Friday, November 14, 2014

I'm Not Dead Yet




Wow. I think of you guys often. Still troll shy, still afraid of boring everybody. Thoughts whip through, then past, I think of posting, then realize, again, I have no stories.

So, I don't post.

Then, like this morning, I remember why I started this blog.

It was to practice my writing.

It was to vent my frustrations to an anonymous world about horse training, horse people and skewed perceptions.

I balanced these things with stories and training tips. Again, to practice writing and also to authenticate myself. I was writing from the trenches, not my comfy chair, surrounded by training videos, spouting just-learned theories from cable TV.

I was secretive. I didn't discuss being an amputee or my personal demons. I wanted to see if my theories and methodology still worked without the distraction and sympathy that dogged me in the real world.

It's hard to explain. I became a cow horse trainer because I fell in love with the sport. I couldn't be an amateur, I was already considered a pro, since I started colts and was giving basic horsemanship instruction. Plus, I just didn't have the dollah dollah bills y'all.

In order to compete, I had to ride in the open classes. Classes filled with  trainers who grew up on ranches - complete with fine horses and cattle. Classes filled with trainers who interned with the best, who rode horses bred for the job.

Call it providence, call it a curse, but my desire to learn brought me to the Big K. I was heading towards forty, was just back into training after a ten-year hiatus-- thanks to cancer-- and then there was the one-armed thing. Oh yeah, let's not forget, I was riding Sonita.

I think he recognized my obsession. He didn't make it easy, he gave me no concessions, he expected me to keep up. He never told me to sell my horse or hinted I couldn't get it done.

Most of you know the rest, if not it's easy enough to catch up, it's all in the stories.

This is the foundation of the Mugwump Chronicles.

These days, I'm home. It isn't going to change much. I ride when I can and hope to show again. After all, that fat yellow thing hanging out in the corral is a finished bridle horse. I built her, I'm proud of her, and I am dying to show her off.

I'm training my dog. It's keeping me sharp, it's something I can do, financially, time-wise and physically. I'm approaching this new experience the way I do everything. I watch, I think, I listen, I research, you know. My dog stories are not coming from expertise though...I'm yet again the green handler diving into a professional arena saying, "I want to learn what you do."

I don't know where the blog is going. I'm hit and miss, I know, part of it is lack of direction, part is sadness at losing my standing as a working horse trainer. I really miss it.

BUT

It also occurred to me...

I still need to practice my writing.

I still need to vent.

I still know lots of practical stuff.

The stories are still there, and I'm guessing their relevance and the warm fuzzies will come back. I also have several half finished posts sitting in my files.

This started out today as a post on reactivity in dogs and horses, but wandered off here.

I'll get back to it.

Talk to you soon.
   


37 comments:

For What It's Worth said...

We will hang in as long as you do Mugs!

Michelle said...

I look forward to every post and wait patiently in between. I imagine that you can't write from the same place that you did before because you are in a new place now. You are the same person as before but with new experience and new perspective, like it or not. Your blog for me is a place of inspiration, learning, and challenging my thoughts and perceptions. I love it.

Joy said...

I will read whatever you choose to post.

This life is harsh and painful. But it also has so much beauty. I love they way you put your words down for us to read. It is a treat every time.

Take care Mugs.

pinkbellepink said...

I am looking forward to more listening to more of your stories, and soaking up more of your knowledge. I miss your posts.

Heather said...

Write what you want. Practice writing what you want. We will read it. Religiously. We will stalk your site waiting for the next new story. Horses, dogs, chickens, practicing trainer, non-practicing trainer. It doesn't matter. The stories are good. We like them.

Lana Pugh said...

I love your blog. I love reading stories from someone that's actually spent the time with a real trainer and not a round pen savant pushing cow sticks and rope halters (I love a rope halter don't get me wrong I just ain't paying $50 for it.) Take your time and write what and when you want. We'll be here waiting for the next installment. Till next time!

Anonymous said...

Ditto what they all said.

Anonymous said...

I also ditto what the above said. That being said.... Tally???? You have left us hanging. I also love your Mort stories as they soo remind me of my big headed, long backed, game sour mare that could break into any grain container and eat 50 pounds of omaline and walk it off with no after effects.

Cathryn said...

Can't wait to read more!

sulphurfire said...

Always glad to read what you share with us, don't let the trolls get to you

Anonymous said...

LOVE that Monty Python clip! I still laugh every time.

redhorse said...

