Dust Devils And Rain

I live in Denmark, and let us be clear, right from the start. We have no natural disasters. Sure we have an occasional storm every fall, bringing the entire population into a panic, because stuff like this never happens in Denmark… We still talk about that one December storm in (when was it?) 1999, (I think,) where all the street lights went out… Oh my…

We do have a lot of little dust devils. As in; mini tornados. And by “mini” I mean, really tiny. But I have seen them in the horizon a lot over the years, and I always wondered what would happen if one of those actually caught up with someone one day. Usually I’d be pretty scared that one would run across my pasture, because I always worry for my horses. I guess that I have too many friends who live in countries with serious natural disasters, and I have a rather active imagination. But tornados, that is one of the things I can’t shelter my horses from, right? I hate the feeling of being unable to keep them safe, if it should happen that a dust devil did run across my pasture.

I know, chances are tiny, most of those things die out without ever touching ground, really.

Yesterday, though, it did happen. I didn’t see it coming at all. The boyfriend and I were sitting by the horses house, taking a break from running with the little ones, drinking some water in the summer heat, and then, all of a sudden, the wind came out of nowhere, in an otherwise completely calm day. Not a wind had moved all day, and here we were, in the middle of what felt like a storm, instantly pulling on the plastic tarp that keeps our straw bales dry, filling them with air with a sharp sound as the ropes that tied the tarp to the ground, held up. The roof of the horse- house shook for a second. Everything went from burning hot, not a wind in sight, to storm and hard to move, and back to the nice and easy summers day, in an instant.

I instantly jumped to my feet and looked around the corner, (for my horses,) to see this dust devil lifting all of my hay out of the huge tractor wheels we use to feed the horses, and spinning the hay into the air, dragging it half way across the pasture in a second, and then it let go.

Needless to say, the horses didn’t like hay that was dancing in the air, and they did spook for a moment, but as soon as the dust devil let go of the hay, they found it kind of funny, having hay scattered all over the pasture…

And the dust devil itself, died down and went away before it managed to reach my fence on the opposite end of the pasture. So, I guess that is one worry less for me. I should not worry about what happens if one of those micro tornados every hits my pasture. It has, and the worst that happened was that we had to gather up hay…

It was a kind of surreal experience though. One that makes you feel very small in the face of such an invisible force. You can’t see wind, you can’t touch it, or stop it, you can only watch as it sweeps across the land. And I can only thank my lucky stars that I don’t live in a land where we have anything worse than dust devils… and water… Loads of rain… Which came right afterwards.

My pasture went from being rock hard and dry, to, well, this….

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Our poor mineral lick… they are truly not made for Danish summers…

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I wonder, who is?

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Peace

I have been having a great time lately, shaking off the equestrian world once and for all, letting go of everything I was raised to believe, think and do. Mostly, I have been loving to not ride my horses this year, reconnecting with them- especially with Saleem- in the way I used to, back when I was young and had stars in my eyes.

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When I got my first horse, Pikant, I was a 12 year old little girl from a family who knew nothing of horses, but I had read every single “Black Stallion” and “Black Beauty” book there was, and I always hoped to meet that one special horse, that would be my very own black stallion… The one none other could touch, but who would be soft and cuddly around me…

I spent hours sitting in Pikant’s stall, watching him eat, singing to him, (I still do that…) talking to him, just hanging with him, and when I finally had my vet confirm how sick he was, (it was an ongoing discovery for a while,) it wasn’t too much of a blow for me. Sure, I wanted to ride, but somehow I always knew that it wasn’t going to be Pikant that was my riding horse.

I loved being with him though. Braiding his tail, kissing his muzzle, sitting in the sun on the pasture, watching him graze…

When Poseidon came along, he was my black stallion. The one only I could touch, (and I could hardly touch him at first,) and it wasn’t really what I wanted then. I had had my girls between Pikant and Poseidon and those girls, Silver and Flicka, had taught me that I had talent for riding, and that I could win ribbons, if only I let go of a little part of my soul. The dream of being a true horseman. It was quite a struggle for me, then, letting go of competition, and returning to horsemanship and friendship, while fighting for Poseidon’s life.

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Since then, I was stuck in a strange limbo, caught in the middle of those two worlds, never really belonging. For a while, I practiced what I would call goal oriented horsemanship, training my horses the horsemanship way, but still hoping to compete with them. And I did too, for a while, with Apollon, with Amalia, even briefly with Legacy and Saleem.

