Out of the Blue

 

winter

It’s been a big year. So much  happening that I just haven’t been able to bring myself to write about it … yet. That’s why there’s been such a huge gap in this blog of late. We’re still processing the acquisition of our horse property this past August ~ a place where we can establish my Facilitated Equine Experiential Learning (FEEL) practice and, in time, build our dream home.

This major shift in our lives happened in a whirlwind … you know, the way things do out of the blue. I will write about it soon, when the dust has settled a little more.

Bear

In the meantime, I’m pleased to report that Bear has made a full recovery from his suspensory injury, and is out galloping and grazing the hills of his lovely big paddock with his new girlfriend, Galla. Next spring we’ll put the saddle on him again, just for fun, but in the meantime he can be a horse with a thick, fuzzy winter coat getting stronger day by day. I’m so pleased for him.

Sophi and I continue to bond. She’s given me my wings again. Excellent coaching helps too, of course. 😉

Wishing you all much peace and the best the New Year has to offer.

Nurture what you love …

Dorothy
Horse Mom

©Dorothy Chiotti … All Rights Reserved 2015

 

When It Must Be Love …

Love bugs

~*~

When it must be love what does any equine with the name of Shakespeare do? Why, write a sonnet, of course …

Sonnet XXV

As in the dark of night a thief doth steal,

New love my heart hath seizéd in a trice.

And shouldst I share with you just how I feel:

Its thumpy-thumpy-thump is rather nice.

A feisty filly brightens this ol’ bay,

And so profoundly fills my soul with bliss

I scarce believe, this cold Feb’rary day,

A move from old to new hath brought me this.

*

I did not look for love; no, it found me.

And in my heart-home set most perfect peace.

Where once twas blind I now more clearly see

For ‘pon this life love’s joy hath wrought new lease.

And to my heart hath whispered pure and true

With lovely presence of my darling Zu.

~*~

If you’ve been following this blog for the past few weeks I suspect you knew this was bound to happen.

Believe me, my purpose with this blog is not to focus on Shakespeare’s (aka Bear’s) love life. Still, it’s part of his journey and I spend time with him every day, so how can it be ignored?

As I’ve noted before he is much happier in his work lately. There’s more spring in his step. Is it just the fresh guidance we’re receiving as we begin to learn the nuances of dressage, or does Bear’s (and my) happier heart also have something to do with it?

There’s more to life than work, of course. Love is what really makes the world go around, and love is what we celebrate on Valentine’s Day.

Frankly, I wish it was more than romantic love, and its lustful deviations, that were the focus of this day. This is a rather small and, on some levels, insignificant part of the story.

Hearts and flowers and dinners and whatever are all lovely, but the essence of love ~ the peace it brings to our hearts when it is true ~ is what I feel needs to be celebrated and promoted.

What does true love feel like?

A gift of roses from Shakespeare and I to you ... :-)

A gift of roses for you …

It can take years to understand that true love creates feelings of perfect peace. It allows us to always be ourselves. Doesn’t judge. Doesn’t ask us to modify our behaviour or body or destroy our spirit for any reason. Any changes that occur “in love” are a natural evolution of the expansion of our comfort zone while feeling loved and secure in the presence of another.

True love accepts about us even the things we find hard to accept about ourselves, because it sees beyond our weakness, insecurities and imperfections to our truth.

Being comfortable in our own skin, in love, is one of the surest signs I know that love is true.

Strange as it may be to say this about a horse, I believe this is true for Bear. Since basking in the winter sun with Zu he is the most relaxed I have ever seen him.

Am I a jealous mother?

No!

Zu Zu brings Bear a peaceful heart, and isn’t that what every mother wants for her child? 😉

It must be love.

Nurture what you love this day … and forever …

Dorothy 🙂
Horse Mom

~*~

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014

#FWF … The Heart is More Than Words

#FWF … The Heart is More Than Words.

via #FWF … The Heart is More Than Words.

