Thursday, June 10, 2010

Horses Give Us The Wings We Lack.

As the 3 years have passed my career field has become the focal point of a great deal of condemnation and I'm a wee bit curious as to how that is.

When the New Mexico military were getting ready to deploy to the middle east I offered all who wanted to come to Ruidoso for a few days free child care so they could spend some time with their spouses.

It just seemed a simple thing to do. Babysit the children of young couples, couples who didn't know if the deploying spouse would return to the United States in a coffin, in a wheelchair, or unharmed. As an ex-military wife it wasn't anything but an honor to be able to serve them that serve us.

By meeting so many young couples many started asking what I did for a living. "I'm actually a horse trainer/instructor" I always replied with a big grin.

I was shocked at how many asked if they could return to Ruidoso to go trail riding, or take lessons, after they returned from the middle east.

Those conversations started swirling around in my mind.

Bassel-Hagens disease is hereditary through my family. My mother has it in her legs only. She has difficulty walking, and standing for prolonged periods and her legs from above the knee to her toes look like concrete pillars. She can climb NO stairs.

I have it in the extreme form. My spine, neck, hips, arms, shoulders, hands, legs, ankles are covered in thousands of bone tumors.

My oldest daughter also has it in an extreme form, as does two of my grand-children if not more.

We are the "text book" of this rare disease. We all, from the young to the old, suffer from sever damage to the muscles, nerves, and my mother and I both suffer from the acute & widespread early-onset osteoporosis and arthritis that accompanies Bassel-Hagens when the body ages.
When the weather get's cold or wet I can barely walk if I have allowed myself to be idle for any period of time.

One of my saving graces for my health, my own mobility, has been my career. The athleticism required to train & ride horses made my muscular system so fine tuned that I turned 50 years old wearing size 1 jeans - solid muscle.

When I stopped training horses my body degenerated so quickly that for a brief period ( 12 months) I landed up in a wheelchair & on crutches. During a visit to the University of New Mexico Cancer unit in Albuquerque the specialist in Bassel-Hagens advised me to get back to the horse industry quickly and for as long as possible to keep my body tuned.
He was going to get no argument from me.

As my mind swirled from conversations with these young military families I started to put together a program not unlike the "Horses For Hero's" programs.

It had been years since I worked in a Handicapped Riding Program, in fact, it was back in the 1970's in Great Britain. But I knew, heart and soul, from personal experience as a person with serious disabilities, that horses are a wonderful asset in rehabilitation, in therapy, and if those military members had an affinity with horses the same could be instrumental in post war therapy.

Which is why, when I hired Robert Huckins to build a home and horse barn, I signed a contract that he had to build the horse barn before building the house. The barn was supposed to be finished before May 2008. I had to get to work and the barn was a necessary.

So when my mother and I lost our home, I also lost my ability to work within my own career field and it displaced me.

I understand that city people have a hard time seeing any agricultural related employment as a valid method to earn a living. But at 54 years old it's highly unlikely that I'm going to re-appraise my career options. Yet it's been very hurtful listening to comments of condemnation instead of simply helping because of caring, and using the excuse that I am a "horse trainer/instructor" as an excuse.
The comments were numerous:

She needs to get her priorities straight!
Why would she want to live so far away from Ruidoso?
Why would SHE need stables for goodness sakes?
Why is she bothered with horses?
She works with horses? Can't she get a REAL job?

One person told a volunteer from the local domestic violence shelter, while pointing at me, and speaking ABOUT me, "Well it's just like HER, she was left by her husband with NO SKILLS."


I am educated, well read, published on an international scale. But I am a horse trainer, instructor and to be very honest... I wouldn't want it any other way. I'm a victim of crime, not a criminal because I work with horses. My father, being a tyke who spoke his mind as only a tyke could, would have quietly & with utmost kindness replied to those words of condemnation,

"You can't pull yourself up by pulling others down."

Besides the comments about my career I have heard untold rumors and accounts that simply hold no truth. If something is said or written that holds no truth - it's a LIE.
That falls into the "Thou Shalt NOT" category.

The sign of success isn't earning so much money you can have a home and training facility STOLEN without a word of distress, or trauma. The victims of fraud and embezzlement are not criminals though members of "Where is justice 4 All," an international group designed to change laws and support victims as myself, have assured me that the way " some" people have spoken to me, and about me, is perfectly normal. From my career, to my marital status, to my family, ALL has been subjected to criticism which has ventured into abuse.

It doesn't decrease the hurt knowing that others have experienced the same. It rubs salt into open wounds and it's terribly unfair and cruel. Inhumane.

The sign of success is trying to please God.
Success is found in the heart and soul. Not in your career or bank account, and it certainly isn't by distorting facts, embellishing gossip and passing it along as truth.

Luke 16:10 - "Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much." (NIV)

Proverbs 12:5 - "The plans of the righteous are just, but the advice of the wicked is deceitful." (NIV)

Exodus 20:16
- "You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor." (NIV)

Proverbs 16:11 - "The Lord demands accurate scales and balances; he sets the standards for fairness." (NLT)

Psalm 119:160 - "The very essence of your words is truth; all your just regulations will stand forever." (NLT)

A horse is the projection of peoples' dreams about themselves - strong, powerful, beautiful - and it has the capability of giving us escape from our mundane existence.