Because of You

Because of you, I am better than you;
Because of you, I will not allow myself to fail;
Because of you, I will allow my children to see that at times I am weak, they will see the strength and honesty in that.
You taught me at a young fragile age what disappointment was and the pain of being let down. Even though as an eight year old girl sitting silently on the couch with my backpack of clothes clinging to the hope that you might just show up this time, I didn’t understand, I get it now. You were put in my life to show me what not to do. I learned how to love from those who lifted me back up each time you let me down. I learned from you how I never wanted to make another human being feel, especially my children.
You have come in and out of my life at your leisure. You have stolen from me, used me, and stomped on a heart that never had anything but love for you. You have never grown up. When you need a hand out you call. If I can give it to you you love me, when I can’t you are pissed and I feel guilty. Either way it goes I know I won’t hear from you for six months or a year or until the next time you need something. Although, every time you call me I am so happy to hear your voice and there is still a childish hope deep inside that maybe things will be different.
Every time I hear of a body found near the area where I think you live I worry it might be you. See I don’t have an address for you or a phone number. All I know is the general area.
I know I have shown you in a bad light here, but really what I want to do is to thank you for being such an awful mother. I had a wonderful father and a grandmother who loved me. They taught me compassion, care and respect. They made sure I took the right path in life. And you, well you made sure I didn’t take the wrong one. I guess in the end it worked out because you showed me what I never wanted to become. You showed me what feeling unloved by your mother feels like. So, in the end I am actually very greatful for having you for a mother because there was absolutely no way in hell I would travel the same path as you in life. Even though you don’t know it you helped to mold me into the person I am and steer me down the road to success. Thanks for being a rotten mom. Because of you I am strong. Because of you I am not a failure. Because of you I will never let my children down. Because of you I am better than you.

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Trapped

Growing up I lived every little girl’s dream. I had horses and attended horse shows every weekend. It was like a fairy tale, without the castle. I couldn’t have asked for a better childhood. I lived on a farm of 150 acres. I could run anywhere I wanted to. Usually I hopped on my horse if I wanted to go somewhere though. My senior year of high school my life change dramatically. I prayed and prayed it could go back to the way it was but unfortunately that wasn’t an option.

When I was 17 years old I got myself into a relationship with an abusive boy. Up to the point that we started dating I was very innocent and naive. He was someone who hung out with the same group of friends that I did. I thought he was nice but wasn’t actually even interested in him to begin with. To protect our privacy, we will call him Josh.

In the fall of 2001 Josh’s mother passed away from lung cancer. Since I did know him and we ran around with the same group of kids, I felt that it was right for me to attend her funeral in support of my friend. After the funeral service he asked me to go out with him that night. Although I wasn’t interested in anything romantic with him I also felt guilty turning him down, his mother had just passed away.

I went into town and met up with Josh. We had a good time hanging out and nothing at all happened. He took me to dinner and then I went home. The next day I left for a week to go on a trail ride with my family. When we returned Josh was eager to ‘hang out’ again. I guess I will say that I was too but in a different way than he. As time went on I started to see that he was expecting more from me than I wanted to give but every time I would try to pull away he would make me feel like he needed me and was upset. I was a good friend, I hated to see people in pain and I wasn’t used to having someone play games with my mind or my kindness.

Unfortunately, I let things go too far because I felt sorry for him. I started dating him and he told me I was all he had in the world. His mom was all he had had and he was so lucky to have found me. He couldn’t live without me and he would kill himself if I ever left. I think he knew from the beginning that this wasn’t what I wanted but he was scared to be alone and he preyed on my kindness and my innocence. I should have had more of a backbone.

About six months into this relationship that I knew was wrong from the beginning I had sex with him for the first time. It was my first time ever. It felt all wrong. I’m sure that every girl feels a sense of loss when they lose their virginity. I felt a sense of dread, I felt sick, I felt as if I’d betrayed myself and everything I’d ever wanted. I felt lost. I felt trapped.

It wasn’t even a month after we had sex for the first time that he started to become abusive. He treated me like I was scum. He would tell me no one would ever want me, that I was trash that he picked up off of the street and more. He threatened me. Not only now was I in a relationship that I knew I hadn’t wanted from the beginning, I was also scared to leave. Never in a million years did I ever dream that I would have ended up in a situation like this.

In just a few short months I found out that I was pregnant with our son. My dad cried. I felt like the biggest failure. I got married to this monster the September of the year I graduated high school, 20 days after I turned 18. It was one of the saddest days of my life. I felt as if I was forced into marrying him. I was scared not to. I remember standing in the bathroom at the celebration hall, looking at myself in the mirror, thinking “you stupid girl, what are you doing? Get in the car and leave.” I couldn’t. I was afraid of how he would react, I was afraid of disappointing my family.

