Sunday, September 11, 2011

Laying the crutches aside

There's just something that happens on the inside of me when I gaze upon this tree,  seeing the beginnings of a path started to the right of it. A path where there wasn't one before, one that takes me from this side too the next. And when I look beyond this tree, across the stream too ground where the brush has been cleared, I cant help but giggle at how ironic this all is. Right now, this very moment in my life I am standing on the beginnings of a new path.From my old life where my parents needs were only visible to my new life. From an old life filled with brush so deep even I couldn't see a way through to a new life where all the brush has been cleared and where a clear path is now present.  My old front yard was about 80 foot long and about 14 foot wide and the only view out my front window was a two lane. The only view out my back window was my parents place.Point in case.
Now I have acres of lush green grass,ancient trees placed perfectly about and my own woods with damp floors. All the free gifts nature gives has really centered me somehow. To me, these trees are so prehistoric looking. Long before there was ever a me they were here.Behind this tree sits a delicate stream that runs right through the middle of my property and ribbons down the right side and ends flowing into the big back creek where our property ends. As you enter the path in our woods you cant miss the giant Oak tree that houses a Hawks nest the size of my car seat at the very ti-pity top, Or the giant gopher holes that have made their home below the earth. There is just something about my new life, my little piece of country with its sweet smelling aroma that causes me to slow down and take notice.

 There has not been one single day since my parents passing where I haven't felt a bit alone in this big'ol world. Spending nearly half my lifetime taking care of them, being their hands and their legs and forgoing any an all of my needs can sure take a lot out of a child. Devoting so much time,work and worry into doing what needed done and what made them happy that I guess I shouldn't of been surprised that I truly lost myself along the way. That was most apparent to me now that their gone. I was not Carolyne the wife or hard working baby sister. I wasn't even Carolyne the great friend,but rather Carolyne, my parents everything, period!!! When they died so did part of me. I not only mourned them I mourned a part of my life that no longer was. I am no ones child anymore and I am not needed in that way any longer. That was my identity. So now what? It's taken a lot to mourn that loss. It left a huge hole and I didn't know how to refill it. I forgot how to answer my own questions,take care of my own problems,stand on my own two feet or even figure out what made me happy let alone my husband,family or great friends who deserved the best part of me instead of the worn out part of me that was left. Growing into the person God intended me to be has come at a huge cost I wont lie. To be clear though, a cost I would gladly pay again to find myself. Some have not liked this new change,this new me, but as I stated I'm on a journey here and I can only pray that in time they see I'm just taking time to become and develop me and not a purposeful pushing of others out of my life.
 God uses every trial,every pain,each burden,blessing and gift, to shape and mold the inside of a man. I truly feel like a lump of clay and whether I'll be a vessel,crock or cup I have no idea but I will be something purposeful I do know that. 
There was a comfort that was present when my parents and big brother were alive..knowing just from their age alone their wisdom was priceless and trust worthy. They always had the answers,they were always in my corner and they always had my back. They always helped me find a way or at least a good place to start. They always knew where I was coming from and when I would screw up they never had me coming from a malicious place, I never had to defend myself because they knew me, they understood me. Sometimes friends and family both can forget who you are and draw their own conclusions as to the why and how you do things. As my mother used to say its easier to remember the bad then the good and as my father used to say it takes 10 atta boys to make up for one aww shit..
When that comfort & security was gone I had only to look upward and then inward. Both of which at the times seemed mighty bleak and empty.
Every day has been a process. I never fully realized how much I actually depended on them or others to help answer the questions or find the way I couldn't seem to on my own until i was left alone to answer those questions and find my own way.  It's been very hard to break a life long habit of the "I cants" and turn it into the "well damn it I have  to at least try". Soon will come the "I cans" but its a process. 
  Accomplishing something I never thought I could, living through something I never imagined I would survive has been a tremendous self confidence booster...I really thought I was self aware before but now I see I didn't have a clue..
Now im getting it.. I tried to be all things to all people. No fault in that really. But you know what??? I'm not God first off and secondly though I found joy in helping others,the problem was I had nothing left over for myself when I was in need & I've grown tired of giving up on me so easily. I gave it all away to others. Now I'm learning to save some in reserves for me. A gift of saying no. I'm not resentful either..That's not my heart or my point. I love with every fiber of my being. I can see the good in everyone and everything much easier then most. Its second nature to me.It comes far to easy to help others and neglect myself. The end result was, it also became far to easy to say I cant, because I never did, I always let someone else help me figure out the answers. It was almost like I just shut down inside. You can spend so much time and effort helping others that when you need to help yourself there's nothing left,there's no well to draw from,there's strength to muster. I was at the point of empty,with nothing left.As my good friend used to say, "sometimes just rolling out of bed to put your feet on the floor is the biggest victory you'll have that day."
Now my energies are not exhausted from helping others and I simply and rather quickly grew tired of asking for others help and I've decided to give myself a try. You go to others when you've exhausted or near exhausted all your resources, not before you even try. Lesson One.
And I'm not having an attitude, there's no anger in this for me, no resentment or payback. Though some may think I have pulled away in reality I'm really just  pulling myself together. My thinking hasn't come from others letting me down because the opposite is true, I have incredible friends and family but rather the time has come for me to stand on my own two feet and put the same deserved effort I put into others into myself now.  
I've leaned to hard on others in my past. When in truth I could have helped myself but let others who had their own baggage shoulder mine instead because I was so exhausted and worn out. It leaves a person pretty darn humble I'll tell ya.
  My life now, in all aspects, has been quite the challenge and I'd be lying if I didn't say it feels like a test at All times. But if the end result is a better me, a more self confident me so I can take care of myself kinda me, and  only then truly & wholly be there for all those who've aided me in this journey then I'll be most doubly blessed.
Psalms 118:24 "this is the day that the Lord hath made, I will rejoice and be glad in it." 

Sunday, July 31, 2011

From Interstate to country roads...

I remember the first time my husband and I were invited up to a friends camp in Tionesta,Pa. There was so much construction on Interstate 80 that by the time we hit those winding mountain roads it was like the most welcome feeling. The smell of pine and the cool air was a recipe for instant relaxation. It felt like the grand finale from the busy pressures of life straight into peace of country. Real country.

You could only get one station on the radio & it was country. The quickest way to your neighbors was by quad or horseback.I passed one huge logging company that surely employed most of the towns men im sure.I was in love.

We made a left onto that dirt lane and drove all the way back to find "our" camp was in the very back...It was perfect and private and the privacy fence consisted of bushes too thick to see through and too tall to see over. We had our own section of creek and the view couldn't of been more picturesque. 

Immediately all my energies slowed down, my anxieties became non existent and my mind,body,and soul felt in tune. I could breath.I could think. I loved it immediately.

We unpacked all the necessities while the men were in charge of beer and starting a fire for dinner. It was a long and beautiful night around that camp fire. After a few hours of eating and drinking that country air got the best of me and I decided to lay back on the seat of that picnic table and close my eyes. I threw a sweatshirt under my head and just zoned out to the background noise. On my left I could feel the chill from the air blowing over the creek. I could hear the water forcing its way down stream and the splashing rush over top the rocks and through a huge fallen tree branch. And to my right I could feel the heat from the bonfire and I could hear the crackling of all the firewood burning. Let me tell ya, that was like a lullaby to me. 

