The horse's pasture to the East...

Sunday, February 26, 2012


I've had a little extra time on my hands the past couple of months. I've watched Parelli Videos over and over, slowing them down so I can see expressions on the human's face and where the horse's ears are, how relaxed they are together. And I've also been reading about human psychology, especially about fear and how to regain confidence. 

But I've also been reading about the different phases or emotions that you go through when you're recovering from an illness, injury or dealing with grief. I'd read about them before but I've never really had to deal with the kind of emotion that rolls over you when you can't control it. 

Last week I was in my anger phase. I mean I was really PISSED off. Even worse, the only one I could be angry with was myself. January 3rd was entirely my fault. It's much easier to be angry at someone else than it is to be angry with yourself. I can't point an accusing finger or huff and puff about how 'they' screwed everything up unless I want to look in a mirror and do it. Anger is an exhausting emotion. I wasted way too much time on it. Then again, maybe it's a good thing that I've dumped it all outside of myself so I can let it go and move on.

This weekend I've been depressed ... way, waay, waaay deep down I can't move, can't sleep, can't eat de --- pressed. Everything's been in slow motion. It's like moving through thick, gooey mud and having it suck at my boots until one comes off and the only choice is to step in the muck if I want to get out. 

So, in to the muck I went. I've wrestled with with my demons, made myself look in the mirror, cried about what happened and then cried some more. It's been a major pity party here. Call me Mrs. Whiner! 

Enough is enough. I've had it with the phases running things. I decided to think my way out of it. So last night I went to bed with an article in my head that my son had sent to me about sleep patterns. The article talks about research showing that it's alright to sleep in three or four hour segments with an hour or two in between of being awake. It's normal! Who knew?

I read it twice, then I told myself it was fine to wake up and feel bad. No worries. In my contrary way, when I went to sleep thinking like that, I slept for nine hours straight! I woke up this morning with all kinds of ideas in my head about how to use the day, what I wanted to accomplish. My mojo was back and wanted to be fed.

I'm not sure all of the phases are past but I have to tell you, today they aren't in control and that's a very good thing. Today I was in the moment, not worried about mountains or valleys in front of me, real or imagined. It's been a very pretty day and I've just 'been'. Everything in it's own time...

I do have a new list of things I've done.

1. I mopped the floor with my new mop. Had to wring it out with both hands but I still did it by myself.
2. I cleaned the barn, doing all of the sweeping and dusting, brush cleaning and organizing. John pulled up the floor mats and put out the new bedding, cleaned and filled the buckets. Those are still too heavy for me to manage.
3. I'm touch typing all of this using both hands and I've started to write with my right hand, draw too!
4. It's no issue to pull up zippers or button buttons anymore. I'm using both hands for that too. (It's the little things I'm feeling good about these days!)
5. I was able to stand on Apache's right side without being nervous. We took a 'sun bath' in the paddock after his breakfast, together. I massaged his face, neck, under his chin and the top of his poll around his ears.
6. And this one is huge! I haltered both Lucky and Apache by myself. HUGE! I'm still wearing my arm brace but I now have enough mobility to manage the ropes. 

Lucky was so excited he could barely keep his feet still for me. He stood there and talked to me the whole time, nickering and sighing, licking and chewing. It took only three times to get it just right, with his head turned softly to me, nose down and sliding softly into the halter. Good job Lucky!

And Apache. Oh my. He came straight to me, swung around in to perfect position, turned his head to me and put his nose in to the halter soft and easy as you please. Just like that! He looked me straight in the eye, completely focused on me the whole time. Then he leaned down and picked up my carrot stick off the ground and handed it to me! It was another one of those complicated laugh and cry moments! He gave me one of his patented 'Apache hugs' too, wrapping his head around me and sighing.

I think they've missed all of this as much as I have. 

I ended things right there, on a perfect, quiet note. They went back to munching hay in the sunshine, under the eaves of the barn. And I floated inside, about two feet off the ground.

I think I can. I think I can. I think I can!

Lots of mountains to go...lots of valleys too. But I THINK I CAN !

I am, ever yours, Nancy, licking and chewing ... and thinking

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


I remember watching a video, a few months back, put out by Jerry Williams, 3 Star Parelli Professional. In it he talks about taking responsibility for how your horses behave, taking responsibility for how you as the human partner and leader behave. Well, something clicked for me last night. I woke up with that idea in my head this morning. If being hurt was not their fault but mine, then I better get my act together and REALLY take responsibility for what happened.

