Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Lesson From A Donkey???

One day a farmer's donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally, he decided the animal was old, and the well needed to be covered up anyway; it just wasn't worth it to retrieve the donkey.He invited all his neighbours to come over and help him. They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone's amazement he quieted down. A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well. He was astonished at what he saw. With each shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up. As the farmer's neighbors continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and happily trotted off!

Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up. Each of our troubles is a stepping stone. We can get out of the deepest wells just by not stopping, never giving up! Shake it off and take a step up.

Remember the five simple rules to be happy:
Free your heart from hatred - Forgive.
Free your mind from worries - Most never happen.
Live simply and appreciate what you have.
Give more. Expect less.

NOW ............Enough of that crap ....

The donkey later came back, and bit the farmer who had tried to bury him.The gash from the bite got infected and the farmer eventually died in agony from septic shock.

MORAL FROM TODAY'S LESSON: When you do something wrong, and try to cover your ass, it always comes back to bite you.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Dressage in My Dreams.....

Second dressage lesson. It went well, but was executed one hour + in 100 degree heat. I think my learning curve dropped rapidly after the first half hour. Blasted sun. Shorten my reins!! I am now hearing Allison's words in my sleep. My reins are almost always too long, and I tend to freeze my hands and elbows instead of letting them go wiggly and move with my horse. We worked on turning on the forehand and halfpass which are so basic but Jackson has never done any of that in his life. My previous dressage lessons have consisted of riding very learned school horses so how much have I retained? More (and sometimes less) than I thought, but it is much different when you are also teaching your green horse as well as relearning the stuff yourself. Jackson learns it faster than I do though; he is AMAZING! I haven't had lessons in A LONG TIME....
Anyway, I was talking to Allison and asking her questions about herself and was amazed at what I learned. She is very modest about herself, but I did glean that she has performed in front of very renowned European judges here in Texas at the Grand Prix level and her favorite thing to do was--NO FOLKS, NOT DRESSAGE!!!! She was an EVENTER!!!! (For those of you who don't know, dressage is only a piece of what I want to do on Jackson,--an important one--but my ultimate dream is to event). She is 79 years old and from England. Her husband, Alex, was a professional polo player and trainer. She told me that he has that little extra something with the horse when he rides that one doesn't often see. I thought I knew what she meant, I've seen it in certain riders. But then she said something that rendered me COMPLETELY speechless. She said, "You have it too, I see it." OK, folks. I trust her and I think if she says something she really means it. But me? Hard to believe. I can't dance. I'm clumsy. I work really hard to ride well. I'm not sure it exactly comes naturally. Sometimes it feels like we are one, but not often...Of course, I have only just begun with this horse....but still! Anyway, I'll take the compliment and hope it has credence. It would be nice to have an extra little something at something in life! Especially my favorite thing in the world..... AND SHE USED TO BE AN EVENTER!!! Yep, sorry, I know. I already said that. ;) She knows EXACTLY where I want to go, phewwww. So she can also be useful with the fences a little down the road I hope!!!! *I am SO smiling.*
I was talking to Peggy who is the financial officer at Triple H Equitherapy and she told me a story involving Allison and Ray Hunt. For those of you who aren't familiar, Ray Hunt (now deceased) was one of the original horse whisperers and an amazing trainer. I idolize him. Check out his books if you have a chance. Anyway, apparently Allison was giving a dressage lesson right next to a ring where Ray was also teaching a group of students. Allison was giving her instruction so loudly that Ray's students couldn't hear what he was saying. Ray turned to his students and said, "Just listen to the lady next door, she knows what she's talking about." LOL!
I have so much to learn, but I think I have hit on a gem in Allison. She is a tough teacher, but I am LEARNING from her.
Good as!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Wordless Wednesday....In Which Cammie Does Her Thing.....

My cats all fight for the priviledge of sleeping on this little blanket that I have. It is the coveted place to sleep in the house and you always know who is the leader of the pack at any given time by who is on this small blanket......You will NEVER find more than one cat on the blanket although you may find all three cats located on different spots on the bed where the blanket resides. After much study of their behaviors I still can't figure it out!!!! (Well...I guess I'm not too good at being WORDLESS am I?) Ahhhh well.....

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Horse Boy

The Horse Boy: A Father's Quest to Heal His Son

by Rupert Isaacson

If any of you have been reading my blog you are probably aware that I work at an Equitherapy facility called Triple H Equitherapy, located in Pipe Creek, Tx. HHH provides nationally accredited therapeutic horseback riding programs for disabled children and adults in a safe and beautiful Hill Country environment. Before I became an RN, I worked with the developmentally disabled population for 12 years. I miss it, but unfortunately it did not pay the bills. Being able to work with this population AND horses is not even volunteer work for me, and I thoroughly enjoy my time there. I get SO much out of it! I am amazed at the bond forged between horse and rider, not to mention the mental and physical improvements exhibited. My friend at work recently brought me the above book, and I was moved beyond words by it. I am going to include the teaser from the dustcover; this was simply an awe inspiring book. Since Rupert lives in Austin, TX (about 1 hr. away) I am hoping to contact him to do a presentation at our facility. I hope you decide to borrow (or purchase) this one, it is incredible....

