Category Archives: Uncategorized

PTSD

Note about last weeks post:  Yes the horse is putting weight on in his back, but the swelling was odd and not equal on both sides.  Turns out that because of the owners bad hips, when she goes to get off she hangs across the saddle until she feels she can let go and hit the ground. Doing this she is putting unnecessary pressure on each side of the withers.  Pulling the saddle toward her pushing it into the back in two different areas.  Massage with liniment and an extra pad is taking care of him and she just has to bite the bullet and hit the ground.  Much happier horse.

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Post Traumatic Stress Disorder has been around for a long time, but was kept hush-hush until recently.

I know several people who are dealing with it and it is a horrible thing.  My friend’s son came home from Iraq, she was thankful he was alive and on this side of the Atlantic.  She thought her worries were over.  I warned her that they probably weren’t.  Unfortunately she found that out when she brought him to Wal-Mart to pick up some stuff.  Someone dropped something, and he hit the ground.  The poor guy is still trying to recover from his tour of duty over there.

Another friend, in the last couple of years, married someone she knew from High School close to sixty years ago.  They are pushing 80, if not there already.  His two previous wives died from breast cancer.  They had a lot of history together, is what she told me when she decided to marry him.  They had seen each other over the years at reunions.  I wasn’t sold on this one.  If you didn’t date him in High School, what would make you think you’d want to date him now.  She found out that he had PTSD.  I found out at dinner one night.  We were sitting at dinner and I questioned him about why a screw, in the back of his kitchen cabinet, had to be just perfect.  It wouldn’t be seen by anyone and he had spent a whole day on one screw.  His reply, as he slammed his fist on the table was, that attention to detail was what had kept him alive through all the years in Veit Nam.  His face was red and he was not in control of his temper.  I told him that no one was shooting at him anymore and he didn’t have to dwell on that one screw.  They never did get that kitchen finished, and we gave up trying to help them.

So when my girlfriend told me that she believed I had PTSD the other day, I was like no way, I’ve never been in a fight worse than who got control of the remote.  But then I had to think about it.  After the two horses were killed by lightning, I was a little paranoid whenever a storm hit.  I’m much better now, but it’s taken a couple of years.

I looked up PTSD and it doesn’t always come from being in a war.  It can come from other traumatic situations that you are involved in or have witnessed.  As I read more about it, I really don’t think I have a true version of it, but it was a horrible situation.  Oh I remember what brought this up.  When we had a storm a couple of weeks ago I was out bring the horses in and a bolt cracked close by.  I hesitated for a moment deciding whether to run back to the house or go to the barn and go and get the horses.  It’s funny what runs through your mind in an instant.  I thought, I’d rather die trying to get them, than to go back to the house and live with the horror of them getting killed, again.  I just couldn’t live with two more horses being killed.

So I guess that’s a good reason why my girlfriend decided I had PTSD.  Actually if I truly had PTSD I would have hit the ground and hidden, not been stupid enough to walk out to the two pastures and bring in the four horses.

If you don’t live in Florida, the lightning capital of the world, you probably can’t wrap you mind around this.  Ten horses I know of personally lost their lives that week, two of them were mine.  I heard the bolt that got them.  I still cringe when I hear a bolt close by.  Yes I know many horses that got killed in barns, but I’ll take my chances on them being in the barn as opposed to under a tree that got hit.

Do I recommend going out there and being a target, no way.  Will I do it again?  Probably. Do I have PTSD?  I don’t think so.  I’m just old and stupid.

Check and Recheck

We all assume.  We assume we will get up in the morning.  We assume Saturday will come.  We assume our horses will get hurt in the next 12 months, at least I know one of mine will.  Some horses are just born suicidal. But that’s another post.  We know what breaking down the word assume means, and I won’t go there.

What we can never assume is that our horses are not changing.  As with us, age has a horrible way of getting even.  When I used to wake up in the morning after a hunt I knew every muscle, and joint that I had abused.  It was like when you worked out too much, your body lets you know.  But it was a good hurt.  Now I wake up in the morning hurting and wonder what my body did overnight that I wasn’t aware of.

