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In Which An Attempt is Made With Varying Sucess

Unless you've only been browsing the photos on this blog, and perhaps even then, you've probably figured out that I love horses. A lot. Maybe even in some mad quantity which maybe a little intimidating if you are new to the whole thing. 
At 13 I was already a chronic horse addict case.
A little history here: I contracted the incurable "horse bug" at a fairly tender age, and have, since then, been counting pennies to keep horses in my life in some shape or form. To be honest, mostly in the shape of hard labor, since there are only two ways to enjoy horses; one is to be independently wealthy so that your unlimited cash can buy you your horsey dreams and the other, if you happen to be poor, is to work for them...and work...and more work, and if you happen to spectacularly lucky, someone may even pay you some pennies for your work. So far in my life I have been in the later category; working slavishly for every couple minutes spent on horseback. Don't get me wrong, I loved, and love every sweaty and grueling minute of the work since it is all part of horsemanship, but there is no other feeling on earth that can compare to the wind blowing in your face and the ground passing under your horse's flying hoofs. However, even a beginner horse-girl knows that it's not always Hallmark moments. In reality, those moments are very few and unless the horse-girl learns to reap small joys from the hard labor, the addiction will soon wane and be replaced with disillusionment and sometimes trauma. Trauma, because horses are massive and fairly unpredictable creatures with wild instincts that often clash with ours. My love for these beasts has in the past, gotten me in all sorts of trouble. 

A "real" horsewoman needs to know how to drive a tractor, toss thirty pound hay bales, and dress in layers, often unfashionably. 
But a true horsewomen knows that no matter how hard the knocks may be, one must ALWAYS get back in the saddle, or risk severe mental repercussions. So far, my troubles have not been out of the ordinary and thank God have not involved anything worse then bruises and Advil. I have been getting unlimited saddle time, hard labor only four days a week and a check every two. The trouble therein has been the same that any working mother will face. The extreme lack of time, and sometimes energy to actually function on the home front and the work front. Because, if you think I consider my horse time all fun and leisure like in the movies, let me disabuse you of this unworldly notion. I am out there at the farm even if it's storming or below 20, and I admit, there are moments I am wishing for home and hearth just like any working mum. But I "do what I love," so the price is usually worth it. I say, usually, because I am not a free agent anymore. My life is ultimately tied up and responsible for the lives of two other little people, one of which has "extras" shall we say.
A 30 year old addiction with no end in sight at this point. I couldn't stop even if I wanted to. Which I don't.
 So I often visualize myself as a juggling clown, frantically praying that I don't drop the ball on something, or someone. The horses, the kids, the husband, the house, the friends, the list goes on...
This image often gets me down. So when a dear friend offered to take me away on a four day trip to horse addict heaven, otherwise known as the Equine Affaire, which takes place every November at the ginormous Springfield MA Expo center, I was willing to drop some balls and move mountains to go.
I haven't left the kids overnight to go on a trip with just me in ages, and ages. Actually, now that I think about it, never!
I was going under the alias of "the groom/stablehand"so that I could get behind the scenes of the workings of the "affaire" and spend glorious hours doing nothing but staring at incredible specimens of The Horse, and of course, Shopping (it deserves a capital, because the horsey merch' available at this thing fits into three airplane hanger size buildings.)
My long suffering husband graciously, if not a little reluctantly, agreed to shoulder my daily workload at the house so that I could make my escape.
Other then a few snags involving transportation and babysitting, I was free as a bird, wandering around in a gently horse scented bliss for two days.

Here's lil old blissful me, holding some horses for a competition. Back stage! Like I said, BLISS.
The Equine Affiare, other then being packed to the gills with all things horse, and astounding, skilled horse-people also culminates each day with a spectacular show which celebrates all aspects of the horse. Taking part in the show are many of the big names of the horse world, so as you can imagine I was tickled to be able to see it, and in prime seats to boot.

But as they say, when things are too good to be true, they usually are. 
Two acts into the show my phone chirps...and then chirps again, because I had ignored it the first time. And then the third time. Finally I couldn't stand it any longer and slinked away to see what all the fuss was about. 
It really came as no surprise. 
Leo, after two perfectly ordinary days at home with babysitters and/or dad, decided, as a last ditch effort to get mom back, had a seizure.
Thank God Justin was on the ball, and dealt with it in an admirable and efficient fashion, after which he debated wether or not to call me and wreak havoc on my blissful bubble.
He called me.
Bubble popped, and slightly soggy from some hysterical tears I arrived home via my very sweet and incredibly generous friend (who selflessly gave up her seat at the show to drive me) sometime later that night.
I'm glad I came home, and I am so very grateful for the two days "off" that I had, but I am bummed that  my foray away had to end this way. It doesn't help my separation anxiety from the lion that I have been working hard on eradicating. On the other hand, perhaps it does! I'm a student in the school of hard knocks, after all. The only way to just get over something, is to be faced with it and to not have any other choice.
And as a real horsewoman, I know that one must take life's knocks as they come, and always, always, get back in the saddle.
So what? The worst of my fears happened: that while I was away, Leo would have a seizure. Once it happened, I realized that by the grace of God, the world will keep spinning on even if I'm not there to prod it with my stick. With the grace of God, there will be always someone to take care of my little bud when I drop the ball. That I can't always be the one to deal with it all the time and that it is fine and even necessary sometimes to pass the spinning ball to someone else for a little awhile. The fact that my main concern is that anyone else won't be able to do the job as well as me is just a matter of my own selfish pride. So what if they do it differently, as long as the job gets done. Get over it girl!
Leo seems ok now, the seizure stopped within seconds of the rescue med, but I'm still a bit worried. The timing was strange, not his usual seizure break-through window, so I'm praying that something more serious isn't brewing. I suspect teething on top of mild cold and ear infection, but when a kiddo has a shunt, you can never be too careful! I guess I'll be on the phone today trying to get Leo in to see his Neurologist. (Sometimes that feels like I'm a poor peasant trying to get an audience with the King.)

"Snowed" post seizure pic which made me up and leave horse heaven as if a tiger (or lion) was chomping my heels.
In case you were wondering if it was hard to leave, it was, though I won't admit to it again, but coming home to my little lion was not something that I even had to think about. He will, always, take priority. Because I'm not a cowgirl drifting across the range without a care in the world, I'm a mother first, horse mad lady second. Because of that, I'm also responsibly sharing my affliction with my kids. Leo, when he gets a little older and stronger, hopefully by next spring, will be having sessions with the Therapeutic Riding/Hippo-therapy program down the street from our house, and Nika has been taking lessons here and there now for two years or so.  

She's a natural, of course. It's in her blood.

Leo loves the "nonies" as he calls them and after giving them all kisses and ear tugs and eye pokes he is off demanding rides on the tractor. I see a light at the end of the "two fronts" dilemma, because in anything we do, we can find a way to make it fit into the things that are most important to us. Bringing my kids to work with me? Check. Teach them that work and play, if you are very very lucky, can be the same thing? Check.

Go Riding! And bring your kids.


  1. Bless you for remembering to take care of yourself too.......I know how hard it is for us women to admit that we are not the only possible bearer of all burdens.....I am 75 and have been practicing for years and still have my doubts about my worthiness to take care of "me". God needs you sane and happy to be the best kind of mother....which you are, by the way.


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