So now you have The Background. Over ten years I had had one conception shattering experience after another. The Centered Riding work started the process by showing me that the rider forms the horse, whether they know it or admit it or can feel it or not. The Linda Tellington-Jones work was the first to reveal the connection between physical pain, emotion, and and personality and training behaviors. The Jack Meagher sports massage therapy proved what I had always suspected; that clinical soundness, or the lack thereof, might have nothing to do with xrays or scans or what have you. And then the Mary Debono/SENSE work showed that addressing the neurological system with work based on Feldenkrais principles could transform the entire system.
And so with this gigantic and wonderful toolbox we worked with Cody, and Petey, and Austen, and Shadow, and Philip, and Bonnie, and Wonder, and Leisle. They all went from …er…challenged in some way, to sound and rideable and quiet and happy in their work.
And just to tie up loose ends, Tucker, beautiful Tucker who put up with my experiments, restored my confidence, and gave me the most spectacular trail rides through the western Massachusetts countryside, developed neurological symptoms and after months and months of study at Tufts with the amazing Dr. Mary Rose, and every alphabet soup of neuro test available, was euthed and donated to the Tufts vet school. There was never a final diagnosis; ideopathic changes at the cellular level in his cervical spine; ‘rare swollen axons’ and similar findings. I didn’t think I’d ever get over losing him but of course, life goes on. I always know when I am stressing though cause I will still dream about him; that I am looking for him, that I just get to where I am finding him, and then he’s gone again. Or maybe he does just visit me in my dreams; he was a very playful character and maybe he visits me when I’m stressed to remind me that he is still around. I don’t know, but I always wake up feeling wistful but also strangely comforted.
Dixie went with us to
Carolina and became a winning pony hunter. She repaid
me a thousand fold for rescuing her that day. When I had to sell my horses and
ponies I knew I couldn’t bear to sell her to another show home and risk her
going through anything bad again, so I sold her to my friend Tamara who bred
lovely Welsh ponies for many years. Dix lived with her on her incredible farm
in Tennessee for
many years, was an excellent pony mom, and never knew a days stress again. She
is buried in one of Tamara’s pastures where she grazed and raised her babies.
I moved back to
in 2000 and met Mary soon after. So I had four years of study and
experimentation when I bought Bryan
in 2004. I bought Philip at the same time, and they actually arrived at my barn
the same day, March 1st. I was so fascinated by their respective
stories, which were actually exactly the same; expensive and loved show horses
that through no fault of their own became fairly lame somewhat useless and
unwanted inexpensive has beens. But whereas Bryan had become shut down and overreactive,
Philip had become shut down and…well….shut down. When Bryan was stressed he would prance and spin
and take off, but Philip, no matter what you did, would plod. He didn’t react
to anything, he was just over all of it and had learned to tune *everything*
out. Two totally different responses to the same life events.
So with the tools in the toolbox at the ready, we started to see what could be done.