As you “mature” your body changes.  The old gravity thing.  Body parts aren’t where they used to be.  Everything starts sagging.  Not going there either.

Now we expect it with an older horse.  Their body changes too.  They lose their top line.  Muscles lose their tone.  They are harder to keep weight on.  They move a little slower and stiffer.  (Who doesn’t after how many years of hitting the ground.)  We know that we have to take these things into consideration when putting our saddle on.  The saddle that you bought for him/her years ago may not fit anymore because of the lack of weight and tone in their back.  On the other hand, after a long period of time, and groceries, the girth may not fit.

Now here is the thing we don’t consider.  The younger horse.  Yes as they grow we have to be aware and make changes.  The bridle that fit them perfect may be making the bit rise up in their mouths because their head grew.  Now my Zoey always used to be a 55 gallon drum with a leg in each corner.  Now she has a withers.  I used to use the first two billets to hold the saddle down in place so it wouldn’t ride up on her shoulders.  Now I used the first and last to keep it from sliding back.

When my friend got her new horse, a ten year old OTTB, we had his back adjusted and checked to make sure the saddle was perfect for him.  He still hasn’t gained the weight I want on him (he was a rescue), but he didn’t get thinner.  He’s been going with his head up, and back dropped.  He isn’t moving forward the way he should, and fought bending to the right.  You can put him into a frame, but he’s not comfortable with it.  He worries, but tries so hard to please.  Things weren’t adding up.

When she first started riding him he had even sweat marks on his back, so we knew the saddle was okay.  This was about a month, maybe a month and a half ago.  She’s taking it slowly with him and rides a couple of times a week.

So what is the issue here?  Ah my favorite, detective mode.  I was sitting watching her while she bathe him.  The sun was shining on his wet chestnut coat, but something caught my eye.  A shadow.  My eye kept drifting back to the spot, it wouldn’t go away from my mind.  My brain said get up and check this out.  Finally I did.  A huge swelling the size of my fist just down a little from the withers, behind the shoulder, on his right side.  I check the other side and there was a smaller lump a little lower.  Well this would explain a lot of things, but why was it there.  We got the saddle and put it on.  It seemed fine, but putting my hand where the swelling was said not so.  The owner has bad hips and mounting and dismounting is a problem for her.  She tends to lay across the saddle for a good 60 seconds before she can hit the ground or the saddle.  He has always readjusted his body to stay under her, or that’s what we thought.  He was actually fidgeting because the saddle was digging into his back.

Liniment and a few days off will help along with an extra pad and changing the saddle.  But how did something that looked so perfect cause so much trouble.  We always have to remember that the way the rider sits and moves in the saddle will cause compression and shifting of the pad and saddle.

This proves he is a good, kind horse, because he should have bucked her off and run screaming into the night.  To show her what he was feeling I made a fist and dug int into her back next to her shoulder blades.  It drives the point home.  Now this owner notices every scratch, cut, lump, bump on this animal.  I think she notices if one of his eye lashes is missing, but this never even came on the radar screen.

So don’t fall into this sense of everything is fine and normal.  It may not really be.

Check and recheck.

Silly Little Things

I was watching my girlfriend work with her new horse the other day and gave her some small hints.

She exclaimed, she never knew that or thought of that, and certainly never read it in any books.  Where did I learn that?  I really had to think about what she said.  Where did I learn some of these things?  Good question.  Answer – I don’t know.  Perhaps I read something somewhere, a long time ago, but mostly I learned a lot of these little tricks from the school of “hard knocks”.

Maybe you could think about what you do, why you do it, and where you learned it.  I bet most of the things, no one taught you, you learned the hard way.

Did you ever wonder how people found out what was poison to eat and what wasn’t.  Did someone eat a watermelon, and say it was really good when it was red, and they didn’t die, and that’s how people found out what was edible?  Or, Harry tried that thing that looked like a fruit and he’s not here for breakfast.  Guess we won’t eat that anymore.