I've reread Dr. Stephanie Burn's book MOVE CLOSER, STAY LONGER and then I did it again because I didn't pay attention. I didn't absorb what I read. In it she talks about her journey while learning how to play/work and live with horses and the program she put together to deal with fear. She talks about how your brain, sly devil that it is, will take over and try to save you from yourself! Uh huh. Mine does that all the time. It's an expert at helping to find ways to procrastinate, to do other things that are easy for me to do ... safe stuff like cleaning the house, cleaning the barn, pulling weeds ... instead of doing the things that help me to grow and change, to get outside the comfort zone where it's scary. 

Well, today I decided to take responsibility for breaking my own pattern of going right brain. I did everything backward. Instead of cleaning the house, taking my shower after working out, neatening and tidying up all the messy places, I made sure my arm brace was off and then I surfed the net, watched silly YouTube videos, ate some chocolate, went out for a walk WITHOUT MY ARM BRACE and then I went into the paddock with the horses and we played together.

Did you catch that? WE PLAYED TOGETHER! I did it, I did it, I really, really did it ... YES! I REALLY DID IT! I'm sitting here with a pack of ice on my achy arm and typing left handed, but I did it. I even moved the carrot stick from my left hand to my right and back again. And, oh, the sighing and licking and chewing on their part...the laughing and crying and "Ow, ow, ow!" ing on my part. The sun is out and I played for just five minutes with Lucky and Apache ... and I feel like a million bucks!

I've asked for help to, from friends of mine, to help me through this process of banging the dents out of my confidence. I'm learning how to unbend and ASK. I'm pretty good at humble pie now. In fact, it tastes pretty good!

Other things I've done today :
1. Top of the list is playing with Lucky and Apache for five minutes
2. Brushed Miniver with my right hand
3. Made the bed, lifting the heavy top cover, with both hands
4. Filled the water bowls and buckets, mostly using my left hand but supporting it with my right (water is heavy and moves around)
5. I've spent the whole day with my arm brace off! (You'd be surprised at how hard that is to do when you've become used to the protection and support it provides.)
6. I trimmed some of Joe's hair off with a scissors, using my right hand to do it.

Every day it just gets better and better! WOOHOO! I'm back in the saddle again...metaphorically speaking.

I am ever yours, Nancy, doing a happy feet dance, ice bag and all!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


Sometimes things just happen. 

On January 3rd I broke my arm. Maybe I should be more specific. I smashed it, breaking both bones, tearing ligaments, damaging nerves... the full Monty. 

Wish I could say it's over now. I will heal but it's going to take a bit more time than I thought. I have several more weeks of physical therapy to get through and then there's the gigantic dent in my confidence to deal with. But at least I can sit here and type. There's a plus!

I've been "writing the story" in my head for weeks, wanting to get it all down. But the truth is I'm kind of tired of it now. It just is. 

It was my fault. I didn't focus, didn't think about what happens before what happens happens. I was too  lost in my game,stuck on a silly goal and not thinking about the 'here and now'. I didn't think like a horse. They have one goal, to survive. They were fulfilling their goal, from their point of view. If I'd been more in the moment and paying attention to
 what was going on right then, instead of thinking about what I wanted to do, none of this would have occurred. Lesson learned the hard way!

So, the only thing to do now is to go straight forward from here. I'll have to do some restart but that will probably be good for me anyway. I need to practice being 'here and now' LOTS more. I thought I was doing that but my gnarly arm tells me different.

Truth be told, I seriously thought about quitting, throwing the towel in, walking away, giving up. I knew I wasn't going to do that the day after my surgery. I'd been told not to go down to the barn. Resting and healing was going to be my new job for the next few months. But John came in and told me that Lucky and Apache were lethargic, hanging up around the gate (where the accident happened) and off their feed. So I broke my first set of rules, didn't follow instructions and walked down to see them.

I admit I was pretty whacked out from the pain meds. I really wasn't thinking clearly. But I couldn't let them stand out there, depressed, either. John said they'd been like that since the accident but he was afraid to tell me (because he knew I'd go out there, of course). And that's when I made the decision I wasn't going to quit. I would just have to look at it as a painful lesson. 

I'm going to keep a list of all the little steps forward that I make. I'll need them to convince myself it's all OK. I can still reach for goals. I just need to be a bit more Zen about it and less monkey brained obsessed! 

Things I've done today :
1. Typed this entry, sometimes using both hands.
2. Pulled on my cowboy boots and took them off by myself.
3. Put my hair up by myself (can't say it looks great, but still I did it!)
4. Made it through the day without needing to sleep
5. Folded all the laundry using both hands
6. And, the really BIG accomplishment, I went in to the paddock by myself and hung out with Lucky and Apache without being nervous.

Now all I have to do is put on my 'Little Engine That Could' cap and get my mojo back.

I think I can, I think I can, I think I can...

"Chug, chug, chug.", she said as she went up the hill. 

I am, ever yours, Nancy, slightly dented but back in the game, smiling!