Friday, May 25, 2012

To my friends and family...

I want you to know that I love you.
I accept you for who you are.
I always have.
I always will.

I do not care if you have a disease.
I do not care if you are gay.
Or straight.
I do not care if you sit in a chair or use canes to walk.
I do not care if you are married.
Or divorced.
Single mother.
Or father.
Religion means nothing.
My faith is in our friendship.

I do not classify you into categories.
We are all made of the same blood.

I'm proud to say you are my friends
My sisters
My brothers

I want you to know that your problems are my problems.
You are never alone.
No matter the years or distance that separate us I will always proudly call you family.
Each and every one of you.

We come and go from each others lives.
We have a reason and purpose.

Even if you did not know it
You changed my life.

It may have been a small change.
Or maybe it was a huge.
You helped me to become the person I am today.
For that I will always be grateful.
For that I will always be there for you.

For that I love you.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The day no one will ever forget...

Sept 11 2001. Ten years ago. Will we ever forget that date? Anyone who was old enough on that faithful day to understand will never forget. I know I won't.

I was just 16. 17 days before my 17th birthday.

I was living away from home on a farm doing what I loved to do, work with horses. My life had gone from complete darkness and hell, to light and peace. My upside down world had been righted. I was back in my element.

I woke up early that morning. I ate my breakfast and got dressed for the day. I was living with 5 others in a house on the farm we all worked at. 5:30 am and I was the only one up and moving. The house was peacefully quite. At 6 I headed out the the barn, just a short walk up in-between the paddocks. I had been working there for less than a month. Just really getting into the groove of things. I walked slowly in the morning sunlight, just enjoying the moments. I took a deep drag of my morning smoke and looked up into the clear blue sky, smiling. It was going to be a great tuesday. Two morning doves circled the sky above me steady and strong. I took it as a good sign. Was I ever wrong.

Walking into the barn I smiled as the show horses greeted me. Nickering and banging their feed bowls. "Hush guys, I'm getting to you." Cliffy was just coming down from his apartment in the hay loft to feed. When his boots hit the stairs, you could have sworn those pleasantly plump warmbloods were starved. Shoes banging walls, horses screaming there dismay at the slow, steadiness of his cowboy boots on the stairs. Above the pounding hooves and screaming calls Cliffy yelled for his barn cats. "BONNNNNIE..... BONNNNIE. BREAKFAST!"

I waved to Cliffy as he bent down to pick up his favorite cat Bonnie. He poured her cat food into a dish and set her down beside it crooning at her the whole time. Cliffy then set about getting the feed cart out and graining the hungry warmbloods. I followed behind him with a wheelbarrow full of hay. The morning was peaceful and routine.

At quarter to 7 the rest if the crew had made their way into the barn. We had our normal meeting over a smoke and Tim Hortons coffee brought in by the boss. Who's going where, who's doing what and who needs to be ridden by the boss. We got the first round of horses out by 7:30 and started mucking stalls. The barn was done by 8:30 and I was sent to get a clients horse ready for her 9:30 am lesson.

I set Foxy up in the grooming stall and got to work making him shine. The radio was bumping along beside me. I was blissfully unaware. In my own little world of perfection. I had Foxy all set and ready to roll by 9:10 am. Just before the first plane hit the first tower.

At 9:15 the barn phone rang. My farm manager answered. It was our client. She was just up the road and told the farm manager of the first plane hitting the twin towers. She hung up the phone and ran to grab everyone from their duties. Everyone was ushered upstairs to the office and the TV. We all dropped everything to watch. We watched as the second plane hit. We watched the jumpers. We watched the towers fall. At some point during this our client had arrived. She too stood around the TV with us. No one said a word. Tears rolled down cheeks and gasps were all that could be heard as things played out on the news.

I remember getting up and untacking Foxy. There would be no lesson today. It didn't need to be said. It was understood. I went back to watch the TV after putting Foxy back in his stall. The rest of the horses could wait.

I remember thinking it was a horrid hoax. I remember watching the planes fly over the farm. Redirected from the USA to Toronto,Ontario. Could one land on us? Our farm was right on top of a major natural gas pipe line. Would we become a target? With each plane that passed over I cringed. The depression I had ran from was returning. The anxiety was gripping the edges of my sanity. I wanted to run and hide. But I stayed rooted to the spot, watching that damn TV.

The jumpers. The firefighters, police, EMS, and good citizens covered in a thick grey dust. The mushroom cloud. The fire. The papers scattering the air. The gravity of the situation hit me like a ton of bricks.