The school of “Hard Knocks” is an intense study on how not to do things, and equally an easy study on what really works best.

How many horse people have had dislocated fingers, broken fingers, fingers that are full of arthritis.  How many of us learned not to wrap a lead line around our hands (even if we knew that), or not to allow knots in a lead line or lunge line.  Boy when a rope slides through your fingers with a knot in it, kiss you life as a concert pianist goodbye.

I watched her, unknowingly, let the end of her lunge line drag on the ground around her feet.  Now this is one thing that makes me crazy with some of these well-known trainers.  They may be aware of where their feet and rope are, but the people watching aren’t that savvy.  Getting dragged, even around a circle in a round pen, will ruin your day.  And it will scare your horse, which in turn will make him run faster.  It’s just a no win situation.  I know I’ve said all of this before, but it’s so important it needs to be repeated.

Most of the things I told her yesterday where things I’ve printed here in previous posts.  Some she may not have read, or if she did, they didn’t apply to her at that time.

I know I’ve written about holding your lead line or lunge line like an English rein, coming from your pinky, through your hand and out the top by your thumb will give you a better grip on the line.  Nobody taught me that, it was that special school I’ve been attending for close to 60 years.

She has a OTTB.  Okay he’s broke, but not to do what she intends to use him for.  So I told her to just start from scratch as though he doesn’t know anything.  It’s becoming more of a learning experience for her than him.  I can’t say it’s easier to train a horse that has already been trained, because correcting some bad habits, or getting them to unlearn some bad training is sometimes harder that teaching something from scratch to a young unbroken horse.

I can tell you one thing, this whole process will cause some interesting posts in the future.  I will remember things I didn’t know I forgot and pass them on to you.

Be patient, we learn from repetition.  We really learn when it hurts.

What I Learned From Irma

Oh my gosh!  The Hurricane won’t kill you but the prep before the storm will.  If that doesn’t get you the cleanup after is sure to finish you off.

Well the whole “Wolf” thing came into play.  You don’t want to do too much too soon just in case it doesn’t come your way, but you’re afraid not to.  I was going with the thought we were going to get nailed and Bob said no it will turn away.  It was so impossible to predict until the last moment and then it’s path changed in mid stream.  So for four days I carried things I could never move, lifted things like Superman and worked at a speed that I haven’t done in years.

I was exhausted, and hurting all over.  I thought back to 2004 when Charlie was supposed to get us.  I didn’t remember hurting this bad and falling into bed passing out on my way down.  Of course not, I was 13 years younger.  Wow does 13 years make that much of a difference?  You bet it does.  I only realize that now that it’s over and I can think clearly again.  Four days to prepare and so far a week to cleanup, and we still have to undo and put things back where they belong.  The jump poles feel heavier this year for some reason.

A woman stopped me in Publix on Saturday and told me I looked tired.  Seriously!!!!  I just smiled and told her it was a tough week.  Hello?  Where have you been?

We only lost electric for seven and a half hours, but the phone and internet was down for four days, and it’s still questionable.  Verizon, for as much as everyone complains, worked perfect through the whole mess.  AT&T and Sprint lost towers.  It’s one day over a week and almost everyone has power.  We were not hit like South Florida or the Keys were.  We were Blessed.  Everyone I know just had a lot of  branch cleanup except for one couple who had a big Grandfather Oak land right on their brand new house.  They’ve only been in it for a couple of months.  They went up to stay with family in North Carolina and won’t even come back to look at what’s left.  I feel so bad for them.  They are still in shock and their insurance will only cover half.

So how did my plan go and what did I learn.  First of all I learned that I’m too old for this stuff.  Secondly I learned that my plan works.  The meteorologists said it was going right, then straight, then left of us.  Surprise!!  The eye came right over us.  By the time it got to us it was a Cat 1 or 2.  We had about 100 mile per hour winds.  But the noise that wind made was unbelievable.  I heard this horrible noise at 2:00 a.m., thought yes it’s here.  I thought that the one oak tree could come down right on my bedroom, gave the whole situation to the Lord, turned over and went back to sleep.  Bob however, got up with the flashlight and looked outside.  The next morning he said he’s getting out before the next storm comes.  He saw the big oaks bending over in the wind.  I told him we made it through with no damage, why would you leave?  He just gave me that look.

