Arabian mishap

Happy to see each other!

Happy to see each other!

The moon always insprires me to ride out of depression. So does Zil.

Right now there is no moon, and Zil is hunched miserably out in the pouring rain with her pasturemates, who all stubbornly refuse the option of shelter. I am sitting in my bedroom fighting thoughts of doom and gloom.

Before the bad weather hit, we had a couple more nice walks on the county road while the snow was melting, and then, at last, a week ago, we RODE!

I had to force myself, because of the depression + migraine I had, but I was NOT going to waste the beautiful day and the opportunity to enjoy my beloved’s healing properties, and, of course, her pleasant company. Will prevailed.

I tacked her up at the front porch because my western saddle was there in the sun room, waiting to be cleaned and oiled, along with her bridle, so her bit was kept hanging in there in the sun rather than out in the freezing tack room. I rode her through the yard and opened the gate off her. Pretty good, I thought, after so many weeks of no practice.

The county road was still slushy and slippery in places, but overall had scoped out doable in yesterday’s walk, so we headed north up the road. Immediately, Zil became Zilla (as in Godzilla), because she wanted to evade every cue and be the one to decide everything, most particularly when to trot. Her whoa, well, it seems she lost it somewhere. I let her go, and then when she wanted to stop, I just “let” her keep on a’goin. We walked and trotted up to the next county road. Turn on the haunches, and then back toward the house again.

I’d wised up and had her more in hand by the next couple of rides. Though we rode in a western saddle, we communicated through the English cues and I at last had her trotting along at an even tempo with a nice headset. All was fine and good until I asked her to transition to a walk. She ignored my cues. So I asked again, a bit more loudly. Nada. During the third try, she put her nose in the air. Our even tempo was long gone.

She decided to evade further. This evasion was to make a sudden dash for offroad, onto the smooth snowfield alongside.

Big mistake. The snow was covering a steep, deep dropoff, which I knew about and she should have, having just watched her paint friend Stetson do the same stupid thing on the previous day, but fortunately, without a rider. Zilla and I were solo this day…

She immediately plunged down into snow that came up to her chest and stumbled, just as her hind foot stepped off the solid ground. My legs were in the snow. By now I had forgotten I ever had a migraine, or bipolar, or depression! Surprising myself, I found that I was secure in the saddle, was going nowhere that Zil didn’t, and was more concerned about her than about falling off as we wallowed chaotically. However, I was glad I was in the western saddle, not the English. I just threw away the reins and gave her her head.

In just a moment Zil found her feet again and plunged out of the snow like a gopher out of its hole! She seemed none the worse for the “fall,” no limping, no lameness. She did listen to me very well for the rest of the ride. I think she got a self-taught attitude adjustment.

That was an excellent adventure, but I wouldn’t want to repeat it, and neither would she, I bet!

When we got home, it was a long, ugly procedure to close the driveway gate off her, but we did it. Then, not frozen enough, I decided to work on her dredlocks. I didn’t groom her otherwise, though she loves it, because I don’t like the idea I’m disturbing the insulation fluff of her coat. Here is a picture of her dredlocks:

DredlocksThis was AFTER I had divided one into thirds and worked it out. I got another one out and finger-combed her mane, hoping the monstrosity wouldn’t have re-formed by the next day.

Now it’s all gray, rain, and overly warm (40’s – 50 in the daytime) but still won’t stop raining, and is cold enough to make Zil shiver in the night–she doesn’t get a barn stall 😦 so they all get extra hay to burn and hopefully stay warmer.

Zil looking awayI like sunny day pictures. On days like today, no pics. All I do is feed them and bring them treats, and tell Zil how much I love her.

Now see what I did there? I forgot all about how depressed and useless I was, thinking about Zil. If you are reading this, I truly hope you have something, large or small, that inspires you, too! 😀


It’s the sun that gets us up


Last week, inspired by someone else, I began a series of real tries to fight my bipolar symptoms by getting up and outside with Zil. I’ve missed her so much, and blamed the cold. All I have been doing is hurting myself and her by blaming the cold. It was me.

When I first went out to her she was standoffish. I recognized the behavior. It’s the snooty thing Arabian horses do when you have left them alone for too long.

You’ve been neglecting to worship me, so why should I come to you now?

It lasts about ten minutes, max. Then it’s rubbing, nuzzling, loving on for the duration.

I could not stick around to wait for it. I had to find her halter. Not “a” halter, her halter. I couldn’t find it! Me, who’s always so concerned about everything equine being put away just so! I tried not to freak out, and grabbed a random one of red rope (she looks good in red).

Once she saw the halter, oh, boy, it was a different story. Halter? You’re going to halter me and do something with me? Oh, here I am, please hurry!

Oh, the joyous loving then! I took her to water (hers was frozen and she refuses to drink from the stream), and then let her browse around some for hay and whatnot. Then I took her out on the county road for a walk.  After so long (since before Christmas) she was good as gold. Loose lead, shoulder or neck beside me, turning with me, moving over without being asked, everything–thank goodness, since I was wearing Bogs and the snowpack was trying to melt…had she flipped out there, we could have had quite a wreck!

She only spooked a little past one of the neighbors’ houses, where our Pomeranian, who I did not know was following us, got into a tiff with their dogs. Zil jumped, I did my usual fruitless yelling at Hardhead (aka Dumb-As-A-Rock) and got us past there. Up at the next mailbox we turned around.

