Our First Week with Sundance

Hello all. I realize I haven’t written anything in almost a week. Sorry about that. My mission to lease a horse so I can ride every week met with great success last week and I have been having way too much fun with it; I am starting to wonder if my health insurance covers equine therapy visits. Heaven knows it is doing much more for me (and My family) than any kind of man made antidepressant ever could.

I rode three times last week, on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. I visited with Ashlee, the owner of Sundance, on Monday night after picking Heather and Kate up from a ball game at the high school where they had to take pictures for yearbook. The place seemed to be a little far out but in all reality it is only 10 minutes from my house. The owner of the horse is not the owner of the property, but he was there too. His name is Mitchell. I have to say, I feel so fortunate to have found such wonderful people to get back into this with. She is a 20 yr old trick rider and owns three of the horses on site and he is in his 50s and has been around horses his entire life. I know I will be able to learn a lot from them both.

I had to wait until Thursday to ride again but I ended up coming out on Wednesday to see the horses again and talked to Mitch for about an hour. Turns out he has several (10 or so) other horses on site and is a breeder and farrier. I will also probably be able to keep a horse there with him when I decide to buy my own. In all honesty, I’ll probably just end up buying either Sundance (if he becomes available in the next year or two) or one of his as yet untrained horses. No, I’m not crazy, the one I might want is just unbroken right now as he is only 2 years old, but he will be trained by Mitch in another year or so. He’s very small, probably only end up being about 14 hands high, and I think I would like a smaller horse. Mitch says his sire had a very good and gentle head on him, very even tempered, and he will be a good “grade horse” which basically means he isn’t a pure breed, he is a mix breed. This also means that I probably wouldn’t be able to register him. For me though, not wanting to show or compete or breed, this is not such a big deal. An unfancy horse tends to have an equally unfancy price tag.

Thursday’s ride was difficult, almost discouraging. Heather and I went out and Ashlee and Mitch were both there. She helped me saddle and bridle him. He almost wouldn’t go at all for us and when he did walk a bit ended up just heading back toward the barn. It was difficult to get him to obey for me and Heather. Ashlee was of course able to get on and make him to do cartwheels. I blame that on my unfamiliarity and inexperience.I’d say one of the best parts of the afternoon was giving him a bath. I’m sad to say that I’d never given a horse a bath before.

I came out Saturday, fighting the discouragement from Thursday and determined to try again when it would be just me and him, and it was much better. Mitch told me the best way to get him out of that default to the barn mode was to work him out for a good long time around it. If he associated the barn area with work instead of rest and being unsaddled, then he wouldn’t be so anxious to get back to it. He called it reverse psychology and it worked well. I practiced weaving him in and out of some trees and we followed the same course each time. Then I took him through the barn out into the main part of the yard where he was hesitant but a little bit curious too. It was a very educational day and I loved every minute of it. I only rode him for about an hour or so. On our way back to the barn from our short trip out into the main yard, we got stopped by three kittens crossing his path. They were all looking up at him, playing and mewing. He watched for them and waited until they were out of the way before proceeding.

After I unsaddled him, brushed him, gave him his treat apple for a good session, I ended up talking to Mitch for another hour. We leaned on the fence overlooking the pasture with his other horses in it, mostly mares that are intended for the purpose of trail riding. They were all kind of huddled in a big group by the fence. The smallest one came up to me and put his muzzle in my hand. I didn’t have any food for him but he kept rubbing his face in my hand. I kind of fell for him right then. He’s supposed to be black but looks almost brindle from being out in the sun. His hair is black with caramel brown tips. He has a white blaze down his face and his muzzle was a little sunburnt. I petted him for another 10 minutes or so before heading off to work to get some rent checks deposited. As I got in the car my hands were filthy and it made me smile. There’s something so calming about a well earned pair of dirty hands. I know it’s silly, but this will be a novelty to me for a while. When I got home Heather was upset because she hadn’t gotten to go riding that day. I told her we’d go back tomorrow.

Tomorrow came and I waited what seemed like FOREVER for them both to wake up. I made breakfast and took a shower, then we left and got there around 1:30 pm. Sundance was fidgety today. The flies were driving him crazy, then we put the bit in his mouth and due to needing his teeth floated, which should happen fairly soon, he had issues with it the entire time we rode and was being a bit difficult again as he had been on that first day. He kept stopping and heading back to the barn and just being, well, a little stubborn. Mitch and a couple of his friends were cutting down trees in the other field and all the horses were whinnying about it. This may have had a little to do with his apprehension as well. My husband really liked him which was an important goal accomplished for me. I want him to know that when I’m there, I will be taken care of and not in danger.

