Sunday, November 30, 2014

The End is the Beginning.....

We have all heard that no two snowflakes are alike. Each snowflake takes the perfect form for the maximum efficiency and effectiveness for its journey. And while the universal force of gravity gives them a shared destination, the expansive space in the air gives each snowflake the opportunity to take their own path. They are on the same journey, but each takes a different path.
Along this gravity-driven journey, some snowflakes collide and damage each other, some collide and join together, some are influenced by wind... there are so many transitions and changes that take place along the journey of the snowflake. But, no matter what the transition, the snowflake always finds itself perfectly shaped for its journey.  
- Steve Maraboli

Grizzly at MN Zoo

3 weeks ago today, I had just arrived home from Lexington, KY and the US Dressage Finals, and was unpacking/repacking, and getting ready to leave early Wed morning.  Today, I took everything out of the suitcase, and began to repack to get ready to leave early Wed to go home.  The end is the same as the beginning.  

It is not just the end of my Haiti trip, though.  This is also the end of my year.  I go home for a few weeks, then back to Texas for a very short visit for Christmas, and to get my things and Miss Lucy, then back home for good.  Starting to look at jobs and possibilities.  Thankful that I don't have to look for a place to live.  I'm ready to be home.  This year has been so good.  To have the opportunity to do all this traveling, and see all these things, and have all these experiences.  But, I am so grateful that I have a real home to go back to.

The US Dressage Finals.  5 days of great horses, great people, and cold weather.  :-)  I was a little disappointed, because the lady who was doing the scheduling didn't know me, and so stuck me out in Timbukto all weekend, but the first day, I was in the thick of things, and then I switched with someone for one day, and then the last day, I got to sneak out early and head home.  By the end, she knew me.  Next time, she will put me in the middle of things.  By the end, just about everyone knew me.  If not by name, then by reputation, as I was the person who made "the catch".  It was a funny set of coincidences/circumstances that led to this thing happening, and the whole thing made me laugh.  Not going to say more than that, since it could be a sensitive subject to those involved.  There were actually 2 such instances, though most people had only heard of the one, more famous one.  The second instance, I actually felt a little sorry for.  In the first one, though, when the person was confronted with the breaking of the rules, I had to smile when I heard what his response was.  God's rules, I always obey, but when it comes to man's, not so much. (paraphrased)  

A couple of other observations from that week.  I saw a variety of horses, a couple of ponies, and even one mule.  The one night, I stayed to watch the Freestyle, and go to watch this cute little cob ride his way to the championship.  I worked on a farm that bred Cobs in Oregon, so loved watching him in the ring.  You could tell he really enjoyed his work.  Which may sound funny to some people, but just as some people enjoy their jobs more than others, the same goes with animals.  All horses (or ponies, or mules) can do jumping, dressage, carriage driving, carry things around, etc, but they will not always be happy with their job.  And this was never more apparent than at this show.  There were (thankfully, not many) several riders I just wanted to tell, "Find another job for this horse.  It is obvious that neither of you is happy with this arrangement."  It is just as frustrating for the rider when the horse doesn't want to do its job, as it is for the horse.  The last night, I watched a lady come in and school a horse.  I was checking their numbers when they came in, so that we knew who was where at what time, in case an issue arose.  When I looked up this cute little grey horse's number, I saw he was a Trakehner, and seeing how much I love Trakehners, and there weren't any other horses in the ring at the time, I looked forward to watching him work.  But, even in the lunging, I could tell he wasn't particularly happy, and then the rider got on, and I was almost in tears at several points.  It takes a special kind of person to work with Trakehners, and this was not a special person.  She and this horse argued like no other.  The biggest problem that I could see, was that she was constantly trying to boss, instead of ask and get, and that doesn't work with this breed very well.  They have too much hot-blooded Arabian and Thoroughbred in them.  I ought to know.  I own one.  And worked on farms with them over the years.  And watched other people trying to deal with them.  It was incredibly frustrating and hard to watch, but she wasn't doing anything so overt that I could call the TD (technical delegate) over and do something about it.  Oh well, thankfully the good parts of the week outweighed the bad.

That last night, most of the horses had finished, and the rings were cleared out, and there were not so many riders out and about, and as I watched the sun set behind the Rolex ring, it was just a beautiful evening.  It got me thinking.  I have lots of horse friends, and lots of dressage friends.  One lady in particular came to mind.  She had a neat horse, and the opportunity to ride some other amazing ones.  She was given the chance to work with/for an Olympic trainer, with the goal that she would eventually compete at the Olympics.  And she gave it all up.  She's a missionary, in the US.  She still rides occasionally, and has a daughter that's probably as horse crazy as she was at that age.  But, after seeing the competition this weekend, it made me wonder why she would do that, give up all of this, her love, her life as she had known it, to go off and do something else.  And as I looked over the empty rings, I began to think of what happens after everyone goes home.  At the end of the day, what does it really matter?  Another trophy on the wall?  Another ribbon to hang?  What is the point?  I'm not saying these things are bad, but all of a sudden I understood how she could find "a higher calling".

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