I slept like i hadnt slept in ages. I was dead to the world. I slept so sound that after only 3 hours I awoke and felt refreshed,back was a little sore but refreshed none the less. I snuck inside the cabin an made a pot of coffee and quietly snuck back outside,leaving the dogs and the gang to sleep in. I sat down on the porch steps and was all ready having a conversation with God & sharing my excitement over the joy of watching the sunrise on the porch all by myself that morning.

When it was time to leave I was sad to tears. I felt like a little kid asking the hubby if we could pleeeeeeease stay just one more day.I couldn't explain the longing in my heart to stay. The country was everything I loved and I loved how it made me feel. It was a very long and depressing quiet drive back home as was every trip home from camp over the next 10 years. I imagined living there and how my husband would work at the logging plant. I pondered how many horses I'd have and how my barn would probably be cleaner then the house. Hanging my clothes out on the clothesline.I could go on and on...

Buying our first home was the most stressful experience..just like driving thru miles upon miles of construction..and like Camp this place is my little "peace" of heaven.But the best part is I'm never sad going home because this place is my home. A place I feel  I have waited my whole lifetime for. A huge back yard with a clothesline. A beautiful wooden bench under an old Cherry tree.  A front porch swing that gets warmed up a lot...And not just a creek but a stream AND a creek to call my own..I can see me growing old in this place..This is the reason I have not blogged for a month or so..sorting and packing, loading then hauling, unloading then unpacking and daydreaming...Lord I'm exhausted but so Grateful.





Saturday, July 2, 2011

Bridge over Troubled Waters....

My mind began wondering off the moment I laid eyes on this bridge for the first time that wet & rainy morning we rode. Even now as I write when I look at this picture it represents so many things in my life right now. This side earth-that side heaven. This side fear-that side Victory over it.This side unsure-that side knowing.
Last week Judy and I got a little lost doing some trail blazing. Were still getting to know the woods across from where we board. It's gotta be hundreds of acres as far as I can tell. The woods & everything in it were soaked to the core. When we got to the second tier of the hill I saw this beautiful bridge at the top. I always get excited when I see new challenges for Bubba & I to try. I was sizing up the bridge. I was thinking it looked rather new and definitely strong enough to hold the weight of a car so I figured my horse & I should be just fine but to be sure I got off Bubba and made him stand while I walked up on the bridge to check it out..I got back on Bubba and took a deep breath and in my efforts to pump myself up to go across Judy and Gomer just walked by us politely and up and over they went lol..I didn't say I was the most brave woman in the world but I'll try just about anyone once !!! Sometimes when facing something new, my mind quickly runs many scenarios. Like for instance, what happens if my horse panics in the middle of the bridge? Though the floor seems strong enough how about the rails? What if the sounds his hooves make going across scare him..What if the bridge isn't strong enough? What if we don't make it lol. There's only a few choices..You can turn around and go back the way you came. You can find an alternate route (there was none in this case lol) or You can cowgirl up and go across.


Just as Bubba and I walked up the first ramp part of the bridge, Judy and Gomer were going down off the last ramp part off bridge. I had to stop Bubba in the middle of the bridge because I could see & hear Gomers shoes sliding down across the wet wood & I thought thank God this bridge isn't any longer or more steep. Now this would be nothing to worry about if the bridge was dry but I wanted to be careful. If Bubba were to get hurt crossing do you think he would be so willing to cross the next bridge we encounter? Probably not..Do you think he might lose a little trust in me to keep him safe? Probably..So I wanted this to end well and safely. Since i was all ready in the middle of the bridge there was no turning back since there were ramps at both ends. Normally on a dry day there would be a little grip, but not today. When Bubba got to the end I made him slow up and I just tried to Hold his head with the reins to give him a little support but Up wasn't where he needed his head..So he basically let me know he needed to lower his head to keep his balance and to keep from slipping & falling. Trust goes both ways..He trusted me to get up on the bridge and now I had to trust him to get us off. He put his nose darn near to the ground and down we slid.. It wasn't the easiest bridge to cross over on horseback but it was however the only way to get to the other side and Bubba did a great job. I was so proud of him..That was definitely carrot worthy & Bubba knew it as he stopped and looked back at me like "well??"hahaha


To be honest that bridge was pretty scary. I had no way of knowing the getting off the bridge would be the hardest & most tricky part. The incredible part was how willing Bubba was to trust me to walk up & on this wooden bridge.There was a time when he had no trust in me & would of just planted his feet and said "No Way" & I had no faith in him or myself & would of said "okay" or found an alternate route. Once we started up the bridge there was a second element. As any trail rider knows, the sound that each of Bubbas steps would make. A lot louder then on solid ground that hollow clipody clop was enough to make him curious and walk very slow. Im glad, I'd rather pick a slow and steady pace then try to fly across it dangerously.  My horse and I are becoming quite the team.


I'm so proud of the both of us and how far we've come with getting to know each other. Bubbas willingness to trust & step up on was huge, But having him walk across and off was a Victory.  It was the back side, coming off the bridge that was a bit nerve wracking for me. I didn't realize wood got so slick when its wet. I was so afraid Bubba was gonna slip and go down on his rump with me on him. Looking back on it I probably should have got off and hand walked him across but he was willing so I chose to ride him and We crossed it together!!! When we reached the last part,he just put his nose real low too the bridge and locked his legs and slid down. I think we both breathed a sigh of relief when we got on solid ground. I'd be lying if I didn't say my heart was pounding a little bit. Once across, I swore, if we ever came to this bridge again I was going to take a picture of it for all of you to see. 


At times when were faced with that bridge in life were just to darn scared to cross it. We might even look for an alternate route around it. We can only see that safe ground is under our feet by staying on this side. Or maybe that bridge represents whats keeping you from getting to the other side. Instead of a means to get there.Then there's the rest of us, because were focused so hard on whats on the other side we begin to doubt we have what it takes mentally,physically or spiritually to get across. There's no way to foresee what the "getting across" will entail, So we tend to want to overlook that major detail & just focus on "this side" or the "other side". 


For most its that first step that's the hardest. For others it's the walk across or that last step from the known into the unknown that is the most scary. Regardless every step of the way takes Guts. Sometimes the other side represents a life different then the one your living now this very moment. Maybe that bridge represents whats keeping you from getting to the other side. Maybe the other side holds a promise that what's breaking our hearts today wont hurt as bad if at all by the time we make it over there. Trying to see the other side from where your standing right now isn't really possible.. It's sorta like blinking your eyes & wishing something came to be or wishing something went away. This is real life and most times wishes aren't granted. So lets muster the courage to take that first step, lets dig down & find the strength we need to walk on.


For me right now,that bridge represents learning to live on without my loved ones here & how someday I'll see them on the other side.. The journey across that bridge is me working through my grief and making my own decisions without parents to fall back on for advice or reassurance. I wish grief was one of those things you could just blink your eyes and make go away. Grief though a painful & sometimes long & difficult process is the result of a great love shared. If only wisdom didn't come at such a cost. Compassion for others can be one of the greatest gifts or lessons you can take from grief to help someone else. Being understood when it hurts brings more comfort then generic words could ever express.