Some thoughts on the horse I’ve shared on my blog “In So Many Words.” Seems appropriate to share these musings here also.

Please check it out …

Nurture what you love …

Dorothy
Horse Mom

~*~

 

When Things Are Meant To Be … Or Not To Be

... A poet out standing in this new field ...

… Shakespeare ~ a poet out standing in his new field …

~*~

It’s been nearly two weeks since Bear and I started a new chapter in our life together. I’m pleased to say the first few paragraphs have been incredibly fun. 🙂

As I’ve mentioned before I’ve known for some time that we needed a change. What I’ve learned from this experience, however, is that when change (or opportunity if you prefer to look at it that way) is ready for you, it comes knocking. The important thing is to be aware and listen for that first gentle rap at the door so we can usher change in quietly and methodically. It’s when we haven’t been paying attention and change starts banging the door down that problems arise. From past experience I know this to be true.

If I thought about it too much I might kick myself for not having made this move sooner. The fact is, though, the timing was not right until now. Opportunity was biding its time waiting for Bear and me (mostly me, sadly) to be ready. I’d looked at potential new homes for Bear before, but not found the right fit. And then, one day last November during an online search I found this barn which, as it happened, had only one stall open. I paid the barn a visit and, after due consideration, made the decision to let change, and opportunity lead us through the door.

The rest you know.

So, I don’t beat myself up over something I wish I’d done years ago. It’s a moot point. Everything unfolds as it should, and when you follow your heart things do, inevitably, fall into place at exactly the right time. No regrets. No mourning for the past. Just a much clearer vision of the future and a toe-hold closer to a dream.

The recent hard blast of winter has been both a curse and a blessing. A curse, of course, in that conditions have been unbearably cold and not suited to riding. A blessing because the extra down time has given Bear and I a chance to acclimate to our new surroundings. He hangs out with his new friends and I hang out with mine. And when it comes to his exercise, because it’s been so quiet at the barn we’ve had free access to the arena. This means we’ve been able to play at will, which is great because it gets him used to the quirks and creaks of his new working space without me on his back.

It’s been a rather smooth transition, all in all. This tells me it was meant to be. 😉

Forsooth, a few words from the poet equine …

~*~

Sonnet XXIV

No way there is to know what life shall bring;

What storms shall pass or sunny days shall hold.

The best advantage is a heart that sings

So through the best and worst one might be bold.

As winter hath its fury bourn this way

And havoc wreaked for all within its path

The choice, per chance, to mope or, rather, play;

Be beaten not by Mother Nature’s wrath.

*

What change the winds hath wrought, what change indeed

As to a new life I am surely born.

And yet, all things that matter, all I need,

Hath followed me; for nothing do I mourn.

Thus, change hath done me good, I’m bound to say,

For happy heart of yore’s more glad today.

~*~

Nurture what you love …

Dorothy 🙂
Horse Mom

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014

Forward with Forgiveness

Handsome

A quick post, off the top of my head, as a thought occurred to me today in the middle of my coaching session.

Bear’s had a quiet week. I wasn’t well for a couple of days so he got to enjoy life as a muddy pasture ornament with his buddy, Sam. Didn’t need to answer about anything. Just got to be a horse. Which is fine.

Today I was back in the saddle after an episode of adrenal fatigue on Tuesday, and feeling my way into the work again. Curled up in a ball, as I was, in my recliner in the living room for a day or so, it was a challenge to get the old body to open back up.

Of course, horses demand that we be open. If we close down, they close down. It’s really simple body language.

At any rate, it took me a little longer to get in the groove today and Bear, feeling his outdoor privilege and, likely, rather bummed at having to work again, was being particularly ornery. Or perhaps, and rather more likely, he was simply taking advantage of me.

As well, since getting home from our 18-day trip it’s been a challenge to get back into the great work ethic we had going before I left. Everything we had before is there, it’s just taking longer to find it, and Bear isn’t giving anything away for free.