We had a good time. Heather got to run a little on him when she turned him back toward the gate. We walked out to see my little sweet 2 yr old prospect again but he was way out in the field. When we got to him he wasn’t quite as friendly, maybe a little concerned about Heather and Matt because he’d never seen them before and we were all three out there, so that might have made a difference too. I’m looking forward to building a friendship with this little one over time too. Mitch says he can get started on breaking him if I want. I know it’s probably silly, but I want to call him Skydancer. I was crazy about Rainbow Brite when I was little and my favorite character was a girl called Stormy that was in charge of the winter weather. She had a purple horse with light purple main and tale and a lightening bolt on his forehead and that was his name: Skydancer. Here’s a clip of them giving Rainbow Brite some grief when spring rolls around.

 

Yeah, OK, I probably won’t call him Skydancer, after all, I’m not 8 years old anymore. I don’t know what horse I will end up with. I’m pretty content riding Sundance for now. He’s a good horse, and I’m so very lucky to be able to ride him and let him teach me to ride again. Let’s just hope I can lose some weight with all this moving around so whatever horse I do choose won’t end up sway backed from carrying my big fat butt! 😛 I will post something non-horse related this week… or at least soon. Bye for now!

Awesome List #2: SAAF House

     

First let me tell you about my recent dilemmas and then I will tell you what this is and why it is AWESOME.

I originally purchased my two dogs, both black pomeranians,  from breeders. Yes, I said BREEDERS, aka Puppy Mills. Boo hiss and I should have saved a humane society animal and so on and so forth… let’s just get past it. These were the only pets I intended on having.

Since that time we have added 3 cats and another Pom to our household. WHY? Because we have been feeding a feral mommy cat and she keeps having babies. My husband grew attached to George and Jade, the first two we were able to catch, and he ended up wanting to keep them. Several litters later, I grew attached to The General, so we ended up keeping him too.

We have been trying to tame this wild mommy cat for 5-6 years with no results. She still hisses when we come near her and she still runs off every time we open the door to put food out. All of this despite the fact that we feed her, shelter her, and take care of her mass of kittens she pops out every 4-6 months. Oh, and we kept 3 of them too.

In the last 5 years she has had 1-2 litters per year, totaling around 30 kittens. The majority of them I have been able to adopt out on Craigslist and via friends and residents, but this year she has had three litters already, which is getting stressful. Come to think of it, even though I love me some baby kitties, they were all stressful. Every single litter. Buying food, litter box supplies, and bathing the stink off of them, not to mention dealing with changing the litter, keeping them contained in a spare bedroom away from our other animals, hearing them mew and whine… it’s a LOT to take. BTW I still have 4 male kittens (pictured above) that are free to good homes, please take one!

I was complaining about this while buying more kitten food at All Pet  few weeks ago and the lady said “Sounds like it’s time to get her to SAAF house.” I asked for more info and she gave me their card. They only charge $25 to spay or neuter feral cats! For a $30 deposit they will even provide you with the trap to catch them in. There is no long waiting list, I called on Tuesday and picked up a trap that afternoon, brought my cat in to be spayed the next morning. Yes, it’s that quick. I picked her up the morning after and they refunded me $5 of my original $30 trap deposit and sent me on my merry little way. YES, It really was THAT easy.

Oh, and don’t let me forget this: I have also scheduled my sister’s doggie, Diamond, to be fixed and given all updates on shots and it is only costing me $75. THAT’S IT! Go price this at your local vet and then come back to me jumping for joy when you realize how affordable this is.

Here is the information on them so you too can rid the world of unwanted kittens and tame the cat whores in your neck of the woods; hopefully with that happening the folks at the inhumane society will be able to adopt out more animals and eventually save the world.

SAAF House: Springfield Animal Advocacy Foundation.

http://saaf2018.org/index.html

Here is a wishlist of items that they currently are in desperate need of, to which I am sure any number of people could donate. Please do so, they are amazing, non-greedy, and I am 10,000% grateful for the work they are doing.

http://saaf2018.org/wishlist.html

Dear SAAF house people,

You are wonderful. You have saved my life, my nerves and my finances. When we were having coffee at an independent coffee shop the other day, because he’s not a big Starbucks supporter, Jesus told me that he has very nice tracts of land set aside for all you people when the world becomes a paradise again. I told him I thought that was wise and he said “DUH!” then we both laughed and he took another drink of his hot spiced chai. He’s surprisingly zesty… and so are you. We SALUTE you SAAF house. That is why you are AWESOME.