We figured our barn was good to 120 mph.  It wasn’t even fazed by the storm.  I kept the horses in because with my neighbors, I felt that UFO’s would be more of a problem than the barn caving in.  I was right.  I thought we’d lose some shingles on the house, but no, it was fine too.  God did a lot of tree pruning, so the property was a mess, and since it’s still mowing season that had to be cleaned up before we could cut.

I had extra horses because people were afraid and moved them to a safer place.  So I figured I’d go for extra grain, hay and bedding before any one else panicked.  I went on Tuesday before the storm was going to hit us on Sunday night.  Everyone else had the same idea.  I wasn’t so much worried that they would run out of grain as much as I was afraid their warehouse would get damaged and they would be closed after the storm.

Secured all the jumps in the corner of the pasture.  Tied them together to the fence.  Filled all the troughs, not so much to have extra water because we have a generator and extra gas, but to keep them from blowing around the pastures.  Secured all the gates, and removed hoses, and buckets.  Picked up anything that would become a missile.  Put break-a-way halters on the horses even though they would be in the barn.  The only thing that I had a problem with is the fact that I had name tags to braid in their tails and attach to the halters, but I didn’t have new ones for the new horses.  So I used tags from the horses that have crossed the Rainbow Bridge and just put the new horses names on with a Sharpie.

So the bottom line is don’t only prepare for the storm, think of what you are going to run into after the storm.  There was no gas after the storm, because there was no electric to run the pumps.  We had plenty of gas shipped in prior to the storm because of President Trump’ careful planning.  Fuel trucks had police escorts to get them to the stations.  People were going crazy trying to buy water.  Take old gallon jugs from juice or whatever and fill them.  Store extra gas for the generator or your vehicle because you don’t know how long everyone is going to be without it.  Get a generator.  Get name tags or spray paint to put your number on your horses.  Don’t do hoofs, it will wear off.  Put your cell phone number on, your house phone may not be working, but then your cell phone might not either.  Perhaps give a number of a friend or relative in another state for them to contact.  Same thing with your dogs and cats.  The shelters are filled with strays that have been picked up.

Make sure your shots are up to date.  Especially tetanus.  Mosquito control came by last night spraying.  The little monsters have been very active so shots for mosquito borne diseases are also a necessity.  Dump all standing water from the storm to keep breeding to a minimum.  Have your Coggins and any other important papers in a water tight bag or container.  Keep enough grain for a week to two weeks after the storm, but make sure that it’s protected from water.  Don’t forget to have meds for all people and animals to get you through a couple of weeks.  All stores and restaurants were closed for days because of no electric.  All food, dairy, and produce had to be thrown away so stores did not have anything even after they opened.

My Farrier was here yesterday and told me that he had been moving horses north for other people the whole week prior to the storm.  I asked him about the traffic on I 75, because it was crawling bumper to bumper for days before the storm, and to have horses stuck in a hot trailer when traffic is not moving will cause great harm.  He said they moved them at night.  The top speed was still only 40 mph but it was moving and cool.

It’s nice to know that all your plans and prep work are right on target.  It’s nicer not to have to try it out in real-time.  Thanks to all the people who sent up prayers for us.  We appreciated it and God was good.  Please keep praying for the people in the Islands, Keys, and South Florida.  They have a tough road ahead of them.  And especially pray for the Utility Workers, Police, National Guard, Fire Fighters, First Responders, and Volunteers who gave up their lives to come and save ours.  Also keep in mind the Animal Shelters who are taking in all the animals that have lost their homes and families.  Not to mention the wild animals who are without fresh water in the Keys.  The salt water mixed with the fresh.  They showed this morning on the news some Firemen who stopped and gave a bottle of their water to a dehydrated deer who drank two bottles of water and then went on his way.  How many won’t be that lucky?

