What the hell happened???
First and foremost, I want to apologize for the length of today's blog. I have a lot to say.
I'm in a mood. For the past 29 days I have done nothing but work, literally work, every single day. That in and of itself is no monumental feat. It is neither cause for admiration nor pity. The only significant detail to call out is the fact that somehow, someway, I allowed 29 days to come between me and what I love to do most...writing.
Oh, the excuses are all good ones. "I work hard, so I need to sleep." "There just isn't enough time in the day." "I want to rest, or workout, during my break." "Two hours really isn't enough time to start anything worthwhile, so why try?"
I'm tired of the excuses, and I am frustrated by the time I have already lost.
Enough is enough.
Today I am committing to this journey once again. I did not get into this to give up at the first sign of stress, at the first hurdle to block my path.
I have the same 24 hours a day that you have. And I have the same 24 hours each day that I had back in July when I started this effort. Yes, there may be more demands on my day now, however, I do not work every minute of the day, and I CAN make time for what I love.
I refuse to give up. I told my best friend today that I intend to have an extraordinary life, and I meant it. Every day moving forward I am going to fall into bed, exhausted, knowing that I gave my best effort that day, and then some. I am mortified that I have been settling for less than "it all". No longer will I settle.
Like I said, I'm in a mood.
As you may have guessed by now, something set me off and I am really wound up. But I intend to take all of this energy and pour it into the creation of "My Journey with Lea" now. And into my journey. Into the life I know I deserve.
OK, so back to a brighter time. Back to love. The love shared between Rachel and Leo. Leo would do anything for Rachel and for the horses he loved. Anything. Time, money, circumstances, people...didn't matter...nothing would ever come between the two of them. May we all be so blessed with this type of love in our lives.
Leo made it mandatory to “interview” the owners before he accepted a horse into his training program. He wanted to make sure the owner had the right temperament to continue what he was to ingrain in his young steeds. His requirements were simple, but absolute. On the day the owner was to pick up the horse, they were to commit two hours of their time to working with the horse under Leo’s supervision. He would take them through some basic routines, talk to them about ground work, and ensure equine and owner reconnected before heading home.
One spring day an owner arrived, on schedule, to pick up a sweet young chestnut Appaloosa filly named Indy. Leo had become fond of the mare, and Rachel simply adored her, sneaking her apples slices and carrots whenever she could. On the day that Indy was to leave the farm, Rachel broke her routine to spend extra time in the barn, brushing Indy and saying goodbye.
Mid-morning, right after chores were complete, the owner arrived pulling a beat up trailer with a rusty two-door work truck, it’s paint barely visible through the mud. A large boy of about 17 spilled out of the passenger side, slamming the door behind him. Frank, Indy’s owner, and the only one present when the training arrangement was made, excitedly introduced Leo to his son. The boy scowled at Leo when they shook hands, taking in the bronze skin and passing judgment with his eyes.
They walked towards the show paddock, where Indy was peacefully munching on a fresh flake of hay.
“Well Frankie…there she is. Whaddaya think?”
Frankie gave Indy a quick look and frowned. “She’s puny.” The boy turned and spit a large wad of chewing tobacco in Indy’s general direction.
Leo could feel anger welling up inside, so he turned to the owner and said “I thought this was your horse. That was the deal.”
“Well she IS my horse. I bought her for $10.00 off Sheffield farms a few months ago. But I really wanted her trained for Frankie. He hasn’t had the best of luck with horses lately.”
Frankie was already in the ring at that point, roughly putting a halter on Indy and attaching a lead rope. “Where do we gotta go?”
Fighting to control his emotions Leo led Frankie and Frank to the center of the training ring. Indy's head was low, and she was keeping a watchful eye on Leo, confused by the strange energy now present around her. Once in the ring Leo asked for Indy and attached a long lunging rope to her halter. He showed the pair how to attach the line so it didn’t rub against her chin, and how to start her moving, using a long whip not to touch her but just to show her which direction he wanted her to move in. This initial ground work established the connection between rider and stead, Leo explained. With hesitation he handed the lead to Frankie, and said "OK, now you try.”
Frankie grabbed the rope and started yelling for Indy to move. When in her confusion she didn’t immediately start in the direction he gave her a sharp whip in the right flank, and then another sharp crack to her back. She reared up for the first time since Leo had taken her in and bucked against the third smack that landed on her left flank. That was all Leo could handle.
He quickly ran to where Frankie was standing and stood between him and Indy, just as the boy's arm was about to come down for another attack.
“How much for her?” he yelled, speaking to Frank Sr but never breaking his eye contact with Jr.
“I said how much for the mare? My wife loves her. I’ll pay you double what you paid Sheffield." As he was talking Leo had casually taken the lead rope from Frankie and was bringing Indy to stand close to his back. “So what’s it going to be sir.”
Jr. had lost interest in the exercise and turned on his heels, throwing his arms in the air. “Take it Dad. Then maybe you can buy me a real horse.”
After the pair drove away Leo spent another hour in the ring with Indy, talking to her, touching her head, letting her know she was safe. Then he properly introduced her to the herd and started up towards the house, knowing that his Rachel would understand, knowing with ever ounce of his soul that he had done the right thing.
The right thing to do is not always the easy thing to do, but boy does it feel good when you do it. Thank you for listening today. I promise to write more often now...please keep checking in. Let me know your thoughts. Share with me your struggles and your victories. And know that I only vent because, with all that I am, I...
Believe in forever.