Lan Mars

Getting Back in the Saddle

I haven’t ridden a horse since I was about 16. 13 long years have passed. I’m a desk jockey now, 50 lbs overweight from inactivity and excessive fast food, with saddlebags of my own and a depressing lack of matching outfits and blue ribbons. I live indoors all day every day. So why in the world would I want to venture into the world of horses again after such a long absence? Because this soul craves a new breadth. It aches to rediscover something that has been lost. It struggles to breath in these compartments inundated with the whirring of electrical objects and fabricated chemicals that are killing it slowly. Even now an unfamiliar noise fills my chest and mind. It’s the gnashing of teeth from a wild animal stuck in a cage far too long.

I have been researching horses and teachers and trainers and boarding facilities around Springfield for over a week now. I have looked at every picture of a horse on craigslist with an ooh and an ahh for each one. When I see them, it awakens this primal need inside me to be with them. To be running, to be outside, in the cold dew filled air and fields at sunrise without the aid of an alarm clock. All the while the robot city folk are still sleeping their ill-gained sleep, dreaming of gadgets and television programming and things without life in them. Things without lungs, legs and flesh. I can no longer dream of these man made things. They hold no excitement for me. They are dead. More importantly, they were never alive. I’m tired of feeling as lifeless as these objects that surround me day in and day out. I am still young in age, so why is it that I feel so old?

I want to be with horse people again. Animal people. Country people. People of the land. Gods people. My people. They don’t buy every scrap of food and clothing prepackaged, pregrown, and prechewed to suit their greedy infant appetites. They don’t just consume everything around them without putting something back. They grow things. They don’t grab at some money driven society’s commercially tainted tit with hands that have never known a callus. They have a richness that they purchase without any form of currency. It is earned with early mornings, bare hands and feet making contact with the earth on a daily basis, in a place where instincts are more valuable than contracts and the training is free to anyone who will come and lay claim to it. Tuition is an honest day’s work breaking a sweat before any of the 9-5 folk slap the snooze button on their alarm clock.

Today I am meeting with someone over lunch who may let me lease one of her horses for a while, so I can get the feel of it again before I consider diving further into the investment of actually owning one. Of course it’s all about money isn’t it? It has to be. I sell 8 hours of my life every day for money and I am darn sure going to get something for that time that I will never get back. This time I won’t take whatever I can get for fear of inconveniencing anyone else. This time I will research it and find something pure, something worth the cost of my lost hours. Something that will give me a little bit of life as I spend those 40 hours each week in my compartment waiting for death. This is something I can do to give me some of those breaths back. I want them. Yes, indeed. I WILL get them back.

Tonight after work I am quite literally going to see a man about some land and possibly a horse. Maybe I will put my hope in him and this animal, maybe I won’t. No matter what, this new found hope cannot be suffocated as so many others have been. This one must take root. It must live.

All I know is, if I don’t search it out, then I will continue dying when I should be living.

Call me television killer. Call me sister sunshine. Call me the early bird. Call me a hippie or a hillbilly. Even those titles seem foreign to me now and unassociated with my life.

Soon you will call me horse woman, lover of horses and wild spirited things, above all, a woman who truly lives her life. Soon I will break these restraints and run because running is all that sounds good after 10 years of being in a cage. Soon I will be free and once again, get back to being me.

Maybe it will take a while. I will have to learn to walk again. Then to trot, then canter, then gallop.All I know is this: I desperately need my skin to feel like skin again, and not just some suit I’m wearing. I want my body to feel alive with exertion, my muscles to ache from a long ride. To feel the refreshment of the early morning dew on my skin and the wind in my hair and face. These things seem insignificant, you take them for granted when you have them. At the moment, they are all I can think about.

I’m Effervescent!

Here I am again having my sleep disturbed at 5:49 AM by my dog sitting in my face, whimpering, breathing his rotten garbage breath directly into my nostrils, begging me to go out. As soon as my eyelids flutter out of my REM cycle, there’s Boo, in my arm pit or on my chest, looking at me intently and squirming as if he is about to implode. I reach out and coax him, trying to get him to quiet down because I can see it’s still dark outside and I don’t feel like getting up yet. Then, seeing my hand stir, here comes the other one.