There is so much out there that we are not even aware of.  The devastation that Irma has caused and now Maria is causing is going to last a while.  Be Thankful for what you have, so many no longer even have housing, or fresh water.

This has been a little long, but it makes up for last week.

So We All Saw What Happened With Harvey In Texas

Here we go with crying Wolf again.  That was a post from just a couple of weeks ago about being prepared.  The people in Texas were not prepared.  Houston was not told to evacuate.  What were they thinking?  I saw men putting their lives on the line to rescue a beautiful Quarter Horse from raging waters.  They all made it to safety.

So here I sit in Florida waiting to see if Irma is coming for a visit.  I have four extra horses whose owners were picking them up this weekend.  They are in Pennsylvania visiting family.  They had no idea that we are under a Hurricane Watch/Warning.

So to be prepared, I decided I’d better get more grain, hay, and bedding just in case they don’t make it back in time.  If we have trees down on the road, no one can come or go until we know that the electrical wires are not hot.  We’re about five days out from being hit.  I figured there wouldn’t be a rush on the feed store yet.  Surprise!  Everyone else was there being prepared.  One woman said that she had horses coming up from the Keys which will probably be evacuated today, Wednesday.  The last time the people on the West Coast evacuated because Charlie was supposed to come up that way, they all went inland to Orlando.  Charlie turned, ran up the middle of the state and guess where it went?  Orlando.  You just can never tell.

We’re high and dry.  For us to have waterfront property the rest of Florida would be submerged, another Atlantis.  But I’m glad people are taking this seriously.  There is no food or water on the shelves in the supermarkets, Costco, or Wal-Mart.  The governor has already declared that price gouging will be prosecuted heavily. $1,000.00 to $20,000.00 fine.  People are urged to call and turn these people in, they’ve already received 200 calls.  Everyone is taking this seriously.  Bob and I sat down at breakfast and made our plans of what needed to be moved and tied down. Now all we have to do is wait and watch.

Food – check.  Water – check, for all the people and animals.  Generator in working order – check.  Everyone has needed prescriptions on hand – check.  Now it’s a wait and see if we spring into action to lock down and tie down anything that may become missiles. Potted plants and furniture mowers and other equipment needs to be moved indoors. Hoses have to be disconnected because if the wind grabs them they will rip the water pipes off.  If we don’t have electric to the well, we won’t know we have a broken pipe until we do.  But with the generator, we will have water.

I’ve watched a thousand pound horse trying to hold their ground in major wind storms. Irma is packing 185 mile per hour wind.  Nothing would survive, neither house or barn.  Usually when a storm hits land, the winds diminish, but still we may not be in Kansas anymore Toto.  I told that to my brother yesterday and he wrote back, Just Follow The Yellow Brick Road.  I’ll get back to you on how we made out.

Prayers happily accepted.

I Know It’s August, But……..

When I lived up north I hated the fact that summer was almost over.  Well surprise! it is. Down here, we’ve got several months to go.  However, I do not let go of that old habit of preparing for the cooler and even colder winter months, starting in August.

It’s not quite time to pull out your winter underwear, but it is time to start thinking about washing those sheets and blankets (if you haven’t already).  I pressure wash my winter blankets, and it’s a lot nicer to do it when it’s 90 degrees and the back spray feels good, rather than when it’s cooler and you don’t want to get wet.

It’s also a good time to go over the sheets and blankets to see what needs to be repaired before everyone else descends on your repair person.  Besides, if you’re the repair person you don’t want to waste one of those beautiful fall days washing or repairing when you could be riding.

Your horses should be starting to lose their summer coats so don’t forget to curry them before they start doing it themselves on trees or fences.  That creates a whole different set of problems.

Well it’s still too early to worry about oiling the clips (but that’s always a good idea) and finding the heating units for the water, so do what you have to do and go and enjoy, the beach for now, and the glorious fall riding in a month or two.

I do miss the beautiful colors of the fall leaves.  Hey, did anyone ever notice that the colors seemed much brighter and more vibrant on a cloudy day than a sunny one.  No kidding,  if you haven’t, look and see them this year.

