Horse Stories, My Horse, Missy, My Horse, Roo, My Horse, Rose

The Story of Rose

Horse StoriesThe quality that first attracted me to my beloved horse Rose, was her spirit. She came to me, a five-year-old mare, a Leo horse with racing blood running through her veins. I was introduced to her one fall night, when a friend of mine wanted to ride. My current steed, a gentle, well-seasoned ex-show Quarter Horse, TJ, was suited perfectly for her riding abilities. I, on the other hand, needed a horse to ride, so I asked the stable owner if he had a horse that needed exercise. It just so happened they had the perfect horse, a sweet little mare that needed attention. I jumped at the opportunity.

By the time I saddled TJ, the sun had already set, so we led him from the stables to a lighted arena outside. The air was cool and crisp, our first reprieve from a brutal summer filled with extended months bearing temperatures reaching three digits. I settled my friend upon TJ, started her in a steady walk. Looking up and saw a beautiful chestnut Quarter Horse mare with a white blaze being led to me. Lifting myself into the saddle we set out after my friend.

Rose was a powerhouse, full of pent-up energy, which the cool night air only fueled. Understanding her need to open-up and stretch her legs, I allowed her freedom as we hacked around the arena. The warm-up only fed her passion to run and so, after a few minutes of posting her lovely trot, I allowed her to pick-up a canter—and what bliss! She ran like the wind, nostrils flared, snorting with each downward strike of her front legs. I had never felt such raw power—I fell madly in love with her.

That night at home, I was in a bit of a daze, dreaming about that glorious ride. The next day I asked if I could ride her again. The stable manager said, yes, I could ride her whenever I wanted.

My Beloved Rose

Taking Rose out into a larger pasture, I warmed her up posting, reining in her desire to run. She quickly worked up a sweat, prancing about, snorting, while I mapped out a level path where I could open her up. When I gave her the signal, she shot forth like a bullet, the wind whistled in our ears as her mighty hooves thundered. I couldn’t remember having more fun. This mare had captured my heart. What’s more, riding her sent me back to my teens with my first horse Missy, a stunning Appendix Quarter Horse mare.

Summer on Missy
Missy & Me. I was 15yrs.

Missy was my learning horse. While she grazed in the pasture I often vaulted onto her back, sending her into a tailspin to get me off. At first, I always fell, but motivated by youthful determination, I jumped back on, until I learned to ride through her bucking, my horse being as determined as me. Once the running and bucking, jumping and play was over, Missy grazed. Allowing me to simply sit on her back, which often turned into my napping on her back, sitting backwards with her smooth rump as my pillow.

Rose and I enjoyed unshackled rides too, bareback and free. She too submitted to my need to be as close to her as I could get, to use her equally ample rump as a pillow. Particularly when she became mine. Under saddle, it was a different story. That’s when we galloped across roomy fields racing the wind, feeding each other’s souls.

In all sincerity, my early pasture days with Rose consisted mainly of horse runs, rider hangs on. I thrived on the adrenaline rush she gave me. But in time, I came to my senses and started to practice disciple. Rose, of course, balked at this, but we soon grew together until reaching moments of pure precision. Oneness, where you and your horse move together in a synchronized form, like dancing.

Even when Rose was in her later years, I could see traces of her wild spirit, though she mellowed with age, into a comfortable mare I could trust with small children.

In those early days, our favorite pasture became the grazing ground for other horses. On occasion, the herd joined us in our runs. One fall afternoon, Rose and I were warming up away from the herd, working at a nice, rhythmic trot, when unexpectedly she bolted into a side step.

What in tarnation was that all about? I wondered.

Suddenly, she did it again, this time pivoting around with her ears pointed, nostrils flared, eyes wide, snorting heavily as if trying to rid herself of an offensive smell.

There to the side of us stood a little donkey, looking very forlorn and lonesome.

Rose continued to snort, staring at the donkey. I gave her a reassuring pat and signaled for her to trot forward. She sidestepped the first few steps, keeping her eye on the donkey, before easing into a nice pace, enjoying ourselves.

She bolted again, pivoting round. The donkey was following us.

Great, I thought. I positioned Rose, so she could get a better look. She merely snorted in distaste, backing up while the donkey watched, looking very rejected. I turned Rose asking her to go forward again. She did, prancing like she was walking on hot coals. The donkey trotted after us. Rose stopped, pivoted to face it and pooped, body quivering.

Finally, I had enough. I asked Rose to canter, which she willingly did, taking a commanding lead away from the donkey, who watched us from the other end of the pasture. However, out-of-sight does not mean out-of-mind! Rose held her body taunt and was skittish, making our ride unpleasant. I, on the other hand, was determined to enjoy the afternoon. I forced myself to relax in the saddle, believing the donkey was no longer a threat. Besides, it seemed a shame to waste a beautiful afternoon.