PS...For those of you who may not know, http://www.half.com/ is an amazing place to purchase books at rock bottom prices, you can get new or used, and they are a sister site to e-bay. Unlike e-bay you do not bid, it is all buy it now.

When his son, Rowan, was diagnosed with autism, Rupert Isaacson, a lifelong horseman, was devastated. Would he ever be able to communicate with his son, much less share the wonder of horses with him?

Then something extraordinary happened. On a walk near their home one day, Rowan dodged underneath a fence and ran under the hooves of a neighbor's horse, a testy mare named Betsy. Instead of trampling him, the mare dipped her head and stood perfectly still--a moment of profound beauty and revelation. Rupert saw that his distant, unreachable son had a real connection with the horse. Rupert began taking Rowan for rides on Betsy, and soon Rowan started to speak and to improve remarkably.

Rupert then had a crazy, impossible idea: What if there was a place in the world where horses and healing came together? What if Rowan's autism could be the gateway to adventure? The adventure of a lifetime.

The Horse Boy is a heart-wrenching true story of the remarkable journey taken by Rupert, his wife, Kristin, and Rowan through the untamed landscape of Outer Mongolia. They travel halfway around the world to ride horseback across that land together, and to meet the traditional healers there, heirs to centuries of discipline and inspiration. It is an astounding journey, full of challenges, the unexpected, beauty, and extraordinary advances. Perhaps more inspiring than the changes Rowan goes through is the power of this father's love for his son. This is an unforgettable story that shows that even in our darkest moments we can discover joy, that healing can arrive in the most unexpected of ways, and that the magical and the mundane can come together to transform our lives.

For more information about The Horse Boy, visit http://www.horseboythebook.com/ It is also now a 2009 Sundance film with the footage that they taped on their journey and you can view a very cool trailer here...I will add it later tonite....You Tube has decided not to cooperate!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A Grand Passion

"Riding a horse is not a gentle hobby, to be picked up and laid down like a game of solitaire. It is a grand passion. It seizes a person whole, and once it has done so, he will have to accept that his life will be radically changed."
--Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday, June 12, 2009

Mounted Scavenger Hunt!

As some of you may know, I volunteer at an Equitherapy Facility as a sidewalker and a horse handler. Lately we have been working hard to set up the annual fundraiser, a mounted scavenger hunt! I kind of fell into this position last year when my BO Linda asked me if I wanted to go help set up trails for the scavenger hunt! Of course, this year after enjoying it SO much last year, we spent most of our days off from work on horseback blazing trails, hanging up the trail markers, clearing out branches, and then a few days before the hunt setting up the "events" which you will see a few of on my picture tour below. The three trails consisted of easy, intermediate, and expert; all of them with 10 events each. To obtain your prize at the end you had to follow the map, find your "10 treasures" and bring back the required items from all 10 events. The orange trail, which was the hardest, proved to be quite a challenge for many of the riders. Of course, we made the "events" much harder to find, and the trail was even more challenging. Lots of rocky terrain, switchbacks, challenging water, and difficult cliff-like hills with rock. I will show you some of the events, not necessarily in any trail order; from setting up the day before on an ATV, (thank God for that ATV or we NEVER would have got it done!!) to the day of the event, to a little bit of the dismantling of the trails which we started on Monday, the event being last Saturday. Hope you enjoy the pics as much as I enjoyed the experience...


Linda, Kate and Matt on the ATV

The back of that cart got really bumpy at times, I have major bruises as proof!

Pinto Pony--bring back one pinto bean.

Hobo Hollow. This one was my creation. Bring back one hobo stick.

Hanging in the tree at horse height on the easy pink trail.

I made 80 of these! AGH! And if you don't think it looks like a hobo bag, I don't wanna hear about it!!! :)

This is where Lorri's horse Kite spooked at a rustling bag, turned, started bucking, and....

she crashed into this tree at speed, breaking her nose and lying backwards (with her body and head to Kite's tail) to this....

HILL. Matt (pictured) was there and says she narrowly missed these rocks when she finally fell off.
The hill from the bottom. Quite steep, pics never do that justice! She was unconscious when Matt got to her. EMS was called and you can see the pic in my previous post. She broke three spinous processess and broke her nose among other things. She is doing better so thank you for all of your prayers!!!

