Life in progress


#SoCS – Spirited – #AtoZChallenge

I just looked up my thesaurus word for the A to Z Challenge and I have no idea how, off the top of my head, to use it with the word “spell,” which is the prompt for SoCS.

Now I have that out of the way (did I cheat?), I’ll say that when I hear the word “spirited,” my mind immediately goes to horses. I’ve known some spirited horses in my day. And I’ve known some lazy ones.

Through my 20s, I worked on a dude ranch, taking trails out. Some of the animals we used for the trails always had kids on them–they were the horses that were easy to handle, meaning they did nothing out of the ordinary, never moved any faster than they absolutely had to, and never strayed from following the bum of the horse in front of them. Until we got to the apple orchard. It was fine most of the year, but when the apples started growing, we’d constantly have a paying customer scraped off their horse by the low-hanging branches.

So why didn’t we put kids on smaller horses? Most of them were too rowdy. Or too easily spooked. And apparently people enjoyed being dragged under a tree better than they liked falling off.

I worked at that place for years. I loved it. I was paid $20 for an eight- or nine-hour day, which doesn’t sound like much, but as I often said to people — I was getting paid to do something I loved.

I never thought I’d give up riding, but I have. I don’t have the time or the money for it any more. I’ve been on a few trails, but after leading them myself, I can’t stand being told what to do. The last time I took a trail, I took my feet out of the stirrups to stretch my legs only to be told by the trail guide that I HAD to put them back in. I told her where to stick it (in so many words) but the trail wasn’t very pleasant after that.

I hope one day I’ll be able to start going again. My dream was to own a farm, but that’s never going to happen. Even if I could afford it, it would be necessarily too far away from the nearest hospital for Alex’s sake. But maybe, someday, I’ll take out trails again. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll come across the trail guide who told me to put my feet in the stirrups and I can get her back.

This post is part of Stream of Consciousness Saturday. To find out how to join in, click the link: It’s fun!


Just Jot It January 26th – Oneness

There are certain things we humans naturally feel a oneness with. Being joined by the tradition of marriage; being a couple rather than an individual and having your name synonymous with someone else’s of your choosing creates a sense of completeness. The birth of a child between a couple who love one another is a bond that cannot be broken. For that matter, our families as well as our friends, nature, or even a good book can cause a feeling of oneness. But etched in my mind was one bond I can recall with great clarity. It was with my horse.

His name was Shadow and he was a mutt – part quarter horse, part thoroughbred; we were never really sure. I bought him from the lady who owned the farm where I guided trails but I eventually moved him closer to where I lived. Close by was a conservation area, the Vivian Forest, consisting partly of natural forest and partly planted rotating forestation, which spans almost 5,600 acres. I could ride for eight hours without seeing the same trail twice. Shadow and I knew the place very well.

There were a few rides, just me and my horse, that I’ll never forget. Once, riding along a well-worn trail, we came too close to an owl’s nest. She wasn’t pleased: she flew at us, soaring over my head three or four times as I ducked down as close as I could to Shadow’s mane and we galloped the hell out of there. Another time we were walking, on our way home, when Shadow came to a dead halt, head up, ears pricked. Rather than urge him on, I sat still on his back and looked in the same direction he was staring; a fully antlered buck, almost the size of my horse walked out of the forest on to the trail, stopped, stared at us, and crossed the trail, disappearing back into the woods.

But there was one ride that truly made me feel that oneness. It was early summer and I’d just finished an overnight shift at the 24 hour gas station I was working at at the time. Rather than head home to bed, I decided to go out on Shadow for a while. We went a long way that morning and on the way home I couldn’t keep my eyes open anymore. So I closed them and fell almost all the way to sleep in the shade of the forest, while Shadow took me home. What an incredible feeling of oneness it was.

The “Oneness” prompt is brought to you by Carol at WritersDream9. Pop on over and say hi!

JJJ 2016

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Cat Pictures – #SoCS

Have you ever seen so many cat pictures in your life as you’ve seen since Facebook came into being?



Of course not. They seem to be the world’s favourite animal now. When I was growing up I loved horses; I still do, I suppose. But they’re not all I think about the way I did before I had kids. I suppose my kids are my new horses… Yeah, stream of consciousness.

I still notice many little girls are saying horses are their favourite animal. But let’s face it, horses are something you’ve got to get off Facebook to spend time with, unlike cats. Horses don’t sit on your keyboard when you’re trying to type, so that’s a plus. And you can’t ride a cat. At least not a house cat. You could ride a lion, and you’d have something to hold onto. A mane. Hey, horses have manes. Did you know horses and cats have something in common? They both lay their ears back when they’re mad. They’ll both bite when you get them upset enough… but horses don’t scratch. They both need their nails trimmed though.

This is getting out of hand. Catapult me outta here.

This post is part of Stream of Consciousness Saturday. You can join in too!

SoCS badge 2015


H is for High-Spirited

I used to be very much a horse person. I loved horses as a kid – wanted to spend all my time with horses, so I talked my parents into sending me to horse camp where I learned how to ride. I remember being assigned my horse at the beginning of the week – the one I would ride twice a day. Oh how happy I was when I finally graduated to the more high-spirited horses!

I began of course with the ones that just plodded along. The ones that give the rider the illusion that he or she is in control but in fact there is nuthin’ that’s gonna change that beast’s mind about following the horse-bum in front of it. I swear sometimes those kinds of horses are sleep walking.

Years later as an adult I went back to farm where I had formerly gone to camp and got a job taking out trail rides. The number one rule for guiding a trail is to watch the customers, meaning that as a guide, I’d spend three quarters of my time twisted around in the saddle facing forward but looking back. This includes while trotting and galloping. I remember my first trail – my God was I nervous! Nervous as in I didn’t have a single drop of spit in my mouth nervous. Riding backwards while running turned out to be the least of my worries that day.

You see, every once in a while we’d get a real ass (and I’m not talking about a donkey) go out for a ride. It was normally a young guy who wanted to show off to his friends how skilled he was on horseback. Invariably the ass had no idea what he was doing. Normally we could spot them 100 miles off and stick them on one of the aforementioned plodders. No problem, right? I got one of these guys my very first trail ride ever. And somehow he managed to do the one thing that would get a plodder’s attention.

We had on the farm a thing we called “the gallop strip.” It was a stretch of trail facing away from the barn (because if you gallop a horse in the direction of the barn it ain’t gonna stop) that nine times out of ten the more high-spirited horses would behave themselves on, and the plodders would get up to a trot… which was hilarious when we got one of our macho men on one, because he’d be bouncing all over the place totally out of control. Not so much on my first time out.

My macho man managed to hold his horse back through sheer brutality when everyone else started to run. Me, not being experienced, tried but failed to slow everyone else down (a lesson I quickly learned). So when the plodder, freaked out that his horsey friends’ bums had left without him, he finally bolted. The horse passed the trail line, passed me and took off for the barn. There I was screaming at the guy as he’s getting farther and farther away (with not an ounce of spit which was difficult) to pull back on the reins and stop squeezing with his feet which was what was making the horse go faster, I couldn’t chase him because the rest of my trail would chase me…

Needless to say I ended my first trail ride as a guide in tears. But, as they say, you’ve just got to dust yourself off and get right back on, right? I loved that job; I did it for about five years. And I’ve got a million stories to go with it.

So much for my letter of the alphabet today, eh? Oh wait – one of the synonyms for “high-spirited” is “dashing.” That works. 😀

Me at 12 years old

Me, at 12 years old


BATZAP by Doobster @ Mindful Digressions

BATZAP by Doobster @ Mindful Digressions