Yesterday made up for a lot of struggle and hard work for many in my family and community. Cameron held its Spring Festival, and everyone got to relax and let our hair down a bit. We even got to have Kathleen join us, which made us all happy. I’m so glad she got a break from taking care of things in Yorktown!
There’s a lot to be proud of here. The Railfan team has nearly finished another two spaces that will eventually be local businesses, and the antique shop was all set up and looking great last night (I forgot to take photos of that, darn it).
We really enjoyed the new “annex” space last night. The new sliding doors open up so it’s like you’re outdoors. It was an incredibly comfortable place to relax, laugh, listen to music, and enjoy pizza and crawfish (separately).
The highlight of the night, though, was a very special event. The musicians paused, and Melanie Reed from the Chamber of Commerce called Chris, Mike, Kim, and Dylan up to the stage (they would have also called my kid up, if he’d been there). They had a special presentation for our extra-talented nephew to thank him for all the hard work and creative vision that’s helped the McMahon’s make huge improvements to the buildings downtown that were vacated by the city offices moving to another place. I have to say I smiled so hard that my cheeks started to hurt.
The presentation was a blown-up photo of Chris at work outside one of the downtown buildings looking like the true craftsman he is. We all loved the “cash” sign above him. It was wonderful to see Chris getting the credit he deserves for his part in bringing this vision to life (he would point out it’s a team effort, and that Mike, Kim, Dylan, and Declan also have added their ideas and effort). I’m so glad Kathleen was able to be there to see it, too. We are very proud.
It sure was great to hang out with friendly people and talk and laugh at all the antics. I met many new folks, got to hang out with some of my favorite local friends, actually heard some good news, and for a few hours, didn’t worry about anything. We all need some time to take a break and celebrate friends, community, and accomplishments. I’m looking forward to future progress and pride in little Cameron.
I wanted to share some of the things I’ve been doing with Drew and Apache over the past few days, in the wake of Drew’s choking incident and me putting in a lot of work with Apache on leadership and partnership. It’s all good, so that’s a huge relief!
Friday I had a late lesson over at Tarrin’s. Apache was not in the mood to go, but he did. I think the horses liked the other trailer better, because it was more open. But, we can’t tow it with the Tahoe, so too bad. Fancy trailer it is. By the time we got there he was all in a lather and everything was all dusty, but by gosh by the time we got to the working area, he was ready to work. Now, the work he did wasn’t his idea of a good time, at first, but he was a real sport about making attempts at jumping over the little jump. It wasn’t any fun for me, since I had to use the broken whip that tries to break my arm, and my arm was already tired from grooming him an hour the day before. He’s quite a good shedder.
After I got on him, we both learned a lot in an exercise involving trotting circles and side passing. Since I never thought I’d get that far in my feeble attempts at horsemanship, I was quite pleased to get the chance to work on it. We are both getting the hang of it, and again, Apache is quite the trooper at doing hard things. That way they will become easier!
The best part of the lesson was another test of Apache’s trail willingness. Tarrin walked behind us this time, and I got to practice being calm when he decided to turn around. It all went extremely well and we had a lot of fun. That’s when I spotted the violets in the woods and we forgot all about horse lessons and reveled in a new discovery. Plus, we got to look at all the axis deer in the next pasture over. No one spooked each other. That was cool.
It was such a great feeling to know that at last, he will go where I ask him to, because he trusts me not to send him anywhere scary. Tarrin got these nice photos of us looking all confident and happy together.
As for Drew, I told Tarrin I was concerned about him going so long between meals and not being able to do much in his pen. She told me she’d had a horse choke this week (it’s an epidemic, we think), and that she is feeding her wet food and watching her carefully, but she does have grass to eat. Our grass is still pretty short, so it would be hard for Drew to choke on it, anyway, so I decided he needed to be let out.
I was also worried about him developing stomach ulcers from being without food, especially since the vet had indicated his tooth grinding was a symptom. Hmm. Well, what a nice coincidence it was that Kathleen had many, many syringes full of ulcer medicine that Mabel hadn’t taken. Drew is all set in that department now, too.
That boy is eating a LOT and seems in a much better mood now.
All that continued yesterday, when nothing that the other horses were doing bothered him. Other than Apache starting back in on his grass eating, I could not complain. And Drew was so good and sweet. He comes right up for me to give him his Pepto Bismol stuff.
Today was really a big day for me and Apache, though. We went on a trail ride with Sara and Aragorn and I felt no nerves at all during any part of it. We managed to open a gate and at least push it shut. Score! And when I had to dismount to unlock the one with the barbed wire that tries to kill you, I had an easy time getting back on using the gate rails.
Then we walked and chatted and had a fine time. Apache did try the grass thing, but after whacking him with the saddle strings a couple of times, he got the idea. We went all around the creek, walked over logs, and easily settled when anything got scary. The best thing for me was that we were able to go up the hill to the woods, walk in, turn around when the way was blocked, and go back down calmly. We even went back up and walked up to the gate to our house to say hi to Goldie. Apache was good as he could be, possibly even having fun.
As you can see, it’s a beautiful day. We had a lot of fun trying new things and seeing what we could do. This was my horsemanship goal, to be able to go out on our property and ride around with my friends without worrying or spending the whole time feeling like I am in a battle. Sure, there will be challenges, and there were some today, but mostly we had fun and so did our hard-working horses, who got a break from cantering and leg yielding.
This is my view from the front porch as I type. No complaints for me. I’m in a time right now where there’s anticipation instead of stress, peace instead of worry, and joy everywhere I look. Even a short period like this in your life is one to treasure. And in these times, it’s especially true.
And oh yes, even the dogs are all mellow and happy. The chickens are all laying. And Fiona is free grazing, her favorite hobby. The Hermits’ Rest is a restful place today.