The next time you see a bridge, whether its on some back woods trail or on the way to work..Give your self a little credit for all those you've mustered the courage to cross. Think about the strength & knowledge you've gained during the "crossing over & walking through". Just don't ever let fear keep you from taking that first step. So whether your walking in the valley of the shadow of death or crossing the bridge over troubled waters please remember you do not walk alone. I wish you strength and courage to get to the other side. 

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Rock of Trust

It was around 10:15 in the morning yesterday when I made the hard left down the long gravel driveway that leads to the Stable. The woods, so dense on both sides of the driveway that it just feels like I've driven to the center of the Allegheny National Forest. Up the driveway on the left, a waving tree branch caught my eye & out walks a very young white tailed doe. Its not often one gets the chance to see these wonderful creatures so up close & personal. I stopped the car & watched her walk into plain view right in front of my car. She bravely stopped to check me out too. As she stared back at me I thought "get your camera" but in my excitement I fumbled to grab it & my movement caused her alarm. Her white tail went straight up as she bounced into the woods to my right. I drove slowly up the driveway while simultaneously dropping the passenger side window. Hoping to catch just one more glimpse of her. A mere 15 feet away, there she paused, next to a Giant Cherry tree. Her tail flapping wildly while looking straight at me. This time I didn't fumble for my camera but chose rather to take it all in and watch her until she bounced out of sight. As I neared the end of the driveway I just couldn't help but smile from ear to ear over the encounter.  


 I got to thinking just how much I love this place. Its private & quiet. Set smack dab in the middle of no where & it's just the kind of serene place to sort through the numerous thoughts & feelings I've accumulated in my head during this journey through loss & finding a way to live again. Since the loss of my big brother & parents, spending time with Bubba has changed from something I had to force myself to do because caring for my sickly parents was a tremendously exhausting and time consuming obligation..on top of my full time day job.Plus it was hard enough to add being a wife or a friend into that mix..there just wasn't any time let alone time for me. 


Now that my day to day doesn't consist of spending every spare minute outside of work devoted to the care of my parents next door, I feel like time & my life are actually my own again.Spending time with Bubba has turned into something I can now relax & enjoy, while walking away refreshed & renewed every time...It makes me feel as though the slate of the past weeks junk has now been wiped clean. I feel as though someone has shaken all the dust from me and put me back on my feet again..Ready & willing to face the weeks challenges with strength because I'm gaining it. Being with Bubba has always helped me to either muster the strength for what needs doin or it gives me that break or peace of mind that I ache for. Having place to forget my troubles for a little while is a tremendous blessing.


I put the car in park,put up the windows, and grabbed all the necessities for the trail ride off the passengers seat. I had chap stick, a pack of cigs, 2 lighters because I always manage to lose one (lol). I had carrots, 2 roast beef & swiss sandwiches, grapes, strawberries & my blackberry. Though the weather promised a Sunny 82 degrees,the skies above were invisible due to the thick laden dark clouds. It threatened rain and had looked that way since I woke earlier that morning around 6:30am. 


Now barely 70 degrees later, the air was still quite damp & chilly from the wee morning downpour. It was smart to layer up with a tank top then t-shirt & finally a big sweatshirt. I was ready for what ever the weather had in store. The real me has recently been enjoying riding Bubba on these gloomy skied days. I'm not sure why? Maybe that's the kinda mood I'm in, maybe its because I truly love the kind of quiet you can only find deep in on the trail. The only sounds are hoofbeats and birds chirping which makes its own rhythmical melody. Plus everything smells so fantastic in the woods after a rain.


Walking down the short paved drive towards the barn I could see which horses were out in the big 10acre pasture. I could also hear that familiar sport news radio echoing in the far back tack room across from Bubbas stall. As I entered the barn I stopped just a second to say Good morning to Judy & rub the neck of her West Virginia Mutt as she calls him..but we all know that's her Gomer(name meaning sign of completion as she corrects me from giggling when i say his name..So i call him Gomey..Hes a large,nearly 16h Kentucky Mountain/Missouri Fox Trotter Gelding who was standing so quietly in the cross-ties being brushed to show ring standards (lol). With the silkiest and most shiny natural coat you ever saw or touched as proof. I listened to the horses chowing down on their morning hay as I walked to the back of the stable towards the second to the last stall on the right. I opened the stall door to my Handsome Boy. He nickered & gave my hand a sniff for treats..."Good Morning Bubba".


We all stopped at the end of the driveway to listen  for cars coming in either direction. When the coast was clear we trotted both boys hurriedly across the road and onto the trail. The trail was a bit muddy and the leaves a bit wet but our boys from the getgo were awesome. 3hours later, after having much luck trail blazing with just a few minor detours & politely trimmed branches, we kinda got stuck in the valley of two ridges on what looked like some sort of deer trail..We tried finding 3 ways out with no success and then Bubba made a hard right like he wanted to go up the mountain side.. For Bubba too want to take the lead and blaze through the unknown will surely get no resistance from me. We agreed and I gave him his head and up the hill he went.I could feel his muscles just digging up the hillside with ease. We reached the top in no time at all and lo and behold what did i see? The trail. What a relief from the previous skinny paths we followed earlier & some stopped us dead because they had thick covering like ceilings,far too low for our horses to try to ride under. Bubba finding a way out & safely leading us out of the woods to that trail at the top was just the coolest thing ever. I know both Judy and I were so proud of him & we both needed a break from the unknown back to the familiar.We  climbed up out of the woods onto that path & decide to go to the right up the trail, instead of left down it. 


Ahead I could see this giant rock just sticking out over the top of the trail ahead. 
It was the most incredible size rock. It had to of stood nearly 20 foot high & was just as long as it was thick. It had wide 2ft layers worn out on the sides, almost as if at one point it had been covered in water where maybe a strong undercurrent for many years might of wore deep grooves in the side. Anyhow that was the thought that went through my mind and as we rounded the trail around the side of this large Rock, to our surprise sat row after row of these old wooden benches..A fire pit placed as the centerpiece.


Judy and I were like  a couple of little kids..We  got off the boys, let them graze around the benches and we sat down to enjoy awesome roast beef sandwiches & fruit..What a perfect place to stop for lunch. It just made the day more beautiful. Rides like this have been so frequent and I'm just so glad I worked with him over the long winter. I watched as Bubba walked in between the rows of wooden benches to munch on the grass around the fire pit..He's getting so brave and I'm so grateful I helped him get there..Just as he has helps me to be brave in facing my fears to get through this journey..Hes trusting me & I'm trusting him and that's definitely earned both ways.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Sometimes when the storm moves in...

We (Judy and I) just made it back to the barn in time. The moment we got our horses in the cross ties and began sliding off the saddles the heavens opened up. But what a ride it was..

Sometimes,in life,there is no shelter from the storm.I believe at times it is what is meant to be, that I'm meant to battle the storm.That it will develop something in me to be better,wiser,stronger and more confident. Becoming Self Aware presents it challenges.But arnt we worth it?How else will wisdom come if we dont get rained on once in a while? How can we help others if we've never truly been there ourselves?

