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Friday, September 20, 2013

Going to watch some dog fights this weekend

Mad???? …..….What if I said I was going to watch the horse races……would you be mad then??? Probably not.

Why??? Oh because you throw the argument that horses love and live to race around????........Horses love to run. They enjoy being with other horses......the herd represents security. There’s a big difference. I cannot convince myself that they enjoy any part of being whipped and forced to outrun other horses on a man-made track.




What if I told you that in some dark dank place in the world……children were being bred to become fighters? Taken away before their teeth had even fully come in. They were not allowed to socialize with other children out of fear they would become unmanageable and not allowed out of their room to do anything but train. They were not allowed to go and even play alone out of fear that they would get hurt or that they would waste the energy that could be used in a fight…but they love to fight….they have two fists so they live to fight……..fast forward a couple of years. They’re winners. Many belts… many prizes…. and oh so much money…….they sustain injuries but it’s ok because their trainers give them drugs…..fast forward a couple more years…..they are winning less and less and the drugs their trainers gave them only masked the bigger problems and the money it takes to keep their crumbling bodies in the fights is more than they are bringing in. They are now auctioned off. Their future however dark or bright it may be is no concern of yours because there’s a brand new batch of fighters coming in as the old ones are being trailered away to an unknown future.....I cannot imagine the uproar.

As humans…..we DECIDE to become athletes we DECIDE to become running and fighting machines. We train hard and if we become injured we DECIDE if we can handle the pain. We TALK to our doctors and trainers. We DECIDE if an injury is career ending and how to adjust into life after being an athlete…..

When Cass tracked down Liam’s racing videos……we couldn’t even watch his last race. He was so lame it hurt to watch. I know for a fact that there are good trainers out there. Good men and women that really do care for the horses that they train…………

IT’S THE BAD ONES I WISH I COULD GET MY HANDS ON………


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

If I should never say another thing.....

The very sad, painful, and bizarre events that have unfolded this week compel me to make sure that if I should never say another thing......




I want you to know my friend
I love you
My hearts desire is that we should graze beside each other until you can graze no more
My wish is that we walk together in this new freedom and peace that both of us never felt before
If the time comes when you can walk no further with me
I will let you rest my friend while I carry your memory with me until we can walk together again

At the very beginning I felt as if I was saving your life.....
But you wasted no time in showing what saving a life really was

To those of us who have lost...
those of us who are losing...
and to those of us who have yet to receive....
I pray peace 

For those who have hurt
I offer forgiveness 

For those who have been hurt
I offer my apology 







Monday, June 24, 2013

what if you're making me....all I was meant to be????




So I take just a brief break from That Liam Horse story ( Chapter 5 will be up soon) to thank everyone that has been there for me.

I hit one year clean from hard drugs and alcohol.



Herbal drugs I'm only at 8 months but I'll get there.

I missed the date because....it just wasn't important anymore. I haven't been counting down the days in amazement like every other time I've tried to clean up my act.
I've always had a praying family....I'm pretty sure that's the only reason the suicide attempts were.....only attempts. The only reason I never seriously overdosed on the massive amount of Meth I was putting in my body........but sobriety never seemed to come.......
what was different about this time????? 






What 







if
















you're 










making



















me













all













that





I











was meant to be







Saturday, June 22, 2013

That Liam Horse - Chapter Four - Liam gets a big brother


My three weeks of recovery was….books. A lot of reading. I was trying to give myself a crash course on horses. Not only to make my work life better but to show the owners I could care for the Liam horse.



I read up on everything from how to care for them and treat them to how to ride them in the discipline that the stables specialized in.










I would set up a chair outside his stall and just stay.
 I above anything else just enjoyed his company.










It was four weeks total before I could get back to work full time. The Liam horse and I seemed to pick up right where we left off. 


He was entered into a sort of racehorse big brother program. He was partnered up with another off the track thoroughbred whose reputation proceeded him.....







Stalwart Member (Stally) shown in the lead of course was going to be Liam's big brother. Stally retired as one of the state's top New York bred earners with earning in excess of $780,000. Stally had a troubled life as well. He was given another chance at life and was loved immensely by the woman who owned and boarded him at the stables. 

Before we get too far.....please take the time to click on Stally and read a little about the horse that would help shape Liam into the horse he is today.....STALLY


In the barn that I was responsible for taking care of......I only knew Stally as the "Protector" I learned after only one short week that life as a stable hand/stall mucker would go a lot smoother if I put this big brown horse out first. I wasn't too sure why. I really had no concept of what the horses were thinking. But my days only got better after realizing this fact.