At one point during canter work he had a hissy fit, unexpectedly leaping to the left in response to nothing in particular. I corrected the situation and got him going again, but felt he was being rather mischievous and unforgiving.

I happened to mention this to Coach.

He said, “Bear’s a warmblood. They’re notorious for not wanting to go forward and will find excuses to give you a hard time about it.”

Coach helped me manage my way through this hiccup. I worked at opening my position to invite Bear to move forward more fluidly. Things were starting to go well again.

And then it hit me …

I had accused my horse of being unforgiving when, in fact, that finger was pointing right back at me. Not about forgiving Bear, or anything like that. Forgiving people. People in my life who have unwittingly put stumbling blocks in my path that prevent me from going forward. But it’s not the stumbling blocks that are preventing me from going forward anymore. It’s my own lack of forgiveness for the people who put them there in the first place.

I have been in my own way. Bear telling me to get out of his way was a way of letting me know how much of an obstacle I present to myself and my ability to move forward with my own life.

On the surface I’m all “oh, that doesn’t bother me anymore.” But down deep, I can feel it, niggling. And every once in a while I’ll feel or say something that stokes those damning fires of resentment, which in turn blocks my path forward to the better way of being I have for so long strived.

That light bulb moment on the back of my horse was a revelation. Not only was I seeing with my mind the incredible boob I’d been recently harbouring all that resentment, but on the flip side of that my body was releasing the negative tension attached to it. This was allowing Bear to open up his stride and really swing through his body into a lovely forward canter.

To some this might sound farfetched, but to me it’s terribly real. It has lead me to the conclusion that as long as we carry resentment, jealousy and hurt feelings with us on our journey we are in danger of not being able to move forward toward our goals and dreams as we’d like.

The fact that certain people in my life have hurt me has not changed. What has changed is my perception of their deeds and my willingness to move on from the pain of it. To go forward in self-awareness along my healing path with a forgiving heart is what matters now.

And I have my horse to thank for that.

Thank you, Bear …

Nurture what you love …

Dorothy 🙂
Horse Mom

~*~

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2103

Why The Long Face? … More Musings from a Poet Out Standing in His Field

The Poet

Following 18 days grazing the pastoral beauty of rural England it’s time, once more, for me to step into the day-to-day and establish a routine, albeit a slightly adjusted one as I make more room for tea time. 😉

As for a certain horse ~ apparently my absence did not go unnoticed.

While I pull my vacation-stoked thoughts together in preparation for future writing projects, please enjoy the thoughtful ruminations (in sonnet form, of course) of my darling Shakespeare.

Oh, the drama …

~*~

Sonnet XXI

Woe Is Me

A fog of loneliness my spirit shroud

As separate from the one I love am forced.

My head and heart bemoan this passing cloud

No matter some might think me just a horse.

Thus plant my lips do I in grassy field

To fill the hours head down in happy place.

For to my sadness I resist to yield

And paste diminished smile on this long face.

*

As minutes pass to hours pass to days

In moments do I dwell my heart to heal.

Yet to the paddock gate I’m wont to gaze

In search of she to whom my heart reveal.

Perchance, as all things do, this fog will pass,

Returning to my view my lovely lass.

~*~

Fortunately there is a happy ending …

~*~

Sonnet XXII

Woe Be Gone!

The spearmint chill of autumn through my bones

Creeps as the frigid winds my flesh embrace.

Full care take I my heart turns not to stone

So mem’ries of my Love remain in place.

And to this end am glad to do my part

As from the gate a voice drifts o’er the breeze

To heat the very cellar of my heart

So flesh and bones thus warm a few degrees.

*

My Love, she hath returned. Oh bliss! Oh joy!

Cold wind her sweet voice carries home to me.

No more disconsolate or lonely boy

Love swarmeth in my heart as buzzing bee.

