Well hello, old friends and general readers!
It's been a busy couple of years for me and so I made a priorities list and there weren't 40 hours in the day to do everything.
Of late though I've been thinking about continuing with the online horse journal. I've had mixed feelings about that - for a number of reasons. One complication is that I'm a professional writer, and if I blog something online and decide it's good, it really complicates being able to publish it in the "real world".
Another is to do with how I feel about the journal - there is one thing that really bugs me about it. Apparently it's a common phenomenon: The pressure to really sanitise how you talk about your birth family, even if it's a really unhappy family and atrocious things happened on a generally daily basis. I've got a good friend who blogs on mental health and trauma recovery and works professionally in that field, and we've spent a lot of time talking about these kinds of issues. And the upshot is: You've got to be honest, and you've got to tell your authentic story, not just the glossy version that avoids embarrassing other people who did things they shouldn't have. There is way too much cover-up of wildly unacceptable behaviour and playing "happy families" to the public, and it's actually hurting everyone who is still in these kinds of unacceptable situations, because it adds to the conspiracy of silence.
This journal really looked at two things: The past, and how I got started with horses, and how my birth family started racing horses - and the present, i.e. horsey and donkeyish goings on at Red Moon Sanctuary, the property my husband and I have together - with the occasional scenic side trip. The present story shall be continued, and I've got no mixed feelings about that.
As regards the past, there were a couple of times I squirmed when people commented about what a lovely childhood I had - based on the presented sanitised material that showed me growing up with horses. I did comment along the lines of, "Postcards always look better than the real thing!" - see right at the top of this page: https://www.horseforum.com/member-jou...479466/page12/
That was putting it very mildly. I've no intentions of boring everyone with the nitty-gritties of an isolated and unhappy childhood
in which the horses - along with other animals, and books, and poets, and musicians, and logical thinking and reasoning, and some good teachers at school - were what in many ways saved my sanity and gave me hope for the future - a hope that was indeed eventually justified, looking back from the other side of 40. I just want it on the record that things were not OK when I was growing up - and to send a big hug to anyone out there who went through awful things with the people who should have created a safe and nurturing environment for them as children, and an even bigger hug and "hang in there" to any young person who is still in that situation - please believe things can get better.
There is a lot of material available these days on growing up with toxic families - some of it is excellent. One of the things that's a common refrain is that the broken things in families often don't change - only you can decide to change, as an individual, and to become who you want to be, and to work on the dismal unconscious brain programming that comes with growing up in a toxic family. It doesn't matter how much you stand on your head and wiggle your legs, or bend over backwards - other people aren't suddenly going to be nice or to treat you with respect or to see you for who you really are instead of a projection they made - they have to decide to do that, and often they will not, for all sorts of reasons.
Any people versed in psychology who have read back over this journal will undoubtedly have noticed that I basically held up my father in some kind of heroic role, which is how I was conditioned to treat him as a child. It didn't sit comfortably with me as an adult to present him like that, because it is so far from complete. Yet if I hadn't then there would have been serious repercussions at the time - but those potential repercussions no longer bother me. And that was a trick and a half. And reading back over this journal, it's also really obvious to me that the parent-child relationship was in many ways reversed - with the child supporting the parent in their hobby and cheering them on - not vice versa - and the vice versa didn't happen in my childhood. Don't imagine that my parents went around taking photographs of me working with horses unless they were specifically cajoled into it, or that they cheered me on - they did not. It was my job to cheer them on. Well, I quit that job a while back. Energy and time are precious, and these days I'm more astute in how I allocate them.
So, back to horses.
I will update that extensively and soon.
In summary: Romeo is, amazingly, still alive and kicking and turned 33 late last year. He costs an arm and a leg to feed with special "porridge" we make up for him, but we didn't think that was a good reason to put him down. He's still enjoying himself way too much for that.
I'm still happily riding Sunsmart, and he's great. Unfortunately, we had to put down his mother late last year due to a pituitary tumour, aged nearly 28. Her brother Chasseur pined - well, they all did - but Chasseur in particular, because his sister had been his best buddy. What with ancient Romeo hanging around our garden a lot of the time doing his own thing, and me wanting to go riding with Sunsmart without piteous neighing and panicking from Chasseur, I needed a new paddock buddy and adopted Julian (referred to earlier in this journal) out of his 15 years of solitary life in a small sandyard, and he instantly buddied up to Chasseur, and all is working well again. Photos of all that coming up soon.
And the donkeys are all well, all three of them, and are enjoying Australian national fame by being having their exploits in print, and also being the current friendly face of Grass Roots magazine: https://www.facebook.com/GrassRootsAust/
And Brett and I are well too and enjoying life.
Best wishes to all