 Once I turned Stally out in the pasture he would turn and face the gate and watch me walk all the other horses out. They would all call to him as they all entered their separate paddocks and he would only low grumble and watch the back woods and up towards the road.....and the back woods again. The other horses would go about their horsie paddock business while Stally the Protector stood watch for the last horse and then a little longer....then he would start grazing.

The one day I did not go in this order...........chaos ensued. 

I noticed that when these big creatures would spook.....they would run and it was a chain reaction. Almost every paddock could see the back woods and in the mind of the horses the deer that would graze along the woodline.....were not only vicious creatures with sharp pointy teeth......but they also had a taste for horse blood......sigh.

It only took one deer........half the size of the smallest horse to start the running cycle.
The horses would then look to the lead horse to find out if the threat was gone and....should I stop running???????

Stally was that horse for me. Little by little I realized as long as the big brown horse was standing guard the mares and gelding had nothing to fear. 

I would go to the upper barn and grab the Liam horse so he could go out with the big brown horse. 

Their relationship was very odd. Once all the lessons were done for the day I'd put them in the indoor arena or back outside so they could do horse things.

The big brown horse was always patient with the Liam horse....but I quickly dubbed them the Bruiser Brothers.




 They were always getting into something.









If one wanted to lick and eat the wall......
















The other one wanted to know what was so tasty








They would take turns being the instigator.... 
Halter tag was the name of the game.....



First one to let go is the loser




 Poor Stally only wanted to groom Liam and.....well Liam didn't understand the concept and would just end up biting Stally.



Late at night my roommate would setup an obstacle course purely created to be destroyed.........






















Stally preferred the cones








Liam was partial to the poles




It was a match made in heaven.




Stally looked after the Liam horse. You could only assume that they were having deep spiritual and theological discussions at times. Those times were often followed up by running buck farts that the other one had to try and top which would make laughter uncontrollable. 

The horse can be taken out of the race......but the race is never taken out of the horse. If one ran.....it was on. They would go laps around the outdoor arena that would only make you stand back in pure amazement. I had never seen the Liam horse move like that.......

It was in these moments that life seemed perfect.


 Liam's young rider would ride him a couple times a week. She was always very good to me and came and found wherever I was working to tell me so I could watch. I was so very proud/happy/sad...... 

Two more weeks went by and then I was hit with another blow...... 



Sunday, June 16, 2013

That Liam Horse - Chapter Three



Despite being in no condition to move thanks to Vicodin and an extreme amount of anger......... the next day came with me waiting by the front door ready to move at turtle speed down to the barn to go see that Liam horse get ridden.

The young college student that they had chosen to ride him was the girl that used to ride him before he left the stables the first time. She was a boarder that had just come back with her horse from her summer break. 

She had a gentle spirit. Her love for him was transparent there was no hidden agenda. No harsh touch and no ill spoken words. 

It hurt to breathe. It hurt to be up and moving around. It hurt immensely that they had rushed this day by three months............but in the midst of all this hurt......there was comfort. Knowing he was in the hands of someone who obviously loved him dearly was.....a relief.

He was still grossly underweight. To protect his spine a gel pad was required as well as pads to bump up the front and back of the saddle. 

He seemed worried and confused. He and his young rider obviously had history. It seemed to be nothing but good history.....But he was still a monster as usual on the crossties. 

With the barn buzzing with anxious energy I was so relieved to see his young rider was not swayed by his vicious threats to kick and bite.


I gimped my way into the indoor arena and took my seat. I was glad to be alone for a moment because the wide array of emotions brought on by happiness/anger/the feeling of injustice/happy pills was more than I could stand. 

What would happen to this Liam horse??? I felt as if this was indeed the beginning of the end. Somehow I had tricked myself into thinking that our time together had no ending. But this was the harsh wakeup call I needed. He would be transformed into a lesson horse.....or even worse still.....the Liam horse would be sold and taken somewhere far from here where I would never again lay eyes on him......

I could feel the tears forming.....but when the gate to the indoor arena swung open and she walked him in the ring all dressed up.......the movement of my cheeks caused by the huge smile forced those tears to fall out.

That Liam horse was......stunning. 

The boarders and owners and young kids were all watching to see him go

He wasn't very patient at the mounting block. His young rider had mounted and was going to put her right foot in the stirrup when he decided it was time to go.

He had this weird head bob thing going on which was very odd to me because I had never seen another horse do it. With every step he took he nodded....very odd. 

