©Dorothy Chiotti … All Rights Reserved 2018
©Dorothy Chiotti … All Rights Reserved 2018
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.
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 Chiotti … All Rights Reserved 2015
I’ve said it before, and it’s worth repeating ~ when in the middle of a significant life experience I tend not to disturb the process by writing about it. A play-by-play of my life (with horses) is not the purpose of this blog. Rather, I prefer to review things after the dust has settled … and muse.
One of the things I’ve observed lately is the amount of change going on around me. So much change, for so many, all in the same window of time.
This is true in my life also. In many ways it has been a summer of positive personal upheaval. I feel blessed and grateful and, perhaps, slightly overwhelmed by the incredible journey that lies ahead. However, I trust the path to which my husband and I have been guided because of all the signs along the way that have pointed us in this new direction. I also take lots of deep breaths and endeavour to keep my feet firmly planted on the ground. I feel like I’m stepping into my purpose. My comfort zone expanding in momentarily uncomfortable, but important, ways that will define a new way of being as I go forward.
A quick-ish update …
It’s been five weeks since Sophi (aka Sophia Loren) sashayed into the barn for the first time and turned our lives upside down. She’s a starlet in her own mind … and she knows her own mind.
For instance, it wasn’t by accident I learned she loves to play with the water nozzle when being bathed. She told me. I was hosing her down after our first training session, spraying cool water at her chest, when she started dipping and bobbing her head up and down trying to reach for the nozzle. I got the hint and pointed the gentle spray at her lips, whereupon she grabbed the nozzle and drank from it as it if were a straw. This went on for about a minute. It was a hot day and she was thirsty, and what struck me immediately is that she knew how to take care of herself.
Then, as I rinsed her off with a bucket of diluted anti-fungal liniment she kept reaching around as if she wanted to drink from it. I cautioned her and yet she persisted. She wanted to drink from the bucket as well. So, I stopped what I was doing, grabbed her little red bucket and promptly filled it with water. When I offered it to her she emptied the bucket almost to the bottom and then grabbed the edge nearest her and attempted to throw what was left in my direction. I guess she figured I needed cooling off, too.
As you might imagine, she has trained me well and this is now part of our daily ritual (as long as the weather stays reasonably warm.)
Another pet peeve for our resident Italianate prima donna is the surfeit of biting flies. This I discovered the hard way when I was bringing her in from the paddock one day soon after she arrived.
It was one of those hot, humid, sticky days and the flies, as annoying as any paparazzi, were swarming and stinging. In her distress Ms. Sophi bumped the metal gate as I was leading her out of the paddock. The gate, in turn, bumped hard into the bridge of my nose. (Expletive!) After I let go of the lead rope she ran back into the paddock leaving me stomping and wandering around the path to the gate in an excruciating daze and feeling my nose to ensure it wasn’t broken. Having established it was still in one piece, I was able to pull myself together and make a second attempt at bringing in my stomping starlet.
Once she was safely in her stall I grabbed an ice pack from the freezer and spent much of the afternoon and evening with it perched on my nose. A visit to the chiropractor on my way home helped, too. Perhaps it was this that saved my face from extensive bruising. I was lucky. A few inches lower and the gate would have knocked out my front teeth!
It wasn’t Sophi’s fault. I was distracted by the flies as well and ought to have been paying keener attention. Since then I’ve been careful to ensure Sophi’s turned out damp after bathing her so she can roll in her favourite dirt spot and create her own fly defence. I must take care of my little starlet … and my nose. 😉
Meanwhile, Bear (aka Shakespeare), a one-horse-show for the past nine years until Miss Sophi entered and took centre stage, has made it clear he will play second fiddle to no one.
Sophi and Bear were originally turned out in adjacent paddocks. This had to stop day one when I made the mistake of attempting to bring Sophi into the barn first. Witnessing my error in judgement from his paddock gate next door, Bear went all medieval, bucking and leaping as if I had slighted him in the worst way possible. Naturally, I was concerned that he would re-injure that healing hind suspensory ligament, so I had to abandon my original plan and bring him in first.
