Horsey Therapist

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Muzzled Kacee

Muzzled and resting in the shade of the run in.

Proving she can indeed eat with that contraption in place.

Long haul

RNB tells me I'm crazy. I probably am. (Probably?) I head out in a couple of days for Tennessee. I did this last June hauling one horse for a one week clinic. This year? Two for two. Double your pleasure, double your fun...

It speaks to the degree of admiration of and benefit derived from spending time with Harry Whitney and the students drawn to learn with him. And my enjoyment of adventure and willingness to suffer hotter, more humid weather than I can experience right here at home at no added cost.

The truck is partly packed. Buckets are ready and most decisions about tack are made. Which clothes and whether to plan for a trip to the laundramat are choices that weigh heavily on my mind.

Thank goodness for lists. Today mine starts with "camera and memory" and ends with "Palm Pilot and power". In my tired state this morning, I mixed Things To Do in with the Items To Bring list. It won't matter -- I'll bring what I remember to pack and do what I get around to doing. Although guided by lists has eased some stress of the past two days of focussing on preparing.

Top of my next list: take a nap.

Part of preparing for this trip includes setting up animal care here for RNB. He can do anything, even without any instructions from me -- I know this. But I like to leave things simple and easy because he's busy this time of year with work demands and seems that's the least I can do before I run off to have fun for two weeks without him. Things like clear all the 2005 hay from the top loft in case the hay gets cut and baled while I'm away.

You will think me crazy for wanting to be here for that.

I am fully convinced that how I stack hay is the best way, ensuring not only best use of space (more bales per cubic yard) but also best final drying so there are few or no bales lost to mold. We stacked "my way" in 2005, and indeed no bales were moldy. Our hay man and his teenage helpers stacked in 2004 and there were plenty of moldy bales. I could, in all fairness, mention that the 2004 season was much wetter, the grass was longer and older before being cut, and the floor boards in the loft were new hence wet themselves that summer. Guess what? I still think my way of stacking is the best. And I know if I'm not here to enforce it, the hay will be stacked not to my liking. But I ain't gonna stay home in the off chance the haying will be done these next two weeks. But it is tempting.

Friday, June 09, 2006


Kacee has quickly learned how to eat while wearing a muzzle.

Why would I want to muzzle her?

Grass laminitis. Metabolic issues. Insulin resistance. Sugar problems. Call it what you may, she has suffered the past two years out on pasture despite her obvious love of grass. It might be equal to my having access to pecan pie, white chocolate, and caramel custard 24/7. Why bother to stop eating? It tastes soooooo good. And then the body gets sick. Sooner or later.

I wonder why I expect myself to make health-supporting decisions about what to eat when such a eremarkable beast as Kacee cannot.

Learning from projections

This evening I heard myself say (silently to myself during one of those endless conversations inside my head as I dissect events and emotions and attempt to make sense of my relationships), "Rusty is just like me. He hates being told what to do."

It fit when I said it. Then thinking more about it, it didn't fit.

I was recalling a few summers ago riding in a clinic with Harry Whitney. Riding Rusty three days in a row. Following suggestions/directions from Harry and passing them on to Rusty. I may have been practicing gentling my hands on the reins, or developing consistency when I ask for direction, continuing to ask until the horse responds, or in those special moments, when the horse prepares to respond.

Rusty started letting down mentally and emotionally like I'd never seen before. Yawning and soft and patiently waiting for my next message of guidance. It was sweet. Unspeakably sweet. Bring-tears-to-your-eyes sweet.

I scratched my head during that clinic. I have historically offered the horse a bit too much choice, and it baffled me to get such a melting response from Rusty when I was -- in my interpretation -- giving him so few choices.

I did not follow up after the clinic with regular riding or with offering him as much direction and support as I did in that clinic. Mea culpa. But today I'm thinking about this. And recognizing that it is ME who does not like being told what to do, hence it has been hard for me to be in the role of telling Rusty what to do.

But what if he really needs that from me? Can I let go of my stuck place and give to him what he needs, without the emotions that tend to surface when I'm being told what to do and happen to have some other superb ideas about what I should be doing? Ugly moments of defensive, disconnecting emotions, at least as recognized by my more sensitive, aware, and honest self.

Rusty is not the only one who gets the brunt of my emotional expression. RNB does as well. I am making progress though and this about all I can ask for. Though saying that and acting in full harmony with that belief are two separate experiences. But growing closer.

Dissolve, oh ye persistent particles of perfectionism!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006


Old house, ready to sell.

New house, developing from our dreams.