Thursday, January 9, 2014

Time for horses to teach me something new

I've been reading the book Nature in Horsemanship by Mark Rashid. (Thanks Mellen and Elliot! Merry Christmas to me!!) He has an entire chapter about the importance of protecting yourself. He talked about a woman who let her horse run her over, because she didn't want to make him mad at her.

I've never been run over by my horse... but... I have been called "fearless" when I didn't move out of his way while he was running at me. He stopped in front of me, and I wasn't hurt. But I was lucky.

I have made grand improvement from my first day on the horse. I was willing to sit on his back, but I didn't dare touch the reins, because I was afraid of hurting him. I didn't want to be bossy or controlling or tell him what to do. I now have no problem touching the reins or asking him to do some things (like not run me into a tree, or to climb a mountain with me on his back, etc.)

Sunny has taught me a lot. That horse has been the best therapist to me, and he has played a huge part in my recovery**. Besides all that he has taught me, he has taken me all over the mountains. There are very few trails that are within driving distance that we haven't been on and all over. We have done a lot together. And lately, I can tell we are stagnating. Reading the book, I can see where we (and by we, I mean me) are stuck. I'm still afraid of hurting him... so I haven't worked with him more.

Eventually, I want to adopt a Mustang. I want to gentle wild horses. I love watching people with their Mustangs, because I know the relationship they have to build with their horses. I know how hard it is to convince a horse to do things like crossing streams or climbing mountains or standing still. I want to do that, but I'm afraid.

I also recently wrote about how my fear of hurting BJ drives me. I definitely never want to hurt him AND I don't want to be motivated by fear.

Sunny taught me that it was okay to trust another being. And now, it's time for me to learn that it is okay to ask for... and to expect... and to want... and to need... from another being. I think Sunny (and BJ) will be great partners for these lessons, but I don't think they can teach me the way I want.

I'm lucky to be surrounded by equestrian centers. I live in a teeny tiny town in Utah, but there are at least four HUGE private arenas with trainers in every area of horsemanship you could want. There is also a public arena and trainers that will meet you there.

This morning, I called one of the local trainers. I've met him before, and I like his style. I can't afford him, but I can afford to be a working student at his place. I told them that I hoped to work with Mustangs one day, but I need experience. I also told them that I am terrified of hurting the horses, or doing something that would make them into bad horses somehow... and that is getting in the way of the relationship I want with my horse. They said they had classes that could help me...

I'm afraid. Even writing about this, my chest feels tight, my throat feels tight, and I might just want to climb under the desk and hide... and I'm excited.

**I was asked today if I had recovered from PTSD. I don't think you can ever recover completely, because the trauma and the abuse are a part of me. I can't go back to when it had never happened. I can't get back the innocence. I can't go back to before I believed all of the shitty stuff about myself because of the things abusers said and did. I think it will always be a part of me. AND I can also keep moving forward, learning new things, and dealing with the old stuff in new ways.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Merry Christmas (a photo dump)

I had a great Christmas season. Here is the proof:

My little brother was in A Christmas Carol. I stole his hat. And we got photobombed.

BJ's sister took this one. We were watching a movie...
Just getting ready to cut down our Christmas tree...
Look what we dragged out!

Probably should have known at this point it was too tall.

But, we didn't realize it until we got it in the house, and BJ had to cut 4 ft. off the bottom.

We ran out of lights. And the store ran out of lights. It stayed like this for a few days.

Eventually we got the rest of the lights on... and ornaments... and some presents.
The tree with even more presents...

There was supposed to be a present in this box, but I let the cat stay there...

Best tradition ever! Christmas shopping with my dad and my sister. My sister has been looking for a pair of cute black boots for four years. She finally found them.

We watched BJ's daughter's dog while she was away for Christmas. The dog and the cat got along fine until the last day. The cat got the dog's eyelid with her claw. I was just glad she didn't get her eye poked out.

The dog and the horse were friends as long as the dog stayed away from his grain. (Dogs don't speak horse language... or cat language... She did not understand when the other animals told her to 'Stay Away!')

We took the dog to see my sister's dogs. They got along great. They played hard for four hours...

A selfie while at my parents' house.

Sometimes Christmas parties wear him out... :)

All the dogs checking out their Christmas presents.

Guess I did good... :)

She could hardly wait for her present.

And she loved it.

We went sledding with some of the kids.

He stopped. His sled didn't.

My favorite quote that day was after she went down the hill the first time, "I clearly almost died!"
My bro-in-law totally looked at the camera and smiled, but I was too slow...
Last year, they buried me. This year, it was Justin's turn.

Captain America came for Christmas

More present opening.

Guess who got a Macro lens for Christmas? ME!

"What is she chewing on? Oh... a toothbrush... excellent."

Guess who I got to meet in real life?? I've met a lot of friends online, but it was even better to get to see his face and give him a hug.

And now... holidays are over. I not only survived them - I actually enjoyed them. Maybe I can remember that fact as next November approaches.