This Blog is dedicated to the Noble and Great horses in our lives and throughout history. Visit the land of the unicorns in Behind The Mist, the horse lover's fantasy for pre-teens to adults.


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Friday, March 30, 2018

HORSES ARE HEALERS

HORSES ARE HEALERS-THAT'S NOT FICTION OR FANTASY!

 I was born with manure in my blood! What I mean is that once I took my first breath outside the womb, I needed a horse to survive! Some of you can probably relate to driving your parents crazy until they either let you take riding lessons or...better yet...got you a horse once they were convinced you wouldn't kill yourself. I bought my own horse when I was thirteen and taking care of him certainly kept me out of trouble as a teenager. Decades later, and now a grandmother, I am still a horse-lover and owner.

A few years ago, I worked for PATH, Intl., here in Denver, Colorado. PATH stands for "The Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship." While there, I learned that horses are truly magical...something I knew intrinsically but had never put into words. The stories of the miracles that took place at PATH riding centers around the country came in almost daily, often bringing tears to my eyes. One autistic child, who had never spoken a word, got on a horse and started talking! Veterans who are suffering from the loss of a limb or PTSD, have programs with horses that help them heal and find joy in their shattered lives. Children with cerebral palsy learn to improve their balance and coordination. Children and adults who can't walk, get on a horse and fly!

As a former middle-grade and High School teacher, I was particularly touched by the programs for troubled teens. Many of these kids had never had a friend...until they met a horse. Many had never felt loved...until they met a horse. Many had never felt a purpose in their lives...until they needed to care for a horse. Many had always felt powerless...until they moved a thousand-pound animal through an obstacle course. This isn't fantasy, but it is magical!

This was my inspiration for my only non-fantasy fiction novel. My Award-winning, coming of age novel, In the Heart of a Mustang, is about a teenage boy who is sent to a therapy ranch in Arizona. He arrives with his suitcase and a huge chip on his shoulder. It takes a wild Mustang and a wise, old cowboy to knock that chip off. Literary Classics Reviews said: "In the Heart of a Mustang is one of the finest books ever written for teens and pre-teens." Grab a copy wherever books are sold and have a wonderful time at Promise Ranch!

Autographed copies are available on my website: www.dancinghorsepress.com

(Pictures are taken from the PATH webside.)

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Thursday, March 22, 2018

GRIEVING THE LOSS OF YOUR HORSE

It has been six weeks since I lost my beautiful Jazz and I can't stop hurting. I cry at the mere thought of him. If anyone asks me about him, or worse yet, when those that don't know ask if I am getting ready for show season, I start crying. Then I find myself apologizing because I know this makes them feel uncomfortable. At public speaking engagements, I am asked how many horses I have and I say "Three...um, two." Then I feel the tears stinging the backs of my eyes again!

I realized that some of you may have gone through or are going through the same grieving process that I am. I have been reading articles about grieving the loss of a pet and have learned that it is just the same as grieving the loss of a human family member. (We all know that our horses are part of our family, especially if we have had them for a long time. I had Jazz for 12 and 1/2 wonderful years!) I am going through the same stages of grieving that is normal for anyone. I even got mad at God for a while. "Why would you take Jazz from me?" I cried aloud. I am trying to develop more gratitude for the 12 and 1/2 years He let me have such an amazing horse and realize that there are very few people in the entire world who ever get to ride a horse like that!

This is what I learned:
1. ALLOW YOURSELF TO GRIEVE. How you grieve is very personal and each person reacts differently. Let the tears come when they need to and, unlike me, you don't need to apologize. Don't rush it. There is no time limit on grieving...no time at which you "should be over it!"

2. TAKE TIME TO REFLECT ON THE LIFE YOU SHARED WITH YOUR HORSE. You may just need to find a quiet place to think, or look through pictures, or handle those beautiful ribbons or that soft, leather bridle, or stand in the middle of his stall and just breathe. Maybe, like me, you need to write about your horse or talk to friends, especially those who also knew him and the two of you together. Several of my horse friends took me out to lunch to just talk about Jazz. Yes, I cried right there in the restaurant, but I laughed, too.

3. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF AS YOU GRIEVE. As silly as it sounds, grieving is taxing on the body. Eat nutritious meals...don't bing on junk food! And get both exercise...very important...and sleep.

4. MAINTAIN ROUTINES WITH YOUR LIVING ANIMALS. I still have two wonderful horses that need my love and care as well as a bouncy new standard poodle puppy that needs to be played with. It first I didn't think I could face Jazz's empty stall by going into the stable. But Hardy and Kit needed me, so I went. It was awful but I did it. Kit and Hardy knew something was wrong and they seemed almost depressed. I gave them lots of treats and rubs. The puppy, well, she's a puppy...she just wants to play and that makes me laugh.

5. MEMORIALIZE THE MEMORY AND LOVE OF YOUR HORSE. I believe that animals have souls and inherit eternal life just as we do. While it brings me great comfort to know that I will be with Jazz again, I needed something tangible here and now. The vet sent me a braid of his tail hair intertwined with red ribbon and I had a picture of him blown up and framed. Yes...as you might guess, both make me cry but remember, that's okay.