If you've ever felt like a child in an adult body then maybe you get where I'm coming from. I never felt fully grown up..I am a kid at heart..And at times I make really stupid mistakes because I can only see things from one angle, MINE..until a storm blows in & soaks me through and through while pushing me all over the place do I become aware I'm about to learn a valuable lesson.

I have to be honest and tell you, that for the first time in my life, at the age of 39, It took my horse Bubba & my Daddy passing away to really give me the wake up call i needed to grow up. Grief, a journey we all will walk someday or have all ready, teaches you a lot about yourself. You will definitely find out where your strengths and weaknesses lie. Whether you like it or not.


There are so many injustices in life, that if you don't find out who you really are, it can ruin you..It darn near ruined me. Can you tell me if you really like yourself? What are your thoughts about YOU. What do you believe in? Where do you draw the line? When are you most scared? Where are you most challenged? What part of you would you change?
These were all questions I just could not answer & if I could the answers were surely negative ones. 

I am still grieving the loss of my Daddy. So at this particular moment in time, though theres only a small threat of rain. I still feel drops of water on my face.Though its not flooding with rain outside, there are tears. Who am I now that I'm  not Daddys girl.. or Mama's girl, or the baby sister. Some of us lose our identity when loved ones pass on. Losing my favorite brother, my mother and now father has changed me so deep and on so many levels..and not for the worse but for the better..They will forever not only be just a part of me..but their incredible influence on my life and the incredible amount of love they gave me and how they encouraged me to just be me, has helped mold me. They dont have to be here for me to continue to grow.. Even if i hadnt acted on those beliefs, i still know them & it looks like a darn good place to start..

So the next time it threatens rain, don't be so quick to run for shelter! Sometimes when the storm moves in your supposed to get wet..

Monday, June 6, 2011

Tv Dinners & Whys my dog fat?

I'm eating a Tv dinner. My dog is fat!!
The dog that laid at my feet for the past hour, make'n me allllllll uncomfortable, cause she just HAS to fit her chubb Butt under my desk, so she can lay under my feet & legs, is now staring a whole right thru my plate!!! She doesn't even know I'm eating a meat that doesn't even look like its meat!! But that doesn't stop her from licking her chops repeatedly Aaaand burping,(seriously???) It's like she has this expectation of a  really yummy bite soon to come her way. She sits at attention.
whats really cute in puppies, is not so cute when your Pit Bull is fat and weighs 80 lbs.
Okay, here it is...
She's been on a diet for a whole month, and still gained a pound. We've been weaning her
for a month from Kibbles N Bits gourmet roasted dinner full of fat stuff, over too Pedigree this better help make my dog not so fricking fat stuff.
and she still gained a pound????
It killsssssss me that I cant give her a bite or a lick. She has hip displacia all ready & shes
only 2years old. Her leg was broke after she was born, so one leg is shorter then the other. This is what caused the hip displacia.Shes all ready had her first (episode) as i call it. She was so sore I would of bet my paycheck that she had Lyme disease..but she tested negative..Thank God!!!
So playing Frisbee  with her must of twisted or sprained something.She struggled for a week just getting up & down, up & off the couch, in or out of the car, so we took her to the vet who said my dog needs to lose weight.
I mean it was like boom,one morning she's having trouble getting up.Wake up call" I didn't mean to spoil her so bad.And I surely don't want added weight to rush on the pains of hip displacia.
She is walked sometimes twice a day by Daddy, but absolutely every day this dog gets walked And shes still thick. We play with her all the time..her energy is endless..the only toy she will not chew is her Beloved Racquet Ball. So we take advantage of that.
We play hockey with her, Macie's way.She loves to nose her ball or take her paw and push it to me or she'll snap the ball with her paw. She puts her paw on top of that ball then starts to move her paw backwards till it shoots out the ball with this speedy backspin and it rolls fast and hard straight for me..so i open handed smack it back to her like I imagine you would with a hockey stick and we do this back and forth..she always wins hockey for real.
Both Chris and I throw the ball, all the time,all day or night long, down the hallway which is a good 30 some feet.We have to make her lay down just to force her to rest..
Her favorite is when we play hockey..i just don't get how she is staying heavy..

Anyways I'm getting side tracked..I wanted to give her my Tv dinner plate to lick so bad..
and believe me so does she, but i didn't. Just little reminders of how bad I spoiled her. She is happy to be brushed and hugged..so thats how I reward her..
After this Tv dinner I decided to sit on the floor with her with my legs straight out in a V.
She crawls up & lays on her head flat on my left thigh with her nose pointing straight up my leg and her big brown eyes locked on me.. she'll lay perfectly still. Honest to goodness this dog puts tears in my eyes shes so loving..
I want her around as pain free as possible for as long as possible..I adore her & need her in my life. I owe it to her to take care of her..

Now Macie's back under my feet and dreaming away and on that note I think I'll retire to the couch for the night with my dog.
We share my big pillow to start but then she always gets down off the couch and then jumps back up on but gets behind my legs most nights..a true snuggle bug..
yawn nite nite

Sunday, May 29, 2011

I only have eyes for you !!

