Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The New Journey........ Just More Stuff........

Part One

Somewhere after the Region 5 All Arabian Horse Championship Show, I learned the owners of both horses MD had in her care were getting more and more disgruntled. While neither woman was initiating a coversation with me about the situation, when I spoke about my concerns over the deteriorating relationship with MD and GD, I guess it only made sense the topic would shift from my issues with them to their issues with them.

I found myself in the predicament of listening to both women tell me they were fed up with MD. Promises had been made and not kept, excuses used so many times and out and out lies told, neither had any faith in MD. Neither really knew what they would do next and I suspect that had more to do with me than it did MD. Even though I supported my friends to do whatever they believed they needed to do, I knew there's that message that plays when you feel loyalty to another that complicated things. I felt sad my friends were in this situation and even more sad it was because of someone in my family.

MD had still not seen fit to either redo the lease on the palomino mare or change it to a purchase agreement. The mare's owner was really frustrated that GD was still showing the mare when the lease papers were out of date. She assumed, as did I, that the show secretaries were not paying attention to the paperwork. Had they done so, the mare could not have been shown and that might have put some pressure on MD to get things made right.

Both this friend and I work as show management and we are both perfectionists about our jobs. This situation with the horse showing without the proper paperwork touched on our sensibilities in the terms of management and liabiity to horse shows and owners as much as those more personal terms involving family and friends.

Since it didn't look like show management was doing their part, the mare's owner could see no reason why anything would change anytime soon. MD evidently had not responded to emails so my friend wasn't even sure what to do next.

At one point my friend asked me if I would pick the mare up for her. I asked her, please, to not put me in that position. I would certainly haul her mare home from some other location for her but I didn't want to be the one taking custody of the horse from BG's facility. My friend realized as soon as the words left her lips that she wouldn't want to put me in that situation either so instead she did nothing when what she really wanted to do was take her mare home.

The other friend was in a similiar situation until GD called her to verify that her mother was making payments on the horse. From what I understand when GD found out those payments were not being made, arrangements were made for her to clean stalls on weekends in exchange for payments on the horse.

I'm not going to get into the specifics of that situation here. I will say that it did make things difficult for my friend. She was torn between doing what she could to get the horse paid off and wanting to have her barn be a welcome place for me.

She understood how dibilitating all those comments by BG had been to me. She was really wanting me to come around her place more so I could be more involved and connected to others in the industry than I had been. She had lots of concerns that the two things together were not a good fit and, of course, she was right. I stayed away as long as MD and GD were there. I had enough on my plate without getting into that.

It's hard to be in that situation where the person taking advantage of someone you care about turns out to be your own child. It's even more difficult when it is happening within the one venue that means the most to you. Ever so slowly I began to see MD was not only messing with my friends, she was messing with something else I hold dear. She was messing with my relationship in the horse world and the joy my horses bring to me.

I'm not blaming MD for my discomfort. I know I am responsible for my feelings and I can and will deal with them. However, having these problems with our relationship all tied up with horses was really taking its toll on me. It was hard for me to get the same satisfaction I usually get from being around any of my horses when it triggered my feelings about the sad events happening within my own family.

I have said many times that horses keep me sane. While I use the term "sane" in a tongue in check manner because I really am quite sane dispite what some have maliciously said, horses help me stay centered no matter what life throws my way. If I am struggling, I have always been able to use my time around the horses to put things in perspective and get myself back on track.

Suddenly, all of the turmoil in my life WAS centered around the horses and that changed everything for me. Instead of being the safe haven they have always been, they were now a source of immense pain. I found little comfort in the barn sharing my grief with my horses, instead it seemed to ramp the pain up.

Of course, things were deteriorating with Solidare at this time. That didn't help things either. Normally the birth of a foal around here would bring such great joy. Most any emotional obstacle could easily be sqwashed under the pitter patter of tiny hooves. This year that birth brought with it the dark cloud of impending doom as Solidare slipped farther and farther away from me.