6. SEEK SUPPORT FROM UNDERSTANDING FRIENDS AND RELATIVES.  I have been blessed with a wonderful husband, children, and friends, both horsey and non-horsey. Fortunately, my husband, Tom, was in town when the vet called to tell me to come say goodbye. He took we and hugged me as I hugged Jazz. A few days after Jazz's passing, I told Tom that I was blaming him because if he hadn't bought that wonderful horse for me, I wouldn't be hurting so much now. He just nodded and said, "I'll take the blame." I also received flowers, cards, candy, cakes and even a "heart attack" (where your house is decorated with cut out hearts and love notes.) I didn't handle some offers of kindness very well. When friends would ask, "What can I do?" all I could say was "Bring Jazz back." Frankly, that was my true feeling.

I hope this will help someone out there in internet land. I adapted this list from an article titled "7 Self-Care Essentials While Grieving the Death of a Pet" by Adam Clark LCSW< AASW

Sunday, February 11, 2018

MY BEAUTIFUL JAZZ IS EARNING HIS UNICORN HORN

It has been a very sad 10 days for me. On Tuesday morning, Jan. 30th, I went out to feed Jazz, Kit, and Hardy and I noticed that Jazz was panting. Horses don't pant! I immediately called the vet thinking colic. When he came, he noticed that Jazz's heart rate was nearly 200 bpm. Normal is 40! And it was arhythmic (uneven and irregular.) I loaded him into the trailer and took him to Littleton Large Horse Hospital.  They told me that the problem wasn't colic, it was a problem with his heart. After doing an ultrasound, they found a tear in the aorta. After trying for several days to get his heart rate down and rhythmic, they realized that his heart was failing. I had the devastating experience of having to say goodbye to my wonderful friend and dance partner. I am heartbroken.
When I bought Jazz 12 and 1/2 years ago, my goal was to take this untrained Hanoverian gelding up through the dressage levels until we reached 4th level. It was a fantastic journey, training and working together, moving up through the Dressage levels. Last summer we made it! We competed at fourth level and earned our scores toward the USDF silver medal for 4th level. We were actually working toward competing at Prix St. George this summer. The last time I rode him he did five 4-beat Tempi changes perfectly. It was so fun. We were in perfect rhythm together. 

Besides being my dressage partner, Jazz was just a wonderful, loving horse. This is the most recent picture of him saying "Hi" to my 2-year-old grandson, Landon. 
I also started riding him on the beautiful Colorado Trails the last two summers.
I had so much fun with him!

Now my dream horse is gone and I am in horrible pain.

Those of you who have read "Behind the Mist," know that Jazz is the star of "The Mist Trilogy." You know that I believe that animals live forever just as we do. I know that Jazz is in heaven. It is just that I miss him so much. It hurts so much to walk into the barn and see his empty stall and unused saddle and bridle. 

For several days, I was of the mind to never ride again. But, you know what? I can't do that. It is true that my heart is broken but I can't cut that same heart out. Horses are part of who I am and I can't deny who that person is.

What the future will bring, I don't know. I'm kind of relying on Heavenly Father to make that clear to me. But, while I always planned that Jazz would be my last horse, I now think there may be another horse in my future.

Just a note: My deepest thanks for all the kind words of love, understanding, and sympathy from so very many people. Your concern strengthened me.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

EQUUS FILM FESTIVAL HONORS MY BOOKS


I am excited to tell you that I attended the 2017 EQUUS FILM FESTIVAL in New York City in November. Both of my books that were submitted won their categories and were awarded the "Winnie Award."

"The Stone of Mercy" won the category for Childrens/Middle Grade Fiction and "In the Heart of a Mustang" won the category for Young Adult Fiction.

I was so honored to receive this wonderful recognition for my work. The following is from their website:http://www.equusfilmfestival.net/ "Our festival has been created to highlight and award the diverse and creative efforts of those who artistically pay homage to the horse. The festival empowers storytellers to show the rich history and diverse tapestry of horses in human culture through equestrian content. We have feature films, documentaries, shorts, music videos, commercials, training educational materials, art and literature."



Tuesday, November 7, 2017

TRAIL GUIDE THE OLYMPIAN

Some horses get to enjoy a variety of careers in their lifetimes. Such was the case with Trail Guide. He went from a cavalry horse to a big-(and mean REALLLLLY big)time show jumper.


Trail Guide was a two-time Olympic Showjumper. The beautiful thoroughbred was out of Trailoka, a mare who was also an Olympic mount, competing in 3-day eventing.

The famous rider, Hugh Wiley rode Trail guide to an 11th place finish in the 1956 Olympics. When he turned 21, Trail Guide led the US Olympic team to a team Silver Medal while being ridden by Show Jumping legend, Frank Chapot during the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome Italy.

Trail Guide won numerous championships at the top shows. He was ridden by the best riders: Hugh Wiley, Frank Chapot and Bill Steinkraus.
Trail Guide's life ended, shockingly, in 1960 in the show ring of the National Horse Show. He crashed into a five-foot fence and broke two vertebrae in his neck. A curtain was pulled around him and he was euthanized right there in the arena, surrounded by the jumps that he loved and the people who loved him.

Trail Guide was inducted into the Show Jumping Hall of Fame in 1995.
Show Jumping Hall of Fame


Christmas is coming and you and your horse-loving friends and family will love my new fantasy series: The Centaur Chronicles.  The first two of the four books are available now.
This AWARD-WINNING Series is receiving both fabulous critical reviews and national and international awards for middle-grade and young adult fantasy. Please visit my website and order an autographed copy for a Christmas or Holiday Gift.

Click Here: www.dancinghorsepress.com

Also available wherever books are sold.