Monday, May 9, 2011

It's Complicated...or Is it??

I am the oldest daughter of three. I have one sister that is 15 months younger and one that is 6 years younger. I am close with both sisters but in very different ways. My two sisters haven't spoken with each other in 3 years. I am not sure why, and frankly I don't want to get involved because I don't want to be coerced into taking sides or being the peacemaker. I find it very sad.

My father's health has been in decline since last year. At 79 years of age, his 6'1" frame is no longer robust. He has had a few emergency trips to the hospital over the last month. As his "#1", I am primary contact when it comes to doctors, nurses, etc. I kept my sisters informed of what's going at the hospital via email, so they both have exactly the same information. He's home now, but doctor appointments are now going to be part of the norm. I have asked for my sisters' assistance when needed and have received it. However, they will not coordinate with each other....only through me via email. Why does it have to be so complicated? Sigh.

Needless to say, I have been a bit stressed lately. Recently, I have had to cancel outings with friends and beg off of work fun functions due to my current situation and the running back and forth that is involved. One thing I have not canceled, though, is my riding.

I can't honestly tell you how my lesson was last week. It's a bit of a blur. I guess my brain was full. :-) I remember that I couldn't wait to get to Gem. I remember that I listened to Santana, Michael Jackson and Sarah McLachlan on my IPod Shuffle as I groomed Gem. I remember that he walked nicely to the arena and I was able to mount him without a problem. I remember that I loped a small circle. I remember I felt better as I left the stables.

I was unable to see Gem on Friday. I had my usual date with CA to ride Sunday morning. I was tired and once again my brain was full of family drama. But as I got closer to the stables, I started to feel better. Gem and I greeted each other in our usual way. I took my time grooming him. Once we were in the arena, I could tell he was feeling frisky. But, I wasn't. He accommodated me. :-) Most of our session was done at a jog, but we also did some tracking work at a walk...apparently Gem needs some work in this area...he's a lazy walker. I cleared my mind and relaxed. I could feel the tension leaving my neck. His jog has improved SO much. Towards the end of our session, I loped him a bit. He loved the opportunity to burn off some energy. My confidence is improving each time we lope. It may not have been a fantastic session physically, but it was mentally. Our time together was so uncomplicated.

I hung around the stables most of the afternoon. I watched some of the riders participating in a games clinic. I swept the barn. I filled water buckets. I took Gem out of his stall and walked him to a little grassy patch so he could have a nibble. We stood in the sun, listening to the birds. I got home around 4:00 p.m., dirty and tired. However, my mind was clear and quiet. I slept well last night.

So, if you know someone who is considering seeing a therapist or feels that a good massage is not doing the trick in alleviating tension and stress, tell them to save their money and send them to your stables. Have them groom, walk, bathe, even smell a horse. Have them walk in mud and step in manure. Have them watch horses at play or simply grazing. Have them wrap their arms around a horse's neck and look into those liquid eyes. Spending time around horses has got to be the best therapy....EVER.

What was I thinking.....?


  1. I'm so sorry for you that your father's health is declining and your sister's are doing whatever it is that they're doing. But on the other hand I'm so, so glad that Gem can be there for you and help you through this trying time.

    Horses are the best therapy!

  2. Sorry to hear about all the difficult family stuff, that is never a good thing, I can totally relate to those stresses. I can also relate to that feeling that the outside world stress is melting away as you drive to the barn... it sort of feels like you are taking off a suit made of lead, doesn't it? Still exhausted from wearing it all day, but relieved not to have it weighing you down for a few hours, right? So glad you have Gem. And glad to hear that your riding and confidence continues to improve!

  3. I can sooo identify with you Wolfie. I'm sorry you have to bear the brunt of the stress of your father's illness, that must be very hard. Its a shame your sisters won't communicate and share the burden with you. I hope your father's health improves. I get that same feeling when at the farm of being able to empty my mind of the everyday problems. They're still there for me to pick up again afterwards but its great to have that freedom to forget for a while.

    By the way, I like that you listened to Santana. Good old Carlos and his guitar :D:D

  4. Shannon - I have come to realize that horses really are the best therapy! I am so thankful that I have Gem.

    Marissa - A suit made of lead is a perfect description. That's exactly how it feels.

    Jooles - Nice to hear from you! My sisters are helpful, don't get me wrong. But the fact that they don't talk to each other just adds another layer of communication and avoidance planning. BTW, Santana's "Brothers" CD is one of my favourites. :-)

  5. Oh I know exactly how you feel, nothing can make you feel better than a couple of hours spent in a barn. Best wishes to your father, and fingers crossed that your sisters can leave there differences in support of your father.

  6. It's a hard situation to be put in the middle. I'm sorry to hear about your father and hope he feels better soon. I also hope your sisters come to realize that they are putting a burden on you whether they think so or not, even though they are helping.

    Horses are the best therapy and never fail to make us feel better by just being around them. Glad you have Gem to help you through this trying time. (love Santana and all his music too)

  7. Oh, not good at all. I'm so sorry. I'm glad you realize horses are therapeutic for you and have made them a priority. That's very wise. Hang in there!

  8. Morning!

    JPS - The barn is a magical place. Thanks for your best wishes!

    GHM - It is a hard situation, one that I am hopeful will eventually correct itself given the situation. I saw Santana last year - fabulous!

    Linda - Gem really is a priority. I'm hanging in!

  9. I'm really sorry about your father. And your sisters. There's so much drama on my dad's side, understand how difficult it is to get things done and organized when people refuse to speak to each other.

    Horses saved me through the typical angst years of juniour high and high school. There is no better therapy then going to the barn giving my guys a hug or grooming them. I don't know what I would do without them.

  10. I can identify with so much of what you have said. My dad is 89. I live closest to him, so I am his transportation. I communicate with my older brother and sister via email so they both get the same, exact message.
    I make a greeting card that says, "The outside of a horse is good for the inside of a woman" That is so true!
    Enjoy your barn time!

  11. {BIG HUGS} I'm so sorry to hear about your dad. And I can relate to all that unnecessary stress. I'm the youngest of 4 girls & ended up being a sort of 'first contact-decision maker' for my mum even though I live in the UK & my 2 older sisters were in Malaysia with her -- !! And now my mum's gone, I have no contact with my 2nd sister at all -- her decision. Family -- go figure!!!

    I'm so glad Gem is there for you & he must sense your needs the way he reined in his friskiness for you.

    Remember to take care of yourself too with all that's going on. xx

  12. Good afternoon!

    Cjay - Sorry to hear about your dad's side of the family. Thank goodness you had horses.

    Dreaming - It sounds like we are in the same situation. "The outside of a horse is good for the inside of a woman" - I love that!

    Joy - Really sorry to hear about your sister. Sad. BTW, I worked for the Information Attache of the Malaysian High Commission here in Canada many years ago. Beautiful country!