Posted tagged ‘family’

2019 Prospective

December 30, 2018

End of December is the time for retrospectives of the year. A lot of the bloggers I follow have posted theirs already. One stated that blogs are old school and announced she is moving to other venues, pod casts, on line classrooms, for a fee. The free blog will remain, but I wonder for how long. Everyone must make a living. I get that.

Rather than looking back, I am looking toward 2019. Disclaimer-despite my fondness for Tarot, I am not clairvoyant. Expectations may or may not be realized. There will be hardships. There will be moments of joy. My hope is joy will out weight hardships.

And what are my expectations?

I expect to laugh and cry with those I love. I expect to continue preparing for retirement. I expect to ride Jigs down new trails. I expect to attend horse events, lessons, cow sorting, versatility, maybe a show if I get brave. I expect to win a few ribbons. Maybe.

Missing are my wished-for things: economic stability, a truck, Jigs at home with me, a finished book of poetry, 40 years in the making.


On January first, I will take down the ribbons Jigs won in 2018 and put away the memories of our successes, near successes, and yes, failures.

The space above his stall will be empty- a proverbial blank slate- a space for realized possibilities that will become 2019.

Happy New Year’s!


Equine Mind Reader

August 8, 2015

Something strange freaky happened today while Jigs and I were finishing a 9 mile ride.  We were heading home by way of  a rocky trail and 800 feet of highway.  I walk on the road with Jigs because there is too much traffic. I just don’t bounce like I used to.

I was wishing for a trail to cut through the woods that would avoid the power line and the 800 feet of cars whizzing by.  A few years back we found a footpath to an abandoned archeological dig but it was not passable. We tried bushwhacking a few times to find a shortcut from the site back to the barn, but never found one.

I no sooner let go of the thought when Jigs turned into the woods. Huh? Why not humor him? We had time. Sure enough, he found the old dig site and a TRAIL leading to the train tracks that pass near the pine grove trails and the barn.

I was stunned…..   Is Jigs able to read my mind???  Now wouldn’t that be the ultimate partnership?

We rode beside the tracks and out to the pine grove, avoiding the steep, rocky, power line and the highway.  It was a bit unnerving because freight trains use the tracks. There was enough room to avoid them, but thankfully, there were none.

It’s not a way I would go again because of the trains.  While the horses see and hear them frequently, I’d rather not take any chances.

It was a strange ending to an otherwise great ride….how the heck did that red pony know what I was thinking…….?  If he can read my mind, why can’t we side pass stage left????

In th Woods

Snow Globe

February 25, 2015










The world spins;

snow falls.

Lungs flush,

steam puff,

odorless, dry.

No birds sing,

shake wings

in the low sky.

A distant plow

beeps back

red glow.

The world spins,

snow falls:



January 1, 2015

New Year’s Day. It’s the day I take the ribbons off Jig’s stall door. He had a decent 2014. We managed to get a few first and second places at different small venues. More importantly, we had fun.

For most people this is the time for resolutions and goals for the coming year. While there are some things I will continue to work on (cantering), my real goals are to be kind and have fun. I think if I can manage to these two things, 2015 will be fine.

We can’t control the events that happen to us, nor can we foresee them. What we can control is how we react to the chaos that happens around us and how we treat others. My hope is that I do not forget that in 2015.

Happy New Year!

DSCF3915 (2)

Another Vacation Post

June 27, 2014

It’s that time again- the last day of vacation. There is still the weekend, but that doesn’t count.  It’s back to work on Monday.

Of course I had sensible plans for the week-pressure wash the house, give my room a good scrub, mow the lawn, send hoof boots off to have studs added, sort though my tack at the barn and in the cellar, ride my horse… BUT, not much of it got done.

I did send the hoof boots.


And I rode in my Brand NEW Saddle!   So far we have logged over 20 miles in it!



The house will get pressure washed in a few weeks.  The rest will get done too.  But for now, off to ride!


A New Season

September 22, 2013

Summer’s over.