Who says horses don’t get jealous?
To alleviate this being a “thing” every time I want to bring one of them in, they are separated by at least one other paddock, this way neither is any the wiser when I bring the other in.
If they’re in the barn at the same time I am careful to ensure they receive equal treat distribution. However, there is one ritual I’ve reserved for Bear alone.
Banana time is his thing. Sophi can have everything else ~ Bear shares his carrots, his apples (yes, he’s been weaned back onto apples), his crunchy treats, his fly spray. He even, in a fit of pique one night, remodelled his fly mask for her. But I have promised him that he will never have to share his banana.
He’s good with that.
“When I bestride him, I soar, I am a hawk: he trots the air; the earth sings when he touches it; the basest horn of his hoof is more musical than the pipe of Hermes. ”
William Shakespeare (Henry V)
Riding Sophi has proven to be a revelation.
She is everything I hoped for in a new dressage partner. She’s finely trained; forward and forgiving. My coach says we’re a good match. We still have a long way to go to find our synchronicity, but the foundation is already there. Every time we work together, on the ground and under saddle, our connection and understanding improve. Sophi moves correctly which has underscored my own lack of alignment. Now I’m on a mission ~ through massage, chiropractic, Pilates and conscious awareness ~ to re-align my hips toward straightness so she and I can work correctly together. A tall order at this age and stage of my life, perhaps, but I’ll do my best.
Meanwhile, my intention for Bear is to put the saddle on and take him out for micro hacks. Five minutes to begin and gradually working our way to longer outings. I’ve come to this decision because ever since Sophi’s arrival Bear’s showing me he wants to do more than just hand walk. It’s as if he’s trying to prove to me that he’s quite capable of doing much more than my imagination will allow. So, soon I will take him out for that first short, slow spin. We’ll both enjoy that.
We have spent the summer preparing to move the horses to a new farm, which is part of the reason my posts have been so sparse of late. Energy can only be divided so many ways.
The move finally took placed September 10, and I’ll have plenty to say about that in my next post which, I hope, will be more timely.
Last, but certainly not least on the subject of change, we find ourselves moving on to this next chapter in our lives one dog short.
A couple of posts ago I mentioned our old collie, Sass, was on her last legs. Well, on August 14 we finally had to let her go. She was failing. Her quality of life much compromised by the ravages of old age. At 13 years she’d lived a long and happy life, and we wanted to remember her that way. So, with heavy hearts we released our dear Sass, knowing it would be the last act of kindness we’d ever do for her.
Sassy was our sweet girlie and we miss her terribly. Visit my blog Eyes to Heart for a short tribute.
So, as another chapter closes it’s time to contemplate and move on to the next. A lot of change lends itself to a lot of musing.
It was ever thus.
Nurture what you love …
©Dorothy Chiotti 2015
Shakespeare: Who through yonder stable door doth pass this beauteous summer’s eve?
Sophia Loren: Buona sera, bello.
Shakespeare: More glorious a sight mine eyes hath never beheld!
Sophia Loren: Dire qualcosa di poetico a me, Shakespeare.
Shakespeare: Fair maiden doth know my name!!!! How knowest she that I am a Muse of poetry?
Sophia Loren: Sembra che io vivrò nella stalla di fronte a voi.
Shakespeare: Be still my heart … she’s to live in the stall across from me. My knees are as jelly. I shall accomplish nothing.
Sophia Loren: Dire qualcosa di dolce per me, Shakespeare, per favore.
Shakespeare: She desireth poetry. O, resist, thou besotted fool! Resist! Alas, I cannot. Her wish is my command! … “Dearest Sophia, thine eyes are the pools of love in which my Scribe doth dip her pen.”
Sophia Loren: Oh, così bello, il mio amore. Penso che stare qui con te per sempre.
Shakespeare: Oh, how I have pleased her!! Sophia hath declared her eternal devotion to me.