I don't remember what we did that afternoon. I don't remember pulling myself away from the TV. I do remember bringing in horses long after they were due to come in. I remember working away at my tasks for the day, just going through the motions. I no longer smiled. I only looked up at the sound of a plane passing over head.

I am not a religious person by any means. When I turned 12 I stopped joining my family at church. I no longer said prayers at night or even really believed in a god. On Sept 11th 2001, I prayed. I prayed for the innocent people inside the buildings and planes. I prayed for the police, firemen, EMS, and the good citizens who were helping get people out. I prayed for their family's. I prayed they would all get out alive.

I laid in my hammock that night after dinner and just looked up into the sky. I laid there for hours. I finally got up long after the sun had set, and the stars had risen. Long after I had been called in by my housemates and coworkers. I said nothing to anyone as I sat on the couch. I just stared at the TV. The news was back on. Replaying the horrific details over and over again. I didn't need to see it to know what had happened.

The world had changed forever.

The world is still recovering 10 long years later.

I am still recovering 10 long years later.

I may not have been there.

I may not have had anyone inside the area.

But it still effected me profoundly.

My the souls of the lost rest in eternal peace.

I will never forget.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

It's been a great year

The end of 2010 was crazy busy for me. I spent the last 3 weekends at the farm getting ready for Florida among other things.

Not much snow but enough to make me pack quick!

I packed the RV chalk full of almost everything we need while down in Florida. Only tack and blankets were left behind. Tack because it's being used and the blankets were still dirty from last year. I know bad groom!

Damn I thought I had pretty tack room pictures but I must have deleted then.... Grrrrrr!

Anyway we got lots accomplished that weekend. After packing the RV and tiding up the never ending tack room disaster, we all loaded up into the truck to make a midnight run to Sarnia to pick up Fly.

Miss and Roo in the back of the truck with us.

The boys piled into the front seat and the ladies got the back with the dogs. To be honest I'm not sure if we won or lost with the dogs...150lb bloodhound takes up most of the back seat no matter how he sits.

There is a lady and a Miss under that bloodhound.

We pulled into a hotel off the Hwy around 2 am. We got a room and snuck the dogs in the back room. I'm glad Roo was to tired to howl he would have given us away. No dogs allowed hotel... Oops?

Miss figured out that if she lays on top of him she doesn't get squished. This was on the trip home in the am.

The 3 adults and the dogs piled back into the truck at 7:30 am. The boys refused to get up so we left them behind in the hotel. We drove the 10 mins to pick up Ms. Fly, chit chatted for a bit with her former owners and everyone said a quick prayer for her to load. Well I have to say for 8 months old that little baby loaded and shipped like she's been doing it her whole life. We turned and tried to burn rubber coming back home as we still had to feed and turn out our 29 horses. We grabbed the boys as we passed the hotel and jumped back on the hwy.

We made a quick pit stop at some dive type truck stop for breakfast. Poor Fly got left in the trailer. If we could have brought her in to eat with us we would have. She stood like a rock on the trailer and made us proud!

The girls calling to Fly on the trailer as we pulled in.

We have such great boarders (the few we do have) they came and turned out horses for us. We didn't get back to the farm until noonish. All the girls came over to the fence to check out who was pulling in on their trailer. I missed them all lined up on the fence like a photo shoot.

Fly right off the trailer

This photo doesn't do her justice but she is ALL legs! Tina Turner like legs!

After getting Fly settled in the boss lady had to teach a lesson. Being the good groom I am i helped set jumps and mucked a few stalls. When the lesson was done we untacked CeCe in the arena and let her lose with Fly. They ran around a bit and then Fly decided she would like to be a jumper. Instead of going around the jumps like a normal horse she jumped them like a pretty little hunter. Very neat and tidy. Tonns of scope. No pictures of that... No one expected that.

After we finnished up the barn we troted over to the neighbors annual Christmas party at his bar. Alway a fun time, and great food!!! I headed home on the bus around 10 and was home by 12:30 am. Well worth the lack of sleep.

Over the Christmas holidays the boss lady and family took the RV down to Florida. From what she told me I'm glad I stayed in the cold!

I did the family thing on Friday in Toronto with my sister, her BF and their son, my mom and my BF. It was fun but I'm glad it's only a few times a year we are all togther!

Worlds cutest red head playing with his new ball.

I wanna sit with mom!

Happyier... Kinda

Nap time in his new Buzz LightYear couch.

I spent Christmas day at the farm pretty much by myself. It was GREAT! The weather was good cold but sunny and I got a turkey dinner with one of the boarders and her family.

Lots of sanding to do...