I've thought of you several times recently. I get FB posts from a Michigan Equine sales page and I really wished you or Fugly still did that blog. This is the time of year when everyone is dumping their home bred backyard babies. "Well, he's 8 years old and I just don't have time for him." Of course he hasn't been gelded either, and they have 2 or 3 foals that he "threw." But he's got lots of color! And so do his babies!

MichelleL said...

You write. I read what you write. I like what you share. I love your horse stories. I enjoy your dog stories too.

Don't let the Trolls (in your head or online) win.

mugwump said...

Redhorse - Writing the Fugly blog put me in a severe depression. It wasn't the trolls, I could summon up healthy anger/disdain for them...it was reading through the auction reports and stories of abuse, every fricking day. It just about killed me. There are some great sites that cover that stuff. Maybe a weekly promotion on the blog of good rescue/angry/save the horses sites there?

Anonymous said...

Heather and Joy sum it up for me. (And I thought I was the only one who stalked you avidly waiting for the next post...on whatever subject(s))

I love it

Ozhorse said...


Plenty of us stalker out there

Anonymous said...

I'm with everybody else...love reading whatever you feel like writing. I think you could write about the phone book and I'd enjoy it. Those fat fluffy things in my back pasture are hay burning lawn ornaments at the moment so keep the dog stuff coming. I've got a young collie who is packed with potential but also obnoxiously difficult most of the time so I need all the help I can get.

Just to chime in about the suggestion about auction horses and rescues, I've gotta say that those things suck the soul right out of me. It's not that I've got my head in the sand; out of my 7 critters (dogs, cats, equines) 4 are rescues. It's that I'm maxed out and can't do more than I already am at the moment.

Lastly, when you left fugly so did I. That blog got me feeling like a terrible, no good horse owner even though my guys are well fed, cared for, feet done every 4-8 weeks and up to date on vet work. There's something really wrong about that, though admittedly I'm a pretty sensitive soul. I can count on you to keep me grounded & sane.

Jen (can never remember my Google ID)

MichelleL said...

Agreed Jen. I can "Friend" dozens of those Rescues/Auction sites on FB and feel like crap for not being able to help any of them. I can be brow beaten, harangued, scolded, shamed, begged, guilt tripped, or given the Sarah Mclachlan treatment - won't change the fact that there will always be more need then resources.
Fugly was a great exercise in feeding the worst of the worst. From the online Trolls to the bitter, angry, and resentful souls who purported to be horse people but more resembled self righteous Sociopaths.

Jan Blawat said...

Count how many times commenters today have used the word "love." And we mean it.

whisper_the_wind said...

Good Morning,

I love what you have to say, even if you think that it has no 'meaning'. Your perspective gives me new ideas, and motivates me to do better. Whenever you blog, we will be there.

Gone hiking

Emily in NC

Good Hands said...

Don't stop writing. I love when I remember to look for your posts, and there you are, now warts and all. That's how I love best, when it's the good, bad, ugly and the best. You have a great story, one armed, two armed whatever. It's an honor you do us by posting this stuff in a public forum. You could be journaling to yourself in a room with a view and we'd totally be missing out. The stories will come back.

Laura said...

You write from the heart and that shines through. I'm very thankful you share with us. Your perspective is unique and gives me, a horse lover and rider, some idea of what it must be like to be at that level of communication with a horse... Thank you.

redhorse said...

I don't blame you for getting depressed about the subject matter on Fugly. I've known a lot of rescuers who got burned out.

I think I have a different perspective on internet trolls. After I stopped showing horses I got an Australian Shepherd and thought I might show him a little. I got on a discussion list called Aussie-L which was legendary for flame wars, trolls and Amazons. I did go to some shows with my dog, and I met some of the Amazons in person, who honestly made Fugly trolls sound like sweet little kitties. Most of them were wonderful people who were more than happy to help out a newbie, even though they would trash my dog online because they didn't like his breeder. One of my favorite Amazons, who was a rescue person, would somehow dig up dirt on some of the big breeders and verbally flay them on the list. She was like Boudica, ruthless, fearless, righteous, and utterly destructive. Years after we both left that list I met her at something totally unrelated. Turns out she was a sweet little lady who wrote about organic gardening. She literally wouldn't hurt a fly. I think I recognized her by some phrase she used. It was weird. The internet is a big old Walter Mitty world.

LadyFarrier said...

Yay!

Sharon Burdeshaw said...

I'm thrilled to hear you are headed back.

Anonymous said...

You're a great writer. Please put your memoirs into book form, someday, simply because I would like you to get some money out of it (although love ain't bad!)

