Wednesday, December 19, 2012

George the Underhorse

Last Saturday, we had a "Deck the Stalls" get together at the horse rescue where we volunteer. There was a ton of food, lots of visiting, tree decorating and many other fun things to do. At some point in the festivities, word made it's way around that one of the attendees was going to ride George. Immediately, we all started speculating about the outcome of this decision making because George isn't exactly known for being, shall we say, stable. (pun completely intended) He isn't vicious by any means, but he hasn't exactly inspired confidence either.

George arrived to LEARN early summer of this year, a 14 year old stallion who had been tied up behind an abandoned mobile home with a rope embedded in his neck. He was a little thin, had an raw rope wound and was full of hormones. Due to his, shall we say, extremely amorous nature, he was not exactly the favorite around the barn. Well taken care of, certainly, but didn't have as many fans as some of the other guys. He paced the fence constantly, and even once gelded, still tried to get his groove on in all manner of inappropriate ways. Eventually he moved to a pasture further from the barn and began spending his days hanging out with another chestnut gelding, bossing around the two bay ponies already out there.

So Saturday afternoon, the news that George, of all horses, was going for a ride created quite a stir. We all hurried out to the round ring and made jokes about how many seconds we thought the rider would manage to stay on once mounted. I was laughing along with everyone else while George was being tacked up and had my camera ready to go, feeling certain something entertaining was going to happen. Then it suddenly struck me that he was being really, really good, especially considering no one knew the last time he had been ridden, there were a lot of people laughing and chatting and there were children posted up near the top rail - all things that can be spooky for a steady minded animal, let alone one with a questionable background and hormone challenges.

All of a sudden I felt like a jerk. George couldn't help his beginnings or the fact that being gelded in middle age might have been difficult for him to acclimate to. And since I'm also a huge sucker for an underdog, or in this case, an underhorse, it was with great pleasure that I watched him be good as gold while being saddled, mounted and ridden. George walked around being nothing but well behaved just like an old pro. The rider stayed on for only ten minutes or so, long enough to feel him out but short enough to reward him for being so good. Once back in the barn, he was lavished with treats, love and praise. The next day he got to go out again with the teen girls that spend so much time at the barn, cementing his place as a barn contender.

Honestly, I almost cried. I have no idea why this touched me so deeply. I couldn't even fall asleep that night for thinking about George and his exceptional afternoon ride. I just kept smiling to myself about how this skinny and sometimes whackadoodle pony made all us "intelligent" humans look like dumbasses. It was an amazing feeling, to be honest. Sometimes, especially when we aren't at our best, all we need is for someone to come along that is brave enough to give us a chance. I'm happy to report that George has now gone on more than one ride around the farm and has leapt into the hearts of many as a reminder to not give up hope for redemption, be it for animals or people. And for that I say, thanks, George. I needed that.

PS. George the underwonderhorse is actually a large pony and available for adoption. He won't win any conformation classes but he's super flashy and cute. And very rideable.You can contact LEARN horse rescue for more details if you or anyone you know is interested in adoption. :-)




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Saturday, December 15, 2012

For Newtown, In Honor of Those Who Were Lost

The news from Connecticut yesterday has shaken me to the core and I'm well aware that I'm not alone in that feeling. Yesterday I was stunned into near speechlessness and my only desire was to get my hands on my own children. I wanted to hold them and see them with my own eyes, even though I knew they were okay. I wanted to reassure myself that my own most precious ones were safe. Later last night, I was a little nervous leaving my daughter at the school dance, wanting instead to keep her home with me, knowing that I couldn't.

But today is different. Today I'm angry. Today I'm fighting back. Today I will not back down to fear. I will not be afraid. I will not teach my children to be scared. I cannot lock my loved ones away because the truth is that tragedy can strike anywhere, anytime. I refuse to believe that the world is an evil place filled with horrible people. I just won't live like that. I will be cautious perhaps, afraid, no.

I do this because my children deserve it. I do it because I believe to do otherwise dishonors the memory of the victims. Their legacy does not need to be that children everywhere be locked away, with their view of the world altered forever. The sacrifices made by those involved and the ongoing effort to help those affected is greater than the evil visited upon Newtown. The love shown by a teacher who died hiding her kids in closets is larger than the man who killed her. SHE will be remembered forever as a hero. His name will be forgotten - hers will not. Love and courage are so very much bigger than hate and fear.

I ran across this yesterday and it really resonated with me:


This is greater. This is love. This is humanity at it's best - reaching out to those in need, helping them while they are weak. Darkness is simply the absence of light and as long as the light shines, the darkness cannot overtake it. Light may be more dim at times than others, but a light in the darkness cannot be ignored. We will be that light. When the darkness of unspeakable tragedy begins to envelope us, we will shine. We will be the glow that guides those who are struggling. We will be greater than circumstances, larger than those who do evil. We will wrap our arms around those who are suffering. We will not be afraid.


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Friday, December 7, 2012

Elf It or Eff It

For those of you who have kids, you probably already know what I'm talking about. For those of you who don't, or have been lucky enough to dodge this particular holiday bullet, here's the deal. You can buy this kit, consisting of a book and an elf doll, the gist of which is that the elf is sent from Santa to help him determine who is on the nice or naughty list. The parents are supposed to move him around every day without being observed by the children in order to "animate" him, thus making sure the kiddos believe he's really reporting back to the big man in red.

I think I first heard of this a couple of years ago, and had zero interest in participating in said charade, for multiple reasons. First and foremost, I already have enough to do. Really, I'm allll stocked up on to-do. Secondly, that elf gives me the creeps. Kinda reminds me of Chucky, but dressed up for Christmas, moving around my house looking at everyone. Thirdly, as per usual, there are those of us who go completely overboard with Mr. Elfontheshelf, because apparently now not only is he supposed to be moved around the house every night, he gets up to all kinds of hilarious hijinks, like throwing flour around your kitchen, drawing on your windows, and spilling the dog's food just to name a few. Personally, I find nothing entertaining about making a mess for the sole purpose of having to clean it up. Refer back to reason one.

You guys, there are thousands of Pinterest boards about elfing ideas, there are discussions on Facebook and other social media platforms where people can share what their naughty little guys are up to. Yay! And yes, there is also an app for that. Sigh. Anyway, I guess what really is getting to me is that while we all howl about the holidays being sooo stressful, having tooooo much to do, feeling reeeallly overwhelmed and so forth, we CONTINUE TO ADD ON MORE SHIT. This, my friends, is where I really just don't get it. So much of the pressure is self imposed and we're all screaming for wine but let's just give ourselves another task. Ugh.

I know the kids like it. I know some people truly do enjoy the creative aspect. I know that my children would probably like it too. But sometimes, you just gotta say eff it. Or elf it. Or some combination of the two. Either way, it's just not going to happen at my house. I just can't take the pressure, and believe it or not, moms and dads get to be a little self-preserving sometimes I think.

What about you guys? Do you Elf or not?

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