The warm up and ride lasted less than thirty minutes. With tears in my eyes and emotions that to this day I can never explain in words I recorded the ride. 

She was so gentle with him my heart soared. He was so gentle with her my heart swelled…..when the saddle and all the pads came off and I still saw all those ribs my heart broke again.

The love she had for him was evident. She took everything off of him and thanked him for being such a good boy and then walked him to the upper barn…..oh by the way we forgot to tell you he was moved out of your barn because that’s for boarders. He now lives with the lesson horses in the upper barn….....</3

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

That Liam horse - Chapter Two - Peace....be still

It had been three months this way. Everyday we’d walk and talk and groom and eat. My main focus was on giving him space to heal but never so much space he ever felt alone. He was spending less and less time facing the back of the stall.









He put on so much 
weight.
It was so good to 
see him really start 
to fill out


Life was GOOD!





Horses are prey animals. In their natural

 environment (open plains) their hearing 

acuity is needed for their survival.



 Other animals and weather are the only other 

things generating noise. Predators generally 

don't vocalize when stalking so these 

creatures are hard-wired to listen for sounds

 of stealth such as the snapping of a twig and 

rustling of grass from the weight of a 

predators paw. It's ALWAYS safer to run first 

and ask questions later and if another horse starts 

running.......you better run too.


Super quick anatomy lesson



 In comparison to our small flat ears horses 

have cuplike shaped ears. Very little sound

 spills out of them.....so they can capture 

noises we might miss. In addition horses can 

detect sounds we cannot. They have an ability 

to hear a wider range of high-frequency tones.

They can also hear things a very far distance 

away and when you add wind it becomes very 

confusing for them. 

Something ¼ of a mile away can sound 

like it’s coming right up on them. So 

naturally being a flight animal rather than 

fight this can cause their reaction to be to 

bolt. 




Now that we understand why horses are so spooky.

As I was taking out the horses in the lower barn. This very very large horse got spooked on the walk out to the pasture and made me the center point of his spastic circle. 

I went with him at first. I thought we made it through the bad part and his mind had come back to me. This big creature seemed to realize that monsters were not very fond of Lipizzan flavored treats. 

Then it happened again but this time that very fine line holding the insanity at bay......snapped. 

He frantically circled me. He tried to cut right across but just ended up ramming his left shoulder into my right and knocking me down to the ground. I let go of the lead rope once I hit. He did everything in his power to not step on my head and chest. 

My life flew in front of my eyes in an instant. Heaven and hell and everything in between seemed to pause for a second to allow me to examine it all. 

Instead of crushing me he jumped over my limp body. He hit my back and side with his hind legs with such force it knocked the wind out of me. This creature was so terrified of the wind and noises that he did this……..but was concerned enough to see that I was hurt and never leave me. 

I was not holding his lead rope. He could have run off but he kept watch for monsters while standing over me. I was having such a terrible time trying to breathe. 

Time....which had been so patient in allowing my moments of reflection had now sped up and it seemed as if I had not taken a breath in minutes. When I was able to work up the strength to try and get up he put his head down and gave me his halter. I grabbed on and he helped me up. That gesture made time once again stand still. What a beautiful painful moment.


Enlarged liver some bruises and cracked ribs meant bed rest……I stayed up at the house because I couldn’t make it up the stairs to the apartment. I didn’t see Liam for days. It broke my heart but what hurt even more was the news that my six months of having Liam all to myself was...no longer the truth. 

I was informed that since I was injured the stable owners would have someone start riding Liam...that pain was some of the worst I have ever felt. I begged them to wait until I was able to make it to the barn to at least see it happen......All they said is that it would happen the next day......

Monday, May 6, 2013

That Liam horse - Chapter one - The end is the beginning is the end


Ok……where do I start???? My roommate and I were renting a house in Rotterdam NY. I had been the maintenance manager for a tennis and multi-sport company. They had clubs all over Long Island. After leaving my club in Schenectady NY I had been offered an amazing opportunity. 

It had now been three months since I started travelling all over Long Island doing construction for the owner. I was tired but I loved the work. I loved the owner too. When he offered me a overnight position at his premier club......how could I refuse???? I packed up my duffel bag and hopped the train to the city to try and find an apartment. I found a tiny studio in Queens and I would start working on Randall’s Island NY the next day.

Fast forward three more months........

I HATED everything about the city. It seemed that everyone had a game to play. Everyone had a hustle. The most heartbreaking thing is that almost everyone seemed to be out for themselves. I either ran to work and back to my studio or I rode my bike. After being pick pocketed groped and just otherwise creeped by every experience on either the subway or the bus I decided it would just be easier this way. 