What a day yesterday.Did you ever have one of those days where you wake up and stress or anxiety just sorta takes hold. It was a day where I should of been happy. I was off from work, I had plans to go to a flea market with Dayna, a girl I've known since I was 12yrs old, and then later a ride planned. sounds like a wonderful day doesn't it? I'm not quite sure why or how anxiety started my day but i had to push myself through the day. A very huge lesson i have learned is that emotions lie. They tell you it's going to be a bad day,that nothing is going to go right and that you would be better off just staying in bed. I woke to another beautiful Saturday. The sun shining and the promise of an almost 80 degree day. I didn't have enough sleep but was all ready committed too my plans. I had such a great time with Dayna, I always do. We talked and laughed and had breakfast for lunch..During this journey of grief I am getting to know myself and be myself. I'm trying with all my heart to be a person of my word. If I say I will be there or will do something I do my best to keep that commitment no matter how i feel. Emotions lie and tell you its not going to be a good day. I proved that just getting outside makes me feel better. I got some wonderful finds at the flea market, an old bible in great condition, a brass horse (which i collect) and a wonderful book from the early 60's on the world. after i got home from a day out in the sun and sat at my computer with a cup of coffee anxiety filled me again. Anxiety is surely something one has to work on. 
I was this close to cancelling my ride with Judy and Adam. A ride that was my idea..I sat here with dread in my heart just thinking about getting back in the car again to go see Bubba. Some days I see him and I have to push myself out the door, and once I do I'm so glad I didn't give in to emotions lie that I'd be better off staying home and hiding. 
As i pulled up to the barn  I began to feel better, and walking to the stable I saw my Judy and her husband Adam just chillen on the lawn chairs taking in the sights. It's so beautiful where we board. Judy knows me well and knew i had been struggling with anxiety and I love her for her patience with me. Judy said "Adam has your Bubba  saddled up and ready to go." i thought how blessed am i to have such great friends. so i went in Bubbas stall and kissed my boy right on his nose. He loves to trail ride. So i put on his bitless bridle and tightened up the cinch and away we went. All those racing thoughts about how awful i felt and how i didnt want to go see bubba and how i would of much rather of stayed home were gone the moment i saw Bubba. This is what he does for me. This is what a horse should do for you. 
Before we ever left the barn Judy says to me "my poor Adam is suffering from anxiety attacks today" and i felt a wave of relief just wash over me. I said "oh Judy me too I almost didn't come tonight" and she smiled and said "i know honey, i knew  you were struggling and if you would of cancelled I would of felt bad for you because I know what Bubba does for you on the inside". As we weaved back and forth along the trail, Judy & Gomer lead, Adam and Fox rode second and Bubba and I took up the rear. Adam began talking to me about his anxiety. Again someone who understands what I am going through is worth more to me then a million bucks. We talked for what seemed like hours about how it affects us, how we cant eat or sleep, how our thoughts race and wont leave us alone and the sheer battle to just live with this. We would talk and I'd look up to Judy and Gomer up in the lead and think what a wonderful friend i have who does not mind that i can encourage and share my thoughts and feelings concerning anxiety with her husband. Some women are so jealous or are so attention driven. Judy truly is unique in this way. God hand picked Adam just for her and they are the most beautiful,loving and happy couple and I am blessed to call them both friends.
On our way back I was feeling quite good and confident and Bubba was riding like a dream. And then judy says the words " were running up here". ugh!!!!!!!  We stood atop a slight hill that ran down to the longest stretch of green grass I'd ever seen. I could feel my Anxiety just well up inside me. Judy said I'll let you guys go first..So Adam and I trotted off but could not get our horses to even break into a canter. Judy stayed behind and held Gomer back because he is that fast. Very quickly i began to hear thundering hoofs behind me and when Judy and Gomer flew by all i saw was a blur of brown & Judys blond hair. Adam was in front of me and both Fox and Bubba took off behind Gomer. I did think "oh God I'm gonna die" lol..Bubba picked up and hammered down and his speed amazed me, when we hit the middle of the green field  i felt what i would compare to overdrive and Bubba was trucking. 
My Sun glasses flew off and I managed to grab them and I just put my reins forward and let Bubba fly. I had no idea that Bubba had that kind of speed. And it felt so good to just let him go. The adrenaline rush was insane. I felt like all my troubles had somehow been sucked out by some large vacuum and nothing but joy and happiness was left. Emotions lie. Yesterday was the best ride of my life. I know things don't always go perfect and we are never guaranteed safety. But I can see my horses Confidence just skyrocket..He's become brave & so courageous. It's so awesome to see this transformation. Soon I'll be able to do what I thought was impossible which is ride bubba by myself. 
I came home last night and had the best night and the next time my anxiety or emotions tell me that its going to be an awful day I will force myself to get out and smell the roses. I couldn't help but ponder over what I would of missed out on had I stayed home. Had I gave in to those emotions and let them run me. I would of missed out on the ride of my life. 
As I walked Bubba to the pasture to turn him out before leaving for the night. I began to walk away when he began to nicker at me. So I walked back over to the fence and kissed his nose and scratched his chest and then behind his ears..He took his muzzle and put it next to my face and took a long inhale of me. I said goodbye and turned around to walk away and again he nickered at me. So I grabbed my cell phone to take a picture because i just didnt want to forget this moment. Bonding is such a beautiful experience. 

The 40ft Cross

From the very first moment I opened my eyes this morning (previously asleep in my computer chair) the sunshine just filled the living room.
I grabbed a cup of coffee & plunked back down at my computer desk to catch up on all the latest happenings online. I left a brief chat message for Val the night before asking if she would like to trail ride Saturday. Well it was Saturday and when I got online I noticed Valerie's chat box was up & she replied "what time do you want to ride today?"  I thought what a way to spend the day then with Valerie who I have rode with since I was a very young lady. I replied back to her chat with lightening speed lol. We agreed we'd meet at 11am.

I sat back in my chair, took a sip of coffee and  felt that excitement well up inside me like it has ever since I was a little kid. It happens every time I know I'm going on a trail ride. I began thinking back on the very first time I met Valerie and her Quarter Horse Arabian "Shadow". 

Heck, we were in our young twenties back in 95. I remember waking up that morning just thinking about Me & Maxx (my first Tennessee Walker), going for a trail ride. He was in his early Twenties too..He was always pretty decent to ride by himself. Maxx and I were just kinda riding along the beaten path when Maxx startled me out of my daydream by stopping dead in his tracks. Which always scared the crap out of me back then..Maxx was so focused on something ahead with both of his ears intently pricked forward!! Something was out there. I didn't know what because I couldn't see anything!!! Maxx sure knew there was something out there and in an instant I realized just how alone & deep in the woods we were at that point.. Maxx let out a few snorts & I was so scared at this point even I was excepting Big Foot to come out from around that tree. 

I could feel Maxx's "flight" switch was seconds from being tripped to the on position. I'll never understand why horses get so spooked by other horses.  From around the tree came a young women riding a beautiful black horse. Apparently her horse was also picking up on something too, "us" lol..I was never so glad to see & talk to a human being in my life hahaha. 
We chatted for a bit, both excited to find someone other then ourselves out alone on the trail and she said "what barn do your board at?" You could just imagine the excitement when we both realized we boarded at the same barn. I mean could this day GET ANY BETTER??? I don't think so lol..

Here we are almost 17 yrs later and we still enjoy each others company on and off the trail. Our love of horses & learning is a great common denominator & galloping our boy's on those long stretches of trail,field or power line is a fear she helped me over and learn to love..She is hands down, the most courteous trail rider,and one of my favorites to ride with too. I would just love to know how many miles her & I alone have put on the trail. We don't hit the trails as much as we'd like now because life is far too busy, but when we do, we sure make up for lost time..It's always a treat to have someone as knowledgeable as her in my ever learning corner of the horse world and life.There's a huge blessing in honest,loyal friends.

I finished my coffee and got ready to meet Val. We had an incredible ride.It was almost 80 degree's today but the breeze kept us so comfortable. We got about 2 miles into the ride when I recognized an opening on the left,off the trail. It's truly a miracle that I  remembered any part of this trail since the last time i rode it was my very first time on it and Bubba was so worked up that I was focused more on him then where we were going. I think I stared between his ears the whole ride, just waiting for him to blow,buck or bolt. So It was pretty amazing that I remembered so many parts of it while riding with Val. As soon as we'd go a little ways something would trigger a memory like a snapshot & I'd say "its this way Val". 
So left and up the hill we rode and as soon as we got to the top we rode into an opening. And there stood the Giant 40ft stone cross. Something to see for sure right in the middle of the woods..I saw it on my first ride through Lutherlyn & hoped I'd come this way again.

Staring at the cross today I was humbly reminded of just how imperfect I really am.  How much He suffered to give me life eternal. I was reminded of the many ways & the many things God has blessed me with. I had the love of a big brother & two great parents until the Lord called all three of them home and in their place God gave me incredible friends to lean on. Just because you love something & it has been blessed to you, does not mean you'll have it forever. Everything is on loan from God. That's how I feel. I'm learning to live life for today & to the fullest as best I can. There was a point in my life and not too long ago where it felt as if I'd lost everything.Those losses changed me. 7 days after my Big Brother died I had to put my horse "Honey" down. I had an 8year friendship with that mare. She was an awesome trail horse..I should of named her "bulldozer" but that wasn't very feminine for such a beautiful horse. 

