Thursday, November 29, 2012

One Horse, One Kid at a Time

 I've just gotten a flicker of what I want to do when I grow up.

Thank goodness for flickers, because this getting old thing sucks rocks. 

I hate feeling used up and useless. 

I hate dwelling on the future with a sense of fear and doom. I just hate it.

I was talking to Victoria, a young woman I volunteered with before Jim's stroke, when I was still 1/2 time at the paper. I did a story on her work with homeless youth for the paper and ended up volunteering with her until life took me away.
What we did was called homeless youth outreach, we walked the out of the way places where homeless kids live/hide. For the most part, in tents or cobbled together shelters in the empty woods areas around train tracks, waterways, city trails etc. Then we'd go through the parks and library downtown, where they spend their days.
We handed out socks, gloves, snacks, water, personal items, condoms, and information on where to get help without being picked up to street kids, from twenty somethings to kids barely in their teens .
I added books and rain ponchos to the list and got my family to donate $$ and a local book store to give us books.
It was my kind of volunteering, no judgement, no moralizing, just handing out some much needed supplies and schmoozing. Once in a while we'd lend an ear.
Anyway, her program was shut down, due to lack of funding, and she's working elsewhere, but worries about the kids. As of now, there's no help in place for them.
I told her that every year I donate my x-mas money for my family to a local charity. I was thinking this year I would put it into socks, gloves, snacks and water and we could touch base with the kids.
She's all over it.

Anyway, this tied in somehow with all of the things that have been buzzing around in my head. Here's a synopsis.
1. I want/need a place to live that gets me outside with my critters, no matter what's going on with me or Jim.
It needs to be easy enough to maintain to keep us safe, but me from drowning in the day to day.
2. I want/need to have a purpose beyond being Jim's caretaker.
3. I miss working with horses -- so much it hurts. My well trained duo just doesn't cut it. They aren't rotten enough.
4. I want for Jim to find a purpose beyond waiting for two terrible things, to die and for me to become a decent housekeeper.
5. We both like teenagers, the more rotten the better.

The Universe has joined forces to open a path for me.

I'm seeing it fall into place and I'm impressed yet again, how the world makes things happen.

1. My husband Jim and I really need something to do other than watch Netflix.
2. The Big K and his wife are hoping to adopt. They are also becoming foster parents because they believe in the power of horses, hard work, time to think and horses when it comes to shaping a person.
3. I was talking to my dad about buying a place where I could keep my horses. He raised doubts about my ability to take care of them. 
4. In my very typical way, I got my hackles up and thought, Don't tell me I can't....
5. I talked about the homeless kids with Victoria, which got me missing them.

I woke up with a very clear picture in my mind of what we need to do.

If I have a place where I can have one extra horse at a time, I'll pick one up at a sale, rehab/start it and sell it. Then move onto the next one. Not as a money making venture (God knows, I can't be doing that!), but to help a good horse stay out of a Mexico-bound slaughter truck. The horse industry is still in a huge mess. The only horses that can make it need to be kind, safe, healthy animals with a purpose. I can do that. I can also find decent registered stock for little to no $$.

Jim is a race bike, vintage motorcycle mechanic extraordinaire. He used to rehab vintage motorcycles for himself and clients as a hobby and to pay for his motorcycle habit. Now his hands and eyes don't let him do much.

I could take on one homeless kid at a time. Teach her/him to work, care for and train my project with me. While the horse would be sold when ready, the kid could stay as long as he/she needed to.

Jim would offer the same opportunity to a mechanically inclined kid. They would restore a vintage bike together, using Jim's vast knowledge and his protege's eyes and hands.

I would keep a running video progression going on the blog for you guys. So you would actually get to see me train stuff and teach a kid how to become horsaii. 

I would have fresh things to write about. Oh my, I think my head is exploding.

BTW...I might be sorta, maybe finishing up a Tally story here. Stay tuned.


Cindy D. said...

Wow, that is so far beyond cool!

Joy said...

I love this idea. We have so many at-risk kids in our country. It is my heart's greatest desire to somehow work with young addicts in recovery in equine therapy. Horses really do heal. And my heart breaks for all the kids that need help.

Praying fervant prayers for you and Jim and this plan.

Becky said...

Can I..... can I be your kid?

All joking aside, I think this is an awesome idea. I'm with the Big K - I want to foster one day, too, once my boys are older and I have enough horses and land to keep them busy.