( quick history lesson)

Growing up I had the most amazing parents. They were good people. They sacrificed so much to give me and my sister the good life. For some odd reason I decided to spit in their faces around age 16. That's when the drugs started. It only got worse as the years went by. Waiting tables and bartending only gave me quick cash and ample opportunity to acquire more and more drugs and alcohol. The substance abuse only got worse. The chemicals only got stronger. After switching restaurants I soon discovered that no one did cocaine here. There was only methamphetamine. So........when in Rome.........SNORT IT ALL.

Fast forward a couple very painful years.......since moving up to New York State I had seemed to yet again put my monsters to sleep. A little less than two years later it's slumber would be short lived. Now being on my own.....The readily available array of drugs and lack of the watchful eye of my roommate back in Rotterdam made life complicated. The drug and alcohol abuse peaked and I had given the monster the wheel..........again. Why was sobriety so hard??? Why did one beer have to turn into six and more which would then lead to whatever drug I could find?????? Why was it so easy for others to not take it to the point of passing out. Why couldn't I just enjoy a couple beers and stay away from drugs????

Things started happening that made it seem as if I would be going back home to TX. I made a trip to see my family and everything pointed to me coming back home. 

While in TX I was searching Craigslist for jobs in the Houston area. After a very lengthy search I switched my area back to Albany. The very first posting to pop up was HORSE FARM HELP NEEDED. I did not even hesitate I just picked up the phone and called the number. I left a message and one of the owners called back within the hour. We talked and the job seemed amazing. She was not too comfortable with the fact that I had never worked with horses before. I told her I was currently in Texas and that I would be flying back to LaGuardia airport and that I could hop the train and make my way to Princetown NY for the interview. She agreed and I somehow managed to hold my happy dance until the call had been disconnected.
I however......did not disclose the fact that if given this job I would only have it for a short time because I was moving back home.

I flew back to NYC got in at 3 am caught the subway to my apartment dropped off my bags took the train from Penn station to Albany drove to Princetown had my interview at 9am. I saw the upper barn that I would be taking care of in addition to feeding both upper and lower barns. I met most of the horses. They were amazing. The smell that hit you in the face a quarter of a mile away.....I hate to admit but I i actually liked it.

With the conclusion of the interview I took the train back to Penn station and went to work my overnight shift……..boy was I tired.

I made it very clear with my current job that I was leaving. Gave my notice and began to pack up. A week later I got a call from the stables. I GOT THE JOB EEEEEEEEEEE. I packed up everything I had in Queens and was in Penn station waiting for my train to Albany when I got the call…….at the last moment she had given my barn to someone else. She said she felt so sorry for him that she had to. 

My heart sank. 

I was devastated. 

I was on my 28th hour with no sleep with my all bags waiting on a train that was an hour out. I began to just cry. I held back the words I really wanted to say to her. I wished them success with their chosen employee and ended the call. The trip to Albany was a dark one. 

Once home I continued making arrangements to go home and looking for jobs down south. One week later I got a call from the stables. Very unexpectedly the gentlemen that took care of the other barn gave notice. I was given the job cleaning and caring for the lower barn. 

I LOVED IT. I didn’t even mind the 12 mile bike ride. I loved every aspect of the job. 

A couple weeks into having this job news started flying around the barn about this thoroughbred coming back to live at the stables. The stable owners could only talk about what amazing dressage horse and fantastic mover he was. He had apparently been a racehorse as well. Some of the boarders could only mention how he was indeed a nice looking horse but that he was crazy. 

I didn’t really give it much thought. All I knew is that I’d be preparing a stall in my barn for this Liam horse that would arrive after I had left that day.

I remember coming in and seeing the dark bay thoroughbred the next day. He looked thin. None of the other horses had all their ribs showing and those ghastly looking hip bones sticking out. His skin hung on him and his coat was dirty and dull. He had cuts and scabs all over his head neck and shoulders.

Having no prior horse experience I had no clue I was looking at an emaciated horse. All I really knew is that he had no personality. No sparkle in his eye like every other horse had. He faced the back of his stall with his head hanging most of the time.

Everyone that knew this Liam horse before he left the stables could not wait to see him. There was so much action at his stall that day. I noticed that almost everyone commented on his weight. The stable owners were very disappointed with his condition. One of the owners remarked if she had known his condition she wouldn’t have paid a dollar for him. What were they going to do with this creature?