I got to work on my project for Mel at Boots and saddle

Monsters Brother Moo

Sunday I kept the horses in. It was sunny and clear but the wind was horrid. I had awoken up to a freezing house...49 degrees F inside. Can we say burrr!! The house runs on propane and I thought the furnace had broken. Turns out all 3 tanks were empty. I did not want to deal with a frozen barn to so the ponys stayed in for the day. I was playing it paranoid safe.

CeCe was not impressed she wanted out!

I worked my normal job Monday to Thursday. After spending some time with the love of my life Thursday after work I headed back to the farm around midnight.

Love being himself...I must be crazy!

Over the new years weekend the boss lady and I got a lot done. We made 3 baby jumps,

worked 5 horses

and did some general clean up. Mr boss lady played in the tractor added dirt to the paddocks. We fixed the hallway mats, a feed bowl, a stall wall and 2 outside doorways. We even had time to make 2 trips to home depot! And play dress up.

Poor miss is not impressed

Roo was much more cooperative and actually walked around with everything staying on for quite awhile.

Roo stole my hat when we were done playing... I think he wanted to keep it on!?

I hope everyone had a great Christmas and New Year. I can't wait to see what 2011 brings!!!!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, December 13, 2010

Planning for Florida

As the cold weather really starts to hit us here, I am beginning to dream of Florida again. Last year we spent 6 glorious weeks down in Ocala, Florida with five wonderful horses.

Farm 2010

My "farm family" will be taking the RV down over the Christmas holidays and I will be left here in Ontario to take care of the ponys. Now I'm not complaining about being left behind. I get to spend 4 days at the farm by myself while I'm not working my "normal" job. To me that is heaven. But I do miss out on spending 3 days in Florida. But I also miss out on a 24 hr drive with two dogs, one of which thinks he should be a lap dog all 120lbs of him, one 10 yr old boy, one 14 yr old boy, and the "folks." Is it really a loss staying home?

Florida 2010

I will be spending next weekend packing the RV with all the bigger items that we need to take down with us.

Last year I packed the nose of the gooseneck horse trailer an the bed of the truck with everything we needed. I had it PACKED let me tell you. Everything we needed was carefully tetris' into the nose of the trailer. I then added a foam spare mattress and a car dog grate to hold everything in. Life may have been easier if we were shipping four horses in our four horse slant. But we did not last year nor will we this year. One lucky or possibly unlucky horse depending on how you look at it gets to be the tack room victim. Yep that's right we ship a small horse in our tack room. That's just how we roll.

So to prevent any potential problems I'm trying to ship as much as I can down with the RV. I'm hoping only to have to ship tack, feed and buckets down with the horses.

I can't find a photo of the tack room horse last year... Too bad it was pretty damn cute!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The view from my bedroom window...

This post doesn't follow the story from the last few but I felt the need to post it today.

This was taken last January.

This morning I woke up at 6am. This is not uncommon for me as I have to be at work for 7am. It's sad that my weekend off I still follow the trend from my weekday schedule. Today I didn't really mind. I'm spending the weekend with my surrogate family at their farm.

I woke up with a cat on my chest, a dog at my feet and the group of geldings out my window. I always wake up slowly but today was different. I pushed the cat from my chest and rolled over to stare at the boys. Just 30 feet from the back door. Quietly munching their hay in the predawn light. I watched them interact. Three stallions and 11 geldings. All interacting calmly. The head stallion sometimes changing things around depending on who's doing what. Keeping everyone in their place. But never without a reason. Monster and his brother sleeping on the ground in what was a new round bale last night. The lone grey standing in between the two smaller herds who are eating at the bales.

Again taken last year.

I sometimes feel like the collage kid who comes home for the weekend. My two younger "brothers" excited to see me, sometimes forgetting I'm here. I'm like a present. A pleasant surprise in the morning. The only difference is I leave my laundry at home. I made coffee after I got up and went outside for a smoke. It was cold, snowy and windy but I never really mind when I'm here.

Last January the boys in the back yard.

Here I'm happy even when my real life sucks. I had the worst Friday ever at work. I was made to feel like shit all day. I was yelled at and threatened by someone who should have let it go. I can't fix the mistake. If I had been properly trained I wouldn't have made it. He abused his authority and took out his frustration at others on me. I spent more time crying than doing my job. I walked out wondering if this job I truly enjoy so much is really worth it. I was ready to walk away. But when I got on the train to come home, I started to relax. The closer to home I got the better I felt. I was no longer crying over an arrogant jerk. I was smiling and happy to see my family. They picked me up from the bus station and life was ok again. We pulled into the farm and real life no longer existed.

