Saturday, December 30, 2017

You Seem Like You Would Be a Good Father For Daughters

That is something that Rebecca told me many years ago. She had not been married too long and it was way before she had any children of her own. It stuck in my mind because that is something that I worked hard at being. The successes that my three daughters have achieved are things that please me much more than anything that I have accomplished.

Though I cannot claim as much of the credit for the achievements of the girls and young women that have been in our program over the years, I am very proud of those achievements.

I refuse to make a list of those achievements because I can be assured of failing to list some of them. I wrote "And a Little Child Shall Lead Them: Learning from Wild Horses and Little Children" at break neck speed. I wanted to have it completed before Momma died so she could read it. It is loosely structured around various problems that kids overcame with horses. It was only after the book was printed that I realized that I had written an entire book and failed to even mention Rebecca or Lydia. To this day I have not read the full book again. Every time I even see the cover my only thought is the fact that it has such a glaring hole in it.

So I am not giving a complete list in this post! Just a few samples. When a violent wild Corolla stallion kept charging the team that was trying to provide veterinary help to a mare and foal I was told that it took "thirteen grown men to keep the stallion back." I really was not trying to be rude or flippant, but the words just shot out of my mouth, "You could use thirteen men or Ashley Neighbors." Ashley was about fourteen and that was the first thing that came to me as I visualized the scene--Yes she could have dealt with the stallion by herself while I checked on the others.

I will not forget a veterinarian telling me that my riders were not "like" other riding students they encountered--my riders were "all grown up even if they are ten years old." Nor will I forget the call from a vet's office advising that they were going to advertise for a vet tech position but first they wanted to see if any of my girls wanted the job before they advertised it to the public. Nor will I forget Jordan at about age nine telling her mother that she was going to bring her helmet out to a clinic on wild horse taming that I was doing,just in case I "needed some help if the horse got rough." Will likely always remember the look of shock on the face of an adult rider who asked me during a difficult and complicated movement of stallions and various bands to different pastures why we were moving the horses. I told him that I did not really know--Lydia thought it was something that we needed to do and I did not ask her why.

Or the young teen who, scoffing at the idea of me ever going into a nursing home said, "You won't do that. When you get old you can come live with me and whoever I grow up to marry."

And this morning I woke up to find this picture on my computer. Abigail and Tam--both around sixteen years old refreshing the training of a beautiful Colonial Spanish mustang stallion who had had very limited training in his life. And they did it completely controlling their emotions. And they did it completely controlling his emotions. And they did it correctly. And they did it so that the horse was relaxed. And they did it much better than I would have at their age.

And they made me very proud and truly happy.

And then I checked my e mail. The person who is doing research on historically appropriate tree species to plant around the settler's farm sent me a copy of her email to, and response from, the senior state forester in our region. She is going to develop a plan to determine what we should grow, how and when to plant, where to purchase the tree stock and any other points on soil requirements for the planting of the trees.

Audrey is eleven years old.

I have a tremendous amount of things that I should be doing right now. I had to set those things aside for a while. Couldn't really get much work done until I told you how proud I am of these girls.

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