From her visit to my farm to the time I got the phone call from TF it was two weeks. It took just two weeks to destroy a reputation it had taken me twenty-five years to build. The rumor mongers more interested in spreading their malicious lies than in knowing the truth.
Considering how many of those years I had donated my time and skills to the industry so that these people could show horses to make their livings, sell horses, garner ribbons and even feed egos, I was not only hurt by this betrayal but disgusted as well, those spreading the rumors just as weak minded and guilty as Kelly Panowicz and Crystal Baker too.
I had spent years defending those in the Arabian horse industry against those claiming the people in it were the worst of the worst. Now I found myself wondering if I had been wrong all of those years.
It is said we know who our friends are when the going gets tough. The wide gap between those who acted like they were trustworthy and those who actually were definitely showed itself very quickly. The balance of the sides very lopsided. I think that really caught me off guard. I knew there were some who would throw others under the bus and/or exploit others given the chance but the pervasiveness of the problem was far worse than I ever could have guessed.
Few stepped forward to help in this time. Some that did had something to gain. I will share those stories as I go because people who exploit the weak and vulnerable should not be allowed to get away with such behaviors.
The woman who called for answers so she could defend me against the rumor mongers was the first to do no harm. Once word of the happenings here spread, there were a few other genuine offers of assistance. There were also some who defended me if the opportunity arose even though they had nothing to gain by doing so. Just the fact that some did defend me was important to me.
One of my friends who grows hay let us get hay from them, telling us not to worrying about paying for it until we were back on our feet. The price they set for that hay was what it cost them to put it up.
To this day I have offered to begin paying off that bill only to be told not to worry it can wait and they don't want me to stress about it. These farmers are experiencing their own tough times so have sacrificed to help us which makes their kindness all the more valued.
My farrier trimmed my entire herd for $150. Having twenty-nine horses that is some deal. When I asked what I owed, I tried to question the amount knowing it was way too low. The man wouldn't let me even get the words out. Shaking his head and gesturing with a hand he made it clear he had made no mistake and the amount was not open for discussion.
The same farrier spoke up at a horse show when some there took the mention of my name as an opportunity to slam me and my horses. Something was said like trimming them "should be fun." My farrier immediately came to my defense speaking loud enough for all to hear, "MiKael's horses are always good." knocking whatever negative discussion there was out cold. If they intended to speak badly about me, it was not going to be in front of him.
My none horse friends stepped up saving, and sometimes even shredding, their newspapers for me so I can use them for bedding. Mostly they have been there to support me in this journey but when I have needed something they could provide, they have been there whether it was convenient or not.
I should also mention before I got off the phone with TF that night she asked me to make her a promise. Reminding me that my horses are assets and represen years of hard work and commitment for me and my family, she wanted me to promise I wouldn't give anymore horses away. Just as the strangers had said Kelly Panowicz was ethically and morally wrong, my friend very much agreed. As some have commented, TF's idea of help was to buy a horse, not take one. Offers with chores were appropriate. She made it clear, even in this poor market, the quality of my horses dictated I should be getting money for any horses I should part with so I would have funds to support the others. Anyone suggesting otherwise was up to no good. Simple as that.
I did call Crystal Baker to see if she had heard rumblings from the grapevine. She confirmed she had but claimed she was telling people the horses would be fine because she was taking care of it. Another clue about her motives, selling herself as expert and savior, trading on my name to build her reputation. There would be more of these even though I don't recall ever reaching her direction again so maybe it is true sooner or later the truth will out.
Considering my thinking was definitely compromised by the state of my health, TF's perspective was very helpful. Armed with this new information I emailed EF I would not be giving anymore horses away. Since I had not really even tried to sell them yet, it was premature for me to be giving them away. Instead I would work to get some listed on the web. I was sure Panowicz would not be happy to hear this but she would have a hard time convincing EF there was anything wrong with me taking this route. To push could expose her true game and I was sure my friend had no idea what Kelly had been up to since she left here.
Not knowing how I was going to broach the subject of Kelly Panowicz's behavior, I left it at that. Knowing EF would feel responsible for the harm done, I would wait until I had the proof of Kelly's intent. I knew we had both been played even if I couldn't explain it yet.
Considering the brief time span for all of this, it might look like the only thing getting dealt with here was the horses. My health was certainly not my priority but I couldn't ignore it either. Pain pretty much crippled me so sleep was next to impossible. I pushed myself probably much farther than I should but I had to make adjustments so I could sleep.
The date for the reattachment surgery was postponed because those open wounds were still not closed. As painful as the ostomy was I was crushed each time the surgeon slide that date but I did not realize there was probably a correlation between my slow healing and my stress levels. If there was anything I wanted as much as I wanted my horses to not be affected by my illness it was to get that ostomy gone. I was trying hard to balance my life so I could have both.
To be continued.....
Another Player on the Scene