Dogs | Horses

Looking for My Tribe

How can one day be so wonderful and the next so awful?

I thought I’d try to put up the kennel myself. After all, who else was going to do it?

I opened the box and found a lot of pieces.

kennel box


I looked at the instructions and saw a lot of steps.

kennel instructions

I finished steps 1 to 5. That wasn’t so difficult…

kennel assembly

I started to get the pattern of assembly, and got the whole frame put together — steps 6 to 11.

kennel assembly

But then came the hard part, the chain link.

chain link fence roll

The roll was heavy. I tried to balance it while I put the first tension bar through the beginning of the fencing but I couldn’t hold up the roll and it all fell over, ending up in a tangled mess.

I tried calling a couple people to help, including H. No one could help. I didn’t have a very long list of people to call. I felt alone and helpless. I sat down and cried. The whole neighborhood probably heard me. I’m surprised the coyotes didn’t join in.

Rather than keep trying to do something that appeared impossible. I decided to do as I mentioned yesterday and take Murphy to the Rum River park.

I managed to hitch the truck to the trailer. Score one success for Mary.

I went and got Murphy, brushed him clean, and loaded him on the trailer. He walked right on the trailer. Our work on loading paid off. Score two for Mary.

I started driving to the park. The truck seemed to not want to go very fast. I pulled over and looked again at the hitch to make sure the thing that pops the trailers emergency brakes wasn’t doing something, but it looked okay. I put the truck into drive and just let it roll. I figured if the trailer was screwy, it wouldn’t roll but it did. I figured I was just being paranoid that I’d hooked the trailer up wrong and continued on.

I got to the park and unloaded and tied Murphy. He started acting like a Tyrannosaurus was lurking in the woods. He was swinging around so much, I was having a hard time getting a saddle and blanket to sit straight long enough for me to tighten the girth. I finally got the saddle on. I’ll count that as score three for Mary.

Because of the way Murphy was acting, I decided to leave on his halter and put the bridle on over it. I circled Murphy in the parking lot on the end of the lead line a few times, but he wasn’t calming down. I decided to loop the lead line around the saddle horn in case I needed to get off and lead him at some point on the trail.

I decided there was nothing else to do but just get on him, ride, and hope for the best, so that’s what I did. I have never seen Murphy be this frightened. Granted, I haven’t ridden him for a month at home, much less on the trail, but he’s usually so dead quiet, I didn’t expect this. It didn’t help that the mosquitos were terrible, although I doubt that was why Murphy was shaking his head so much.

So down the trail we went, with Murphy shaking his head, breathing heavily, and fluctuating between a very fast walk and his Missouri Foxtrot. The horse can cover ground, that’s for sure! (Oh, Lord, I just sounded really Norwegian there.)

I did some rein squeezes when Murphy tried to break to a canter or the movement felt too frantic, but mostly I allowed him to move and actually encouraged him forward because that brought his head down and was a better feeling than having that much energy just sizzling underneath me.

As I rode along, I checked out the flowers, watched the river, looked at birds, and ignored Murphy’s nervousness. I rode him as if he was just fine.

Murphy never actually shyed at anything or acted uncontrollable. And after an hour on the trails, he finally dropped his head, stretched out, slowed down, and relaxed. As soon as he did, I headed back towards the trailer to make sure he didn’t have a chance to get himself worked up again. Score four for Mary.

The ride ended well. Murphy stood calmly while I packed up the trailer, and he only balked a little at the trailer door but then got on without me having to get forceful. Score five for Mary.

horse tied to trailer

I actually felt really good about that ride. I’ve come a long way with my ability to ride out a problem and not become frightened myself. So I guess I shouldn’t call the day awful.

I try to be self-sufficient, an Amazon woman of sorts. But even the Amazons had a tribe. I feel very tribeless right now. My advice to ladies — don’t ever let go of your relationships with friends and family to try and please and get closer to your significant other. Do not make him and his social network your whole life. Even if you don’t get divorced, it will still probably be a sacrifice that you hugely regret and it won’t help your relationship with your partner anyway.

I definitely need a tribe.

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5 Comments

  1. Goodness! That chain link looks horrible to install! I didn’t realize that is how it came. I hope you can get it put together and hopefully someone can come help you!
    Great job handling Murphy on the trail! I don’t think I would have been able to relax.

  2. Oh Mary (pats), I know how you feel. Even though I am lucky enough to have a small network of pals I still at times find myself scanning the horizon in search of my tribe.

    I’ve found with physical problems we gals just have to figure out other ways to approach stuff. You need to find something sturdy to lean that roll on while you uncoil it– some object to be your helper. (Maybe back the truck over there?) The more of it you get attached to the frame, the lighter the roll will get. You CAN do this. If some dumb guy can do it you can. Brains/resourcefulness can be as good as brute strength in a pinch.

    Your horse skills are so impressive. You = BRAVE.
    Hang in there kiddo. 🙂

  3. Hey Mary – I bet that you’ll figure out a solution to that chain link before you know it. Are there any teenage boys in your area looking to make a little money? We have an email network in our neighborhood where people post to get help with stuff like that (and even smaller stuff like bringing in fire wood if they’re sick or hurt). So, they’re ‘tribeless’ too but the web helps them!

    Your ride with Murphy sounded tense at first but like you worked through it. Awesome!

  4. Oh, yeah… it gets worse as I take a closer look at the fencing laid out flat. I’m trying to figure out if this is one of those “learning experiences” that I’ll laugh about someday.

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