Solidare was my heart horse. She was the one that carried the burden of my heart after I lost Scandalous. As much as I love all the others, these two mares have held a very special place in my life and each for the same reason. Each mare chose me to be her special person. It is that chosing of me that heals my soul. Arabian Horses as Healers

If you noticed, I used the present tense of the verb,heal. The reason for that is clear. Healing has been an ongoing process for me. I was so fractured from the pain and abuse of my childhood that the journey will probably never be complete. I don't know how to describe it other than to say, the love of each mare told me maybe I do deserve to be loved after all. Now that Solidare's time was coming to an end and this conflict with MD and GD showed itself, I found myself waivering in my belief that this world has a place in it for me.

Because of this my initial reaction was to avoid the barn, just as most people choose to avoid dealing with their pain. Such a move would probably be destructive but it's hard to see that when the pain is overwhelming. What felt right was to put some distance between me and my horses. Because I have Lindsay and Dave to help me with them, it really was possible to keep my distance unless some emergency requiring my expertise arose.

Fortunately for me, Solidare's grip on my heart was great enough to beckon me beyond the pain. My loyality to her outshined any darkness and pulled my reluctant feet and heart to the barn. She needed me no matter what the status of my life. I could not turn my back on her and she carried me through the pain and into a new perspective and yes, to some healing, a beginning anyway.

It didn't take long for me to realize to remove myself from the horses would only hurt me. Despite the pain, the horses were not and are not the ones responsible. I had never imagined when I opened up my heart to let MD and GD join me in the world of me and my horses, how vulnerable I had made myself. I wanted so badly to build real loving relationships with them, instead I had opened myself up for an emotional assualt.

I realized I had the power to close that door just as I had opened it. Doing such a thing may have never been my plan but now it seemed like the only wise choice. The only way I could think to accomplish this was to limit my expectations of both MD and GD. To silence my aching heart, I would have to silence that voice screaming at me "family just doesn't treat family this way" because obviously, some family does. I needed to quit expecting more than they had to give. Not an easy task but one I was up to just as I was up for the lawsuit.

To be continued................

Enter the Homeless.....

The mare grazing in this picture is Scandalous. The pony in the background is Poa Moa Punch, Lindsay's pony who has long since been lost to us too. Two special horses in our lives looking quite peaceful as they graze.

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  1. I can't even imagine the emotional pain of what amounts to your childs betrayal of the passion of your life. I've had to distance myself from my father about my passion for career, dogs and my horse. But in our relationship as long as we don't bring up those subjects we do fine. He is very old fashioned and only had a use for animals that work, not as companions. I worked in the veterinary field for over 15 years and now work as a behavior counselor for dogs. He just doesn't understand.
    I very much understand horses (and dogs, or many other animals) as healers. In 2006 my relationship with my last hospital came crashing down after I broke my arm and dislocated my shoulder so I was out of the office and not able to defend myself against another people. It got very very ugly. Going to the barn to see my horse every day was my saving grace. She was amazing gentle with my limitations even though she was a green, green three year old. She even turned it to be great physical therapy too. I very much agree that our animal companions can be our best therapy.

  2. And I'm glad that this had not permanently damaged your relationship with your horses and your industry. Keep up the great work!

  3. "Suddenly, all of the turmoil in my life WAS centered around the horses and that changed everything for me. Instead of being the safe haven they have always been, they were now a source of immense pain."

    I think every horse lover who reads this part of your post will understand how taking this away is devastating. It hurts to read it.

  4. Such a sad state of affairs when the ones you love and want to share your passion with don't understand the gift you are offering them.

    Horses have always been healers to their people and will continue to heal you. I think the more time you spend with your horses, friends and the family that respects and loves you the faster you will heal. If MD & GD eventually come around that would be wonderful but if not they are missing out on a tremendous amount of love and sharing with their mother and grandmother. Feel better.