It was not the Summer I expected and I’m glad it is over.

I didn’t ride as much as past summers and as a result, someone at the barn joked Jigs is “getting fat”.

He’s not, but it is true he’s not as fit as past years. Work kept me from riding in the evening. My dad was in the nursing home and died in August. I am still shell shocked.

And now it is autumn.

Last weekend Jigs and I did a hunter pace in Douglas State Forest. We did well, even going over some small jumps bumps. (Jigs and I have a no jumping rule). With our partners (human and equine), we finished in 4th place, 10 minutes ahead of the ideal pace (ok, it was in the slowest division). Jigs was exhausted when we were done. I’d ask for a canter and the response was, “I don’t want to.” It took lots of leg to change his mind.

Yesterday we did the Tyrone Farm Judged Pleasure ride. I didn’t know what to expect. Two of the obstacles were similar to the ones we do in versatility- dismount/mount and pickup up and move a cup. The other two were not. One was a step down jump- 3 feet. We chickened out and stepped off the side (2 feet).  The other obstacle was to canter a figure 8 downhill in an open field, stopping between loops. Jigs and I managed it breaking gait once and missing the one of the stops. He got his leads correct though!

It was good enough for third place in our division.

It was a glorious: nine miles for soft trails across beautiful landscape.

Tyrone FarnfieldIn the woods

Autumn is the best time to ride in New England. It’s cooler. The bugs are gone. And the trees are starting to turn.  It’s time to get Jigs back into peak form.

Joseph Oliver Paul Nov. 2, 1935 – Aug. 25, 2013

September 1, 2013

“An aged man is but a paltry thing, A tattered coat upon a stick, unless Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing For every tatter in its mortal dress,” – William Butler Yeats

For the last 21 years, my father couldn’t sing. But in a way, his life was his song, a gift he gave to us.


Joseph Oliver Paul

Joseph O Paul

Joe Paul

Joe…  loathed his middle name.  The mischievous daughter in me particularly enjoyed writing out checks to Joseph O Paul because I knew he hated it when the bank teller asked, “What does the O stand for?”

He was my father but like ever one else, I just called him Joe.

My father was not a rich man. He didn’t leave behind a big bank account or a successful dynasty, but, he did leave behind many people who love him.

Joe worked hard most of his life, he had to, his own father died when he was 13. They were building a stone wall together when his father collapsed and died. As the oldest, he became the man of the family, taking on part time jobs to help support his mother, younger brother, and baby sister.  Summers picking strawberries and tending chickens on his cousin’s farm were not easy but it was for his family.

A few years ago my mother was clearing out some papers and found an acceptance letter from Brown University. He never told my mother he had been accepted at Brown. When she asked him why he said, “couldn’t afford it- didn’t matter.” He had to move on.

Joe’s life was touched by tragedy more than once.

On Thanksgiving night, 1957, his 17 year old brother was killed in a car accident. He happened upon the scene with his uncle. What he saw was devastating, but he pulled himself together, went home, and helped his mother through the nightmare. The shirt Johnny gave him for his birthday that year remains unopened to this day resting in his dresser draw.

Tragic events like this might have broken a lesser man. But not Joe.

It taught him how to help others through their difficult times.  Whether it was a terminal illness or unexpected death, he was there. He knew what need to be done and did it.

Joe himself survived a cancer that left him unable to speak without a mechanical aid.  I don’t remember the sound of my father’s natural voice but I do remember how people stared at him in restaurants when he spoke with the speech aid. It never bothered him; in fact, many times he turned and patiently explained to them, “This is what happens if you smoke.”

He volunteered at schools, telling his story to youngsters, hoping to dissuade them from smoking. He believed if he stopped just one kid from smoking, it was worth it.

Joe’s granddaughters idolized him. And he spoiled them, driving the long way home from day care to give them enough time to finish the extra-treats he snuck them. My mother and I never knew.  He loved them unconditionally. He was their “Grandpa Joe.”