Francis said...

Mugs, you don't owe us a thing.. those of us who check daily and feel a sense of excitement when there is a new post honestly don't care if its about training or a new recipe you discovered for chili. You are real, no matter how much you fail to share, and that is what brings us back.. when you do share a tidbit of knowledge its worth grabbing on and worrying it like a dog on a bone.. thank you for that!

Fyyahchild said...

I woke up today with my head spinning and I was thinking about you. I rode Tax yesterday and I was so proud of where we've finally gotten and the holes in my education I've been filling in recently. He's turning into a nice horse, the kind I always wanted.

I've also been riding a new project and I knew what needed to be fixed and how to do it and its working. This was a horse everyone at the barn said was "just a trail horse" and didn't like working in the arena. He just needed to know how to use his body and that someone was going to give him some boundaries. In a week I had him loping nice big relaxed circles in the arena...now my boyfriend almost can too.

I rode a couple of sale horses and the personal horse of a local "trainer" and I could feel the missing places that needed to be filled in for each one of them to be more sucessful. I know I could make them better than she has so far....but sadly I don't want to sell horses or deal with clients all that much really. I just want to play ponies all day and miraclously have enough money to afford a simple life. Sigh...I missed my opportunity to marry rich or something.

I missed this forum to talk about horse training stuff and I realized this morning that I had a questions for you. Then I showed up here and this post was here...

How did you get to the point where you finally decided you felt good about calling yourself a trainer? I like helping people who are havng trouble with their horses but I have a really hard time imaginging calling myself a trainer. Sometimes I feel like I'm better off doing things for free because then its not a "job" but also I think people value your time more if you put a value on your time. I'm not looking to get rich but I think owners who need help maybe also need to have some skin in the game.

Also did you enjoy riding for the rescue place? I've been asked to do that for one here that I know is a good rescue and I'm wondering if I could do some good there.

Becky said...

Do you know what would be fun? Reposts. You have so much material on this blog, and you remember your posts better than I do (you'd already been writing awhile when I found you.)

I wouldn't mind some reposts - like, a "Training Tuesday" repost where you just post one of your training blogs again - How to stop, or how to whatever.

I know I could go through your archives, but I suck at follow-through and never actually do it.

Clancy said...

I check your blog hopefully every couple of days, hoping for another Tally / Mort / Sonita story, or one about any of the dogs, Brockle and (sorry, other names escaping me at the moment), or what happened with your first ever horse training job (the strong willed pony and the cute teenager and the dad who wanted them to 'ride like wild indians'). I see some of the training issues differently because my Jerry has been leading me down another road, but I love the stories and look forward to them.

Clancy said...

Are you still doing the readers posts? I emailed you one months ago but haven't seen it, so was wondering if it got through or maybe you aren't doing the readers stories any more as I've not seen one for a while? It was about a horse called Jerry, more a post than a story but trying to describe some of the things that have been happening with us.

Snipe said...

I'd gladly read anything you want to write, Mugs. Your thought processes and writing style are very engaging.

shadowlake2005 said...

Thanks for checking in with us, I too am happy to see whatever weird shit your stream of consciousness spins out. And I think Becky's idea is great! Hang in there Mugs, we're with you all the way.

DeeDee said...

Mugs, just keep writing when you can. I send Asian professionals to your blog to read for excellence and relaxation. They don't have to care about horses or dogs to enjoy and learn about English and writing from you.

I love reading, and thinking about, whatever you write.

Lots of love and pure enjoyment, DeeDee

Stacey said...

Mugs, I wait patiently and read happily and gratefully every time you post, whether it is a story, a rant, or just some random musings that don't really go anywhere purposeful. It doesn't really matter to me, because I'm here to see whatever you are willing to share, because I think you're interesting and human and very real. I've thought so for the seven or eight years I've been reading, and while I might have come originally for the horse talk, I stayed for the writer, the woman behind all of it.

mugwump said...


"Mugs, just keep writing when you can. I send Asian professionals to your blog to read for excellence and relaxation. They don't have to care about horses or dogs to enjoy and learn about English and writing from you.

I love reading, and thinking about, whatever you write.

Lots of love and pure enjoyment, DeeDee" This is the best compliment I have ever gotten.Thank you - Mugs

KD said...

Ditto what the others have said. Love your writing and sharing. I still remember a few posts about your daughter that hit home with me. Hope you get to ride the fluffy yellow bridle horse soon and be proud of what you have accomplished.

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