The Old Kiln. Bring back one match from the basket. Everything on the pink trail you need to be able to get from your horse as it is the easiest one. We did run into some riders on the day of the hunt out on the yellow intermediate/difficult trail, (four of them riding English) who could not get off of their horses and remount on the trail. They dropped something and my newbie rider son jumped off and got it for them. I'm sorry, if you can't get off of your horse and remount, you shouldn't be out on a difficult trail!!! It made me ashamed to be an English rider, we get enough knocks being in the land of Western riders, so we need to look competent....but of course, they were dressed to the nines and had the best tack and horses. Figures.

The BBQ tree. Bring back one briquet.

Fruit Stand. Bring back one grape. This is the little grove where I fell flat on my butt kicking a HUGE branch down from a tree so it wouldn't fall on a rider. I was kicking it because it had a scorpion on it the day before. So kicking was good. Branch came down, so did I. Darn tree roots! Thankfully, well out of the way of said HUGE branch. But not of the way of the chiggers! UGH! We were all covered with bites and are still itchy fully a week later. CHIGGERS ARE THE WORST!!!!!

Paint by Letters. Bring back one paint brush.

She sells. Bring back one seashell from the hanging bag. The big colored ones are decoration.

The whole effect of She Sells.

Teed Off. Bring back one golf tee. We put a little bit of green astroturf on that log pile the day of the hunt. This one was fun to set up!

Kate gunning the ATV up a steep hill. That thing is SO fun to drive!

Caurosel horse. Bring back one bell out of the black umbrella. Jackson didn't bat an eye at this one, although apparantly lots of people have trouble with it. When we rode through while the hunt was going on we had to reload the umbrella by picking up most of the bells from the ground!

Rust in Pieces. Bring back one tombstone. (Popsicle stick painted rust colored with RIP on it).

Rusting abandoned farm equipment. Resting in, well, pieces!

RIP. Trevor Tiller. Gone TILL he learns how to close the gate.

RIP. Sam Shredder. He was all torn up over life.

RIP. Debbie Disc. Plowed under too soon.

School Spirit. Bring back one letter from the bucket.

Fractured Fred. Bring back one pack of....

Citrical--Calcium!!!! This was my son Miles' favorite event. He donated the use of Fred to the cause and was SO excited to go out on the trail the day of the hunt so he could see it personally. Fred is now hanging in my son's room with the Fractured Fred sign, holding a pack of Citrical in his hand. Have I mentioned my son's obsession with Halloween? GRIN....

Toad Wall. Bring back one toad.

Mountains of Ararat. Bring back one animal. The mountains didn't get put out til the day of the hunt.

Tiger's Lair. Bring back one tiger's eye from the hanging basket. (Not pictured). We had a lot of fun getting the tiger to stay in the tree. We tied his tail to something from the back side.

And YES, we did get stuck. But just once. This pic is before he was well and truly stuck...We three tough ladies cowgirled up and moved the trailer (all 800lbs. of it!) into the water and we took the wet route for a bit! Matt offered to get out if one of us wanted to steer the ATV out of its mess, but we opted out of that one!

Alien space discs...

Matt throwing the "UFO's" (garbage can lids!) string over a tree branch.

Kate gets one too....

Bring back one strange looking green alien to show that you've been here.

The sign speaks for itself!

Linda pointing out the red-headed fairy, I don't think we red heads look all that good in yellow! HA!

Lover's Leap. Bring back one gold ring. Make sure you look over the edge first.....
Crime scene view from the edge of Lover's Leap. YES, I must confess, this was my idea, but Linda ran with it and made it happen. Ahhh. Praise be to warped senses of humor!!
Miles at School Pride event on the day of the Scavenger Hunt.

Miles at Fractured Fred, checking it out in person. He was thrilled to see "Fred" whom he claims has, "been in the family" since we lived in D.C. (7 years ago), being so useful!

Most of the Triple H Equitherapy horses got baths and fancy braids in order to present a "Parade of Horses" in which we present the different breeds and where they originated, characteristics, etc. that are in active use at Triple H. From Belgians to Oldenburgs to QH, TB, and even a little POA, there is quite the variety and size!


Parade of Horses. Me in the blue with the TB. His name is Laz and he is a high strung pain! Makes me so glad Jackson is an AngloArab; he is SO calm in comparison! Wish I had a close up of Laz's ribbons tho', they were super cool!

Helping a client mount. She got an award in front of the whole crowd in celebration of being at Triple H for 10 years as a rider!!!

Monday morning trail clean-up. Jackson's mane was the perfect place to store the trail markers that needed to come down! Do you like this new fad we're starting? He was unimpressed.

Back from taking down part of one trail.

He is really getting much better at his riding! It's so nice to be able to take him out on the trail!