What sort of heartless person could ignore these faces? Boo is on the left, Kitty is on the right. They are the best version of prozac for me.

 

She couldn’t care less about going out, she wants me to hurry and wake up because she knows it’s Saturday and she wants me to stop being a jerk by insisting on sleeping, get my lazy carcass up and play fetch with her. Have you ever seen Dr. Doolittle, the one with Eddie Murphy? Remember the Jack Russell with the serious ball fetching addiction? My dog, Kitty, is a Pomeranian, not a JR, but I assure you, she’d give that short haired punk a run for his money in the toy obsession department. Even right NOW, while I am sitting in my husband’s recliner typing this, she is standing on my knees, gazing at me from over the top of my laptop screen. Good Lord, if I ever have a child, I hope the kid is quazimodo’s look alike or the spitten image of Hitler, because if it’s anywhere near as cute as my dog is, I’m in trouble.

The reason I am still awake, drinking my sugared up red 40 drink at 6:24 AM, with 2 black fuzzballs dying of attention deficit and warming the outer part of my left leg, is that I had a conversation this week with a man, and it puzzled me. In view of the fact that I have written two boring movie reviews this week for lack of anything more pressing to write about, I thought if I explored this idea, it might take me somewhere interesting enough to make you want to read it. SO here goes.

Let me start off by saying this, I am not a physically attractive woman. I mean, I probably could be, if I tried harder, made efforts with hair and make up, dressed even remotely feminine on a regular basis, did a nightly face cleansing ritual, and lost about 50 pounds. The problem is, I don’t do any of those things and what with my being a desk jockey, sitting in my office 8 hours a day, very rarely taking walks, no matter how little I eat, I certainly haven’t had any luck losing weight.

I blame red 40 and MSG. With the recent addition of a teenager to our household, I have been making a lot more koolaid and sweetening it with Stevia in the Raw just so she will quit drinking other crap that is loaded with sugar, calories and draining an obese-person sized hole in my bank account. That’s right, juice, milk and soda aren’t just bad for you, they’re expensive! Today’s koolaid just happens to have red 40 in it. I tried to get the “invisible” kool aid, but there was only one flavor of that. Seriously koolaid? Make more flavors of invisibles without red 40. Because poor people need healthy nervous systems too!

Oh good grief, my own attention deficit is carrying me away again. Let me get to the point. So, I have residents, male and female alike, that come in to my office and end up talking to me FOREVER! I normally don’t have a problem with this because I get bored and so lonely in my office. If a person that is even a little interesting comes in, I will jump up and down, wagging my tail and wiggling, just like my little Kitty dog, excited to have the company to free me from my monotony. I am fully aware that some of them probably think I talk too much. If they only knew how much I hold back…

This one guy that just moved in to one of my complexes, mid forties age, was a previous resident when I worked for the mega-overlord management corp. He’s a good guy, and even though the last 5 years have been rough for him due to separation/divorce, he’s always in good spirits. I like that quality about him, he’s always seeking to better himself and let me tell you, I had a long while to get to know his wife at my last property, she was in deed, a bit hard to deal with. I spoke to the woman approximately 3 times over the course of a year and the sheer exhaustion from those conversations made me go into ninja mode when I saw her, ducking around buildings and freezing in place when I saw her, hoping that not unlike the T-Rex, her primal need to complain was triggered by motion and as long as I didn’t move, she wouldn’t see me. Dude, that was close she almost caught me!

I’ve had several good conversations with this guy since his original residency at my old complex, and we’ve discussed a great many things in depth. What happens is, he comes in to my office or I see him out on property, looking all dejected, then immediately he sees me and smiles and we talk. I ask him how he’s doing. He says OK and fails to convince me and then starts talking about what’s ailing him. I make him laugh a bunch and I think he feels better. This is what I do with my residents. I’m like Yoda with a twist of Chris Rock thrown in, only less abrasive and no swearing.

A few weeks back we got to talking about the bible, which I do like to talk about with others who share that interest. I live in the bible belt so those people are about a dime a dozen. We don’t argue though, we simply talk about various ideas and concepts. No lost tempers, no banging fists on wooden surfaces, no sales pitch. I don’t care if he believes what I do. We have a good conversation and he leaves. I enjoy getting to know the unique ideas of different people, variety is the spice of life, after all. New conversation keeps me fresh and free of stagnation.