The following days his stall was the place to visit for everyone. His equine neighbors glued their faces to the bars longing for the attention that was being given to this new horse. Not understanding everyone’s fascination with this horse but seeing his neighbors being snubbed made me slightly angry. 

I made it my mission to ignore that Liam horse and give all my attention to the horses being overlooked. I made my interaction with him short and sweet. It was easy too because he offered no sign a personality and nothing that would make me like him. 

Less than a week like this my ignoring him..........backfired. I noticed that the owner started doing the same. The young girls that wanted to see him so badly before now didn’t really care about his presence. I was confused and didn’t understand. All I knew is that now this critter didn’t have any attention. 

Sigh. 

So the shift happened. I gave him all the attention I could. The owners didn’t want him turned out for fear of being reported. His condition was still so bad and being reported by the neighbors was too much of a risk for them. 

I placed his ground feeder outside the barn doors and every trip I made to turn out or bring a horse I would pick grass and clovers and dandelions and place it in the bowl. When I was done cleaning my stalls I would give him his bowl. I would watch him devour it. Looking back at how bad he was and what little knowledge I had I’m really glad he never got sick. I loved watching him eat. I quickly realized that even being so broken spirited and skinny that Liam horse could be picky. I soon learned that the dandelion flowers were his favorite.

The following weeks the stable owners said he gained a couple hundred pounds and was suitable for public observation. :) The Liam horse could be turned out. 

He offered no resistance and no struggle turning him out or bringing him back in. Life in his stall was a different matter completely. He would charge you as you entered his stall and he had quite a bit of food aggression but we were working through that. 

Over hearing the struggles of the owners not being able to sell him or use him for lessons I was overcome with a sense of urgency to offer something…..anything to make his stay here a reality. I very timidly approached the owners about leasing him. 

I told them that when I looked at him I had an overwhelming sense of sadness. That every time I entered his stall ......after working through the whole him trying to destroy me….he seemed to search. I noticed his interactions with other people and he was indeed searching every single person for something. I had no clue what he was looking for but I told the owners that he seemed broken. He seemed to be missing a vital piece of himself. I had a suspicion that it was this piece he was searching for. I told them that I wasn’t sure if I had what he needed but that I wanted to try.

My heart sank and I was devastated to hear the following words come out of her mouth…….NO. Definitely NOT! He is not a beginner’s horse. That he was an A+ horse with the proper weight and that their intention was resale and that I would never be able to ride him. I was appalled. It was like she didn’t even listen to me. I very indignantly pointed out that if she had just listened she would have heard my heart. I did not want to crawl up on his back I wanted to offer my money and time into helping a broken soul heal. I wanted to put the time in that no other person was putting in. I spent the most time with him and I wanted to continue to do that. 

After a war of words it was finalized. I would rehab that Liam horse. He was my project. She said I would have another 6 months to work with him before they would expect him to be a salable commodity. Where I dreaded the thought of losing him I dreaded the thought of not working with him more.

As the days and weeks went on I loved my job and things in my personal life seemed as if I would indeed not be moving back home to Texas. The lease on the house that my roommate and I were renting was about to be up. Taking this job I had taken a pay cut of 12 dollars an hour we couldn’t afford living there anymore. 

As it turned out the intern at the stables was moving back to Germany with her husband and the apartment above the lower barn would be empty. Needless to say a week later we were loading all of our earthly possessions into a PODS container and bringing the bare minimum with use to stay in this tiny apartment with our three cats and one dog.

Life couldn’t be better. That Liam horse was gaining weight and his eyes offered a tiny glimmer of something that resembled a soul.

In a barn where grooming and riding your horse was a sign of love……I foolishly took it upon myself to groom him since the day before he had turned himself into a mud baby. I put his halter on after entering his stall and grabbed a soft brush……I proceeded to then try and escape the clutches of this monster horse that was trying to destroy me….I had never seen such hostility from him. With minor scrapes and bruises our first grooming session was over before it even started. I didn’t tell the owners out of fear of him getting in trouble. It would our little murderous secret. 

Every day after my barn chores were done I would take him for long walks. He would graze and I would just watch him. At this time those disgusting protruding hip bones were not as noticeable and the ribs while still very visible were not as bad. The cuts and scabs all over his neck and shoulders were healing nicely and his hooves were looking much better.
I noticed that while he didn’t too much care for it he would let me pet him only when he was grazing. I decided to attempt grooming him again. I took him out in the field and slowly began to groom him. Only one dodged kick and bite later he decided that the green grass was WAAAY more important than destroying the evil brush or the dimwitted kid attached to the brush……..