A few nights after our wedding he punched me in the stomach, I was six months pregnant. He was very emotionally abusive and physical as well. I hated life. On several occasions I remember standing in the shower crying and begging god to let me miscarry. How could I bring a child into this? I guess I had a selfish reason as well for wishing for a miscarriage, I thought it would get me out of the trap I was in. I thought I would have an out.

In December I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. He was the most perfect thing I had ever seen. How could something so amazing come from such a horrid relationship. Things got better for a short time but it wasn’t long before the abuse began again. One night he tried to shove me over the railing outside of our home. When we got inside he ripped my wedding ring from my finger and threw it at me leaving a large, very sore knot on my head, this was also in front of our son. When I tried to get away from him he would stand in front of me and not let me pass, spitting on my face.

After putting up with his abuse for four years I took our son who was three at the time and left. I went home. I didn’t care if they thought I failed but my son and I couldn’t be in that situation any longer. I knew if I told them how things had been my family would understand. They would let me come home and they did.

Josh and I continued to work at the same place. He would stalk me at work. It was really very scary. I tried to speak with the supervisor but no one would help me. I eventually lost my job because I couldn’t go to work everyday and deal with his abuse. There were several times after I left him that he was abusive to me when I took my son to visit him. I think he thought since he had been able to scare me into staying in the past, he could do it again. He pinned me against the kitchen counter, hitting me and spitting on me. He threw me against a horse trailer in the driveway. That night I wasn’t sure I was going to get away with my life. When I got away I vowed never to meet up with him again unless it was in a public place.

To this day he is a horrible father to our son. He never follows through with what he says he will do, rarely sees him and lets him down all of the time. My son is now 14 and knows what to expect but it is heartbreaking to see him in pain. Every time his dad tells him he will do something he knows the probability of him following through is small but he wants to believe that he has changed, that he will do what he says this time. The sad reality is that one day my child is going to stop believing anything his father says. I honestly think having him in and out of his life, letting him down and hurting him daily is worse than if he’d just walked away when I left. I think his reasoning for staying in his life part time was because he thought it may be a way to control me.

Luckily, my son and I have a man in our lives who has been a wonderful father figure since he was almost 5. I guess  I shouldn’t call him a father figure but he IS his father. He took us both with our wounded hearts and pride and showed us that not all men are the same. He showed us that we were worthy of love and that we weren’t meant to be someone’s punching bag. I am grateful that he is in our lives and I have been able to call him my husband for going on 9 years now.

I am so happy for what we found with my husband and I hope that my son always knows he is worthy. I hope that he takes the example shown him the last 10 years by my husband and has the confidence to know. that even though his biological dad disappoints and lets him down, that he has a mom and a dad that love him to pieces and will do anything in this world to see him succeed in life.

I hope that none of my children, anyone I know or anyone else has to endure what I did in my young life but I pray if you ever find yourself in a situation like that, you ask for help. I know now that if I had I would have gotten it. Don’t ever feel ashamed or that it’s your fault or like no one will understand because I promise, someone does. This was very hard for me to share. It brought up many feelings that I wish to forget but if it helps even one person to know that someone understands, my discomfort in sharing will be worth it. If you are in an abusive relationship ask for help.

 

New Feed for my Fur Babies

Have any of you horse people ever heard of Total Equine? I have always fed 12% feed to my horses twice a day with good quality grass hay. Recently, I purchased Brandi from a kill lot. She was skinny, her hooves were in bad shape and her coat was dull. The mare that I have had for several years, Jetta, didn’t have a weight problem or bad coat but she did seem slightly lazy and had kind of a bad attitude. We all know mares. I assumed her  attitude probably had to do with her gender.

After getting Brandi to healthy weight I sent her to the trainer for retraining. Since she was off the track she would need to be trained for western cues. While she was at the trainer for 30 days he fed her Total Equine. I had heard of the feed but kind of brushed it off. Some of my friends used it and talked about how much they liked it but like I said before, I have always used 12% sweet feed. I grew up around horses so all of my life, 32 years, I have used sweet feed. When Brandi came back she looked even better than she had when I sent her!

According to Total Equine’s site they have been selling it for 17 years. They based their formula on 40 years of scientific research and the finding of what horses actually needed to thrive. It states that it maximizes health, attitude and performance. The base of the feed is Alfalfa which makes the feed more appealing to horses. It provides 70% to 80% of the needed fiber (totalfeeds.com). The daily ration is four pounds. I was feeding so much more of sweet feed daily!