Yeah loss sure has forever changed me. I take nothing for granted now. I fully understand that what is here in my hands right now, maybe gone tomorrow. Even being super grateful for something is no lifetime guarantee. I guess deep in my heart I was playing a bargaining game with God. God if I thank you for this horse all the time (which i did), Can I have her till a ripe old age? Silly huh? I'm learning to be me rather then just the Carolyne i want everyone too see. I have great friends..not just good friends, great friends that God set in place!! Grief is sometimes long but so much more doable with friends. Gods never left me to deal with this life alone. I'm still grateful reguardless. I'm grateful to be able to ride with my life long friend and & still be able to laugh and still learn so much from her. I'm grateful for Bubba too.
 


Friday, May 20, 2011

The woman in the Mirror

This is Gomer(on the left)& my Bubba (on the right). Sadly we were forced to find a new stable because the stable we wintered at went up for sale & rather then wait until the last minute Judy one of my dear friends & trail riding companion found the most perfect place not far from home for us. It was a long hard winter. The coldest I remember in years. I was so grateful for the indoor arena we got to enjoy because the weather outside was treacherous so riding outside was out. And on top of that,  Bubba was giving me some real trouble & the indoor arena was a great place to work out these issues. There were many.
I got the opportunity to work with a very knowledgeable friend named Cindy. If you ever get the chance to take lessons from an experienced Horse Trainer or Friend, Please do IT. It really helped me see things so clearly, like how often the communication between horse & rider in practically non existent.  

When i was told that just about every single issue I was having with my horse boiled down to the trust factor,(Bubba's lack of trust in me) I disagreed & was highly insulted.Then I really got to thinking. Why did it hurt my feelings? Well, because
the truth hurts but I needed to face it. Bubba had no trust in me. I had no trust in him,he was the boss, therefor he was in charge and he called all the shots.That's about as unsafe a situation as it can get. Truth is we all want to be safe, none of us want to get bucked off or harmed. We all have an incident that sticks out in our mind and sometimes replays..like me i was bucked off at the age of 13, it was a nightmare of buck..I am 38yrs old and I'd be lying if  i didn't say that every time i decide to let my horse gallop that very thought of getting bucked off didn't flash before my eyes. I can tell you first hand that until you are willing to come up with a game plan, commit yourself to ground work, admit that you don't know as much as you think you know, and be willing to meet your horse at the level he or she takes it too, you will never get beyond that accident or that fear. I honestly didn't realize that until it was pointed out to me.Ever wonder why your horse misbehaves yet when an experienced rider gets on them or works with them the horse seems to all of a sudden start behaving? 
Have you wondered why every horse you've ever owned acts the same way eventually, pulls the same tricks or sports the same bad habit? You always hope that the new horse will not have the same problems as the old. The problem never was the horse. The problem is us. and the problem is that horses lack of trust in us. 

I had an excuse for everything Bubba did or didn't do. I could stretch that into my personal life because I had an excuse for all the things my family and friends did too. Lastly, I always made excuses for myself. I found myself by finally facing all the things I'd made excuses for in my personal life while retraining myself and Bubba.


I looked at myself one day in the mirror & realized I really didn't know the person looking back at me. I'd spent so much time being the Carolyne everybody else wanted that I lost myself somewhere along the way.So I didn't just work on Bubba I worked on myself too.

There were so many issues we worked on over the winter..5 long months of ground work, ground work,ground work.He'd buck or act like he was gonna buck when i asked for a canter. He would raise his head when i went to bridle him or put his halter on. He wouldn't stand still when i went to tack him up or brush him. He'd jig non stop on the trail. Everything just screamed "this is out of control".

Bubba fought me so hard and was not willing to hand over his Alpha position so easily. I didn't realize the fight I'd have on my hands.  I had a horse with a major attitude problem who was becoming quite dangerous. I really hadn't finished anything I started training wise on Bubba to this point. I did everything in bits and pieces..When I committed myself to training Bubba and earning his respect and taking the Alpha position back, the results in Bubba's new attitude were just amazing. He went  from a spoiled ugly horse with an attitude too a very Handsome loving(still spoiled) horse with manners.
The issues I was having in my personal life & the means to get beyond them somehow crossed the same exact path that I was on while working with Bubba. I was gaining confidence and self esteem for the first time. I could see results from sticking to it that I was never able to achieve before on my own.Don't ask me how i had so many epiphany's while teaching my horse the 7 games by Parelli, or how I found the answers to the Many Why's & Why nots. I would have so many uh-HUH moments about my life while ground working Bubba. Many times it lead to a rush of tears and relief
My burdens were heavy. I'm still grieving my daddy who passed away last sept. I miss him everyday of my life. It hurts so bad when you lose your parents because you really do feel for the first time in your life that your alone. There's a certain security that comes when one or both of your parents are alive.That security quickly leaves when they pass. I really thought I would handle my dads death 
better then I am. I didn't expect to feel so lost. I didn't expect the depression to weigh so heavy. I had to do something or the pit I was falling in would swallow me up for sure. So when a friend offered to help me retrain Bubba & myself (lol), I thought God gave me this horse & it's time for me to hand my grief over to the Lord and bury myself in training. I figured at the least I would be able to forget my troubles for a while. But it was the exact opposite that happened..I had to face my fears & my troubles and only then can you get beyond.

Working with Bubba made me realize how many things I had been running from concerning him & my own life.It  made me see the things I didn't quite like about myself. It forced me to see the all situations for what they really were. Truth is, my life had felt so messed up that I was ready to quit life. I simply didn't want to play anymore. All the things that brought me enjoyment no longer did. All the people that made my life complete were gone.Those that were left made it complicated. The 3 people who understood me better then I understood myself..My Daddy, My Mama, & the coolest Big Brother to ever walk the planet were gone. I'll see them again someday. I lost the 2 best dogs and 2 best horses an owner could have..Winston & Mandy were my first dogs, They both lived 15yrs. 
And my horses Honey & Mack both lived to be 15yrs old. I put winston down April 4th, Mandy November 1st,My big Brother November 11th and Honey November 15, Mack the following Feb & my mother September and lastly my daddy Sept 27th three years after I lost my mom. I felt like a nothing nobody. I took 3 years to work on me. I lost everything but my husband & 2 good friends. I pondered long when God would take them as well. 
When God starts a work in you He will see it through to the end. Unlike the former me who ran from everything and never finished a thing. I am seeing my way out through the other side..I never thought I'd get here..