I know this post is probably like those commercials that run over and over again.  But if I need to be pushed into doing something I don’t really want to, I’m sure some of you do too.

Just “Get’er Done!”

Reflection

Before I start, I want to thank my friend Louise for making me smile.  As I entered my web page to write this I saw her comment of You Go Girl!  I somehow didn’t get a notice it had come in.  And I also smiled at my friend Nancy’s comment, which I had read the other day.  No my doctor is just a regular, non horse person.  You’ve got to remember that non horse people just don’t get our breed.  Now be kind and forgiving, they are just clueless.  But it made for a good, pot stirring, post.

I was sitting here being a little sad.  A good friend and wonderful neighbor just passed away.  He was the one who helped me build this website.  I am computer challenged and I’m not sure how I will handle this site if anything goes wrong.

I had no idea what to put on my site, but he helped me format it and gave me suggestions as to what needed to be there.  He prompted me on how to word things to make them more appealing on the internet.  He reviewed what I wrote and approved of everything I did.  Then he made a suggestion that I post “Horse Riding Tips – 10 Things You Should Do Before Getting On Your Horse”, he said that it would generate interest.  Needless to say I’ve been posting things ever since.  Now every time I go to this web page, I will think of him.  He battled cancer for two years.  He had more courage and determination than anyone I have ever met.  I always told him he was my hero. He is someone I will always look up to and try to be like.  Now Mark was not a horse person, so to speak.  He was in Marketing.  His wife, however, is very much a horse person, so he knew about the whole drive and life style.

So pondering on those lines I started thinking of all the horse people in my life who have helped me become the person I am.  Those that have given me not only knowledge, but taught me to ride by the seat of my pants.  Some of them have passed on, but some are still here.  We keep in touch via Facebook.  I think, after I write this, I will get on Facebook and send a few Thank You notes.

The people at the barn I grew up at loved horses and loves kids.  They taught us to teach our students how to love and respect horses.  They treated us like part of the family.  I try to pass this love onto my students to this day.  Of course I’ve researched and expanded on what I was originally taught.  There have also been professional horsemen in my life that taught me many things I didn’t agree with.  I thank them also for showing me how not to do things and it causes me to reflect on what I believe is right and wrong.  I hold true to the values of these lessons.

I know in every ones life there have people who have taught them and helped them to grow.  Made them into the horse person they are.  Don’t be afraid to go back and thank them.  Let them know that they made a difference in, not only your life, but all the lives of the horses that you have encountered over the years.  Or perhaps will encounter in the future.

As I always say – Teach what you have learned and one less horse will suffer from ignorance, and never stop learning.

Pass it on.

The Sense Of Touch, Don’t Be Afraid To Use It

We really don’t realize how much we touch things.  I’m not talking just to hold something, I mean really touch things.  Sometimes it’s for comfort and sometimes not so much.  Ever touch something just to see if it’s alive?  I usually do that through a stick.  Yuk!  There’s the loving touch that you may give someone, whether it be human or animal.  I love touching my animals.  Just a soft, almost caressing touch.  They respond very well, with love in their eyes.  There’s always the Wet Paint sign.  We all are tempted to touch and see if it’s still wet.  Why????

However, there is more to the touch than sharing your love.  Did you ever have a hay or hair splinter in your sock or piece of clothing?  Every time you move you feel that prickly sensation.  I hate when you shave a muzzle and have one of those tiny little pokey things somewhere.  You try to find it and pluck it out, but it eludes you.  Especially when it’s in your bra.  You take your foot out of your boot.  Look for the thing.  You put your foot back in your boot or shoe and there it is again.  I’ve pulled half the threads out of my sock and still can’t find it.  It’s so annoying, and scratchy.