Several minutes later, I was completely relaxed. Rose too was calm and had dropped her nose to graze. Suddenly, out of the corner of her eye, she saw the donkey. It had worked its way through the woods to where we were. In an instant, Rose bolted into a full gallop, leaving me momentarily suspended in the air for a few fleeting seconds before I crashed hard to the ground. This was the first and only time Rose threw me during the twenty-one years that she was family. I sat on the ground with the donkey watching me.

Needless-to-say, I humored my horse. We never rode in that pasture while the donkey was there. Likewise, I learned that any animal other that a horse, dog, cat, bird and occasional bunny, was perceived by Rose as a horse eating monster. Oh, puddles of water too! And if I ever came across donkeys, I dismounted and led my jittery horse a wide range by.

Years later, after I had moved Rose onto my property in Collyville, TX, so she could be part of our everyday lives, another sweet little guy came into our lives. A little Arabian baby, just four months old, named Roo. Roo, unlike Rose, has always found other animals interesting playmates, such as the baby calves that resided in the pasture next to ours. He befriended them, while Rose maintained a Leery distance. Especially when a cow occasionally jumped the fence to graze in our front lawn.

Roo & Me 1
Roo as a yearling & Me in Colleyville

When I wrote this many years ago, both Rose and Roo were peacefully grazing together. I was watching them from my office window. Upon a closer look, I saw that Roo had a bird sitting contently on his back. At first, he seemed to pay no attention to it, until the bird began hopping around. Roo stopped grazing and looked over his left shoulder. Seeing the bird, he stretched his neck as far as possible, reaching his nose toward the bird. The bird hopped just out of reach. Roo switched sides, stretching to the right. Again, the bird hopped out of reach.

Amused, I saw Roo become perplexed with the bird. I went to his rescue, offering him an apple at the fence. As he trotted over to me the pesky bird flew away. I fed him the apple, giving his back a good scratch.

Rose, Roo, Me, Colleyville Garden
Roo, 7yrs old & an elderly Rose, with me

Out of nowhere, a white plastic bag popped up, carried by the wind. Snorting, Roo watched the horrific thing float by. I made a mental note to start teaching him that bags and such things as basically harmless. As if reading my mind, he snorted and nuzzled my hand, licking the apple juice from my palm. Once again reminding me of how blessed I am in so many ways. To love a horse and own them is one of my greatest gifts.


Raising a Child with Special Needs, Update!

Message from Louisa:

I thought it best to post a quick note for my friends waiting for Part Two of my series, Raising a Child with Special Needs.  I’m delving into the subject of living with ADHD and Dyslexia.  After promising to publish my article in June, I discovered it was best to stop and rethink my thoughts before posting.  I want to share my own account of living 61 years with both conditions, as well as what I learned while raising children with ADHD.

The reason for the delay; My research brought to my attention the accounts of many, highly successful men and women today, who have either ADD, Dyslexia, or, like me, both conditions.  Their accounts echoed the same emotional impact I experienced growing-up as a child with these conditions, as well as the struggles we face as adults.  Turns out, I’m in excellent company and if you or your child are having the same struggles… your in good company too!

I feel a need to share these emotional affects.  Particularly for parents who do not have these conditions, but are raising children who do.  Simply to offer perspective on the emotion impact ADHD and Dyslexia have, not only on a child, but adults.  Understanding is the first step to finding solutions!

Therefore, this article might come in two, separate segments.  But I wanted you to know that I’m working on it!

Thanks, my friends, for your patience!

Meet My Family, Uncategorized

A Traditional Carlos

By, Louisa Cambridge

We have a tradition in our family that when someone we love leaves our home after an extended visit, we say our last farewell, with a Traditional Carlos. A Carlos is nothing more than a wave that is maintained until the car carrying our guest(s) has driven out of our sight. This tradition was established back in the 1970’s by Jeff’s brother, David.

At the time, David was an aspiring actor, living in New York City. Often, he visited a friend named Carlos. When it was time for David to leave Carlos’ apartment, Carlos walked with him outside and waved. He waved as David walked down the sidewalk, maintaining the wave until the top of David’s head disappeared down a stairway leading to the underground Subways. This was how Carlos honored his guests. His way of expressing how important they were to him. David passed this tradition onto our family; in turn, Jeff and I passed it onto ours.

I have come to learn, that the joy and anticipation of waiting for loved ones to arrive, far surpasses that moment when you kiss them goodbye. This knowledge first tenderized my heart when my son Chris left the safe embrace of our home to join the Air Force. I learned the lesson a new when my son Andy left to join the Navy. Today, that same ache fills my heart whenever Aldon leaves… the aftermath of sending him back to Mississippi, to his parent’s loving arms.