After making it through this winter & seeing my horse transformed into a gentleman before my very eyes, seeing myself as the woman I always longed to be, working through issues and staying committed I am learning that hard work does pay off.And likewise now when I look in the mirror I like the person looking back at me and I am confident Bubba likes me too.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Mixed Signals

Okay..so we made some jokes about Bubba catching snowflakes but seriously He's simply Not wanting to stand still..and he kept jigging forward then backward and has resigned too standing but hes showing his irritation by throwing his head..I'm just sorta letting him work it out..All i had asked was he simply stand still for a photo..not too hard right? lol

Did you ever wonder why when you'd be walking along on a nice trail ride with friends that all of a sudden your horse just breaks into a trot without your asking? Or you ask for him to go forward and instead he backs? Or how about the famous just trying to get him to stand still while you try to mount but instead he dances or steps off. Well maybe you haven't had these problems but i sure have..It all stems from mixed signals, lack of trust, & simply whose really the Boss or Alpha..Heck i darn near trained a horse backwards once...I think it took 3 months with a riding instructor to undue all I'd done the two previous years..
Horses are not animals you can just sit on like a lump..You must participate..
To some riding,training and timing all comes as natural as breathing..but for me, i have to work for it, and the only way i learn is by quieting my mind, paying attention to his attitude, being willing to meet Bubba at what ever Level of Intensity hes taken it too,by learning from my mistakes, & staying committed to working with Bubba..The more committed you are, the more you get to know your horse,That's how the real bond is built. Horses are so forgiving so i make sure that when I get Angry or Frustrated i take a breather. That's not forfeiting, its being wise. Taking time to think what you may have done wrong, all in all when i do make a mistake Bubba is so forgiving ..for that I am most grateful.The ONLY part that has always come natural to me is the loving part..Loving him and everything that makes him Bubba comes easy, hes such a gift..But the relationship cant work if hes the Alpha..He'll never trust me..He'll always be anxious..So this is my journey in learning how to become the Alpha..
Horses analyze who will be the boss within the first 10 seconds with you..Every day as Pat Parelli says they vote for a new leader..Its never just a given that I am the Alpha & he will never test me or question that again, each time we meet he'll size me up? It's not a disrespectful thing, It's a horse thing. that's what they do. Every day they test each other in the herd. Who will be Alpha.
Usually when you have a horse that is the Alpha..The are intelligent & strong. Being Alpha is quite the responsibility. They remain in the front, They are responsible for alerting the herd of possible dangers. The Alpha has the best chance of survival. So as a human, fighting for Alpha, remember you have a responsibility to be smarter then your horse, patient, kind, loving, stern & rewarding..And I refuse to use meanness or physical abuse to gain that position..

After each ride or training session with Bubba I always think back over it.. what went well, what i enjoyed, but more so what didn't go so well, what went wrong,and what i need to practice on to make my commands clear to my horse...As Bubba and I both learn I've become quite aware of the wall that stands firmly between us when trying to communicate what i want..I act, He reacts and we work from there..

In the Driving game my horse is wearing a Parelli training halter which has about a 14 foot rope connected to it..As i stand facing my horse I begin to ask my horse to back with just a wave of the finger in front of my face, the middle of the rope is still touching the ground, and in the beginning Bubba does not even notice the finger wave...then if no response i wave my wrist which sends a little vibration down the lead line which he can sorta feel but more so see, he still stands looking at me..but i can tell by his ears that hes trying to figure it out,3 seconds later if no back i go to the next phase which is sending vibrations down the rope by waving from my elbow(at this point he has lifted his head,put his nose in the air slightly and showing his irritation but still stood his ground and 3 seconds later I jump to the 4th phase and then wave with my whole arm which is sending a lot of pressure from the rope to the halter. From light touch to heavy..but at this most severe phase Bubba immediately takes two steps back and i drop the rope..release/reward...his ears go and i can see him trying to figure this out.

It doesnt take long & within the first 3 lessons we went from phase 4 down to phase 2, waving from the wrist..and soon I'll simply wave my finger and he will back..Cues,timing,release & reward are all crucial..I'm excited as we work together..watching him figure it out is so exciting. Learning to be the Alpha is something i really have to work at..It keeps things as safe as they can be..no one wants to get hurt..But you let that horse of yours make the rules and soon injury or fear will follow..
After Bubba backed up nicely using the 2cd phase of pressure..always light to heavy..not vice versa..I reward him by simply making my body soft, bending over slightly just a bit and drawing the rope in gently hand over hand as Bubba comes to me and i rub him and thank him for doing such a good job...He's getting it.What i couldn't understand was while i was asking him to back up in our very first lesson, he would all of a sudden come forward..Horses naturally push against pressure,and coming to me was not what i wanted..i think to video tape yourself would be an excellent idea..that way you could see your mistakes while training..the second best thing is to simply have a friend watch you and telling you what they observe from you and your horse.
I learned that when i should of been standing square as the alpha when asking for the back. i began thinking about his reward and without even realizing it i began to bend over slightly as i would ONLY when asking him to come in to me..therefore he came forward. Mixed signals..though the pressure was telling him to back, my body was telling him to come to me..so he came to me.
Its good to have a plan before working your horse...and its just as good to think over what you last worked on so you don't make the same mistakes..keeping a horse journal is something I'm becoming more faithful with and couldn't live without..
We give so many mixed signals when working with our horses that we don't even realize we've done it!!  the second example,as i stated before, your just relaxing going down your favorite trail, just talking away or taking in the moment and your horse breaks into a trot without your asking..not realizing you've just sat there for the past 20 min doing nothing and all of a sudden you decide too sit up, heels down..gather up the reins and make contact with his sides and this all happened 2 seconds before he just trotted off. You didn't think you asked for a trot but in truth you did. You asked when you went from sitting like a lump too riding actively..its almost like saying "boo" with your body language..
its important to ride your horse..actively..paying attention ...feeling the rhythm & moving your hips with him as he walks along..keeping light contact while on a loose rein. Do something..apply leg pressure and go to the right of the trail..then ask him to go left..pick a tree and go around it or take a different path..ask for a circle and let it be your idea to trot or lope..My horse has become more beautiful as I am learning to be the Alpha..
I am very blessed to have so many wise Horse friends..Tonight my friend who has been doing Parelli for well over 8yrs now is going to come and work with me and Bubba in the arena tonight..I cant wait..and will keep you posted..

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Turkey Parade

What a ride today..thanks Juju(my friend with the Blonde mane facing me lol)..and Welcome Christy (a gf of JuJu's from work,on the far right).And of course there is my Handsome Bubba standing first. it was an incredible ride..

