Thursday, October 17, 2013

Do You Have an Old Friend?

Do you have old friend?  Not friends that are old, but friends that you have known since childhood.  Some of those friends are ones that you may not see for a while, sometimes a good while, even years.  But when you get together it's as if you've never been apart, you just take up right where you left off.  Catching up only takes a few minutes and then your just right back where you were the last time you saw each other and in those early years of friendships.  Those are lifetime friends, friends that you developed a relationship with through the thick and thin of life and they will always be your friend no matter what. They are friends you've shared you most intimate secrets with and your biggest joys with. They are a permanent part of your heart.  It's just gotta be a God thing.  My friend Judy is like that.

In my deep sadness, I could not figure out why I was so deeply affected by the situation with Gus.  I have not actually OWNED him in 9 years.  Gus had  belonged to someone else.  While I have seen him through these years, I have not ridden him or been around him for any length of time.   I've had numerous horses since Gus and two now.  But Tuesday it was if I was losing my only horse, my best friend, my comrade, and a piece of my heart.

Today it hit me.  I realized it was because he was like one of those old friends that you take up the relationship right where you left off.  Tuesday, as I leaned over him, kissing him and telling him goodbye, he was that old friend, the one you hope you'll never lose.  All of our time together just came racing back into my heart and mind as if it were yesterday.  In a flash, I remembered so many good times with him and some difficult times too.  Our relationship was not void of some trials and hardships too, but we made it through together, he and I.  This realization has mades sense of it all now and it has blessed me to see this so clearly.

Today I am so grateful for those treasured memories and treasured friendships.  God is so faithful to give us treasures in our hearts, the kind we will take with us till the end.

One of the best things about Tuesday was that his current family was with me or should I say, I was with them.  There was this bond between us that neither of us had ever known, but it was as if our love for Gus individually had bonded the two of us together as well.  There's  no other way to describe it.  There's just this spiritual thing between horses and the women who love them that only those women know and feel.  It would have been too hard to do it alone, but we were there for each other and for that I am eternally grateful.  There were angels among us.

I found this reading and scripture this morning in my Jesus Calling devotional that sort of said it all.  I sent this to Gus' mom.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.

This scripture is as if Jesus said to us.....
"When you need comfort, I love to enfold you in My arms.  I enable you not only to feel comforted but also to be a channel through whom I comfort others.  Thus you are doubly blessed, because a living channel absorbs some of what is flowing through it.  No matter what losses you experience in your life, no one can take away my constant companionship with you."

God, I thank you for your loving arms that hold and comfort me all day long, in good times and in bad.  You are my Savior and I praise your name.

You know me.  There will be many more trails and tales of horses in my life.  There will be a zillion memories to share and hold dear to my heart.  There will be more horse love than I know what to do with!
So here's to happy thoughts and happy trials and swishing tails and hoof prints in the sand!
Matthew 6

19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Encourage One Another, continuing the journey on fresh paths.
Blessings and love to you, xoxo.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Happy Trails My Sweet Boy

March 28, 1992 -- October 15, 2013

As the trumpet sounded, the heavens parted, making a way for him, a beautiful horse, a kind soul,  a kindred spirit.

The day I brought him home.

 Happy trails to you, until we meet again.
Happy trails to you, keep smilin' until then.
Who cares about the clouds when we're together?
Just sing a song and bring the sunny weather.
Happy trails to you, 'till we meet again.
Thank you for every mile we traveled and every trial we conquered.  Thank you for blessing my life.
You are a great champion.  When you ran, the ground shook, the sky opened and mere mortals parted.  Parted the way to victory, where you'll meet me in the winner's circle, where I'll put a blanket of flowers on your back.

Good by my sweet friend.  I'll see you in heaven as the trumpet sounds.

Do you give the horse his strength or clothe his neck with a flowing mane?
Do you make him leap like a locust, striking terror with his proud snorting?
He paws fiercely, rejoicing in his strength, and charges into the fray.
He laughs at fear, afraid of nothing; he does not shy away from the sword.
The quiver rattles against his side, along with the flashing spear and lance.
In frenzied excitement he eats up the ground; he cannot stand still when the trumpet sounds.
Job 39:19-24 (NIV)

** In honor of the Anna, Denise, and Jimmy who gave him many wonderful years of a great life and loved him as much as I did!**

Monday, October 14, 2013

Gus...the Rest of the Story

It is with great sadness and concern that I tell you the latest of Gus' story.

I actually initially wrote the previous blog and story about Gus ... ...
back in September of 2012.  I was asked not to publish it until the author's book had been written. It has now been written and it will be published and out on Amazon in April 2014.  So I held off on blogging my story until last week in regard to that.

