go for something different. That could be a whole different post topic with a psychological twist, but ….anyways. We came through so much. I have been working with him on going out on the trails, the mountain and the ranch land alone. He gets nervous and jumpy. Then, I get nervous and jumpy. We take a little bit at a time and then turn back so we can end on a sucessfull (and, you know, still alive) note. Well, well. I wanted to head out on our own last Sunday. The stable was overwhelming. Everytime I walked out my front door there was someone needing something. Heck, I had three knocks on my door and another person outside yelling “Hellooo?” before 10 AM. I saddled up for my ride and, I kid you not, as I’m mounting a car pulls in full of teenaged girls wanting to see the “rescue horses”. I can’t believe this. I need a break. Please. Peace. Please. I smile and direct them to where the “rescues” are so they can look at them. I let them know they can come back tomorrow (Monday) if they are interested and want further information. Bless them for their interest and hearts for the rescues, though. Really. Then I hit the road, to the trail, to the ranch that is wide open land for riding as far as you could ever want to go. And, today, it was different. I just so deeply felt the need for solitude. For quiet. For peace. Did I already say please? My nervousness took second place to this need. My horse felt it too. He must have. Because he stayed calm and cool the whole way. We went all the way out…through the ranch gate, through the ranch land, we ran. Oh did we run. Full circle back to my title here. “Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose”. I needed so deeply that FREEDOM, that solitude and that quiet that my fear and nerves subconsciously stepped back and let me have what I needed. That is a rare thing but when your need “rears it’s head”, remember there is no stopping you.

Nine months

No hands!
I just spent the last hour or so going through pictures so I could send some special ones off to be developed. It’s the end of the year and time, I figured, to catch up on all of that.  Get current on scrapbooks and get some holiday gift pics ready to frame and put in the mail. I really wasn’t expecting so much inspiration to come from this simple and tedious task. Looking back at early pictures of our days here, I am actually quite (and pleasantly) surprised to see the changes in my daughter, my family, myself, our horses. It has been exactly nine months today since we uprooted our lives and moved in here to the horse boarding/training and trail riding stables. In some ways it still feels so new, like we moved in yesterday. And in some ways it feels so old, like we’ve been here forever. I found myself pausing to think over these past months. The people, the horses, the growth, the huge leaps in learning, and the hard times. It has not all been slow and easy, no it hasn’t. As much as I would like to display that here, it wouldn’t be honest. It has been slow and hard going much of the time. In more ways than one. Then…I look at this picture I recently took of my little girl. My goodness. She went from a 5 year old traumatized rider from her first “FALL” to a girl riding confidently on a sweet old man named “Jack”, to being bucked off that sweet (but grumpy) old Jack. THEN, we moved in here. She persisted forward with a new fear of knowing the scare and pain of a buck. She perserved on with Jack and a couple more horses. “Loosen your reins!” became my mantra and tighten them up further became her response. Then she got her lovely Arabian dream “Romance”. And, she proceeded to pull the you know what out of her mouth with tight reins and grasping the saddle and pure fear. Well, wouldn’t you know it but that lovely Romance RAN AWAY WITH HER in the round pen –first ride. Anyone out there working with lessons kids….you hear me. Nevermind the fact that she’s my own kid as well! We went downhill emotionally so far and so fast, I thought this little baby girl was never coming back up for some manure sweet air. Low and behold, she wanted more. I have never made her ride, she would come to me every morning begging to ride even while being scared to death to do it. So began the saga of little girl traumatized three too many times on three horses and mama teacher who (because of being mama) she just didn’t really respect. All she had to do was cry and say “Im scared” and what was one mama to do, really? Ok, “off you go”. Well, once, twice, three times, okay. BUT…there comes a time when….we just really need to RIDE. There were slow days of just groom her, tack up and walk her around the arena. Please. And, suddenly, with really no warning, my little girl said “I trust her” and dropped her reins. Put her hands out in the air and said “look, ma, no hands”. There was a little more work here that I’m perhaps leaving out, including putting trotting poles in her horse’s stall (she was petrified of them). I questioned myself over whether that was really the nicest thing, but decided that it was okay. The poles would not attack her in the middle of the night (I promise) and what better way really to get comfortable with something than to SLEEP with it. There were days of just watching while my girl did nothing but sit on her horse with her body tense and reins tight not wanting to move but also not wanting to get off (once it was for 45 minutes!). Times of biting my tongue and just trying not to look! Friends and other boarders offered encouragement to her along the way. Mostly it’s just been a lot of patience, time and space knowing that she wants this so bad and it will just come into being when the time is right. She has the skills, she knows how to ride, and she has the passion. Just give her time to heal. Well, I think her time has come. Maybe not completely. It’s a long journey for everyone and really doesn’t have a finish line. But this cowgirl is certainly more than along her way I tell you.

Sweet, grumpy, old man Jack. This was my girl’s first real horse relationship and first real “cowgirl up” experience too. My how love hurts sometimes! Jack has also recently been one of her first “saying goodbye” and dealing with death experiences. Looking back at the words I wrote above, I see all the we learn and all that we become just by being around and working with horses. How horses can teach so many important life lessons amazes me.