As bones and flesh alive with her now heal

The autumn’s chills no longer do I feel.

~*~

Bear Smiles

We’ll return to regular programming shortly .. 😉

Nurture what you love …

Dorothy 🙂
Horse Mom

~*~

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2013

Summer Says Goodbye …

Well, not yet … not for another month, at least.

But with all the kids going back to school, and the daylight hours getting shorter, and the leaves already starting to change colour on some of the maples, one can be forgiven for lamenting the passage of summer.

I’ve seen a few bloggers remark on this already.

Here’s my two cents worth …

Continue reading

Thrilled to be Freshly Pressed …

Life is what happens when you’re doing whatever.

That’s my variation on John Lennon’s immortal “Life is what happens when you’re making other plans.”

It was early Tuesday afternoon and I wasn’t planning anything, I guess, except to return home after a lovely few hours spent at the barn with Bear. As I parked myself in the driver’s seat of my car and checked my iPhone for emails before heading out, there it was … a message from Michelle at WordPress.

How appropriate. I was at the barn when I learned that my post Confessions of a Coaching Intern: Finding Clarity with a Pitchfork and a Song was going to be Freshly Pressed.

I am beyond thrilled by this tremendous honour.

My sincerest desire when writing for any of my blogs is that what pours from my heart by way of my writing will touch the hearts of those who stop by to read it.

Shakespeare and I have travelled a bumpy road over the past several years, but an illuminating and fulfilling one as well. It’s done my heart good to share our stories, and I will continue to do so as we continue our journey together.

My thanks to WordPress.com for the Freshly Pressed recognition, and to everyone who has in anyway supported my efforts here by reading, liking, commenting and following what goes on in my little equestrian world.

A kiss

To finish, a brief word about my closing line “Nurture what you love …”

On this journey called life, with the help of my beautiful horse, my husband and a good therapist, I have learned that it is not enough to say you love. The word is dead without deed; without nurturing.

Lots of people said they loved me, when I was a little girl, but life and family circumstances left me un-nurtured*; unable to see my Self and horribly traumatized. In fact, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder was my constant companion for most of my life without me realizing it.

A series of wake-up calls, including the one highlighted in my Freshly Pressed post noted above, started showing me there was a different way of being.

In fact, horses have been among my greatest teachers.

Horses demand that we be authentic, connected in self-awareness just as they are …and they call us on it when we are not. They walk on egg shells for no one and will keep offering up the same lessons to us until we figure it out. Often these lessons are not pretty. I know. I’ve been on the receiving end of many in my life as an equestrian.

Horses have taught me to address my anger, bitterness, disappointments, misery in my own time and not bring it to the barn. When I do this the barn becomes a place of nurturing, of healing. When I project a nurturing attitude toward Bear, he reflects it back to me. He is therapy for me only in as much as I am self-aware enough to receive the lessons he teaches.

Many horses (you can insert children, animals, people, etc. here as well) are abused by people who pay lip service to the word “love.”

To say we love is not enough. Love is just an empty, and abused, word without the actions to back it up.

So, nurture what you love … and that means you, too.

Dorothy 🙂
Horse Mom

* Since I’m being so open with you, I will clarify here that I am aware that my mother, a single parent pursuing a career in show business at the time, did her best to provide the necessities of life and to make sure that my brother and I knew we were loved. However, exhausted from her operatic endeavours, and managing a home and family with no financial or emotional support of any kind from our dead-beat father, and thousands of miles away from any extended family who might have been able to pick up some slack, there was simply not enough nurturing energy available to her to fill the word love. This is where I fell through the cracks.

*

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2013

Escape With Me …

Yuk it up

… and pass the time with my equine entertainment coordinator … the comic, Shakespeare … as we engage in a little horse play.

You all know him as Bear, of course, but that doesn’t alter the fact that my four-legged thespian loves to put on an act and delight whatever might constitute an audience in the small barn where he lives.