Joe made sure I had what I needed too. More than once he hurried to my house to repair a broken pipe late at night or bring me a second set of keys when I locked myself out of my car. (Twice in the same month, it’s a talent, what can I say?)

Christmas mornings at 5 Bowman Lane were magical. Joe loved that day. Friends dropped in and out to share greetings and a drink. We’ve missed that the past few years.

A good neighbor, he was quick to offer a hand with a project or a job that needed doing, whether it was pouring concrete or bringing in a field of hay. He was friendly too, making sure to wave every time you drove by.  Although he learned the hard way you should put the rock down before waving or suffer a broken foot.

Joe was generous with his time. For as long I can remember, he spent every Thanksgiving preparing dinner for local elderly at the Knights of Columbus hall.  As painful as Thanksgiving was for him personally, he spent it helping others.

That was just who Joe Paul was, for his heart was immense and he willingly shared it with us, never asking anything in return.

I am grateful to have known him and privileged to call him my father.

I love you Dad. You are missed.

Playing in Puddles

June 10, 2013

The hard rain that pelted us the other night left giant patches of water on the trails.  I felt like a KID trotting through them, instead of the silly middling aged woman I am.  (Yes, we turned back and crossed again and again.)

Getting wet

Getting wet

Giant Ran Puddle

Giant Ran Puddle

It occurs to me finding a bit of silliness is a great gift.

Of horses, neighbors, and common courtesy

May 9, 2013


When I grew up there was open space, woods, farms and places to play. Many people kept horses in their back yard and tons of trails were nearby. I remember spending my summer days wandering woods and fields that no longer exist.

Then came the 80s and eastern Worcester county was overrun with development.  McMansions replaced woods and fields. Newcomers did not appreciate the inconvenience of living near livestock. Towns passed laws to appease them. The town I grew up in overdeveloped into a near continuous maze of expensive boxes with small lawns. Woods are gone. There are no longer any working farms. The remaining trails are on “conservation” land not accessible by horses. Not that there are many left in town.

It is sad.

One town over, Grafton fared much better. Development was tempered with open space requirements. Miles of trails remain.  There are still some open fields and horses.

Those of us with horses should respect our non-horse loving neighbors. Not everyone is thrilled at the sight of a horse passing their house.  Nor do they appreciate “gifts” left in the road.

It is important we respect this.  It only takes a few moments to clear the road of droppings. It is common courtesy and goes a long way to keep the peace with neighbors. Not every rider feels this way.  Recently I heard a third hand account of a rider being rude to a neighbor who asked them to clean up their horse’s mess. What a shame. I’d hate to see this behavior hurt the rest of us to who try to be good neighbors. We have to use the road to get access to the trails. What if we were prevented access?

At the same time, our neighbors should use common sense when passing riders on the road. Over the past few weeks my horse has been spooked several times by trucks and cars. One young woman was speeding down the dirt road we were on. I asked her to slow down and when she came up beside me she actually sped up and laughed. Not only was that rude, it was against Massachusetts law, which requires drivers to slow down when approaching livestock.

We share the town and the roads. It would be sad to see the horses pushed out of town because we can’t be nice to one another. It doesn’t take much effort to be respectful and courteous. And it is the right thing to do.


February 18, 2013

I’ve been avoiding writing lately. Writing requires thinking. Thinking takes energy- something I seem to be lacking of late.

I wonder if this is how bears feel upon waking from their long sleep?  I just want to pull the blanket over my eyes, roll over, and go back to the warmth of dreams.

Still February. Still Cold. Still snow. Lots of Wind.

While I have suffered from ennui, the horses are READY to GO….. even Jigs. He’s got the Yahoo bug just like all his herd mates.

I’m too old for Yahooing.

The trails are snow covered, but the footing is not too bad.

Poor Jigs.  He’s had to walk through the snow with only short periods of slow trotting. He thinks it would be more fun to GALLOP.

Such an indignity for the split eared sorrel.

Snow trail