This morning as I watched Aldon leave, I waved a Carlos. As our car rounded a corner, disappearing from my sight, tears filled my eyes. Retreating into my house, I sought solitude in my bedroom, where I could be alone with my thoughts and the pain throbbing in my heart.  Too fresh is the memory of my grandson’s embrace. I still smell traces of his Captain America cologne, which I bought for his birthday. My house is full of reminders of him, toys, little gifts he has given me throughout his visit; notes he has written. Now it’s time to be grateful for his sweet mom and dad, who so freely entrust him into our care. He must be released, like his dad and uncle before him.

Strange are the mysteries of life as they unfold… In my youth, I learned to mold myself into a parent, changing my focus from me, to my children. Then one day my children transitioned into adults and I sought after the Grace to release them into the world. All the time, hoping that I had performed my job well enough for them to fly on their own.

Fly they have!

I’m carried back to a holiday when Chris was home, taking leave from the Air Force. This was before 911 struck and we were able to join our loved ones at the airline gates. Jeff, Grandpa Kissell and I went to see Chris off. Once Chris boarded the plane and was out of sight, I saw tears come to Grandpa Kissell’s eyes. His outward display of emotion embarrassed him, but his words echoed my own, “He’s the first!”

When Aldon left our house this morning, he was unaware that his Uncle Chris was waiting for him at the airport, to surprise him. Nor did he know that, Chris was flying back to Mississippi with him to surprise his mom and daddy (Andy).

They’re on the plane right now…

At the beginning of this summer, Jeff and I waited for Aldon’s arrival with eager anticipation. As a family, we have gorged ourselves on laughter, good food and outings. Aldon and I rode Dude, saw Broadway’s, “The Lion King” and went to Six Flags twice. I took him swimming and he rode bikes almost every night with Baboo (Jeff). We celebrated the 4th of July, his birthday and Grandma and Grandpa Kissell moving in with us.

Always, when we gather together as a family, we reminisce over the past, reliving fond memories while discarding the bumpy roads that came our way. We hold each other close, clinging just a little bit tighter How painful that moment is when you kiss a loved one goodbye. The pain is strong, because the love is strong. It is in that moment of departure when your love is the most exposed.

This morning, as I waved a Carlos to Aldon, I felt a swirl of these emotions. After retreating to my room, I let my tears flow freely. Oh, how the well of emotion tugged at my heart! Yet, there was stillness in the moment. Comforting stillness…

In that stillness I saw a gift… It hovered over me, as well as within. The moment I acknowledged the gift, it seemed to swell and radiate a soothing light. I grasped it with hands of faith, holding it close to my heart so the light could fill my soul, ease the pain of separation.

Another memory!

I’ll hang on to this one for a while and let it continue to tenderize my heart, before placing it with all my others… the fragments of time I carefully store in my treasure chest. Marveling, how one little boy can completely melt my heart…

Faith-Based Inspirations, Poems

The Master’s Path

By, Louisa Cambridge
Close the door to what haunts you, your fears from the past.
A new door has opened, Eternity’s path.
This path was created, before there was time.
Carved in it are footprints, with your feet in mind.
Each step, please listen and follow My lead.
This path was created for your life, your needs.
The words of a Poet will draw you along,
To the place where the Master of music and song,
Inspires your heart; your soul, it will sing,
The songs of His Kingdom, the words of the King.
His rhythm will woo you, He’s calling you near,
With the beat of His heart and the noise from His lyre.
His passion and fire swell into a song,
Lifting higher and higher, majestic and strong.
He calls through His Spirit. He knocks at your door.
Listen hard, listen closely, follow and know:
In Him are the answers to all of your needs.
His path reveals treasures, visions and dreams.
Submit to His music, dance with His call…
Move to the ultimate beat of His pulse.
Say NO to the past, to what held and what bound!
His door is wide open. He’s playing your song.

My Life Today!

Celebrating America’s Independence!

By, Louisa Cambridge

July 4, 1776, in the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, a young Continental Congress officiated the United States of America, as a free and independent nation. Free from Great Britain and its king, George III. When the news reached George Washington, the commander of the Continental forces, the declaration seemed a mockery. Situated in todays New York City, Washington and his troops were surrounded by hundreds of British naval ships controlling the New York harbors. By all indications, the American’s were losing the battle by a landstorm.

Five days after congress voted for independence, George Washington stood in front of New York’s, City Hall and read the Declaration of Independence to a crowd gathered around him. The message of disassociation sparked a riot, spiking already frienzied military tensions. Inspired by the birth of our nation, the crowd tore apart a statue of King George, melting it down to make musket balls they used to shoot at the British. A gripping account of this moment in American’s first Revolutionary War is told beautifully in Pulitzer Prize winning author, David McCullough’s book entitled, “1776.”