However, last week, something happened that made it important to tell you our story now.
I got a text from Gus' current owner that he was ill and most likely has EPM.  My heart sank.
Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis is also known at EPM.  The feces of opossums may contain sporocysts-cysts that contain spores that can reproduce asexually.  Horses can ingest these sporocysts with feed, grass or water contaminated with opossum feces.  The protozoa can leave lesions on the spinal cord and brain stem.  This is likely what has happened to Gus.  It is this neurological damage that can cause the various symptoms of EPM.  Some of the symptoms may include loss of coordination, muscle atrophy, difficulty swallowing, sore back, stumbling, roaring, weakness, dropping eyelid and head tilt.  It is a horrible de-habilitating illness. Treatment can be lengthy, expensive and often unsuccessful.  If treated early, it can be treated, but often those affected will not always recover fully.  They will need a long treatment period first and then a long rehabilitation period if they are treated successfully.  They need lots of physical therapy to recover their muscle mass and strength.  Often these horses are just put down.

My sweet boy Gus is 22 years old.  When I saw him back in the spring, and took photographs with him for the book, he looked well and healthy.  Last week when I saw him he was thin, his muscles had atrophied, his back was swayed and he was sweating, staggering and unstable on his hind end.   His mane was not flowing.  His eyes were no longer bright.
While he loved the snacks I brought him, and ate them eagerly, he did not seem to know me.  He had no other interest in me.  He turned away, again and again.  I kissed him anyway.  I pulled him to me and hugged him.  I cried.  And cried.  My heart cried too.  To see him this way made me so sad, and I felt so helpless.  I choose to believe that his attitude toward me was part of his illness.  I choose not to believe that he no longer knows me or loves me.  I choose to believe that our hearts are still connected, our lives are still attached.  We were bound by love many years ago, the first day I brought him home with me and all the days I took care of him and nursed him back to health from a chronic foot injury years ago, and on that day in 1998 when our hearts were bound together forever.
His owner told me they were going to try some medication on him and see how he did after a week.  Truthfully I cannot imagine much progress in a week.  It will take much longer than that to see progress I believe, if there is any.  He needs a miracle.  I don't know what they will decide in a week or anytime after that.  I offered to do anything I could for his owner or for him.  I did tell her however, that if they decided to do "anything" that I wanted to be there with him.  I do not want him to suffer or be in pain.  He's lived a good life.  He's been loved by all who have owned him.  He is still loved.

For him I pray for comfort and for healing.  For his owners I pray for comfort and for wisdom through doctors who best know about these things.  I pray they will make the right decisions.  And I will be there no matter what.
Sweet boy know I love you!  This is not the end of our trail.

Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friend.  John 15:13

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.  Hebrews 11

He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”   Matthew 17:20

Encourage One Another, continuing the journey on fresh paths.
Blessings and love to you, xoxo.

Great Horse Stories: Wisdom and Humor from Our Majestic Friends  by Rebecca Ondov  (April 1, 2014)

Saturday, October 12, 2013

It's Just Time to Tell You About Gus

My blog/inspiring story.......

The "Hoose"
For the longest time, when you showed a photo of a horse to my grandson and asked him what it was, he would reply with it's sound...a "neigh".  He did not give the word for it.  After that he began calling it by it's name....a "hoose", (like loose, only with an "H").  That worked for me!  When referring to my horse who he met early on, whose name is "Mosey", he called him "Moomies" with along O.  Since then his pronunciation is pretty accurate.  He in fact has become somewhat of a cowboy...on occasion.

However, this is a story about another gray horse of mine that I owned some years ago, Gus.  An author friend of mind suggested that I write a memorable horse story, one that I had a special connection to.  She was planning to write a book which included stories about women and their horses.  While I have many, this is the one that came to mind.

The county in south central Texas where I have spent most of my life is prone to flooding.  There are two major rivers that converge, just above the actual town of Gonzales, the Guadalupe and the Comal.  At that point, in a little town called Ottine, it just becomes the Guadalupe River.  The Guadalupe runs just to the west of downtown Gonzales and through our big park just to the south of the city.

In 1998, the Guadalupe River flooded.  It was called the 100 year flood.  It started raining on Thursday, October 17 and rained through the Sunday the 19th.  It rained for four days straight, hard!  Approximately 22" of rain fell around and north of Gonzales in Austin, San Antonio, and the Hill Country.  This rain created flooding of all the rivers, streams and creeks throughout all south central Texas.  Some counties had warnings that the flooding was coming.  Some did not or it arrived before prediction.  Some 31 lives and countless wild animals and livestock were lost.  Roads were blocked with roadblocks and water for days.  It was truly frightening.  You could not drive down to our park much less drive through it.  You could, unfortunately from the road in town above it, view the rapid rushing river water that was way out of it's banks.  It flowed across the highway, the baseball fields, the play ground, and the golf course.  The highway was not visible.  You could see cows floating down the river, their heads barely bobbing above the water.  Or you could see them stuck on some small island where you could hear them calling out, frantic.  You knew they would eventually be swept away, and they were.  It was such a hopeless sight.

