GA

painting FL painting with Tommy's help

painting FL painting with Tommy’s help

LQ window view

LQ window view

Tommy learning to stay out of the corral

Tommy learning to stay out of the corral

horses in the portable electric corral

horses in the portable electric corral

dogwood trees in the woods

dogwood trees in the woods

riding with Chatahoochie trail riding club folks checking where we are

riding with Chatahoochie trail riding club folks checking where we are

IMG_6355

IMG_6356

Mingos trail map

Mingos trail map

Tommy's learned how to jump up into the bed, but getting down is scarey

Tommy’s learned how to jump up into the bed, but getting down is scarey

IMG_63634/4/14 Friday AM; Toomsboro, GA Mingo Trail
I’ve been back on the road since the 1st of April. Roger & Marion were a huge help and support getting me going. Marion is a soul mate of mine. My memories of being in her backyard barn and riding the canals of Jupiter Farms with her and her arabs are really fine. I miss her but she will never be gone from me really. She gave me a string of beads that I am still wearing.

The day before I left I went to the humane society and picked up Tommy, a stray that I discovered on the internet a few weeks before when surfing the web. He struck a cord with me then and it nagged at me until I went and got him. Our bond was instant. He is about a year old kind of black labish looking with a little white on his chest. He still needs to gain some more weight and we haven’t been apart since except when I drove off on an errand back in FL. Today will be the first time, I will be riding today and I don’t think I should take him with me yet. I will either leave him tied at camp or in the trailer, not sure yet. I’ll only be gone a few hours, its my first ride here in GA and its a pony day. I intend to go out with some other campers I met yesterday around 10:00.

The night I got in I was tired and crabby. I had been hauling for 2 days, about 6 hours each and my lower back was starting to say quit sitting or you’re gonna be sorry. Tommy’s puppy antics were getting on my nerves as I was trying to set up the portable corral. There were swarms of gnats and it was hot. And not a soul here which I found pretty disappointing and a little frightening. But I got my pick of the sites and like my set up.

Yesterday I was still run down so I took a nap which did the trick. I often don’t realize when I am hungry or tired, I should make a sign for the trailer: FEELING BLUE? EAT SOMETHING AND NAP!

A woman and young girl pulled in with a trailer for a day ride. She is an endurance rider and brought along her “God child” and her rescue pony. She has a totally disabled 23 year old daughter yet has taken this 12 year old (who has a “mom problem”) under her wing as well. The human capacity of the heart overwhelms me.

I painted the FL painting finally. I had been putting it off, not being able to choose a shot to use, I had so many. I ended up using the one I had taken on one of my very first rides there in Loxahatchee Slough. It shows the tropical lush habitat well.

I also worked with Tommy. He is a fast learner and we worked on the basics. I can trust him off leash now and one of my horses taught him to stay away from them (I heard his squeel from inside the trailer). I gave him a medicated bath for his dandruffy skin and brushed out gobs of hair. I really do love him so much already.

Two camper trailers arrived later on and are here for a group trail ride so I guess a few more will arrive today. They invited me to ride and join their pot luck dinners. They are all from GA. GA has an abundance of places to ride thanks to their groups efforts with the state parks. This place, Mingo Trail is not a park, it is owned by a few people that live around the property and has been in one family for generations. You can join for $100 a year, what a bargain! There are over 100 sites with electric and water, all shaded by tall pine trees. There are 7 bathhouses and a lodge with a full kitchen. One of the owners came by to say hi and said they have Kareoke when there are group rides scheduled, he loves Kareoke. He had two little girls with him in the golf cart and 2 dogs following alongside.

The mares are good. I saw Wildflower digging and eating dirt like she used to do as a baby. Later she was laying down groaning. I’ve seen her do this once before in CA so I wasn’t too worried. I gave her probiotics in her feed and then salted her tongue like Marci used to do. She is fine now. Dreamy looked sore, she kept resting her front legs, oddly not favoring one side like she usually would do. I decided to give her her Adequan a little early. I had been thinking about this for the past few shots actually, so this time its 2-1/2 weeks but I’m thinking I should plan on every 2 weeks from now on. The thought of retiring her is distressing, I wish I knew exactly how uncomfortable she was.

OK, the sun is up and I hear the girls snorting, time to feed.

4/5/14 Saturday afternoon
There are a lot more campers here now. At least 6 big trailers plus the day riders I met came back for another day ride. I got to thinking that I will probably be alone during the weekdays (duh) and have company on the weekends. I better get used to it.

Yesterday I ponied WF with Bobbi, Bill and his wife (name?) for 2-1/2 hours. Bobbi is here with her mom who hangs at camp and reads while Bobbi rides. She is a flight attendant with Delta. They have a few dogs with them too. Bobbi got married 5 years ago and has a 6 year old step child. We talked about divorce and kids a bit. Her new hubby has snakes, big ones like boa constrictors. One attacked him and he had to pry it off his arms with a chisel, the only thing he could reach since it had both his arms. The snake died and he felt terrible. I asked her if she knew he had snakes when she started dating him and yes she did. She prefers animals that “have fur and you can kiss” and I guess their farm has a ton of them, she takes in every stray. She has a huge heart.