He makes a point of telling me that he enjoys talking to me but doesn’t want to seem like he’s hitting on me because he knows that I am married and would never be slimy enough to do something like that. He just enjoys talking to me, and talking about the bible, as do I. Of course, I laugh, because the idea of seeing any one of my male residents in a romantic way is an absurd concept to me. I just don’t think of anyone but my husband like that, and I’m not just saying that to stay out of the doghouse, it’s true. My life is interwoven with his, we’ve been together nearly 10 years. Not to mention the fact that he’s probably the hottest, most intelligent man I know. Intelligence is sexy to me, along with goodness, mildness, self control and confidence. All qualities he exemplifies far more often than not. In short, a better, more rounded man, does not exist. Not for me anyway. He’s my lobster.

Here’s my lobster holding Kitty, getting ready to go on a car trip. 🙂

So when my resident called later to talk to me about a maintenance issue and then called me some kind of pet name like hun or sugar or something like that, I jokingly said “Don’t call me Hun in that patronizing tone! I’m on to you!” He stumbles and says it’s just a term of endearment. So I laugh and say ok, we hang up, then he calls me back 30 seconds later.

He just wants to clarify AGAIN that he wasn’t hitting on me. I laugh and say “Look, I really do know you’re not hitting on me. I have nasty dudes come in here and hit on me all the time, so believe me when I tell you I know the difference. And seriously, why in the world would any one want to hit on me? I mean, I wear my hair up in this old lady bun or a pony tail every single day, I wear hippie sandals or converse sneakers and the same two frumpy, baggy hoodies every day. I don’t wear make up at all. Why on earth any man would want to come in here and hit on me is beyond my comprehension.”

So he hesitated a moment and then said “Well, it’s not really the way you look that makes you so attractive. It’s your personality, the way you are with people, you have an effervescent quality about you. It’s very rare and makes you a joy to talk to.”

This picture is an excellent example of my attractiveness factor, My little sister is the one on the right.

 

Of course I was flattered. What a nice thing to say, anyone would like to hear things like that said about them. I’m effervescent. I’ve never been called that before. Of course I, being the indefatigable boob that I am, immediately picture myself being taken out of a blue and white pouch and tossed into a glass of water where I fizz and make bubbles and eventually dissolve completely. Then the giant hand picks the glass up and swallows me in liquid form, feeling instantly refreshed. They even make that “Ahhhhhhh” sound that follows only the most refreshing of drinks. Effervescent. That’s me.

ef·fer·ves·cent : Adjective

1. (of a liquid) Giving off bubbles; fizzy.

2. (of a person or their behavior) Vivacious and enthusiastic.

 

I am of course, a woman, so I immediately push away any form of a compliment and assume he’s just trying to flatter me with lies. After all, no one at my house thinks I’m effer-bloody-vescent! But when I think about it, I have to admit that it may actually be true. After all, I am like a good bartender slash psychiatrist for many of my residents. I think all personable landlords wear this hat more frequently than they dare to admit and I think it is this aspect of the job that endears our residents to our properties and not just the properties themselves.

It happens in my life every single day. Residents come in and talk or complain about their problems and I try to make them laugh and give them my thoughts on their situation. They usually feel better when they leave my office. I’m not just flattering myself, I can see it in their countenance. They seem lighter, more confident, maybe even downright chipper in some instances. I think positive people can do that to people that are in a negative state. You notice I didn’t say negative people, because I don’t believe a completely negative person exists. People who appear to be negative are merely positive people in a funk. And you can quote me on that. And take it to the bank. And stuff it in your pipe and smoke it.

I do this to my dad, who I lovingly refer to as the Grim Reaper, all the time. I did it yesterday, in fact. He comes to have lunch with me, bogged down by his problems and ailments, complaining about everything under the sun, then I subtly change the subject about 67 times and once he gets the point, that I refuse to have my vital energy drained out of me by his soul sucking negativity, he just sighs, smiles and gives in to my madness. I win again. We have a nice father daughter lunch. Share an ooey gooey chocolate chip cookie and laugh at each others jokes.

    This picture is proof of my effervescent effect on grumps. Case in point: My Dad.          This accomplishment alone should get me a job working for Tony Robbins or writing Hallmark greeting cards.

Anyway, I would like to thank that resident, the one who called me effervescent, because he made my day that day, and again today when I thought about the conversation further. Thanks buddy. I owe you one. How bout free rent next month? J Ha ha, just kidding. See, you were right, that did make me laugh. I’m even effervescent to myself. (Insert Jack Black Saving Silverman reference here….) HUMINUH-YAY-HAAAA!!!