After doing some research of my own and talking with some friends I decided to become part of the Total Equine family. I went to our local Total Equine dealer, Better Equine, and purchased some of the feed. I have been feeding both horses and a rescue pony who needed to have weight put on as well Total Equine twice a day. Brandi has now been on Total Equine for six weeks and Jetta and the Pony, Dusty, for almost two weeks.

Brandi continues to improve daily. Jetta and Dusty are already showing improvements! I know that two weeks is a short period of time to already notice improvements but they are consuming less hay, their coats already look better and the best improvement with Jetta is her mood. She has always been a sweet mare but would act kind of marish and a little pissy if I asked her to do something she didn’t really want to do. She would always do it without much of a fuss but you could tell she wasn’t happy about it. I have been so pleased the last few times I’ve ridden her because she seems to be in a better mood.

I can’t say enough good things about Total Equine! I have already seen so many positive changes in such a short amount of time that I am a “Total Believer”. I am so excited to see what the future holds for my horses as we continue our new journey with this wonderful feed. Total Feeds also carries a line of feed for many other animals such as dogs, birds, deer, goats, and more, If you haven’t tried it. Give it a shot, you won’t regret it!

 

Bringing Brandi Home

Brandi is 16 hands tall. She is coal black in the winter and a bleached out brownish in the summer. Her eyes are kind and gentle and have started to show a hint of happiness. When we brought Brandi home her eyes were sad and distrustful. She had given her heart and her all just to be thrown to the trash as soon as she wasn’t useful any longer. 

Brandi is an OTTB or off the track thoroughbred. She trained as someone’s best chance of winning big time thoroughbred races as a two year old. She was a beauty who sold for thousands of dollars at a racehorse auction because she was thought to have just what it would take to be in the winners circle. And she did win some races, I’ve found some pictures of her on the internet with her owner at the time and her proud jockey atop her back. She was the proudest in the picture. She was beautiful and confident with her head held high. This picture was a far cry from the sad, broken mare that I hauled home from the kill lot. Yes, you read that right, kill lot.

On Facebook I’m a member of several pages that try to save horses who are bound for the horror of Mexico. The horses are purchased by a ‘kill buyer’ at an auction. The buyer doesn’t care if the horses are great riding horses or sick old horses who were someone’s pride and joy as a young horse, and then striped of their right to a retirement just because the owner didn’t want to care for an old horse who was of no use. To the kill lot pounds are money. Brandi was neither of these she was a skinny, lanky thoroughbred who had had her shot at fame. She was not broke for regular riding only for running so she would have to be retrained. She wasn’t old but to her previous owner she was useless because she could no longer race or maybe she just hadn’t won them enough money. Whatever the case she had been sent to die. 

The kill lot where I purchased her luckily allows people a chance to purchase horses before they are sent on their finally journey to hell. When I say hell, I don’t mean I think they are headed to a fiery underworld, I mean that these horses endure hell up until the moment where they are murdered for some human’s mistake and turned into dogfood or some European delicacy. 

As I was scrolling through my newsfeed I saw an ad come up for Brandi. I could see that her eyes were kind but that she looked sad and defeated. I could see she needed her second chance, as do many others. I wish I had the ability to save them all but that just isn’t the reality of things. Her eyes spoke to me and her horribly emmaciated frame begged for just a bite of food. I contacted the kill lot and made arrangements to bring this sweet girl home. That is a choice that I will forever be greatful for.  In her short time here it has brought me so much joy to earn the trust that someone else took for granted. I have so enjoyed watching her blossom into the kind, gentle soul that she once was. 

About a month ago after I got Brandi’s weight back where it needed to be I sent her to my trainer for some retraining. Since she had only been trained for the track she had no idea what the cues for western riding mean. I got her back the day before yesterday and cannot stay off of her! She is such an amazing ride and so willing to please. It fills my heart with sadness to think of how close she was to making that horrible trip to Mexico stuffed into an over-filled semi trailer with other horses who were also getting ready to suffer the same fate as she. The fear those poor horses must feel about the uncertainty of what will happen next but I know they know it is bad. 

I am so glad that I chose to give Brandi the second chance she so deserved and show her that not all humans are selfish and only want her when she is filling thee pocket book. Brandi and I give each other something that no amount of money can offer. The friendship, kindness, happiness and love shared between a horse and her owner are priceless and are something that every horse should know.