Thankfully, today, we are still a free nation, independent from tyranny. And although there are nations and peoples that strive to destroy our national values and take from us the freedoms we are privilege to have, we Americans, throughout history, have demonstrated that we know how to unite when Liberty calls us to rally. We rallied after 911, when being an American became more important than our political differences. I witnessed flocks of young men and women independently make the choice to serve our nation by enlisting into the armed forces. My son, Chris, was already in the Air Force when 911 happened, along with my son Patt. Later, my son Andy enlisted, serving in the Navy.

As a parent, watching my children make the choice to willingly put their lives on the line for a cause that was bigger then their dreams, was a defining moment in their growth as individuals! Particularly when they chose a cause that was bigger than my need to keep them away from harm’s way. I watched them, along with dozens of other young men and women, enter boot camp as uncertain kids and graduate as confident adults. I cried as they deployed.

Chris was part of the opening arena of Operation Iraqi Freedom… remember the caravans we watched on TV the first day the war broke lose!?! He was in one of the convoys carrying medical supplies to Baghdad. Andy, was a Navy Seabee. He helped build a city in Ramallah. Both boys, along with their fellow soldiers, endured constant, onslaughts of insurgents firing at them day and night. The sound of bullets whizzing past their ears become so familiar, it was easy to forget someone was always trying to kill you. Both of them came home as disabled vets.

Patt, a Farsir linguist was stationed in Qatar. He flew in rickety old airplanes that were made in the 1960s. His job was to listen to enemy conversations and gather information that aided the United States. The flights were extremely dangerous, because of their close proximity to enemy boarders. But Patt told me, he was more concerned about the condition of the planes they flew in.

While my boys were deployed, I came to know first hand the types of prayers, a praying person who has sent a loved one to war… prays. Prayers that have been lifted to God throughout the history of our nation. Prayed from the hearts and lips of soldiers, and the family members supporting them at home. For me, my most earnest prayer was, “Please let me tell them, at least one more time, in person, how much I love them.” I am so grateful that such an opportunity was given to me. I am also keenly aware of the men and women who never made it home. So are my boys, having each witnessed soldiers that were friends, die.

FREEDOM IS NOT FREE, is the message engraved on the Korean War memorial in Washington, DC. Years ago, when our children were young, Jeff and I took them, along with Grandma and Grandpa Kissell, to Williamsburg, Virginia. In Williamsburg, we saw a bit of America’s prerevolutionary war history. Old stomping grounds walked by some of our founding fathers, including one of Washington’s favorite restaurants. Next, we whisked our family off to Washington, DC, where we toured the White House and Capital building. The kids saw the Smithsonian museums and war memorials.

Dad stood, intrigued with the Korean War Veterans memorial. It was so lifelike, true to form. Even the rifles and canteens. The sight flashed him back to the time when he was dressed in the same attire, fighting in the Army his second war. His first being part of General Patton’s forces in WWII.

As a mother I am so proud of my boys for standing up to serve. As a daughter I’m also proud of my own father, Guy L. Ewing, Jr. for serving in the Navy in WWII. Daddy was issued his draft notice on the very day he graduated from high school. He left his childhood home in Lakewood, Ohio, to sail the Pacific Ocean, never to return the same. As a daughter-in-law, I’m thankful to my father-in-law for his service.

No, freedom is not free. The cost is extremely high! Freedom has stolen the innocence of our youth throughout the history of our country! From the brave soldiers in 1776, shaking in their boots, surrounded by the British, to the soldiers today serving, spending time away from their families.

This year, my family will celebrate America’s freedom by coming together for a barbeque meal, cooked by Chris, with Jeff and me supplying the side dishes. We will bask in the joy of being together, missing Andy and his wife Nicole who can’t be with us. We will rejoice in the gift of having Grandma and Grandpa Kissell with us. We will toast the freedoms we enjoy and those who have made them possible.

I would have loved to take Aldon to see fireworks. But his dad and Uncle Chris no longer enjoy them. The sounds and sights triggering memories from their days at war. I suspect Dad feels the same way, i know my Daddy did. Instead, we have sparklers for Aldon to enjoy and glow sticks along with fun hats. And it’s more important for us to be together than separate on this special day.

On behalf of my family, I would like to thank all the people who have served this great nation. Giving an extra loud shout of thanks to those in service now. You are not forgotten! My thoughts and prayers are with you. Be steady in your service. Most importantly, be safe! And if you’re abroad, know that a grateful nation awaits your swift return home! God bless America and the ones who have made her what she is today!