"And, when you want something, the entire Universe conspires in helping you to achieve it." -The Alchemist, by Paulo Coehlo

Friday, November 20, 2015

Not Wordless, Not Wednesday

Have a video of some of what I've been up to with Gracie, as described in this post. :)

Reins are draped over the pommel the entire time. 

As a child, I dreamed of achieving this level of communication with a horse, ever since watching that scene where Alec rides The Black tackless across the beach in The Black Stallion. 
It was always just beyond my reach, and while I could have followed one of many natural horsemanship trainers' methods to achieve this prior, it was important to me that I figure it out on my own with a horse that was willing to listen.
I have found that horse. <3

Monday, November 16, 2015


Today Charles and I arrived at the barn, saddled up the girls and went for a ride on the farm trails.

We trotted through the woods, galloped up all the hills and pranced through the river, the cold water flying up around us in a huge spray that sparkled in the sunlight. 

We rode out onto the hayfields and let Lily and Gracie go, bent low over their necks as we flew around the perimeter of the still-green fields, Charles's grin matching mine.

I looked ahead, at Lily's dark bay ears pricked forward in front of me as she flattened herself over the earth with each stride, chasing our shadow across the ground. Soaring.

And all we knew was joy.

And it was beautiful.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Eternity in Each Moment

Lots of radio silence here.

Lily had her sutures taken out almost 3 weeks ago. I'm allowed to clean the wound and to ride (my halter bridle doesn't touch the area at all) and things are basically back to normal except for the fact that I continue to bandage her head to protect the head wound as it finishes healing from the inside out. I'm terrified she'll rub it (because healing wounds = itchy) and re-open it. So the bandage continues to go back on in the meantime. Both her and I are completely done with this: Elastikon sticks like a mother but I don't want to ride her with the bandage on because she will sweat under it and then it will stick that much harder. She's starting to become head shy and I don't blame her one bit.

I keep saying "One more week" of bandaging and then the week is done, and it still doesn't look quite as solid as I want it to be before I trust it'll be okay to leave the bandage off. So we continue for another week. And so on and so forth.

Evening bandage check after work.
Seems to be the story of my life these days: one moment at a time, one day at a time, one week at a time.

Charles's work schedule has been all over the place lately so I've been riding alone a lot. For the first time since owning horses in the US, I don't have riding friends. The boarders at this barn are lovely but the people our age aren't the riders: they are the parents. Even then, my riding schedule is completely different from everyone else's so several months into boarding at this barn, I still haven't been able to ride with any of the others. And though I miss having riding buddies, at the same time it's okay. It's not the first time (I rode alone in PR 99.9% of the time and preferred it) nor will it be the last time. And also because I'm living in the moment. I get to the barn, pull the girls from the field, and then decide if and what I'm going to do with them. It's a special kind of relief to not have everything planned down to the millisecond for once in my life.

I am officially not an emergency and critical care veterinary technician anymore, which has been a huge relief emotionally and mentally. After months waiting for this department change, I am now a surgery vet tech, which encompasses the roles of surgical assistant, anesthesiologist,  medical technician and scrub nurse in the human surgical field. I used to think anesthesia was boring. HELL NO IT'S NOT. I don't run anesthesia for spays and neuters: I run anesthesia for complicated orthopedic surgeries, for hemoabdomens, for splenectomies and liver lobectomies, for thoracotomies, laparatomies and joint arthroscopies. There is very little that is "simple" about the surgeries that my doctor does. I know how to use a regular anesthesia machine and an anesthetic ventilator. I set up the OR, select the instruments the surgeon is going to need, calculate the drugs your pet is going to get both pre-op and intra-op, I prepare the fluids, induce your pet, clip and clean him for his surgery and it is my main responsability to keep him alive and pain-free during the controlled death that is anesthesia. When it comes to that line between the life and death of my patients, I am now in the driver's seat instead of at the mercy of Fate.

Photo from the internet, but just so you guys have an idea.
Surgery & anesthesia are to emergency & critical care what dressage is to jumpers. Control and precision vs speed and adrenaline rush.

I like being in control. And my patients certainly manage to keep me on my toes still! And the awesome team of doctors and technicians I get to work with are out of this world. Anesthesia is most definitely feeding into my current living-in-the-moment philosophy. You watch and wait and don't change anything unless something about the patient starts changing first.

Lily has had several arena rides since her return to work and we've also gone out on the trails with company. I think she is happy to have a job again.

"Really??? We're actually going to ride??"

Lily showing Gail's Nimo how to cross train tracks. :)
I've been doing all sorts of stuff with G-Mare: we've gone out solo on the trails, done more groundwork, and even played with a giant horse ball, which she was surprisingly not offended by.

I've also started to do reinless work with Gracie, which involves me draping the reins over the saddle pommel and riding her exclusively off of seat and legs. She is proving to be brilliant at this. I can get her to do a dead halt from a canter simply by sitting up and exhaling. It's magical.

Fall around here is also magical.
She has also been lesson pony twice: one of my coworkers was very interested in the horses so I finally asked him if he'd like to come out. Charles takes all the credit for teaching this mare the patience to deal with newbie riders.

3 words: MEN AND HORSES. Sheesh. I wish I could have taken to riding as quickly as almost every guy I've ever put on a horse has...

Her fan club just keeps growing.
She is also a barn favorite here, much more than Lily has ever been.

Yes, he had ridden before a handful of times many, many years ago.
STILL. This was his second time on a horse in recent history. And already cantering like this.

Gracie says, "Come, new friend! I will show you all the trails!"
So, so proud of that mare and everything that she has become.

"Happiness, not in another place but this place...not for another hour, but this hour." - Walt Whitman