Posts Tagged With: working hard

Yes and No

When you run a Sanctuary for horses, every day is unique… sometimes every hour! When you live in harmony with Nature (especially in the high desert), you have to cultivate an attitude of flexibility when it comes to weather, finances, social interactions, relationships and goal setting.

My beautiful picture

We are up with sun, we are online into the night, we are juggling bits of money to be spread across payments that grow exponentially. We see the shining stars every night with barn checks and we fall into bed having missed a bath or a shower 4 days in a row…

Then we wake to gentle rain and the scent of suppressed dust in the paddocks, soft nickers wanting breakfast and a stillness on the stable yard that gifts us a day of introspection and rest.

My beautiful picture

New volunteers often say they don’t know how we do it, day in, day out… old students remark about the changes in the past couple of years that leave us all spellbound. Visitors ask if this was what I had always wanted to do…

Yes… and no.

I had wanted to live in Australia when I was young. I had wanted to raise half Thoroughbred show ponies when I was a teenager. I had wanted to operate a school of gentle, classical horsemanship paired with dance when I was in my twenties. In my thirties, I wanted to write novels. All my life I wanted to grow my own medicines for my family… all my life I wanted to be cherished, just as all beings do.

This Sanctuary, here in the New Mexico high desert, in the middle of a winter rain, warm and drenching; this is a huge YES. The “no” part is that I did not realize in my youth how important this life would be.

A mentor of mine when I was young, Mr. Charles deKunffy, wrote a note to me decades ago. It said, “Kathy, out of great dedication grow fine things. YOU will contribute to the equestrian arts”. No kidding!! THAT motivated me to push on when I was exhausted or discouraged. THAT made me push on when my hand(s) couldn’t even lift a coffee cup. THAT made me push past the mental whiplash inflicted by an alcoholic father and the degradation of molestation. A simple declaration of one’s worth by an admired teacher can be the difference between life and not living.


So, I contribute; in ways I hadn’t realized would be my destiny. I have my connection to Australia that I now realize was a deep song in my heart. I have taught thousands of students, owned hundreds of horses, schooled hundreds more and stood by another hundred as they passed over… knowing that someone loved them, even though it was only me. I have healed and nourished and held more horses than I can count. Charles was correct… I was and am dedicated. I care.

And the horses here, a jumbled up group of almost every breed and age and background that one can imagine, these horses are the story to be told. Their stories. Colliding with humans, dancing with humans, fearing and respecting and loving humans they know us on levels we don’t know ourselves. I hope they know that I love them. Totally.

Am I pleased with direction this life of mine has taken? Yes. Just yes.



Categories: healing, Horse Training, Relax, Saving Horses | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Trail Riding

One of our most edifying things is taking a girl on her first trail ride!! After many lessons at the stable, in the little arena; then to the large arena – to head out into the high desert beneath the beautiful Organ mountains is a unique accomplishment!

The horses love it, too!

Malie First Trail Ride 1

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Days end

Such a long day for us today. Starting with a very good lesson on balance and posting the trot with a student on sassy Hank, it ends now, 12 hours later with feeding the herd in the soft evening light. I feel the Autumn. The day itself was spent enlarging the small arena here. It started as a round pen, jumbled together with what materials I could afford at the time.


The round pen started out where my Mother’s mobile home now sits. It was relatively portable, so we moved it. The new location was smaller, so the pen became so, as well. After a year and a half, it felt like it was closing in on us! We have a big turnout / arena area, but often need two places to work at the same time.

So today, after having started the new enlargement of the little arena last week; my working student and her Mom and Dad arrived early and stayed late as we all put up fence. I devoured homemade, fresh, soft pretzel rolls brought by said Mom and kept an eye on my Mom who needs attention and help throughout the day and night.

Last night, I had run down to Lowes to get landscape timbers for posts and 2X3 inch planks for the fence rails. Having worked constantly through the day since 6:30 AM, I treated myself to coffee and an omelette at IHOP. It was already dark outside, so I relaxed at my brightly lit, tiny booth and watched the servers go back and forth… their feet work hard, too. The coffee carafes were copper colored and reflected the lights from above in curving lines that sparkled. I tried to eat slowly mindfully, then drove down the rest of the hill for lumber.

Night time can be strange. The store felt huge and hollow, the Ladies’ room was downright eery as I fished for my little flashlight (just in case the lights would go out) for a sense of safety. I needed two big lumber carts, had to go from one end to the totally opposite end of the store to gather materials, constantly adding up the prices in my head. I did well. I spent only what I had allowed myself and it turned out today, I had exactly enough with 4 poles left over to make cavaletti!


Things here are not posh. We don’t really do posh. I’m lucky to keep my office and the adjoining bathroom clean for clients and friends to use. I’m not bad, just not particularly scrubbed most of the time! With the herd of 6 horses, now 3 dogs and my Mom to care for, I live a sometimes cluttered life. But no one suffers. That is a fact.

And now, we have a bigger small arena. I’m smiling a lot tonight. After the weekend lessons, I’ll be able to pay the hoof trimmer and buy white paint from Tractor Supply to paint the new arena fence.

Look for happiness at the end of each day. Expect joy at the beginning of each day. Touch every life you can with love. That is the way of the stablewomen.




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