I ate dinner with the Chatahoochie trail group last night. There are two women who are very experienced campers, all of them are really. They all live on farms and know a lot more than I do about all this stuff. Anyways, one of those two asked me about feeding. This is my toughest issue really. And I had kind of forgotten about the trials I’ve had. Retelling it reminded me and I decided to go back to the 5lb Nutrena Safe Choice & 15lb hay per horse per day that I was on prior to FL. It will give me more consistency thru the country when I can’t find timothy hay. And the bags are easy to store in the 3rd stall and are more compact than hay (which rides in the truck bed and is more suseptable to the rain).

After dinner we were saranaded by some guys doing Kareoke in the lodge till 10. I stopped by to see it, they couldn’t sing at all but were having a blast. Tommy tried to bite one of the guys hands as he approached him, but he missed, I had him by the collar. He is very protective/aggressive? I need to be careful about letting him off leash. Most camps insist on leashing anyway.

I’ve been so tired I have napped every day but couldn’t actually fall asleep today. I don’t know why I am so tired. Its annoying.

Tommy was good on his first trail ride with Dreamy this morning except when we passed thru camp and he got distracted by the dogs here. A fellow camper helped get him back on track to me. Most places don’t allow you to ride with the dogs anyway, but I like it when I am alone. It makes the horse more comfortable going out alone and I like the added protection and company. He has settled down at night more and doesn’t bother me all night now, mouthing and licking me all over. He is totally crashed right now, the ride this morning wore him out which is what I wanted anyways.

So I leave here tomorrow. 4 nights goes by fast but to finish by September I have to stick to this plan for now. Rachel was texting me yesterday about seeing her in Texas and I started getting anxious and feeling guilty about not being able to but it was her that said she was going to LA for Easter and that was when I would of been able to arrange it. And to make flying changes now is not easy to do. I have April all booked and planned and don’t want to change it until I am into a routine again. The transition to this life is difficult. This life is hard but I do feel better because I am so busy. I just wish the self doubt would go away. I wish I had my confidence back. It pisses me off.

I rode WF with Katherine and Mckensey (the woman and child I met my first day here) today. They friended me on FB and asked me if they could bring anything with them since they were coming to ride here again today. They brought me oatmeal and raisins, I’ve been missing a hearty breakfast. Southern hospitality! After riding I sat to have lunch with them. I love listening to their southern accents and Mckensey calling everyone Miss— and Mame. Mckensey asked me if I knew what tourettes was. I do. Its a form of OCD. She said she had ocd too, and then told me about a friend of hers with tourettes. Katherine joined us and showed me pictures on her phone of her daughters. One who looks just like her, was born premature and has brain damage. She is 23. The other girl is in the army (she joined because she said her parents were too strict. Katherine said her boot camp letters home were interesting, “you could wring the tears out of them”. I just love the way southerners say things). Anyway, she is gay and married. She showed me their photo and I asked about the military’s position and all that. Katherine is a nurse and does hospice care. They way she talked about end of life care was so beautiful, if we could all think that way there would be no suffering elderly people. She went back to work after raising her kids and said it was scary, I understand that! I found her to be a remarkable woman and I was blessed to get to know her a little.

Another camper joined our lunch table and we started sharing about our lives. She is caring for an invalid husband whom she had previously left because he was abusive. Altho I had always thought that would be my worst nightmare, she didn’t see it that way apparently.

I think my GA lesson has been about the ability of the human heart to be overwhelmingly compassionate and loving and forgiving. These are lessons that I need to hear over and over. It is reinforcing my trust in people again. I always feel like I am not as good as everyone when I meet them, they have a job, a husband, a home, more experience with horse camping, etc…then I hear their life stories and they are filled with tragedy which they overcome somehow, almost everyone. My “tragedy” seems pitiful compared to theirs usually. Then I just feel like a whiner.

I just turned the page in the daily inspirational book I was given back in NC. OMG, its all about weakness and feeling inadequate! I should of read it this morning! I thank Susan every day for giving me this book.

Saturday night
I had supper with the Chattahoochie group again. They heard of a few of my stories about my trip tonight. I heard a few of their stories about horse camping (they talked me into signing up for US Rider insurance btw) and some truly disturbing first hand stories about child welfare negligence in the state of Georgia. It seems that the courts here honor the mother’s custody no matter what evidence of child abuse they have. Two of the women are dealing with horror stories on a daily basis with step children and grandchildren. Its a wonder there are not more murders here. The system is seriously screwed up and the suffering of these kids is unforgivable.

Every one of these 7 women has a tractor and knows how to use it. I am so impressed by them all. I’ve had some past campfire conversations with women about the amenities in their living quarters. Not one of these women asked me about that. They only were interested in how much the trailer weighed, what kind of truck it was, what I feed my horses, stuff like that. I really wish that I had grown up in the country. I know they have very hard lives too but they are so down to earth and real. If they only knew the kind of life I lived before, but maybe they have some idea just by the kind of questions I ask them, lol. They wanted to know why I started this trip. They thought it was funny that my therapist told me I should do it. They were shocked that I had never even gone horse camping before I bought the trailer. Or that I bought the truck not knowing what I was needing. I gave them a brief explanation on a bunch of SHLEP’s history to date, gave them my blog cards and said good night. I filled up my water tanks, put my camping fees in the box in the lodge, kissed my mares good night, took a shower and am heading off to sleep. I’m going to try and get an early start, something I kind of suck at but I’m thinking I won’t be so wiped out when I get to Heart of Dixie Trail Ride tomorrow, like I was when I got here, if I get on the road earlier. I feel good again. What a roller coaster ride.

Tomorrow is my dad’s birthday, Happy happy birthday dad!! I miss you and love you so.

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