We walked briskly back to our place and right on past. Her ears stayed forward and she was clearly smiling and interested all the way down our fence line, despite the frantic geldings in the pasture. Only once we passed our property line did anything change. Her ears swiveled backward, staying in touch with what was going on at home. We spent a happy hour together.

I led her to the candy store (feed shed) and gave her a couple of treats, took her to water again, and put her away, with much scratching and rubbing. She is allowed to rub on me. Though it’s a sign of dominance normally, and not a loving gesture (as many horse owners would like to believe) Zil has learned to do it only when invited, and her reward is that I rub and scratch all over her head.

Later I busted the ice out of EVERYTHING that contained water, even the trough of the rescue horses who had already made it plain they disdained it…they were all 100% committed to the stream….

In her OWN halter!

In her OWN halter!

That wonderful hour made a lot of difference, out in the bright sun, walking with my forever friend. Human friends can hurt you, but your horse always forgives and never stops loving you. There was the benefit of the sun they always talk about (I don’t know how that works when you are so bundled up that the most sun you get is the stray ray that might occasionally hit part of your face), but mostly it was the time spent with Zil, and the feeling of accomplishment that went along with pushing myself out of my cocoon to enjoy the adventure!

Something to hold on to

Today the foul and fickle winter weather foiled our freedom to frolic……too much alliteration, yesss.

But I shan’t share the walk I sadly did not take with little Zil today in the gray cold, but rather recall my feelings at the time, almost to the day, that she was a month old.

Little Zil

Little Zil

Here in this picture, she is closer to the 4-month range; unfortunately we weren’t all that great about taking pictures of things, including loved ones, in those days. Thank God for friends with cameras! Myself, I had regressed emotionally to the condition of a child, a teenager in my thoughts. I feel that during bipolar and depressive episodes regression is part of my pattern.

Foals are so much more mindful than humans. Zil spent much of her time unruffled by the turmoil surrounding her; she was concentrating wholly on her experiences: drinking in mother’s warm milk; nibbling delightful grass, flowers, and manure; lifting her spirit at interesting sights, sounds, and smells; and chiefly remaining a very calm little horse, for her mother Tempo was very laid-back at the time herself.

Zil grazing, mindfully

Zil grazing, mindfully


“Today I had an appointment with the doctor about the headaches (3-5 migraines in a 7-day week). She gave me Lyrica to try, 3 months worth of samples. I had a miniature panic attack in the waiting room. I’ve been a wreck. Trigger: The death of Sam, a fictional TV character–I’m too old to care so much. To be so destroyed. There must be more to it, but all I know is, it’s catalyzed this huge depression, and a song on the radio put my finger on it. I wish I was dead. Not because I hate the world or anyone else, just because of me. I don’t like what/who I am. I hate a lot of aspects of being me. If I were dead, then I would be over. I’d be over myself. There would be no more of this hate, no more apathy. [God, I sound like a teenager (no offense to teens), don’t I? I felt exactly the same way when I was a teen, too.] I know that when I am writing, which I need, I  become even harder for others to live with. So in a way it’s good for everyone else that I’m not writing. But it’s not good for me. If I were to compile a list of all the things I hate about myself then there would be only one logical option: work to change the things. Putting a gun in my mouth & pulling the trigger would make no sense at all.

Little Zil's face

Little Zil’s face

“But changing “things” about myself is not so easy. And I can’t get rid of bad memories, past failures, and so forth. Stress, all this stress. How will I get Ziggy back up from the forty? How bad are Sunflower’s cuts, really? How will I get weight on Emily? We can’t pay our bills. “Changing things” won’t fix any of this, which all would manageable on some level if I didn’t hate myself.

“One good thing in my life: Zil.

“Zil is beautiful, magnificent. I hope nobody has already registered an Arab to the name Zil. Zil is a *Bask great-granddaughter. Did I already mention she’s magnificent? So is her mom, Tempo.”

So it should have been easy at the time that was written to fall back on horses in my time of need, as I had done with plastic ones as a child. Even if when only a thought expressed in childlike language. But it wasn’t. Except for Zil. By then, horses in general had the tendency to generate as much stress as delight in my view of the world and existence in general. To find that it was ZIL who made me happy when nothing else could, is a marvel indeed. This was long before in my rational mind I was even considering Zil as anything more solid than a love of my heart. Unlike all the other foals, she withheld affection, and treated me as a tree or a rock or some other inanimate thing that was in her way at times, and at times not in her way. I had to be okay with that, and I was.

(FYI: Did the Lyrica work for my particular migraines under my particular conditions? No, it did not).

-photos taken by M. Wyller.

Across the water

There she is, across the water
waiting for me, unconcerned
head down, forelock wind-blown,
lips whiffling the snow
searching for the impossible grass.

There she stands, looking out
across the long forty, high and low, swept
like the gentle curves of her face
in seeming indifference

to my hand outstretched
across the deep cut, the ice,
the long drop, the innavigable
water, unsufferable as despair.

Her black tail veiling her fetlocks
her mane a labyrinth of snarls
she knows, but cannot show it
how broken my soul is

not to reach her. For I stand
not upon the bank
but at my window.

My fingers touch not the wind
but the frosty glass
not ten feet from my bed.

The wish for tears frozen inside
to be cried into her neck
remains searing

I know how to be healed
and my will alone

cannot move my feet.