  5. You know, I understand what your saying more than you could have ever imagined. Last year was an extremely difficult year for Meg and I. So much of our relationship is (was) wrapped around the horses, that when she distanced herself from it, it broke my heart. I came over here and did chores...and then found other things to do because doing things alone with the horses just made me feel that much worse about everything that was going on between Meg and I.

    However, kid or no kid, horses have always been the center of my universe and I had to get back to it. It maybe lacks the companionship I got used to with Meg being around all the time with me, but I do find that I am a lot more focused on my own desires now. I had forgotten how many things I wanted to accomplish yet in my life. So maybe it wasn't all bad.

  6. Nicole, I think the worst part of this for me was the fact I just didn't see it coming. It had never occured to me trying to share my passion could be turn into something hurtful. I still don't really know what to think about all of this.

    I'm sorry that your father doesn't understand. No one in my family of origin ever understood about the horses either. For many years that kept me from pursuing any kind of relationship with horses. I'm glad you've not made yourself pay such a price trying to keep others happy because it just never works anyway.

    I think many horse people understand the healing power of horses, at least I hope they do. Your story makes my belief all the stronger. Good for you.

    Tammy, it sure added a whole other dimension to this journey. One I could definitely have done without.

    Arlene, I believe you are right that horses will continue to be healing for me. I know they have gotten me through this time and they will probably get me through others. MD and GD will have to find their own way to navigate life.

    BECG, I remember wondering at the time how you were getting along spending so much time doing other things besides horses. Now I guess I know.

    I can see how this will free me up to focus on what I need to do and want to do with my horses. I have no complaints about that part at all. Now if Dave could just get a job or I could win the lottery, LOL I could really get things flying.

  7. Bless you for not continuing your abusive history. I think few people understand how strong and loving you have to be to have gone through so much.

    I have an aunt who is dying alone in a hospice. She is evil. I've been very close to my cousin all of our lives and I know the suffering her mother caused her. I know how it's been for her raising her own children. Last week, before her mother went to hospice she took her children to the hospital to say goodbye, though she would rather not have gone.

    Sometimes, we have to do the right thing even though we don't know what the outcome will be. That's how I see your story with your daughter and granddaughter. You were coming from a loving place, trying to share the healing of your horses with them, and at the same time, trying to do the right thing for the horses. Unfortunately, you can't control their response to the gift you gave them. But bless you anyway for doing the right thing.

  8. I'm sorry things have been so hard for you. Yes, horses can be both a haven and a source of discontent. Hopefully, one day the family bonds will grow back. Meanwhile, hang in there.

  9. Thank goodness for nice lawyers like the one that helped you out. So many of them won't give us the time of day without hiring them first with a big fat retainer. He sounds like a very knowledgeable guy. The fact that you are meticulous about your records had to be a big help too! The thoughts of someone taking away the joy that you have with your horses made my stomach ache just reading about it. I too found that really hard to read. I have always called my horses my therapy and no matter how I feel when I walk into the barn I feel better after spending time with them. Buddy was my special angel and I could talk to him for hours when we were out on our trail rides. The poor guy probably wished he could put plugs in his ears! ha! How I miss that guy. I'm glad you did not let this whole thing rob you of your joy!!!!

    Yes, I have been getting some things done here but what should take me an afternoon took me four or five days! ha! I'd putter for awhile and then rest and then putter for a while. Still am hacking and coughing but everyone tells me this will hang on for weeks. I am feeling better though. Yes, I love that pic of Nick, he just looks so cute. Hopefully Miss T will have the interest for some jumping but if not that's okay I just want her to have fun with the horses and do her thing.

  10. I am so saddened as I read, and try to make sence of this turmoil and burden. You sure have had your share of the heartache and I can relate on a small level, my own, to healing & horses to lift you up again..impartial and dependant always upon us, the wonderful equine is. They give us wings to depart from painful trials.