Sophia Loren: Mi scusi, cara Shakespeare, ma come si fa a capire quello che sto dicendo a voi?
Shakespeare: She wonders at my language prowess. “O fair maiden, once thou hast wrapped the Scribe around thy dainty hoof all things are possible. In fairness, the Google Translator doth serve rather well.”
Sophia Loren: Capisco completamente. Cura di unirsi a me per una carota?
Shakespeare: Oh, how the wheel of love doth spin! She shareth with me a fondness for orange root vegetables! … A carrot! A carrot! My kingdom for a carrot! … “Make haste, dearest Scribe, and render unto me and my fair maiden the source of our mutual affection!”
Sophia Loren: Grazie, bello Shakespeare.
Shakespeare: Neigh! Thank you!
Scribe: Oh, brother …
See what I’m up against now? The creative Muse gone wild!!!
Remember that silver lining I mentioned months ago in the depths of winter after the sad diagnosis of Bear’s career-ending suspensory ligament injury?
Well, after the better part of seven months searching for my next dressage partner here she is … Sophia Loren (Sophi) ~ a 10-year-old Hanoverian mare by Schwarzenegger out of Alwine.
Sophi arrived Wednesday, July 22, and has proven to be as much a character as my boy, Shakespeare. Not only does she share his good looks (in a supremely girly way), she has demonstrated a flare for the flamboyant gesture as well. When I bathe her (it’s been really hot the past few days) she drinks straight from the hose and demands … yes, demands … some play time with water in the little red bucket I bought especially for her. She loves all treats and is as adept at getting what she wants as any Hollywood starlet. And yet, she’s so classy about it. So, Sophia Loren.
So, the search is over and I find myself with two larger-than-life equine personalities named after a bard and an actress. I dare say we will be in for the occasional animated dialogue.
Nurture what you love …
Bear and Sophi sitting up a tree … 😉
©Dorothy Chiotti … Aimwell CreativeWorks 2015
“Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.”
Having lived a rather dormant life for the past few years while recovering from adrenal fatigue, I find myself catapulted into a whole new way of being. It’s all good, but wow! I dare say I have never felt such a jolt of forward energy as I have since about mid May. So much is happening I’m still wrapping my head around it all.
Sharing any of it before the dust has settled is rather pointless.
What I can say is that Bear has graduated to a bigger paddock and is enjoying all-day turnout, which is fantastic! And he so deserves it after all those winter months confined to his stall while he recovered from his suspensory injury.
He has been such a model patient. Wendy says she’s never seen a horse cope better.
What a star!
Does my heart good to see him so happy. He’s going to be a great therapy horse.
In the meantime, life continues to happen. Change is coming. And I will have some news about … well, you’ll just have to stay tuned …
Remember to nurture what you love.
©Dorothy Chiotti … Aimwell CreativeWorks 2015
Time flies. I can hardly believe how quickly a month has gone by since my last post.
Bear continues to recover and is enjoying basking in the sun whilst on restricted turn out, (i.e. he hangs out in the round pen, not a paddock, lest he re-injure himself galloping around like a wildebeest.) He’s still bananas for bananas, and having fun just being himself and making people smile.
He’ll be a great therapy horse.
Meanwhile, the dressage horse search continues.
It’s more challenging than you might imagine. Sure, there are lots of horses needing homes, just like there are lots of single people wanting partners. But finding a suitable horse is as difficult as finding a suitable mate ~ it takes time and you don’t want to appear too desperate lest you make an inappropriate choice. 😉 Horse and rider matchmaking is a serious and time-consuming business.
I’ve walked away from two promising horses because of navicular issues. I already have a high maintenance horse, and while I’m all for rescuing and rehabbing horses, it’s not the route I wish to take with my next riding horse. So, I’ll just persevere in my search and at some point, when the stars are aligned and all the cosmic tumblers have fallen into place, the “right horse” will walk into my life and wonder what took me so long.