Every time I signed us up for a competition, I was thrilled at the idea of doing the show. And when the day arrived and we had to go, I was looking at my horse, wondering if he wouldn’t have rather stayed home, playing with the others on the pasture. Wondering what gave me the right to load him into a trailer, and subject him to all kinds of discomfort while being driven, (if you think it is comfortable being transported in a trailer, think again. I have spent my fair share of drives at the back of a trailer, with my horse. It is horrible,) the stress of the show, the people, the new place, the new horses… Why would I ever want to put him through that, in the hope of winning a ribbon?

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I didn’t even care that much about the ribbon itself. I just wanted to ride the show… And show off my fantastic horse… Who would have been happier at home…

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For most of my life, I have been struggling with those two sides of me. When I wrote Surviving the Equestrian World, I still was.

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Not anymore though. I am not entirely sure how the change came along, but I am finally at peace. I have spent this summer, sitting on my pasture, kissing my foal, (okay so he is two years old by now, but still my foal,) running with my other foal, (that will be my five year old,) letting Saleem wander off if he didn’t want to be around me, instead of forcing my company on him, and asking him to work for me. I have been lying on the hay wheels with my girls, finally connecting with that  fiery dragon that resides inside Marble, and at long last agreeing that it won’t spew fire all over me every other second.

The second I stopped asking my horses for anything, they came to me, and gave me everything I ever really wanted. Friendship and love and that special bond you have with an animal that huge, who has no spoken language.

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“If you don’t want to ride, get a dog. What do you need a horse for?”

I have heard that so much through the years. And at long last, I don’t care what people think. No one is going to tell me to ride my horses anymore. I am not saying that I won’t ride them, some day in the future. I am not saying that when fall comes and the harvest is in and the land opens in unused fields, that I won’t take Saleem out and let him run a little. I am not saying that I am done working with them, and teaching them things, but I am saying that it doesn’t matter to me anymore, how fast they learn. I don’t care if my two year old can’t be tied to a wall, without pulling on the rope. I don’t need to tie him up. I don’t care if my five year old is not broken in yet. I’ll do that, when I feel he is ready to be ridden. I have no need to compare them to other horses of their age anymore. I strongly disagree with most of what other horses have been taught anyway, so why must my horses be subjected to it?

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I used to think that if I didn’t teach them all the basics, I would be letting them down. Like, what if I get hit by a bus and die and Ablaze can’t wear a halter? Who would want a two year old that can’t be handled in a halter? Who would want Apocalipse if he isn’t broken in, and ready to compete at five years old? How could I fail them so badly, by not preparing them for the world? At least they have to be able to be ridden with a bridle, right?

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I guess I am done thinking like that too, at long last. 15 years with Poseidon had me living life on the edge, wondering every single day, if it was going to be my last, but I don’t feel that way anymore. Of course the future is never given, but fingers crossed my horses will never know a life without me, and if so, they do not need to know anything aside from what I need from them.

Mutual respect and understanding, really, and that comes easily with the friendship that blossoms, once you let go of the rein, so to speak.

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I did talk to a friend of mine the other day, who have three horses of her own, and aren’t in a hurry to ride them either. I haven’t really said it out loud before, that I don’t miss riding at all, but it was nice, talking to her, finally meeting someone who understood how special it is to have a horse, when you aren’t busy shaping it to become the next dressage superstar.

And then, of course, I did discover the down side to all of this as well. Tardis keeps growing fatter and fatter, and well, so do I to be honest. We both needs exercise, so my clever plans of not working with them this year, is kind of failing. I can’t feed them less hay, because then Apocalipse and Marble grows thin, so Tardis and I will have to start running and playing some more. Maybe I even have to ride her, if I want that belly of hers, (and mine,) to go away.

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So much for my peace of mind… But at least now, when I run with her, I can be sure to make it fun for her. I can let her misbehave, rear up against me, jump around and flick her head as much as she wants, because now, our goal is not to become good at anything. It is only to lose a bit of weight. We are playing for our own sake, not to impress anyone else. I’ll have to hang on to that, if I have to start riding her this fall. Riding can be different too. It doesn’t have to be about control and submission and force. Hell, it should never be. I’ll just have to stick to having retired my bridle and see where that takes us.

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Heroes Of Might And Magic III – On Windows 8

I have to share this link, because I know how much I held on to my old computer and Windows XP, for this one single reason; Heroes of Might and Magic III is not compatible with Windows 8. Well, that settles it; I don’t want Windows 8, ever!

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I got it. My computer with XP crashed and burned… and I felt like I lost my second home… Heroes III, gone…

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I tried to make do with Heroes V and Heroes VI but there are issues with both versions. V is a great game, wonderful animations, fantastic battle sequences, and loads of great ideas for hero skills, but the maps are too small. Every time you get a hero maxed out with super awesome skills, you have won the game, before you get to use your newfound super abilities.