    I know that my horse journey has actually opened many past wounds..seemingly so they may get the light of seeing them as they really are.
    It does NOT make them hurt less at all. But since the past is the past and I have faith to travel into the furture...I've had to try(with plenty of help and horse love) to move forward.

    I pray for the strength/insight. As I go a small distance away from the accounts, with family and others . Trusting comes very hard for me..I'm so darned sensitive. Sometimes I swear I feel things Just a little DEEPER than others. Relational things affect me more and I have a harder time ,moving on.

    So, I can relate. You are very brave and you also are doing well to get it out of your system...leaving it OUT is the HARDEST PART though.
    Your MD and GD really are missing the point of LOVE. All the love you have to give and share. I am very sorry for the loss and hurt that occured.

    I know this is not quite over...but I will help you pray to not allow a reinfesting of pain and fear, and all the feelings that are hindering to us humans. t God wants us to heap upon HIM!
    Help me too, sweet , as I try to trust in my world..trying nowe to keep the past there.

    You are always so uplifting when you come and see me (and others) Bless your kind and GREAT heart of herts!

  11. That makes sense about avoiding the horses at that time because of the pain they were associated with. I haven't had anyone that close to me who hurt me also be tied into my horse life, but life like BECG, when my daughter lost interest for a little while and she and I had some major divisions--which was extremely unusual for us because we'd been stuck together like glue her whole life and we shared a love of riding together--like BECG, it was hard to go out and do everything by myself. It felt very lonely.

    That's interesting how you ended this--that you had to change your expectations. That's very hard to do.

  12. I have no idea how you've managed to deal with all of this. I would have shut down long ago. I don't handle stress very well. I know what it is to have family members like that. And negative experiences in the horse community did drive me to quit once and walk away from my greatest source of joy. And now I'm finding myself having to ride only late at night when Husband is around because of a negative force at my current barn. It's a beautiful day, I want to give my girl a bath, I want to take her for a walk down the lane, but the barn witch is a constant presence. I will ride at 7:30pm as always. I wish I had to the strength to deal with these kinds of people. But I never have. I crumble. So I very much admire how you've been able to continue under these pressures.

  13. So glad that you didn't alow the pain to distance you completely from horses. It is terrible that the very thing you love and keeps you grounded was essentially being used against you for a time. It speaks volumes about the people involved and also your strength and determination thet you "took back your joy"

  14. this is where the story becomes tragic. it's hard enough to have falling outs with friends but family? i cannot imagine.

    my sister and i own baasha. at one point she was even more active at the barn than i was - she was working as an assistant trainer to debi. then a green arab bucked her off and broke her collarbone and my brother in law said horses: too dangerous. he is so protective of her he couldn't stand to see her hurt, and she really was getting hurt a lot, i admit. it broke my heart when she decided to have kids and move away from horses.

    i always wished she wanted horses to be her "one thing" but i shouldn't have expected that of my younger sister, she is who she is, and i am so grateful to her that she had kids so i am relieved of that pressure (!!).

    but still the wish is undeniable in my heart. i guess that is my firstborn curse, to always expect more than can be given.

    but thank god i don't HAVE to have kids: ) thank you becky.

    i understand on this small level the complexity of mixing horses with family.

    i want to say how much i loved seeing a photo of scandalous. how i'd love to see a photo of scandalous and a full grown legs together, facing each other. it doesn't exist, does it.

  15. redhorse, for the longest time I didn't even know my history was abusive. Once I was aware of that I was determined my kids would not suffer as I had so I worked very hard to fix all those twisted perceptions I had been taught so I could be a good mother. I guess that's what is the most frustrating about this. MD wants to function in those old destructive ways and has pretty much rejected any form of healing or change. It is very sad.

    I understand true evil quite well. I am sorry your cousin had to experience it first hand. I wish her well and healing.

    I suspect my daughter has never seen anything havig to do with me as a gift, unfortunately. It is hard to understand how we got to this place knowing the extent I have gone to really be a good mother unlike what I experienced. It seems that love should be enough but it just isn't sometimes. It's a hard lesson.

