Friday, November 5, 2010

There’s always tomorrow….. (part 1)

We talked about 'First Days' last month; well, this was another one of those – but I had no idea it was a 'First Day' until about 2 years later.

In April of 2007, I had the best job in the world; I scooped poop for a living! My position was technically called "Wrangler", but the days of 'wrangler-ing' at Bear Valley Equestrian Center were over – mainly due to insurance and legal ramifications. The dusty old wranglers now had the job of either, clearing the trails, or scooping the poop. Most took to clearing and monitoring the gorgeous rambling trails of the area. A few of us, some may think we were the un-lucky ones, moved into the 'equine waste removal' business.

But, like I already said, it was my dream job. On a daily basis, I took care of up to 75 horses and 50 cattle. We watered, fed, groomed, cleaned, exercised, medicated and basically monitored all these amazing animals every day. There is nothing I enjoy better than the smell of sweet horses in warm barn (Is there a candle for that scent? Or a perfume? Eau De PooLeather HayDust? Probably not – but I would buy it if there was).

We had all types boarding at the facilities, ranging from sleepy old cow mares to high strung, 2-year old warmbloods. The latter were my downfall.

Poor things; these babies trapped in a 12'x24' stall. Their owners would buy them for more than I could ever hope to amass in a lifetime, stick them in a stall and 'plan' to get to them eventually. "Oh it will be so fun!" they would say, or, "This horse is going to train so easily and beautifully!" Maybe both statements could have been true –if the owners would come out and work them every day. But sadly, it rarely happened. These high-headed, intelligent, stunning young creatures paced their stalls from day to day, gazing longingly at the other horses being walked and worked.

Their only trainers were us 'pooper-scoopers'. We trained them to respect our space while we cleaned their stalls, to not be scared of our buckets (only our rakes!), and not to scream or kick the walls during feeding. Soon – we had to ask that their owners pay for them to at least be put on the turnout schedule so they could get some form of exercise other than pacing. Here began the youngster's first form of handling – yes I'm serious.

After the first few episodes turning into disasters that ended with these million-dollar-ponies racing loose down the valley by themselves, we invested in some nice Clinton Anderson Rope Halters, the ones with the knots on the nose band and 12ft long lead lines with a little quirt at the end. At $80 per set, it was well worth it!

The real training began – respect my space, respect the tension of the leadline, please do not jump into my arms when you are spooked by a leaf blowing behind you, DO NOT tear yourself out of the halter once in the pasture (even though your owners think it's perfectly ok to do that), etc, etc (say those last words with an accent like Yul Brynner in "The King and I").

Long story :short (yes, this has been a short story, so stop complaining!), one of these youngsters gave me an unexpected tug and me, being heroic and fearing for my job over losing a 75k horse, held on. My shoulder, strained and/or torn (it's still undecided), still hurts today, despite injections and treatments and uncaring doctors.

I quit my job that month (When? You mean you've been reading this for so long you've already forgotten? 2nd paragraph…); because one cannot scoop poop or lead bad horses with a bad shoulder. I was terribly sad to leave my dream job, but I felt an inner peace over the situation. I had no idea why either. What did God have in store for me that He would ask me to leave my job and stay home?

So…..where was I going with all this?!?! Ah yes, the title of this blog – 'There's always tomorrow….' (I suppose I need to rename it now that I've gone so far off my original subject – but that's what happens when I get to talking about horses.) (There – I added part 1).

Now that I've re-read that date up there, I suddenly realize how long it's been that I have been a 'stay-at-home-mom'. Wow. I have learned so much about living, but not nearly as fast I should have. The good Lord knew I'd need plenty of time for learning and preparation. For what – I still have NO IDEA. But HE does. So I don't have to worry about it. Right? Right!

Thank you for listening to me elaborate upon my favorite subject (horses – not pain). Until 'Part 2'….. there IS always tomorrow.

"…for HIS compassions never fail.
 They are new every morning;
   great is Your faithfulness.
 I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion;
   therefore I will wait for Him."
~Lamentations 3:22b-24

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