Well about noon i was layered up and on my way to the barn..anticipating another great ride..There's just something about a bunch a girls, headin out on horseback, and the conversations there in..I put Bubba in the cross ties. I brushed him then tacked him up. Judy slid open the barns roll door and all 3 of us walked out of the barn in single file. We headed up the mountain side that leads to some great trails and our favorite set of cornfields.
Bubba was leading the ride...this is just as new to me as it is to Bubba as he was always a follower "just like myself" but with each ride i get the honor of seeing his confidence grow and mine as well..
All us ladies were busy chatting and laughing as we started out ..all the horses walking briskly up the long hill towards the treeline. Listening to the sound of hoof beats breaking through the top slightly frozen layer of snow. I was just sorta daydreaming about how lovely it all was..and BOOM..just that quick Bubba's right front leg slid right into a hole about 2 ft deep..i never knew it was there..Both Bubba and I almost took a face dive into the snow..and WHY its so important to pay attention and not just sit there like a lump..Sorta wakes you up right away..and got me thinking about how hidden dangers can lie beneath what appears to be safe ground just beautifully blanketed with snow.
Not that i could of avoided a 2foot hole covered over by snow..but I could of however (had i been paying attention)supported my horse with the reins so he didnt trip or drop to his knees. Instead it was like we both dropped and fell forward.
anyhow..thank God he wasnt hurt and that I learned a lesson..we continued on..and we both were paying attention. lol
The air was cold and damp, yet much warmer at 35 degrees then the ride we just took the other day in 8 degree weather..almost like a summer day compared too those temps..but it just felt like rain was on the air or another cold pennsylvania snow was about to move in..Bundled up,we headed off to the woods where we would hardly feel the cold wind. We were all happy to be trail riding on our day off..what a way to spend the day. Judy now lead the pack, Christy was in the middle and Bubba and I were taking up the rear because we took a second to gather ourselves after stepping in that hole..
Bubba's usually always a little anxious in the back, sorta looking over his shoulder for that boogie man to jump out from a behind a tree somewhere lol that's that predator prey instinct kicking in..fight or flight
I realized at that very moment i too was anxious..and that was probably the reason Bubba was looking over his shoulder.I was still thinking about that big hole he'd just slid in. I needed to let it go...So i took some BIG Deep breaths..and with each exhale I could feel myself sinking deeper and deeper into the saddle. I could also feel Bubba relaxing and taking slower more sure footed steps. Amazing how a horse can read you before you even realize you've been read.
We finally reached the top of mountain..and the view from up there is really something. You just have to stop a second and take in the view..I promise the next time i will take a picture of that view just so you can see how beautiful & high up we actually are..
I have to say my favorite thing about climbing that mountain is the view..How you can see Pennsylvania's now snow covered rolling hills and valleys..how Interstate 79 runs in between the Hills and how the tractor trailers look like little tonka trucks & the cars like toy match box cars.
Today was probably one of the most challenging rides I have had in a while..I'm sure Bubba would agree..the snow covered so much of the footing and the trails we blazed today had many hidden surprises. Bubba and i were prepared though,we all ready had our wake up call about 2 seconds into the ride sliding in that hole. I was glad to be in the back, as it allowed me to see what the other riders had to encounter first so i could choose to follow or make my own path..

There were big snow covered rocks that the horses had to be very careful not too step on or slide off but rather step over, a few being half the width of the path. Then in two spots we had to walk over thick coated wire about 3-4 inches off the ground. It reminded me of  trip wire & I would not recommend anyone doing this. There were Thorn Bushes making some crossings ouchy and Many low hanging branches that required I actually stop my horse in front of so that i could lift the branch up to get under,there was room for Bubba, just not room for me lol. And did i mention the trees we had to walk in between that were just a bit to close for comfort??? You know, Knee knockers..ever heard of'em? lol.

With unscathed knees, it was then that I spoke up. Bubba and I were taking a different path to the top..the last thing i would EVER want to do is risk getting my horse hurt by purposely riding in incredibly rough, unsafe and unknown snow covered terrain. When that little voice inside me began saying.."for bubbas safety get out"..it was a red flag and I felt it..and im glad i spoke up because both ladies were more then eager to follow Bubba and me out of there and so we cut back...
I am adventurous. I love a challenge and I prefer to make trails then follow them, but I too felt Bubba getting a touch uncomfortable as if to say "okay I've had enough Mom". and since i was really asking him to pay attention for quite some time and since he so willingly waited for my every cue on when to step and where to step, what obstacle to maneuver, and the pace, I decided some fun would be a great reward for his effort. Its times like these that Bubba will place his trust in me and let me direct his every step. He waits..patiently.  I am that much more careful..i don't want to cause him to second guess me as a result of him getting hurt. I want both of us too come through it more confident

I have grown to appreciate a challenge..its a chance to push ourselves, problem solve all the while placing our trust in each other..But when i began to feel Bubba stress a little.. i knew enough was enough so i chose a different path too the top of the second mountain and we both breathed a sigh of relief when we hit the top..I praised him up.What a trooper..Bubba was so proud of himself i could feel it in his strut.
Finally we made it too our favorite cornfield. Nice open fields, so picturesque. A treeline that boarders each of the 3 huge cornfields & visiting my favorite deserted barn was just the cherry on top. We all began trotting in the snow across the field towards the barn.We always see something up there..hawks soaring or perched..red tailed foxes, deer but lately Wild Turkey..
As the 3 of us trotted our horses forward...Bubba was the first to come to a dead stop as he turned his head to the left and froze still, each horse followed suit. We were all in awe and silent as we watched the first pack of wild turkeys run for their lives not but 80 feet from us.
It was comical to hear the sound the turkeys made like they were telling each other to run for their lives.So after the turkeys got into the woods and out of sight we continued trotting on..
The Judy yells "look in the second cornfield over there" and sure enough the turkeys that had just run off, were now going through the tree line into the next field and they alerted the next herd of wild turkeys..We were all now watching this giant parade of turkeys running. There was well over a hundred wild turkeys running and squawking.
They never slowed down, skipped a beat or stopped for a second until they all made it into the furthest cornfield. The marathon of turkeys stirred up one last group. It all got Dead Quiet.
And what must of been at least 200 wild turkeys... all took to the sky..
Like a black storm cloud..there were just so many..a gift too take in such a sight..The Grand Finally.
We headed back home after riding nearly 2 and a half hours.and Bubba lead the pack home..I was so proud of him..

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Before I continue...a few Thank You's

All this blogging is quite new to me..So I must back up just a few steps before I get too far ahead of myself...Some thank yous are in order..
First and foremost to the Lord who Answered this Nobodys prayer for a horse. I think my exact words were "if anyone can get me a free horse Lord its you" 3 months later I got my free horse whose real name is"Easy Money" or "Mun" for short as some call him..i found it ironic that a free horse would have such a name. I smile every time i think of it. Even God has a sense of humor and a heart that's always heard my prayers.
Second..To the woman who listened to that still small voice that said.." you will not sell this horse but rather give him away". She did not listen begrudgingly..but was Honored to give me the most honorable gift an Indian can..the gift of a horse. I tear now as i type this..I mean it was so humbling..it had nothing to do with me deserving it..it was a gift..and a second chance at life. I always say she didn't just give me a horse..she gave me "THE" horse...
Thirdly...To my Bubba..i was told that in Italian the nickname Bubba means Love..not like (i love you) but more like (you are love). like something you would call your grampa. An endearing nickname..Thank you Bubba for teaching me about love again, how to live again, how to have fun again!!
For choosing me first as your friend..for placing your trust in me, and for causing me to laugh out loud on so many occasions.
For being my shoulder to cry on, for loving me and helping me to pick up the pieces of my life and move on..
but especially for the peace that comes with such a friendship & bonding.. i feel renewed,centered and full of strength, enough to tackle another day just from spending time with you..
I will shower you with Love..all that i can give and more..

renewed "wed jan 26th, 2011"



This is my Bubba.There's just something about the sound of hoof beats..That steady rhythm,the sound of leaves and sticks rustling & snapping under his feet..There's just something about the smell of him..you know the smell im talking about..the one we all Love..the smell of Horse. Today were getting ready to hit the trails..its a bit chilly,there's snow on the ground, and big smiles will be plastered on the faces of my riding pals and I. No matter whats going on in my life..no matter the trial or burden, time spent with Bubba always leaves me feeling mentally and Spiritually Renewed.. I don't think about the bills i owe,or what time i work tomorrow,or even about the recent loss of my father..when I'm spending time with bubba and were blazing new trails...this minds only focused on him.