Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Wednesday with Tex

Today the farrier came to trim and shoe the horses.  So, we brought them into the barn for their breakfast.  As the farrier finishes work on each of them, Brett will return them to their pastures.

It was a nippy 40F when we went out in the grey morning light to do chores.  Brett had the stalls set up with hay and water.  All we needed to do was add their morning bucket of vitamins and bring them in.  I added an apple to Tex's grain bin, already containing his pelleted vitamins and carrots.

I talked to Robin after the last time I brought Tex into the barn, at liberty, for feedback.  She advised that I not carry food on my person, but that I load up the destination (the stall in this case) with a bonanza of goodies.  She also gave me advice on what to do if Tex walks off -- which she said he would do at some point.  I was ready.

We brought all the other horses into the barn first.  Being with the herd would give Tex added incentive to walk with me to the barn, on top of the knowledge that breakfast was waiting in the stall.  When we went to the boys pasture, Brett opened the gate and let Flash out first.  Flash broke into a trot and skidded across the barn aisle and into his stall.

I asked Tex to come to my shoulder and we started walking.  Half-way to the barn, he paused and looked around.  I asked him to continue and he complied -- for a couple steps.  Then he calmly walked off.  I calmly followed.  He broke into a trot and ran behind the barn.  I calmly followed.  He dropped his head to the dead grass and I said no.  He lifted his head and looked at me -- I was still quite a distance from him, just rounding the corner of the barn.  He thought for a moment.

He broke into a trot again -- but this time, he trotted straight over to me, slid to a stop, and stood at my shoulder.  I praised him and we walked back to the front of the barn, down the aisle, and I indicated he could go in his stall.  I talked to him the whole way.  "That was amazing, Tex."  "I'm so proud of you."  "Look at you; making good choices."  "You are the best horse, ever."

As he stood in his stall, his lips wet with apple juice and slobber, he reached his head out and looked at me.  He looked awfully pleased with himself.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

A New Start

Those of you who have been reading my blog for awhile have probably noticed a pretty steep decline in the amount of posts in the past year or two.  Before we moved to Northern California, I was able to telecommute a couple days a week.  I knew my job inside out -- heck, I was there for 20 years.  So, I had extra brain waves to devote to things like riding and blogging.

Four and a half years ago we moved to the Sierra Nevada mountains with our animals.  We wanted to live (and eventually retire) in a place with fewer people and more trees.  My new job was demanding, with a vertical learning curve, but I enjoyed the challenge.  I worked with friendly, smart people for a nonprofit with religious roots.  It felt like a good fit.

...until two years ago when I got a new boss.  I was hopeful that with time she would get her management feet, and things would improve.  I have awesome co-workers and we formed our own little support group.  Others gave me encouragement and acknowledged the work I accomplished.  I thought I could "tough it out."  Why let one person ruin things, right?

But, it got worse instead of better.  The more I accomplished, the more I was berated.  The positive feedback I received from others was resented.  I was threatened and harassed.  Those of you who have been in abusive relationships know the feeling; the clenching in your stomach when you hear footsteps; not knowing whether it was going to be roses or fists.  I was in an abusive marriage when I was just out of college -- I recognized the symptoms.

People, within and without the organization, advised me to file a complaint.  Or get an attorney.  But, really, all I wanted was to work without repercussion.  So, when head hunters called, I listened.

I didn't want to jump from the frying pan into the fire so I was careful.  I took my time.  I wanted to work for a nonprofit.  I wanted a company with a strong commitment to its community.  I wanted their work to fulfill a mission that resonated with me.  And, as luck would have it, just such a company called.

Monday, I start the new job.  I will have a long commute but I won't be working evenings, weekends and holidays on a regular basis anymore.  I am anticipating having my life back.  I am hopeful.  I am excited about making a difference -- about mentoring staff and building a team.  I am excited about working for a company with the goal of giving back to its community of working poor and the under-served. And, hopefully, I will have energy to do more than sit on the couch at night staring blankly into space.