I was stuck in town as all the roads out of town in every direction were blocked.  My horses were at our ranch in the country, some 17 miles out of town.  I could not get to the ranch to see if they were ok. 

I prayed many prayers that week that my family, my friends, and my animals would all be protected.  For many animals, that flood water just swept everything away.  There just was no escape for them, even if they got to higher ground.  That water took everything in it's path.

There is a huge creek in the pasture where the horses were kept. When it rains a great deal, the creek gets way out of it's banks in that pasture.  It is not surpassable during those times by anything or anybody.  I only hoped my horses were on the "barn side" of that creek where they would be on high ground.  Every day I prayed.  I knew God knew how much I loved my horses.  I believed he would keep them safe...but I kept praying.
Finally, on Tuesday, one of the roads, the "long" way around, could get us to the ranch.  Driving there we could see land that was just ravaged by the flood water...truly devastating.  My heart raced the closer we got to the ranch.  Much of the water had run off by this time but so many of the roads and pavement were damaged and "gone" that traveling was still dangerous.

We arrived at the ranch and I immediately went to the barn to count and check on the horses.  Five where there.  One was missing.  One of mine!  Prayers commenced along with hollering as loud as I could "Gus.....Gus".  It brings tears to my eyes at this very moment remembering how afraid I was, how fearful I was that I had lost him.  This gray horse had had a long history of an injury that I had nursed him through time and time again.  That had made us especially close.  Plus, he was just one of those horses that just loved people and loved me, gentle and kind eyed.  The creek in the horse trap was still full, all the way to the top of it's banks.  It was very deep, probably 10' - 12' in places.  The rushing water made it almost impossible to hear anything I was sure except that surging water.  "God", I prayed, "if he is in there, please let him hear me, please let me just see him to know that he is alive...please God".  I walked as far as I could on the barn side of the creek, literally screaming his name.

All of the sudden I heard some crashing of brush and trees.  Then I saw him.   "Thank you God" as tears of joy filled my eyes.  I gently said his name, "Gus", and told him he would be ok.  He kept coming closer and I could see that he was ok and did not appear injured.  "Thank you God".  I could also tell he was anxious and that I was the only friend he had seen in days as he had been separated from his buddies.  They had been on the safe side of the water and he was on the other side, alone.  He ran all the way up to the bank on the other side of the creek.  The water was running swiftly in front of and between us.  I could see sticks and stumps and who knew what all rushing swiftly down the creek.  If you've never seen rushing, flooding water, it is powerful and frightening.  Gus stopped for just a second on the other side of the creek. He nickered loud and then he just KEPT coming.  My mouth was open as I watched him.  He jumped off into that violent running water and swam to me, literally swam in that rushing water. The creek at that point was about 12-15' wide and about 10' deep.  All I could see was his head.  He some how, miraculously and by the power of God was not swept down the creek but popped up on the other side with me, shook the water off, stopped and lowered his head, exhausted and weary.  Tears of sheer joy streamed down my face as I hugged him and petted him and calmed him and thanked God with all my heart.  He followed me back to the barn to be reunited with his buddies.  They too rejoiced to see him.  I believe I had witnessed a miracle.  Yes, he probably would have been fine until the waters receded and the creek went down and he could have crossed the creek walking instead of swimming.  But it would have been days.  I also witnessed the love between a woman and her horse, between a woman and her friend.  It was a blessing and a moment I will never forget.  

God taught me that prayer works and miracles happen.  He taught me that I was valuable enough to him to work a miracle in my life, with something that was so important to me. God knew that riding my horses was a great relief to me after working 40 hours a week in Child Protective Services.  It was my way to gain my perspective back that to know that not all of life is tragic.  It allowed me to rest my mind in the quietness of the country and refill my mind with beauty.  God showed me that if I trusted him, he would bless me.

A miraculous day in October 1998, gave me many more great rides through the pasture and the woods on that ranch in Gonzales county.  There were many great trail rides with beautiful weather and views of incredible wildlife.  There were days of fun working cattle on Gus that always brought joy to my life.  
                                                         Gus and I
Gus lives today, retired in green pastures, getting fat and loving life!  And so do I.  

"Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friend." John 15:13
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.  Hebrews 11
He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”   Matthew 17:20

****Flood stage for the Guadalupe River in Gonzales is 31 feet.  The river crested at over 51 feet.

Encourage One Another, continuing the journey on fresh paths.
Blessings and love to you, xoxo.