Also, provide photos of the horse as it progresses, and it shouldn't be that hard to rehome the horse, as if you blog about him/her regularly enough, there's bound to be a reader who falls in love with each one.

Heidi the Hick said...

All that thinking, all the constant noise in the head, finally working itself into a plan! (So there's hope for me and my spinning brain?!) I really think the world, the economy and everything, have all changed so much we need to rewrite the rules. There are no guarantees but I am sure there will always be people who need help. And no matter how much the world changes horses are the same and can't be digitally downloaded!!!! Every kid and every horse deserve a chance!!

I have been struggling to not get rankled when I get told that my husband and I NEED to move into a nice little bungalow in town. I can explain and argue, it makes no difference. You either get it or you don't.

Anonymous said...

You go girl! Aging physically is bad enough, losing your active participation in life and passions is tragic. Sounds like you and Jim are going to avoid tragedy! We should all be able to follow our bliss until we drop.

Judi Medlin, who can't sign in with google account without getting errors.

IndyApp said...

I love your idea, but I'm curious, how do you go about financing this idea and the time? I'm not being snarky I'm serious. When I picture this it's a full time job in and of itself.

Jessi Thornton said...

I think that is a beautiful idea! Helping people and horses in need at once!

Lydia said...

That is an awesome idea! I love it! I wish you the best of luck. I can't wait to see how it turns out.

Martine said...

Yes! Fantastic idea! You two have way to much in you to be written off just yet, I really hope this works out for you.

Shadow Rider said...

What a great idea!

greenie said...

That sounds like a good fit mugs. You've got experience in both sides of a venture like that, working with horses and troubled kids. :)

I ended up in kinda that situation recently... I'm not sure how this story will turn out yet, but, it's not something I'll be volunteering myself for again. I find it absolutely heart wrenching seeing all the suffering this kid is going through.... I'm just not strong enough I guess.I wish I could ship her and her horse to you...

gtyyup said...

WoW...that's some really cool thinking (your mind never shuts off does it)!! What a great way to fulfill a void in your life and in a child's...and a horse...or lots of horses. I hope you can put it together! It'll make great reading...lots of souls out there that need love.

mugwump said...

Indy - We were already looking into selling our house and trading buying horse property.
Jim is retired and living on his retirement and I am on disability.
I have to be home to take care of him, but it doesn't mean we can't continue to help others.
We are already in good enough shape to take care of the horses we have now, and I can always fit in one more.
We're talking about sharing knowledge and resources we already have. Time? Got it, as long as Jim is with me. Full time job? Not even, I'm talking one horse. One or two kids. This is an afternoon job
at best.
The red tape is what will be daunting, but I already have a connection with the group I'll be working through, and social workers, special ed and riding instructors and middle school teachers in the immediate family.
If you guys know anything about me at all, you know I do my research.

mugwump said...

Greenie -- Most of these kids are where they are through no fault of their own. I do well with them, but partially because they are working with me because they choose to.
I'm able to remove myself enough to kick a problem to the curb and give the next kid who's ready to work a chance.

Lydia said...

Will the kid stay with you?

mugwump said...

Kidlette is working in a hippie restaurant,practicing AcroYoga and trying her best not to hook her nose rings in her yoga pants. She plays and sings with several area musicians,is planning on teaching English as a second language in Haiti this spring and is essentially way too cool to hang out with me. She does, however, give riding lessons on the weekend and still rides Snicket about once a week. Essentially,she's out in the world growing up, so we'll see where she ends up.

LadyFarrier said...

We've done something along the same lines by hooking up with a local "ranch" for boys and young men troubled with addiction. It really is amazing how the kids, even city kids, take to the horses.

One young man was kind of a mess. He just couldn't focus without large amounts of alcohol, it seems. He really liked the horses and kept asking to come back here. One day I looked out the window and there he was - his arms were completely wrapped around the head of the peskiest horse we have here. They just stood there, hugging each other, for looong minutes. I didn't dare go out, or ever even mention it to him. He was getting just what he needed and it was something no one else could have given to him at that moment, I don't think.

Take care - this is a very good idea, just take your time to work out the details as best you can first :)

EvenSong said...

Where is the "like" button?
Good luck--something like what I'd do if my husband hadn't already inherited my two kids as teenagers, and is a little shy of anymore "hormone poisoning."

Snipe said...

Just when I thought you couldn't be any more awesome and inspiring, you go and do something like this.

I can't wait to hear how things progress.

Carrot Top said...

I like it! I like it very much!

Indyapp said...

What a wonderful way to help yourself and others at the same time. It's a WIN (the kid), WIN (the horse)WIN (you) WIN (JIM) situation.

TanTans said...

Awesome. Go you !

strivingforsavvy said...

That sounds wonderful!

Kate said...

That sounds so awesome, and I wish you guys the best luck. It's always been part of my big life plan to do something like that.

Love the idea of blogging about everything! There is so much academic literature about the psychology of fostering, but not very many down to earth personal accounts. If you can be the online friend that people turn to, to share experiences about fostering that could create a better support system for fostering parents who have mushed together under the care of a single, harried social worker who's stretched to thin

smazourek said...

Brilliant, I hope this happens.

Katie Rose said...

Best of luck! That sounds like a very interesting and rewarding challenge.

redhorse said...

I hope things work out the way you want, and soon. Oh, and a Talley story is always a thing of joy.

Peanut said...

I love this post - what a fantastic idea! Becky beat me to it though - I was hoping to sneak in and be your 'kid', but you would certainly notice that I'm in my 50s...

jenj said...

Wow, what an amazing idea! I hope this works out for you, and the kid(s) and horse(s) lucky enough to be a part of this. :)

KD said...

Very cool, very noble, be very careful.

I admire you and Jim for being willing to take a risk to do what may be very fulfilling for you both.

Kudos, good luck and prayers for y'all!

summersmom said...

Reading this gave me goose bumps. I am super excited to see you develop this into your reality. You and your husband will teach them life and coping skills and open up avenues otherwise unavailable. Way cool :)

I would really love to adopt someday, once my husband and I are sure we're done having biological kids. So far we are at 1, might have another, might not. If we don't, we will adopt. The idea of giving a child without a home a permanent one is just amazing.

Shannon said...

I love this idea! It's something I would love to do myself, but I'm not in a good position to do it right now. Someday, though.

My childhood wasn't ideal, to put it mildly, and I can honestly tell you that horses are the only reason I am here today. They saved my life. Horses opened up a world of patience, forgiveness and unconditional love that I never knew existed. They taught me the difference between discipline and abuse, and the difference between respect and fear. They made me who I am.

I hope you can do this, because it will make a difference in someone's life. I know that from experience. Good luck!

deedee said...

Thanks, Janet,for including Jim in our lives. You both rock. Also glad tto hear kidlette is off making her way in her own way.
Oh yes, and your idea inspires me. So timely. Out of work and a Parkinsons diagnoses. Yourpiece reminds me there is stll more to do.
Hugns all around.

Anonymous said...

Incredible, awesome idea! I love the idea of recording the progress of the horse and the kid, so we can see how it all goes down.

I hope the idea is all able to come to fruition; it would be an honor to watch from the sidelines!

Anonymous said...

When I was 13 I was taken under the wing of a lady who did what you are planning to do. I can say with all honesty she saved my life. I was in a depressed bitter state and was found myself in the company of no one who cared. Then this wonderful woman took me in and She taught me how to work with her Arabian mares. Because of her I am now training horses and teaching lessons to children who have little in life. I wish you the best on your journey.

horsecrazier said...

Like, like, like!!!

horsecrazier said...

Like, like, like!!!

anissa_roy said...

This sounds like an amazing opportunity for both of you--and for horses and kids who need a hand! I firmly believe the best way to help a person is to teach them to help others, in this case helping a horse who needs work. And working with animals is always, always good for people.

mugwump said...

Believe me guys, I'm careful, experienced with homeless and "bad" kids (two very different beings)and will be working with support from an established group for homeless teens.

This isn't a huge thing,it's small in the big picture, just a kid or two at a time, working around horses and me, God help them.

We'll be getting as much from them as they will from us.

The trick now is to talk Jim into letting me call my realtor. Then I'll feel like we're headed on our way.

flyin'horse said...

It's funny how the people with the most personal challenges are often the ones who do the most to help others. I admire your courage. Best of luck to you on this new journey. Hope you are successful with the first hurdle, i.e. hubby!

Anonymous said...

What a great idea. Thank you for reaching out to people in need who are so often overlooked. And what an awesome way to combine your passion, interests, and abilities! Wishing you all the best with your new adventure.

Wildcat said...


Wildcat said...


Anonymous said...

I love this idea! <3

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