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And VI never really appealed to me. The animations just weren’t… cute. A huge part of Heroes was always the cuteness of the game.

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Oh, the link. Yes. The boyfriend found this, and for all of you who has missed Heroes III; here is is, compatible with Windows 8;

http://www.gog.com/game/heroes_of_might_and_magic_3_complete_edition

Awesome, awesome, awesome! So, far, it works perfectly.

maxresdefault (3)It feels like coming home. Perfect way to spend this lousy summer; indoors, in a blanket, conquering the world on my tiny horse, with my army of monsters, getting beaten by the boyfriend in the final battle, as always…

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5 Years With Apocalipse

Five years ago this morning, Apocalipse was born to our wonderful Amalia and our fantastic Saleem. He has been an inspiration every single day or our lives together, and I love seeing him with Saleem everyday. My only regret is that his mother didn’t get to see him grow up, but I am sure that she is watching him from the rainbow bridge, smiling, to see just how much he is like her and how perfect he turned out.

So here goes, 5 years with Apoccalipse Ibn Saleem;

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Amalia

 

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søgårdsvej 020

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apocalipse huge

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play 12

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Happy birthday Apocalipse, you were perfect the day you were born, and you haven’t changed a bit.

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Thank you for always making me smile!

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Flies And Mud Monsters

I have summer sores (Habronema) every single summer by now.

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Or, well, my horses has, but same same. It is kind of driving me up the wall. So far, I have been lucky, and none of my horses has been in a bad shape because of it, nothing like my friend’s horse tried one summer, where he just grew a crazy hole of dead tissue in his lip in a matter of days.

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My vets always ask me if I do anything to protect the horses from flies and yes, Habronema is (sort of) spread by flies, but… No, I don’t. I have tried since Ablaze was born, to make them wear fly masks, but I always fail, due to his ninja skill. He removes the masks on the other horses instantly. It doesn’t matter what kind of masks I buy, he will tear them up and off in a matter of minutes. Add to that, when he is wearing the mask himself, Tardis freaks out and hates him, clearly not recognizing him, when his face has a wrong color.

The last time I tried making Ablaze wear a mask, Tardis took one look at him and attacked him, kicking him until he bled and I managed to get between them and tear that mask off his face.

Besides, Saleem and Apocalipse are headshakers, they can’t wear anything across their nose…

So, noooo… No fly masks on my pasture.

Then we have all kinds of anti fly sprays, right? Well, none of those go in their face, that is for sure, so none of it will protect the eyes anyway. I do have some, but most of my horses are allergic to it, getting huge swellings when I apply it. And that is stuff my vets sold me… So no, not a huge fan of that either.

Besides, when it is warm, I hose the horses down every day, which will wash off any fly spray daily, so it is kind of impossible.

And, I would like to add this picture of Saleem, proving why simple water is the best fly protection program there is.

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I sent that picture to one of my friends, and the boyfriend, both of whom should know my (our) horses rather well, asking them to guess a horse?

They guessed Tardis? Or Ablaze?

Saleem is still laughing. It has taken him years to perfect this mud monster skill.

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And no, it doesn’t protect the eyes, and if the horses has Habronema, then no amount of fly protection will prevent it. As far as I know, all I can do is treat the summer sores and try to kill the parasite in my horses system with parasite treatment. Fly masks could help mask the symptoms, but well… They doesn’t really solve the problem.

Apparently, nothing does. Yay, summer… Add to that, we hardly have any flies at all this year, and still, I have three horses, sporting dodgy little wounds on their mucous membranes.

I repeat;

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The Little Red Colt

Once upon a time, a little red colt was born.

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He was sold at a young age, to a girl who was nearly just as young as he was. Much too young, some may say, to raise a horse like him.

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They didn’t always have it easy. As the colt grew up, he continued to test the little human girl, but even if she often had no idea why he was acting up or how to handle him, she never gave up.

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She never stopped wondering how to help him, how to make sure he didn’t feel that he had to fight her.

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She never really found an answer and before she knew it, time ran out, and the little red colt lost his life to a viral infection, which caused all his minor arteries to rupture, and no matter what the little girl did, there was no saving him.

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There was many ways this story could have played out. When the little red colt was born, no one knew how his life would be, or how sudden it would end.

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When the girl bought him, she did so, knowing full well that he wasn’t going to be easy, but she never really had a choice. This little red colt was part of her, which was why she never stopped fighting for him, while there was still a glimmer of hope on the horizon.

