An unexpected epiphany:
I am no longer The Novice Horsewoman. Make no mistake, I am still very much a beginner with horses….but no longer a novice.
The past two and a half years have scorched and refined my very soul both in life and with horses. Now, I take ownership of all I have learned and move on to the next steps in my horsey adventures. 🙂
The best horse people I’ve encountered, even those with decades of experience and expertise, are the first to tell me how they have SO much more to learn about horses.
Thus, I take on the mantle of “beginner” with humility. It is already amazing to me to be at this point.
When my journey began in January of 2014, I started at “square one”, not knowing how horses were fed, watered, groomed, bathed, haltered, led by a lead rope or even how picking stalls/mucking was done. It was somewhat like a child in pre-school 🙂
I devoured every bit of knowledge…then as now.
Plus, God saw fit to give me a “crash course in everything horse” The “course ” started when a few weeks after meeting and leasing the glorious mare, Serenity, she sustained a severe wound that required daily care and attention. Her wonderful human, a single mom, was working three jobs, juggling them with the needs of a five year old son
So, novice though I was, I took over Serenity’s daily care and learned “on the job”.
Serenity was a marvelous teacher….as was her vet, who, when the time came, gave me the task (and honor) of removing Serenity’s last bandage all alone and all by myself.
Those days with Serenity, quietly hanging out with her during her stall rest, grooming her, massaging her, administering her meds, hand grazing and hand walking her, are forever in my memory as some of the sweetest days I’d ever experienced.
Then, for a time, Serenity was “lost” to me.
So I turned once again to a dream of horse rescue; but wiser heads prevailed, and I was introduced to my incorrigible gelding, Spirit. Had the “wiser heads” been more forthcoming, they would NEVER have recommended that a greenhorn like myself, take on a three year old gelding…. and an Appaloosa at that!
But, again, God had His plans. I was thrown, feet first, into the waters of dealing with a brilliant, humorous, virtually untrained, greener-than-green little boy horse. The learning process with my beloved boy is still underway in ever-changing high gear…but dealing with a virtual baby, while knowing nothing, advanced my novice-hood at lightning speeds.
And yes, green on green DOES equal black and blue (as experienced horse folk are fond of saying) Yet, my noble-hearted little Appy never once let me fall off of him, even in the midst of his worst bolting off at a full out run, with me on his back!
My black and blues were mostly broken pinky toes and nipped-arm bruises. Nothing a little Arnica and ice couldn’t take care of 🙂
At practically the same time as Spirit came into my life, the beautiful and wondrous mare, Baby Doe, found her way to me as well. Who could have guessed that this exquisitely bred horse, who, nonetheless turned out to be unusable for the designs traders and trainers had on her, would ever be mine?
Yet again,the hand of God, weaving His enigmatic web, allowed me to honor her whispered plea to me, “Please, I don’t WANT to be a show horse.”
Through my time with her I’ve learned massive amounts about colic, navicular disease and horsey “boos boos” (both small and humongous) that seemed to appear on her fragile being on a WAY too regular basis.
During this time I learned to manage a barn with all the trials and errors that my barn buddy, Phyllis, and I encountered, as life gave us the opportunity to be solely responsible for the barn, our horses and others’ boarded horses for many months.
I also learned about the various quirky folk one encounters in the horse world…and, eventually, how to deal with them. This process is still ongoing. I thought I had encountered, shall we say, “unique” individuals during my opera career, but the horse world matches the high level of “uniqueness” quirk by quirk 🙂
Ultimately, I found my beloved Wyoming ranch and was filled with joy, trepidation and overwhelm as I moved my horses across country to a completely different climate, lifestyle and horse knowledge.
Shortly after arriving in Wyoming, beyond all hope, Serenity’s human asked me to take Serenity to be mine!
Serenity joined us in Wyoming…on my birthday!
Then there were Three…:)
Through events beyond my control, I was left completely alone on my 80 acres of ranch to care for my Three Beloveds, with some help from local young people.
My “crash course in horse” escalated to an entirely new level. A level that was light years beyond what I had yet experienced. I also experienced an aloneness in the vastness of the Wyoming landscape that shook me to my roots.
My Three became my only teachers during that time. (As well as did my darling cats) And, oh, how they taught!
I also learned that, no matter what I may want or plan, God usually has other ideas, and I was once again humbled and brought to my knees as I came to the realization that I, alone, could not give my horses what they, at that time, desperately needed.
So we packed up and moved temporarily back to Florida.
Florida: where Baby Doe’s navicular pain (sometimes agonizing pain) could be more aggressively managed, where the mystery of Serenity’s lameness could be solved and where my boy, Spirit, could have uninterrupted and necessary ongoing training with a kind and very knowledgeable trainer.
And, much to my surprise, during this time in Florida, the calling that had come to me almost four years ago began to crystallize into shapes that I had only glimpsed at previously.
So, as I end this stage of my horse education, I will travel back and forth to Wyoming and keep developing my land and honoring my stewardship of it. The Three will stay in Florida until next Spring.
I will, openly and humbly, learn more about and practice the special gifts of energy work horse healing and communication that I had previously suspected were mine, but that are now being called into usage.
The Novice Horsewoman may just show up in book form in the future. The “Beginner Horse Woman” may indeed start sharing this next part of the journey upon which she is NOW embarking with open heart and gratitude…
A wonderful author, in helping me conceive of an ending to a potential “Novice Horsewoman” book, gave me the idea of passing the novice torch onto another novice horsewoman, when my own novice-hood came to an end.
But now I see that, actually, I will be passing on this torch to YOU who are Courageous, YOU who are willing to Learn, who are willing to Fail as well as Succeed, who are willing to let yourselves look like Fools and…. those of you who are willing to have your Hearts broken….freeing them to soar to unimaginable heights!
Yes, to you, Brave Ones, I pass this torch!