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Putting My Dreams on Pause

19 September 2010

“We need to find a home for the horses, Melissa.”

Jeffrey looked at me, knowing that his words would more than likely set of an explosion from my general direction.  Desperately wanting things to be different, I ran out of the house for a long walk around the property.  A light sprinkling of rain was falling as I sobbed my way around the lake.  I made it to the other side of the lake where I sat down on the bench that sits on the vista point that we cut out  for our 2nd wedding anniversary.  My body felt like it was contracting; my eyes burned; the knot in my throat felt like it was cutting off my air supply. I wanted to wail – not just cry – wail.

I knew he was right.  It’s best for everyone: for the horses, for our family, for Ellie Graye.  I’m just not quite ready to surrender my dreams and my aspirations, let alone send one of my best friends off to a total stranger. But the reality is, it’s not the right time.  I have fought for the last two years – tooth and nail.  I’ve overcome some incredible challenges, learned some amazing lessons, AND I’ve taken a rearing, striking, out-of-control horse and turned him back into a calm, tender, loving being.  The knowledge I’ve gained has been invaluable; the self-confidence I’ve gained remarkable; and the bond that has grown between my animals and I is unbreakable.  I am, however, exhausted – both emotionally and physically.

I’ve known this day was coming.  I just fought and fought and held it off as long as I could.  But it’s time.   I resolved myself to finding a home for both of them, sending an email to Gabby and a few others asking if they knew of anyone who’d take them.  Gabby emailed back, “NO!!!!!!!!!! You can’t possibly!!!!”  And then in her usual manner got her brain working on a solution.

By the time I received an email from her the next day, I was prepared for what needed to be done.  And while I wasn’t “ok” with it, I had at least reasoned my way through it and knew it was the best thing.

“What about sending Frank to my mom?” Gabby asked, “then we can find a place to board Avdoo and between the two of us we can figure out getting him worked.”

It was the first glimmer of hope.  I knew we had some wiggle room in the budget that could cover board and maybe even half-training for one horse – I approached Jeffrey to get his reaction.

I started with my usual, “So, um, yeah, um, can we talk about…………..oh, nevermind. I don’t want to bug you while you’re working. Nevermind it’s not important.”

“I HATE it when you do that, Melissa,” he spat out (I totally don’t blame him, if he did it to me, I’d probably pop him).

As the words tumbled out of my mouth, his scowl disappeared and his face softened giving me more confidence to say what I thought would work for me and my boys.

“I think that sounds GREAT! Get me dollar numbers. I’d be totally happy with that!”

Holy crap. This really might work.

Gabby’s mom came out today and spent some time with Dr. Frank.  She rode him for a short little while and, as you would know, she fell in love with him.  It’s kinda hard not to fall in love with the guy when he’s nuzzling you and minding his manners and being his usual gorgeous self.

Gabby also arranged with a trainer she takes lessons from to have Avdoo move in when Frank moves to her mom’s (initially on “trial”).  So by this time next week, both my boys will be living in new homes, and I’ll be opening a new chapter in my life.

I’m not sure how I feel about all this…it’s all a bit overwhelming.  My hopes of being a competitive rider are still there, but realistically when I chose to be a mother, I chose to sacrifice my own desires to be the best mother I possibly can be for Ellie Graye.  For me, that’s the biggest reason I’ve chosen to give up my sport.  With Jeffrey and I seriously buckling down on our spending, we just can’t justify spending this kind of money on something that I simply don’t have time to use.  Before EG came an I was at the barn 10 hours every day, it made sense to have more than one horse, but now, it really is stressful.

The emotional aspect of this for me is the thought of losing my dear Frank.  I love that horse so deeply.  He’s been my buddy for years now, and I’ve fought for him when other people had given up on him.  I’ll miss his silly antics, and his tenderness with me.  I’ll miss his little hoof lifting up in expectation.  I’ll miss the sound of his teeth tapping on his feed  bin.  I’ll miss his intuition and sensitivity to my mood and energy.  And I’ll miss his dedication to ME…I mean, for goodness sake, he saved me when Avdoo fell on me.  We have such a special connection.

The good news in all of this is that he’s going to someone who knows that.  Gabby knows Frank. She loves Frank, and Gabby’s mom will have her as a resource.  I’ll be able to go ride him if I want. I’ll be able to go visit. I might even be able to borrow him for trail rides and who knows, maybe when EG is old enough I can bring him back…at that point, he’ll have “been there and done that.” So it’s not all bad.

Avdoo will be moving forward.  He’s getting a late start (he’s 7), but I’m excited to see what will happen if he’s being ridden consistently and is in training.  I’ll be able to ride in a real arena and maybe I can even start improving myself!  So that’s the good part.

Change is hard. In someways I feel like I’ve failed my boys, but ultimately, my family is the most important to me.  Frank and Avdoo will be well taken care of, and I WILL get through this.  Sometimes our dreams have to be put on hold……but I’m NOT going to ever give up.  If I came through my childhood experience with horses as strong as I did, I think I’ll be just fine through this one!

Frank. Eyes like no other

Avdoo. The King.

My boy. He'll always be my boy.

I can't believe he won't be RIGHT there and he won't be mine.

In other news, my mother-in-law has moved out of ICU and into IMCU.  While she’s not out of the woods yet, it was encouraging to see her looking a little bit better today.  I’m so glad that she’s here in Oregon instead of in Southern California.  For me to be able to touch her hand and be close to her has made things a little more bearable.  I love her so much, and while I’m not sure it makes a difference for her, it makes a difference for me to be able to see her and look her in the eyes.  She still needs lots of prayers and love sent her way.  Her husband Michael has been staying with us, but he has been such a devoted husband, he leaves before we wake up and comes home after we go to bed.  I’ve been incredibly impressed by his loyalty, love, and dedication to Phyllis.  Please keep sending us good energy, as it’s definitely not easy sailing in these here parts.  Thank goodness for my trip to Nashville – it was perfect timing (Phyllis wouldn’t have been here otherwise, and I needed to get refreshed before this round of difficulties)!

I’m still going to take my own advice and do whatever I CAN with whatever I HAVE….and I have a wonderful family, extended family and loads of opportunity ahead!



Kiwi berries from the barn - eat them like grapes!

Infusing vodka with the Kiwi Berries

Remember how my rhubarb came up late? This is all the rhubarb vodka I'll have 🙁


Jax hunting in the corn

THE flag


2 Comments to “Putting My Dreams on Pause”

  1. Dearest Melissa…what a heartfelt blog. I really felt this…not sure what else to say but that life is an amazing journey. Thank you for sharing yours. We are all on a path of making hard choices and still having to, as you wrote…keep our chin up! Much love to you and your horses and mother in law (I know more than I wish to what it’s like to have beloved ones in hospital). You are an awesome mom and EG is going to one day read this know her mom in a more special way. xoc

  2. oh, I am in tears for you (seriously, I must have PMS!). I’m so glad you will at least still get to see Frank. Stay strong!

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