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The little red colt was sick a lot, and the girl spent a lot of nights in a sleeping bag in his stall, praying to anyone who may listen, that he would pull through and when he finally didn’t, it wasn’t a surprise.

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And still, it was. It was wrong. So wrong. He should have been here. He should have turned 16 this month. He should have been happy, alive, and growing old with the girl. Instead, he is just a picture on the wall. A memory, that is never untainted by how the girl didn’t quite manage to make his life perfect, no matter how much she tried.

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Because even if they fought a lot, and despite all of his sick days, they did love each other dearly. He always worked for her with great enthusiasm and work ethics.

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He loved learning new things, (as long as it wasn’t scary stuff,) and he loved using his body, applying those huge muscles of his. Despite his frail immune system, he was build like an ox and he never failed to throw his weight around, if the opportunity presented itself.

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He easily starred in the music video the girl and her friends made for a competition;

And as he left this world, his image was still so perfect, that old footage of him was used in another music video, to help set the mood:

The little girl started writing on a series of fantasy books, when the colt was young. He was always one of the main characters in  those books. Him, and his brother. The colt was used as a model for the back cover picture of the fourth book in the series, even if he was turned into a unicorn in the process. But the pure force of this horse was just what the girl wanted for her perfect unicorn.

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He was 13 when he was euthanized, during a blizzard. The world was white and silent, when this magnificent life was cut short. To the girl, he is still 13. Even as his 16th birthday came and went.

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He will never grow older. He will be young, he will have a future, he will be happy, finally, by the rainbow bridge.

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There is so much I should say. Thank you, for letting me love you. Thank you, for not killing me, (even when you tried.) I am sorry, for every single way I failed you. Please forgive me.

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Apollon July 1999- December 2012

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About Real Women

It’s summer. Social media are drowning in pictures, encouraging fat girls to go get a bikini and not care what anyone thinks about their bodies. Oh, did I say fat? I am sorry. You can’t call anyone fat these days. That’s hurtful.

But you can call people who are not fat, stick thin, and tell them that they are not real women, because they don’t have curves… because if you are not fat, you can just sit back and take whatever abuse is thrown at you.

To be honest, I like the idea that people do get to go to the beach in a bikini and not care what people think of them, but it is getting tiresome, from where I am sitting, how allowed it is, to hate on those who are thin. And I mean hate. Most of those “real women has curves” posts, are truly mean, and degrading, to anyone who doesn’t have fat on their bones.

Which makes me wonder, why is it that we can’t just support each other, without putting someone else down in the process? “Before anorexia, there was a thing called beauty.” Wow, thanks. Because all skinny women are anorectic. Of course they are. (And if they were, they would need help, not bullying, because that is a serious disease.)

It is very embedded in our society to think that way though. I have always been skinny. All my life, I have had to listen to mean spirited and hurtful comments like these ones, and not just from random strangers on social media, but from my friends and family as well, not to mention every single doctor I have ever come across.

When I went to have my finger operated, the doctor and all the nurses had to comment on how low my BMI was, and not a single one of them failed to ask me if I was eating correctly?

When I was a kid, and my mom took me to a doctor, she had to fight tooth and nail, not to have the doctors lock me up for eating disorder observation, even if we just came in with a sprained ankle. Because really, who is skinny these days?

Not real women, that is for sure. Only sick people. Glad we got that settled.

What I don’t understand is how fat people (and society) can be so sensitive about their weight and their appearance and about never using the word “fat,” and still feel that they have the right to put someone else down for not looking like them. Wasn’t it tolerance they were trying to promote with their posts? And let’s face it, if you are fat, then “fat” is not a mean word, it is an accurate description of your current state, much like “thin” applies to thin people. Only you can’t shame people for being fat, but you sure can use “thin” anyway you want.

Even Hollywood agrees. I come across it all the time, in most movies. How the fat, sweet girl, is bullied by the evil, skinny diva. Any Highschool movie has that kind of theme.  To be honest, my life has been the complete opposite.

All my life, in school and after, I was bullied by fat girls, instantly hating me, because I was thin. I do have some heavy friends these days, (see, didn’t call them fat, because you can’t do that,) but they are not many. Fat people usually don’t like me. And they usually feel entitled to throw mean comments about my weight at me, when I least expect it.

It gets tiresome. It really does. Luckily, I am turning 33 this year and I have finally started gaining weight, so maybe one day, I’ll join the club of fatties, and can start thinking about myself as a real woman.

Wouldn’t that be great, at long last?

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