Yukking it up and flashing those pearly whites for the camera is one of his many pleasures.

This week the topic of conversation around the barn has been the mucky-ness of the paddocks.

While these green spaces recover from the ravages of winter, the horses are on hourly rotation out in the sand ring which is itself a mire of mud and murkiness. This schedule will continue until the paddocks are demonstrating more resilience and the grass has had a chance to grow.

Like all the other horses, Bear cannot resist the urge to drop to his knees and roll … and roll … and roll. The current soft squooshiness of the sand ring makes this a particularly appealing pastime.

Yesterday Bear’s blanket, as evidenced by this image taken in said paddock with his buddy, Sam, was absolutely filthy. He has the role of mudslinger down pat.

Sam and Ham

Later, as I was photo-documenting the results of his shenanigans in the barn he decided to be the centre of attention for his own reasons, and proceeded to ham it up for the camera.

Yuk it up 2

Naturally, the bucket of carrots at his feet had something to do with it. Like all great entertainers he expects to be rewarded for his efforts.

Aries is looking for a best supporting actor nod as he rests his chin on Bear’s rump trying to get in on the action.

Aries wants a carrot

You can see how well that’s going over.

*

This is my escape from the world and its drama.

After a couple of hours with Bear my perspective on a broader world beyond my control changes as I realize the amazing influence I can have on my horse and he on me.

My heart goes out to all whose lives have been radically changed this week by terrible events … and not just the ones we know about.

Nurture what you love … and create a happier world for yourself and those within your influence … while the chance is yours.

Be well …

Dorothy 🙂
Horse Mom

*

Copyright Aimwell CreativeWorks 2013

A Change of Pace …

It’s April 11 and, believe it or not, a snow day.

What do we do on a snow day?

The last few weeks have seen some intense moments as Bear and I sort through a few issues together. But now, with a clearer vision of where we’re going, it seems appropriate to take a bit of a break and have some play time.

I arrived at the barn early to beat the effects of the “winter” storm currently barrelling down on Southern Ontario. The arena was free so I walked Bear over and let him loose for what we commonly refer to as a “Yahoo!”

I happened to have my iPhone in my pocket so, while Bear did his best wild thing impression I did my best to capture a few candid moments.

These three images worked out the best.

Running free

Bear wasn’t such a wild and crazy guy this morning, but he did kick up his heels a little and enjoy a bit of a run about.

His head carriage always seems get that much higher as he canters past the mirror. I believe he has a strong appreciation of his own handsomeness. Can’t you just see him catching a glimpse of his reflection from the corner of his left eye?

Cornered

Excitement over, limbs stretched, the demons chased away, he comes to a stop in the north east corner of the arena and waits for me to collect him. For some reason he always stops here when he’s done. Like us, horses are creatures of habit.

As I walk over he slowly bobs his head up and down below chest level, stretches his nose toward me and peels back his upper lip in a happy grin. He’s relaxed and ready for his lump of sugar.

The view from here

Once we’ve re-connected Bear freely follows me around like a big, happy, puppy dog, going where I go, stopping where I stop. I feel like a million dollars. Is there anything so marvellous as winning the trust of the free-spirited?

We stop at the open half door overlooking the outdoor riding ring where many of the boys are turned out while spring paddock management is in full swing. Bear checks out the mudslingers moping in the muck. Liam is mildly curious; Tex is bored.

It’s not a good time of year to be a horse outdoors. They like to roll in the mud but hate to be covered in it. Sadly, you can’t have one without the other.

Play time over, I lead Bear back to his stall where he chomps on a generous helping of carrots and a big pile of hay. He awaits his moment in the muck.

Later Christine will pop on him and have some fun over fences.

A lovely change of pace and a mental health day for Mr. Bear.

A change is as good as a rest.

Nurture what you love …

Dorothy 🙂
Horse Mom

*

Copyright Aimwell CreativeWorks 2013