Well did you ever think how it must drive your horse crazy when he/she has something poking them?  They can’t sit down and pull at things trying to find that one tiny sticker that’s driving them crazy.  Maybe it’s a sticker caught in their saddle pad, leg wrap, blanket, or girth.  One tiny little pokey, annoying, scratchy thing.  Have you ever just decided you can’t find it on yourself, so you try to ignore it?  Doesn’t work, does it?  Well they can’t tell you, and they can’t find it.  Always run your hands over a pad, fuzzy girth or any girth, leg wrap, blanket.  Yes it takes a little time, but if it was going on your body with stickers in it, you sure would.  I hate pulling stickers, or seedlings off socks before I wash them, but they may end up in my underwear, and I don’t want to have to deal with that nonsense.

Hears one that caught my attention the other day, and that’s why I decided to write on this subject.  I went to put fly masks on the horses.  As I was running my hand up to the top I felt something poke my finger.  As fly masks get some miles on them, the mesh starts to unravel, and there are those little poky things.  You don’t have to throw the mask out, just trim the poky ends with a scissor, but check on them often.  Just imagine a horse having to walk around all day with all these little spikes scratching against their faces.  Poor babies.

When I Hunted I used fuzzy girths, I still use fuzzy girths, and boy do they catch sticker clusters.  You know how they hurt when they are on your clothing.

Be mindful and run your hands over everything before you place it on your horse. He/she will be so grateful that they have such a wonderful human who looks after their comfort.

Now if I could only find that hay splinter that’s in my sock, I could go to the barn and feed.

On Being A Girl, Guys, Listen Up

Now wait a minute guys, this is going to be very useful for you in the long run.

Okay I’m a long way off from being a “girl” anymore, a “woman” or “lady” is pushing it a little now a days.  A “senile ole bat” works for me.  But don’t tell me I can’t do things.  That’s like waving something red in front of a bull.  The doctor tried that the other day.  Bob is down with his back, so I’ve been doing all the mowing.  Our doctor freaked.  “You can’t do that!”  How many of us like that kind of challenge?  Okay, bring it on!  You just don’t tell a horsewomen they can’t unload grain and hay, mow, use a hammer, saw or whatever.  The men in our lives, if any, aren’t always there, but the destruction that horses create is.  So the doctors next question was, “Well how long do you think you can keep this up?”  “Oh pretty much until I die” was my answer.  So he checked the muscles in my arms and said okay.  Bob told him I can handle the tractor and zero turn just fine.  I know he’s not really used to a horsewoman.  Some men just don’t get that we can handle a thousand pound horse, and anything that goes along with it.  We are not all sitting home watching Soap Operas, or Oprah, and eating Bon Bons.  We are not going to the mall and shop ’til we drop.  (Unless it’s a tack sale.)  And the truth of the matter is we like it this way.

Oh sure we like men, and if they want to put up fencing and do whatever needs doing, we’re fine with that, go out to dinner, you bet.  Just respect us for having a brain, using it, and doing what needs to be done, when we have to.  I know I’m a woman, still mostly blonde, but don’t put me down for that.  Celebrate who we are, capable partners who are not afraid to get our hands dirty.  Working side by side with a man to get whatever needs doing accomplished.

The doctor then asked me what plans I have for the future.  Have I even thought about a time when I can no longer do these things.  I guess I have, a little.  The boys at the feed store will deliver and unload the grain for me.  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to sit on a tractor, cut grass and play pole bending with the trees.  I tried to explain to him that there is just no reason to get up in the mornings if there weren’t those happy faces, with ears perked forward waiting for you.  I know I’ve witnessed my older horsewoman friends watch the number of horses in their barns dwindle in number.  I watched where there were no more foals being born in their pastures.  We all do get to that point.  But seriously, do we want to rush it?  Do we just want to quit and say I’m old so I’ll sit in my rocking chair and wait to die.  No Way!  We will do what we can do, while we can do it, and ride quietly into the sunset on our gallant steed.  Even if only in our minds.  We will look younger, feel better, and out do any of those health club yuppies, or whatever they call themselves now a days, any day.  Our horses are our reason, they are our goal, and everything we have to do for them is our purpose in life.  It’s what keeps us going.

There are times we like being treated like a lady, but respect us for all the facets of our lives and personalities.  It makes for a great friendship, and a wonderful marriage.