Today from my window I realized how much we should take in from our horses. I nip in the ass and it's over. I look and you just understand. No yelling, no feeling like sh*t for anyone.

This was taken in June 2010

I realized that I don't deserve what was done to me on Friday. I will stand up and fight back. You can't kick the sh*t out of me without a damn good reason. You can not take away everything that I have worked toward for the last two years just because you are in a position of authority. You abused it and now I will fight back. I will stand up for what is right. I will fight to the death for what I believe in. For what I have worked so hard for.

If my life could only be so simple as a horses life!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, November 12, 2010

Who's crazy now?

Some times I wonder if horse people are the real crazies of the world....

What is up with that hat... My pictures really don't do it justice... Big pink feathers fluttering in the breeze

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Life lessons Big J and the little brown mare..

I buses out to Big J's everyday for 6 months. I had never worked at a full time lesson barn before coming out to big J's. I did everything she had ever asked of me. From mucking stall to riding to teaching lessons to taking out trail rides. As much as I knew about right and wrong in the horse world big J may have taught me some of the best lessons I could have ever learned.

The barn that big J rented was an old standerdbred training barn. It sat on 200 acres of land with 3 fields. There was an old bank barn, 2 large open shed/barns, a small indoor arena and 2 heritage homes closer to the road. The property had a small 5 acre bush lot towards the back. Parts were rented out by cash crop farmers. Everything was in a state of disrepair. Both barns really should not have houses animals, nor should have the outbuildings. I slowly learned that when it snowed outside it snowed inside as well. Or when it rained, 9 out of 10 stalls flooded, from above and below. I learned not to remove pee spots from certain stalls. I learned that when you hose freezes because there is a foot of snow at one end of the barn it was ALOT of work slugging water to each horse, and much easier to take each horse to a water tank in the hall and water them ever 3-4 hours. I learned the true meaning behind crazy horse people.

Big J taught lessons 7 nights a week and took out trails on weekends.  Actually I don't think she ever left her office. She had lackys like me to do the work for her. Apon occation I would teach a lesson for her during the day or take out a trail ride. She liked to make as much money as she could. Her horses were old and worked hard. They rarely got outside. Once a week if they were lucky. Let me tell you it was pure crazyness when they did get out. She would buy horses from the local meat market sale. Home they would come in her beat up pickup truck and matching trailer. They would be bannished to the old bank barn for a week to see if they had any health issues. If nothing was noticed they would get move up to the big barn. Then I would get to work with them. And not get paid to do it. But I never minded back then. I would brush them and love them up. Saddle them to see what their reaction would be. Then we would move out to the indoor. 

I remember this one little mare impaticular. We believed she was a Morgan from what we were told at the sale. Cute little thing she was. Not a drop of white on her brown little body. She was built like a tank and I was looking forward to getting on her. All her ground basics were incrediable! She loved the attition I was giving her. Not a muscle moved when I tacked her up. She walked around the arena like a pro on the lunge line. Her movement was to die for. So I got on her. She stood like an old trail horse for me to adjust girth and get on. Once I was on her back I shifted me weight around, flapped my arms. She was quite and calm. I put my leg on to ask her to move forward, she took one step and reared. Oh baby oh baby not a chance is hell was I going to let that happen! I bopped her on the poll and asked for forward again. Well let me tell you that mare could move. He moved so fast I thought I was flying. Oh wait u was, backward and up. My head hit the ground with a thud. Big J had been standing in the door way to the arena. She yelled at me to see if I was ok. Other than a bit of a headache and a sore knee I was fine. I was also determined to not let this little mare get the best of me. I walked over to where she was standing in the arena grabbed my reins and walked her back to my mounting block.
 Big J asked me "Are you crazy? Or just stupid?"
"Nope" I said "My mom always told me to get right back up."
And I did just that. I sat in the saddle for a good 2 mins, reins loose, quite and calm. Then I got off. I handed big J the mare and told her I was going home. I walked out of that barn, walked to the bus stop, and sat down on the gravel curb. I cryed like a baby. 

I'm no wimp. I've been kicked, bitten, stepped on, crushes, run over etc. Only once dis I ever ask for a hospital and pain meds. I wasn't crying for myself. I was crying for that poor little mare. I knew she would be back in the POS trailer and back to the stock yards first thing Monday morning. She couldn't make big J a dime and she wouldn't keep a extra mouth unless they paid their own way. I cryed for her and all the others that could have a second life but got the wrong bidder, and eneded up back were they started from.