Timing is everything, of course. There have been other things going on in the background which have monopolized my energies, which is one of the reasons my posts here have been non-existent of late. There’s only so much time in a day, and since I’ve learned there’s just no point in stressing over the dynamics of life beyond our control, I simply go with what is.
On another note … our 13-year-old rough collie, Sass, is fading and this brings much sadness. It’s as if a whole chapter of our lives will soon come to a close. We expect her departure during the summer. The heat is just too menacing and her steps falter by the day. Lately she has won the heart of a three-year-old girl, Gabby, who lives a few doors down. Together, with her grandmother, we go for short walks and Gabby gives Sass lots of hugs and merrily holds the leash as we walk. Sass enjoys this attention as her new friend walks only as fast as she does, which is slow. I’m so happy our old girl has felt the unfettered joy of the love of a child before she leaves us.
I mention this simply to re-iterate the obvious ~ nurture what you love …
It’s been a while since my last post. There’s a lot going on around here right now.
First and foremost there’s good news …
Bear’s injury has been given the all clear.
In his most recent ultrasound taken just about 10 days ago, the vet gave the injured bilateral suspensory ligament in his right hind leg a clean bill of health. The swelling is reduced to almost nothing (the vet said there’ll always be a bit of inflammation due to the nature of the injury), and the lesions in the ligament tissue have practically disappeared.
Needless to say I’m thrilled. Between the services of a good vet, an attentive barn manager, my rudimentary nursing skills and Bear’s good behaviour he is made well again. Now our focus, with Wendy’s help, turns to getting him used to going outside again. Starting with short excursions in a modified round pen made small enough for him to get a turn outside without, hopefully, getting into too much trouble. The last thing we want is for him to re-injure himself.
Over time we’ll increase his turnout and when he’s a little fitter I’ll start riding him again.
Not that he’ll be doing anything too strenuous. With his dropped hind suspensories he’s destined for a life as special companion, happy hack horse and equine therapist. At this rate our first outing, with clearance from the vet ~ a prescribed 10 minutes of walk ~ will be in about two weeks. But first, I want to give him a bath. Now that the warmer weather is upon us I feel a keen desire to wash the winter stink out of Bear’s coat. The usually divine Eau d’Equine is particularly pungent right now after a long winter cooped up inside. Time for a new spring fragrance courtesy of a rose-scented equine shampoo. He may not know the difference, but I sure will.
With Bear’s 120-day treatment all but complete I filed the insurance claim earlier this week. It looks like most of the major vet care expenses (approx. $2,500) will be covered. The insurance premium won’t go up, but the right hind leg will no longer be covered. Another good reason for Bear not to re-injure it.
As we go forward there are some maintenance issues to keep in mind. From now on Bear’s hind legs will always be wrapped to give the suspensory ligaments the extra support they need to maintain stability. As well, he’ll be on additional supplements to help maintain healthy joints and sinews, and his monthly massage treatments will be ongoing.
While on theme of how spoiled he is, Bear was recently introduced to the banana. Honestly, with all the eye bulging, nostril flaring, tooth grinning going on while indulging in this new pleasure you’d think he’d died and gone to heaven. I believe it can safely be said Bear’s bananas for bananas. His daily ration is one-third of a banana, but I’m sure if you asked him he’d tell you it’s not enough. Such a character.
Speaking of characters, I’m still shopping for the next member of my herd.
It is a slow process. While there are lots of horses out there looking for forever homes, I am only in a position, at this point, to take on something very specific to my dressage dreams. Thus, I have found it fairly easy not to get emotionally involved in the process. So far I’ve looked at two nice warmbloods, but neither has, for one reason or another, worked out. There are other horses on the horizon, so we’ll just see what happens. It will likely be the summer before I find what I’m looking for, and while I certainly miss my time in the saddle I feel that this riding break puts me in a good position to develop new habits once I start up again, having not been able to practice the old ones for a while.
It’s like starting over. What a wonderful gift to have another chance to succeed at something I love.
There’s that silver lining again. 😉
Nurture what you love,
©Dorothy Chiotti … Aimwell CreativeWorks 2015