#write31days: walks with the family

Today I went for a walk.

This particular walk involved my husband and two of our furbabies, Willow and Oscar. Willow is our four year old white German Shepherd. She’s the matriarch of our little brood of furries and an old hat at long walks, but Oscar…well, he’s a bit of a different story. Oscar’s our 10 month old Boxer and, as embarassed as I am to admit this, tonight was hist first official walk. We live on land and tend to substitute letting the dogs run free on the property for half an hour for leashed walks, but tonight Scott and I decided to do something we love to do but just don’t do. And walks are always more fun with dogs! Oscar did, overall, really well though he still hasn’t quite gotten the hang of walking with the pack. He’d prefer to bound in circles around the pack, run in front of the pack, lag behind it or just flat out walk into the pack. But, we’ll get there.

I also took Pickles, my foal, for a walk of sorts this evening. He let me lead him by his halter today! Small steps, for sure. But steps nonetheless.

It always amazes me how these intelligent beings – whether dog or horse – choose to forego their own wants, their own instincts even and submit to the wants of a human. And, it is most certainly a choice that they make. I watched Pickles teeter on the decision block as he pulled back slightly on the halter while I tugged slightly in the other direction and called to him. Then, in a moment, he just agreed with me and moved forward.The same thing happens with Willow when I ask her to sit. Nine times out of ten, she just does it. But every now and then she hesitates and processes the command that I’ve given her, deciding whether or not to obey it.

I honestly wouldn’t want it any other way. I wouldn’t want my animals to obey me because they are unable to decide not to. That’s not a relationship. It’s a dictatorship.

[pullquote width=”300″ float=”left”]God is not a dictator. He is a Father.[/pullquote]

I suppose that’s why God allows us to choose to obey Him. He’s not a dictator. He’s a Father. His desire is not to rule over us but to commune with us. We are not slaves in His kingdom. We are heirs to His throne. He will never force us to serve Him. He will only ask us to love Him.

#write31days: horsin’ around

I had intended to write today’s post last night. Actually, my intent with this challenge is to write each day’s post the night before. But, today’s post was delayed due to me doing two things I love yesterday! The first was to spend time with my foal (which is what I want to write about today) and the second was to hang out with one of my best friends (which, I’m sure, I will write about sometime in the future).

So, anyway, it’s now 8pm and I’m just getting around to writing this post. Better late than never, though, right?!

Right. …back to the foal, then.

Pickles, the five month old foal.
Pickles, the five month old foal.

When I was a kid, all I wanted was a horse. I remember asking my mom for one for Christmas one year. It was the only thing I was asking for and I couldn’t understand why it was such a big deal. I mean, it was just a horse. It could live in our backyard and eat our grass. I would water it every day and pet it. I’d even clean up its poop if I needed to! Or, if that couldn’t work, then it could just live out on Grandma and Grandpa’s farm. And then, eventually, I’d ask for the thing for its head and mouth one year for my birthday, maybe a saddle for christmas and I could ride it and…what, Mom?! What’s the big deal?! It’s just a horse!

I was eight. So, give me a break.

As I’ve grown older, my love for horses and desire to own them has not subsided. But, my understanding of “what the big deal” is about owning them has matured a little bit, to say the least.

About 15 years ago, the dream of owning a horse came true. Mom got me one for my birthday and I was thrilled (and a little shocked). I was also completely clueless on what to do with her. She was a two year old filly who hadn’t been worked with at all. Now, any horse person will tell you that mixing a “green” horse owner with a “green” horse is a recipe for disaster, but we didn’t really know that. All mom knew was that she was finally able to give her daughter what she’d always wanted and all I knew was that Suzie Fein was mine.

First time with a halter on! Leadin' him a little bit...
First time with a halter on! Leadin’ him a little bit…

I learned a lot in the four years that I owned the little sorrell chestnut mare. I did eventually break and ride her, but I wouldn’t say that I should have done it, that I did it well or that I knew what I was doing. I wouldn’t even say that I “knew” horses by then. Not even the day that I sold her so she’d have a chance at a better life. She was pretty much kept penned up all day long because I was in college and working full time. I didn’t have the time for her so I sold her to people who did. It was a hard, but necessary, decision to make.

I still don’t know horses now. I’ve not spent enough consistent time around them to claim any sort of expertise about them, but I am working on changing that. And Pickles is one way I’m doing that.

Patting him down and being goofy...
Patting him down and being goofy…
Sayin' hello
Sayin’ hello

 

 

 

 

 

This little guy is the baby of a rescue that some friends of ours got this past Spring (mamma’s the black-and-white mare behind him). He popped out from behind her one day when our friends were out feeding. They offered to give him to me (but let him continue to live on their property, for the time being) and I wholeheartedly accepted. …well, wholeheartedly after I let go of the logical, analytical, practical and “responsible” parts of me that wasn’t sure I needed to be taking on a horse again.

But, I knew I wanted him. I knew he would be good for me. And I made up my mind to be good for him.

Horses relax me. Spending time out there with Pickles yesterday – brushing him, combing his mane and tail, working with his feet, desensitizing him to humans and weird things touching him, putting a halter on him (first time!) – was good for my soul. There’s something about the smells, sounds and mannerisms of horses that has always felt like home to me. And I am thrilled to be the owner of this spunky, quirky little foal.

He just makes me happy.
He just makes me happy.