    Fan Voyager, one can only hope there is healing down the road for our relationship. Time will tell.

    MM, I do think that lawyer was one of the good guys. That has not always been my experience with lawyers so it was nice to see.

    I think about your relationship with Buddy every time I see his picture on your blog. He was such a special horse for you. I'm so glad you had that wonderful experience with him. I know how much you miss him. I hope the day comes when you make that kind of connection with another horse. I believe there is one out there.

    I don't think I will ever let anyone stop me from being involved with horses. They are a part of me and I will always cherish that.

    Watching Miss T grow is quite amazing in itself. Can't wait to see where horses take her.

    KAC, I believe that emotional wounds are just like physical wounds, they must be exposed to heal. If they are stuffed away they only fester and control us. Dwelling on them is not useful, it only drags us down, but acknowledging them and learning the lessons they hold can heal even the deepest and darkest trangressions against our soul.

    I am very sensitive as well. I have finally acknowleded that is one of my strengths. The fact I feel pain so intensely is not the only thing that comes with that sensitivity. I also have a bold passion and a zest for life that is colored much more deeply because of my sensitive nature. I love deeper, I laugh harder and that is why I hurt deeper.

    The pendulum swings to both sides of the emotional spectrum. It is a gift if one lives life looking for the postives. It can be a curse if viewed through the eyes of a pessimist. For me, I chose to see it as the gift it is. It is the source of the consuming joy I feel with my horses and a source of inspiration to share that expereince so others might feel it too. I hope the day comes when you can acknowledge it as a gift as well.

    I know trust is hard. I've been there too. I finally discovered the issues I had with trust were really about trusting myself. Once I figured that out and began to believe in myself on this journey, that's when I really began to fly.

    Thanks for the prayer. I wish you healing in your journey as well.

  16. Linda, Changing expectations is hard but it gets easier with time. I have learned a lot about how my expectations have contributed to my issues in life. Even with the horses expectations can color things so it was an important lesson for me to learn and it has served me well.

    Story, I used to be such a wimp. I just finally got tired of letting others dictate how I was going to live. I finally decided I was worth more than I was allowing myself to have because of my fear.

    It took practice, some learning of true assertiveness (not aggressive confrontation), with some stress management thrown in but I have learned to stand up for myself. Funny how those barn bullies lose their power when they are confronted.

    In the process I have learned how to deal with pressure and stress in a positive way and it has given me a great strength I never realized I had. I think we must stand up for ourselves to see that strength was really there all the time. It's a scary journey, but so worth it. I would encourage you to try and even be support if you would like. It's always easier to make such changes with the support of friends.

    Fern, when I realized that the horses had actually been used against me as a weapon, I was shocked at first but the realization really helped me put it in perspective. To have stayed away from the horses meant they won. I was never going to do anything to give them that kind of power over me. It was a no brainer at that point.

    lytha, I think you are fortunate enough to have come from a loving family. That makes such a huge difference.

    Coming from a family where victimization was a way of life, I have learned how hard it is to get the whole family away from that way of living. It is the choice of each individual to make that journey into living in a more productive place. Unfortunately not all of my children chose to make that journey.

    Stopping the cycle of abuse does not just come with leaving an abusive situation. All of the old familiar messages that contributed to the feelings of powerlessness must be addressed for there ever to be healing. In situations like mine it applied to all family members because I had originally taught my children all those messages that made them powerless. To stop the cycle, those messages have to change. I get frustrated with those ads "Stop the Cycle of Abuse" when getting out is only the first step.

    Sorry for my rant but that just makes me nuts!

    As for a picture of Scandalous nose to nose with a mature Legs, it could not have happened. Legs was about 9 months old when his mother died.

    I see her in him, but then I see her nearly everywhere I look on this farm thanks to him. There are glimpses of her in each and every one of her descendents. How I miss that mare!

  17. This post makes me doubly sad for your loss of Solidare. *cyber hug*