February 21st, 2012 Say Uncle

Horses have a wicked sense of humor. I had a dream come true today. The opportunity to trim my Uncle’s horse. Now that’s a day I have waited for years to enjoy!
My Uncle has been hugely influential on my life and my career. His wit, wisdom and enjoyment in life always leaves me appreciative and humbled. At 70+ years of age he can still beat men half his age in an arm wrestling match and slips on his boots every day to go out and mess with his horses. Boot that can run fast! I know because he challenged me to a foot race and beat me!
Smokie, my Uncle’s beautiful red roan mustang stood resolute, happy to be my guinea pig. My Uncle wanted to see what I’ve been doing with my horse trimming.
What a perfect situation!
My Uncle, his horse, a formerly wild mustang he took home with him when the horse jumped inside his trailer, curious about what in the heck it was doing parked out in the middle of the wide open range.
You see, my Uncle is the true, blue cowboy. A buckaroo and fine horseman artist. Not the type of cowboy stereotyped for brutalizing horses. He respects them, loves them, eats, breathes a sleeps with them.
On his trip where he acquired Smokie he and his sons were out capturing wild mustangs for use on one of the ranches they were working. Capturing a wild mustang and making it yours is not illegal. If you can catch one, you can take it home. It doesn’t need to go through BLM processing to become your legal property.
I stood fascinated as he told the story about working amongst wild mustangs and as he shared how Smokie came to be his. He had roped a couple of horses and he and his son were working on horseback, gentling them down. Smokie, he said, just kept close to him even though he had no rope or any kind of restraint on him. At the end of the day they loaded up their horses and Smokie just followed them into the trailer. He’s been a member of the family every since. A bit of a legend too. Smokie is the steady eddie horse everyone in the family talks about. He is a family celebrity. And well deserving of the title and acclaim I might add.
Walking up to me, Smokie gave me a knowing bump with his head, telling me I had better make whatever I do good. His eyes showed his wisdom. I had a lot to live up to.
I picked up his hoof and started trimming, placing his hoof down on the ground several times to watch for his reaction. He licked a chewed a couple of times but despite the fact his walls and bars were really long his overall hoof condition wasn’t too bad. Score one for Uncle.
I trimmed back his frog and beveled back the heels, trimmed away some toe flare and stood up, satisfied with my work, but not done.
“Well now young niece,” my Uncle said. “That’s just what I do.”
“Wait dear Uncle.” I said. I trimmed the rear hoof under his scrutiny and then the next. On the front hoof he started asking questions.
“Why do you do that?”
I explained the function of the hoof, and why the frog needs to be in contact with the ground, affirming that Smokie has foundered and how not to have that happen again this year.
“Wait a minute.” My Uncle said.
“What did you say?”
I repeated my words and demonstrated.
He took my rasp and said, “Like this?”
“Yes,” I said.
“Where did you learn this?” my seventy something Uncle asked, incredulous. “I am learning something new here today and what you are saying makes sense!”
“I have studied horses.” I said. “And too, the information you started me with and ran with it.” I said. Score two for Uncle. Thank you Uncle.
Smokie bumped me in approval.

February 16th, 2012 Dark Sun

Today’s theme was tying up loose ends. I’ve been doing a lot of that lately and unless I get hit by another Peterbuilt sized family betrayal, I should be just about untied by the end of the year…2020.
New Year’s has never been my time for resolution. Every morning is that time for me, ruled largely by how much sleep I got the night before, followed by a strong coffee chaser. I graduated to that this past year. Tea just doesn’t have the wallop I need to get my bones jumpstarted in the morning any longer.
I can reason why.
Horses motivate me. But this year, while I am thoroughly enjoying the rigors of a heavy farrier schedule and the wicked pace of jumping county lines between Idaho and Colorado, I have not been able to ride, wallow in time long enough to smell their grassy breath or even brush one three days in a row for the past year. It’s been work, work, work. Granted, fulfilling work, but WORK just the same.
Sometimes it’s almost enough to make a person like me scream. I hate screaming. As a kid my hearing impaired Father implored us NEVER to scream. It was the tone he could hear and thus, the most terrifying for him. Even pushed to my mental and physical limits in life, I just don’t do it. Instead, I view these challenges as things dutifully meant to make me appreciate my fine health, strong character and calloused hands.
I pledged I would ride more in the coming months but as I trudge forward, tired to the bone and exhausted from the constant demands that are made on me I struggle, as most people do, with remaining positive, upbeat and optimistic.
I hope I am not complaining. I loathe complaining. So for the record, I am not complaining. Call it…a declaration of finding…order in the may-lay. I know I spelled that wrong but I am willfully being too lazy to look it up…even though I have a digital dictionary at my fingertips with shortcut key programming. Take that time takers!
In a recent psychic consult I was told to suck it up. My being tired was irrelevant. The next six months would be work, work, work. A time to get ahead and meant for greater reward. Use every minute as if it were my last to do so.
What part of the last ten years of my life…ugh…scratch, that, the last twenty…haven’t been!
Did that sound vaguely like whining?
This week with the tragic though predictable passing of Whitney Houston I was reminded of what it is that drives me. My God-given gift.
I can identify with Whitney’s acclaim, acceptance and tragic demise. Call it a full moon clarification of what it means to walk this Earth with an astounding gift that awes people and moves their spirit. I get that. I also ache for the fact that it’s clear she realized her gift wasn’t enough to maintain the gain of acceptance from people. When she was booed for winning too many awards (the heartless reaction of bored people who grew tired of the predictability of her winning) she sunk into despair. The same happened to Michael Jackson when his world crumbled around him and he was accused of crimes unfathomable to his consciousness. Their perception of being untouchable by human mockery was shattered for even being icons was not enough to save them. If anything, it was the very thing that condemned them.
People are cruel. I officially own the patent on the bumper sticker, “Mean People Suck.” Even with 41 years under my belt and several hundred past lives I find the callous nature of humanity unacceptable and baffling. Even under the shroud of being a hopeless member of the “I trust you but I hate you “ society I can’t understand why it is so commonplace in human nature to tear one another apart.
We elevate people to unattainable pedestals and sentence them to the pleasures of awe, acceptance and worship while waiting for them to fall where like wolves we devour their human weaknesses and ridicule them for failure. It’s tragic.
Perhaps it’s my tired mind playing tricks on me but where has our decency gone? We are all human. Connected to each other closely. Much more closely than we think. Did you know that Facebook has determined we are only 27 friends from knowing everyone? We think we are different but really we aren’t. Truthfully, I have proof. You know why we celebrate the talents of another then throw them into blame for failure or for just being better than we are? Because we all know that WE could be THEM.
Long live horses.
Horses don’t judge. They don’t berate, celebrate to sabotage or betray. They watch out for one another, build bonds, forgive unconditionally and teach us with their terrors and traumas.
Maybe there’s a lesson to be learned.
Have doubt? Listen to this, and then make up your mind: