Monday, May 26, 2014

If You Want It Act Like You Mean It

Yeah. I'm a little embarrassed to be empowered by a Shakira video, especially one that should be titled "Play Hard, Poop Harder."

But there you go.

The Mugs and Big K Clinic is coming up in mid-July, and instead of getting excited I've been laying flat on the ground worrying about the future. Well, OK, not just THE future, but MY future.

Because in a lot of ways, it's kind of bleak.

This damn PD has me pretty much on a liquid diet. I can't swallow very well. I mean, I can eat, if I'm willing to drink, give or take,  32 oz. of water per meal. But, I've accepted the fact that I do better living on smoothies and soup, with a couple of snacks a day, made up of crackers, nuts and dried fruit. Because I can still eat trail mix, go figure. PD is a weird ass disease.

I have these bitching blood pressure drops from out of nowhere that send me crashing to the floor. Which is why I call it "Crashing." I have to wear one of those stupid "Help I've fallen and I can't get up" buttons around my neck.

So let me tell you, I've been in a mood.

I could have stayed in my pool of muck, it's warm and steamy, kind of comforting in way, as long as I ignored the smell....

But that's just not how I roll.

Many years ago, I was cancer ridden, had a baby and a really bad husband, and my horses were kept on his family ranch. My access to them was controlled by the bad husband. Now there was a sucky period of time. Well, the baby was good, but as many of you know, babies are very ying and yang when it comes to quality of life.

I got kind of whiny then too. But eventually, I got pissed.

I pulled myself together by running. Being the OCD queen that I am, I didn't just go jogging, I became a hard core trail runner, eventually logging an average of 25 miles a week on mountain trails. I found that when I ran, instead of a runner's high, I was gifted with clear thought.

I ran and thought my way through a few more bouts of cancer, surgery and radiation treatment. I pushed my illustration, landed a children's book series, got rid of the husband, found a job at a daycare center so I could keep the kidlette with me, had the cancer riddled arm amputated, and ran the Pikes Peak Ascent, twice.


I came out of it with a take no prisoners attitude. My amputation made me lose the daycare job, and I picked up a job as a riding instructor at a small barn in Green Mountain Falls. Still feeling pissy, I took the bad ex-husband to court, sued his ass for back child support and took back my horse in lieu of $$. Then, because I could, I took his too.

Six months after my amputation I took my first horse in for training. Six months after that I bought Sonita. The rest,well you guys can read about that, it's all in the blog.

So. I find myself in the poop again. I'm older, much more tired, and this disease, well, it's gonna get me.


There is a writer. His name is Tom McGuane. He lives on a ranch in Montana and is a cutter, a good one from what I understand. He checks his horses first thing in the morning, then goes to his writing studio (in my imagination it's a converted log shed), and writes until noon. Then he rides.

His life has been my dream forever.

It occurred to me, just in the past few days, that I have all those pieces. They are right here in my hands, er, make that hand.

I am a writer. I actually write for my living. I have a couple of very fine horses that I trained myself, and I'm still a pretty bitching rider. It's my choice to take those piece and have my dream life.

So far, as long as I'm on my meds, I have no tremor, when you meet me there's no tell tale sign, and I'm still a steady hand when I ride.

I've got a handle on the crashing deal, as long as I don't overdo it, and get at least a few hours sleep, I'm fine.

Maybe I don't have a ranch in Montana, but I have the Big K, he's my friend, and he's got one, and I get to spend a week there in July. I get to ride with my old friends and get to know some of you in person, I made new friends last year and I bet it will happen again this year. I still have stories in me, and if I quit wallowing and try being a little more open, they'll get written.

What are we going to do in this clinic? Tim, (Big K) is charming, funny and packed full of savvy horse know how. He's a very good instructor. His approach helps every horse and every rider, I don't care if you ride Western, English or Tasmanian, you and your horse will be the better for spending some time with him.

I'm no slouch. I often have a different approach than Tim, but it's based on the same foundation. Last summer I was too quiet, I fell into the minion position too often. Tim has let me know he's not letting me get away with that this year. So, you'll be hearing more from me, on everything and anything we come across.

I'm really good with problem horses and confidence issues for both horse and rider.

There will be cattle work, and time on the trail, with water crossings, mountain scurrying, etc. It's challenging, but we're safe, and nobody has to do anything too far out of their comfort zone.

We're planning a moonlight trail ride. There is a full moon happening over the weekend.

If the weather cheats us, we're still in good shape, because Tim has a great big indoor arena. Rain, snow, sleet, no matter, we'll be riding.

As for me and my frigging PD? I'll ride in the mornings, and take a break in the afternoon so I can be around for the evening get togethers. Tim is tireless, he'll have you working all day. I'll be around to visit in the evenings, and we'll get the stories flowing.

I walk early in the mornings. Anybody who needs a stretch is welcome to join me.

I have realized worrying about the future is pointless. Life has proven to be quite the bronc ride and doesn't pay much attention to how much I do or don't worry.

Today, I can ride. Today I can write. Come July I'll be at the Big K's ranch, with Madonna, Scrub (Odin), Brockle and Charlie, hanging with Tim, Dawn, Kathy, and however many of you decide to come for the ride.



  1. Great upbeat post! I'm going to have to get some of that upbeatness, even if I'm not riding.

    (Kinda hard when I'm tethered to an oxygen tank...your blood pressure may tank, my O2 saturation tanks)

    Have fun this summer, I know you will have a great time at Tim's.

  2. Thank you for this post. It was a well needed slap back into reality for me. I've got 3 horses sitting out there, barely being ridden at all. I say I haven't had time, but I know that I am liar too. I've been sitting here feeling sorry for myself over nothing. I don't have PD, or any other debilitating disease, I've just been in a funk, worrying about money, feeling sorry for myself because I have to go to a job I hate just so that I can almost pay the bills. I used to make time to why am I not now? I don't know, but if you can stand up and kick some ass, with all that you have to face....Maybe I can too.

    You are an inspiration.

  3. Oh and I really hope you do at least one more clinic after this one. Once again, I cannot come. No vacation time earned yet. But next year I will have it and I am going to save it just for this clinic!

  4. "We're planning a moonlight trail ride. There is a full moon happening over the weekend."

    I.... I need some money. I learned *SO FREAKING MUCH* at the clinic last year, and I'm still digging deeper in those lessons today.... and this year you're gonna have a moonlit trail ride?

    Anybody want to buy a child? I have two, so I've got a spare....

  5. I didn't know that you had an amputated arm!

    I love your blog posts - and I love how inspiring you are. :)

  6. I don't know anything about the issues you have and have been through, except getting horses in a nasty divorce. You're a pioneer in this one, but I have faith that you'll work something out and let us know how it happened.

    The only thing that stops me from doing everything I want is pain and poor planning. Like, on good days when I get up feeling good, I shouldn't go till the garden for two hours before I plan on riding. And then, I have to practice old lady riding. I'm really hoping you'll do a few chapters on that.

    Becky, Becky, first you try to eat your kids, now you try to sell them. I'll take one if they can muck stalls and pull weeds.

  7. You're one of my favorite writers, and posts like this are the reason way. Go get 'im in Montana. I'll be cheering you on from the Internet.

  8. Hey Becky,

    If you find gypsies a to sell your kid to will you please let me know. I've got three so I can sacrifice the one. I'll pick you up on my way to Montana. :).

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. I wish I could make it to the clinic. I'd love to meet you and Big K, and get a professionals take on my bumbling along with my 4 year old filly.

    In my opinion, she's coming along fairly nicely. We can get down the trail with minimal issues, and she'll eventually do anything I ask of her, but I know there are gaping holes that are going to come back to bite me.

  11. I hope I get to go to this clinic one of these years! J-Lo and I could really benefit from 3 days of having our butts kicked! :-)

    Unfortunately, it's the same weekend as my Donkey Turnaround competition. And, since I promised the BLM that I would bring Daisy to the show, that wins. Poop.

  12. Hey wait! I've got a teenager for sale too. He is cheap to feed, (Ramen, oreos and milk) is strong enough to lift bales of hay!

    Any takers?

  13. Redhorse -- I hear you on the over using and abusing those good days.

  14. Thomas McGuane's "Keep the Change" has been a set text for English classes for some time, here in Australia, in our little suburb. I read it and loved it.

  15. Yay Mugs! I love to hear your attitude in this post. Kick some ass this summer and let us come along for the ride.

  16. Mugs, I'm jealous of the SPAM you get. I want spellcaster SPAM bots.

  17. Oh what is that poem from Emily Dickenson... something about hope is that little light that lives in your soul and occasionally sings when you really need it to...

    any way sounds like Hope is singing away in your soul and you are going to take advantage of that lightness for as long as you can.

    The clinic sounds like a great time, looking forward to hearing all about it.

  18. Cindy D., you took the words right out of my mouth. I have been feeding, brushing, and looking at my horses for 3 weeks, not riding, because I'm sad and pissed about the way the non-horse part of my life is going.

    Time for us to suck it up and go ride!

  19. Cindy D & Anon, I feel you too!

    I've been feeling very sorry for myself about being out-of-shape and timid (compared to my fearless teenaged self) but I'm only going to get back in shape by getting 'back on the horse.' I think my problem is that I need to stop complaining and just be grateful for the second chance at horses that life has thrown my way. And accept that I'm not going to immediately be a super-awesome does-everything rider after 5+ years of city living.

    Mugs, you are an inspiration. I look forward to reading each new post. You've got iron in your spine, and you're helping me find mine!

  20. The scary thing about you not writing your stories is.... no one else can!!! And then what will we do!! (Insert long whine, as in D00000ooooo!Like a middle schooler trying to overplay pitiful)
    Being a grown up is hard sometimes. But it's better than being a victim. I have to remind myself of that often.

  21. Feldenkrais lessons

  22. You are amazing!
    I don't post many comments, but get all giddy and stuff when a new post appears. Your way of taking life head on really makes me feel like a turd some days. (0:
    I bet that clinic's amazing!
    I can't wait to read the stories from this years experiences!

  23. Something you said at the end really resonated with me. You're right, life doesn't care how much you worry, it's gonna do what it's gonna do regardless. I love that sentiment. I am not a worrier myself, but I come from a family of them!