“We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.” — Carlos Castaneda
The weather we are having is so changeable – 90s last Friday and mid-70s today. Java and I went for a walk at the park last Saturday and it wasn’t as hot as Friday, but it was sure humid. And right off the bat we ran into police and paramedics trying to rescue a man who had a heart attack. Heat and humidity combo is not good.
Java and I took it easy on our walk, and I had Java take a couple dips in the river along the way.
We had a much cooler walk today, but plenty of mosquitos after the recent rains. I’ve discovered I can jog on the grass or dirt without my knees hurting. I made this discovery trying to run away from those darn bugs. Now there’s an incentive to pick up your pace.
I saw these flowers at the entrance to our path and thought they were darn pretty.
I’ve been writing about my past job at Bunker Hills Stable as part of my “Lift-My-Spirits and Feel-Good” list since working there was a memorably happy part of my life. I’m trying to figure out what was so happy about it so I can maybe incorporate whatever it was into my life now.
I think a big part of it was working outside and working with horses all day long. How could you not be happy? The work also pushed me to the limit physically and mentally. I probably can’t repeat the degree of physical labor I did in my late 20’s but having that kind of mental stimulation would be nice.
You wouldn’t think working at a stable would be mentally challenging but there was a lot of problem solving involved, a lot of coordination, and you had to be very organized and decisive. There was really no time to sit and ponder — you just had to look at the situation, decide, and then act.
And it was great to be in a job where I worked independently, making pretty much all the decisions. And where I was respected, because even though I didn’t have that much experience with horses, customers didn’t know that. I was the most knowledgeable person on site while I was working. I was respected and people listened to what I told them to do. I’ve never had another job since where that was the situation.
I also liked the people I worked with, both the other employees and most of the customers. Employees were all kindred horse lovers and we were somewhat of a crew of misfits. Customers were sometimes horse lovers, sometimes they were people dragged to the stable by horse lovers, or they were men trying to act macho, which is tough to do in an English saddle.
These are not Bunker Hills riders (obviously, since they are in Western saddles) but I had to throw some sort of photo of a group of riders in here. This is actually a not so recent photo of my nieces riding. They were cute then, but they are gorgeous now. And we worry about that…
Another thing I liked about working at the stable was that it was my job to give people a fun experience. Part of that was taking them out horseback riding or riding on a hay rack and making sure they had fun with the horses, but part of it was also about talking to people about why they’d come to ride that day, or telling a big whopper of a story to entertain people when we were just walking, and they all wanted something more “exciting”. Yeah, when I tried to give them exciting, they’d panic and fall. You can’t always give people what they ask for.
I liked matching people up with the right horse. Beginners and people who were nervous, I’d put on the horses closest to the front and therefore, closest to me. People who were experienced I’d put in the middle. And people who were cocky, I’d put on Brownie at the end. Brownie had a habit of throwing his head up in the air and sending a glob of horse slobber into the face of an unaware rider. Hey! I had to have some entertainment too!
Little kids, I liked to put on Blackie, who was right behind me. Kids loved riding Blackie because she made them think of Black Beauty, and she was a full-sized horse so they felt very tall and grown up riding her.
No one every fell or got into trouble on Blackie. She followed my voice commands and was very smooth gaited. I loved turning and seeing the big grin on a child’s face and knowing I’d been a part of putting it there.
Maybe, next I’ll tell you about Pony Bajas that occurred during full moons after a hard days work at Bunker. Yee haw!