ISOFaithfulandTrue: House of Cards 8-5-18

The Spirit of the LORD is upon me, it is written and somehow He has shown up, first in my being able to make rent. I thank Jess for that–yes, Jess with whom I spent Christmas and whose gift of himself from beyond, I am grateful for, as well as his new Master.

I’d hidden away the last $30 I was paid to feed Jess for the month, feeling I may need the cash someday. Cash is a rare commodity for me, as I live in a House of Cards. By law, Special Needs trust recipients cannot have direct access the the trust monies at all, ever. I now see it as my unique ability to navigate through a maze of landmines the trustee has strewn in my path.

I did make rent this month and I have paid the two bills he was supposed to pay but did not. I still have the American Express Gold card and made the payment of $777.77 which I put on that card because the trustee was late paying my Chase Visa and so I put this month’s charges on the AmEx Gold, forgetting it has a high minimum payment. Because he was late with the Chase payment I had to pay the minimum myself and that made me short for the rent due on the first which I need to save from the previous month’s disability money which comes on the third. So, here we go in Splendid High finance!

I also made the payment for my USAA Health Insurance which the trustee decided not to pay. Of course, this is not so necessary because after all, I do have a legal disability and why O  why would I need health insurance? It was a coup to begin with because for a limited time those of us with Medicare because of disability were offered insurance in the private market and I jumped at he chance because it was my path out of public assistance entirely. The trustee is not in favor of that, evidently.

He also wants to ruin my credit rating so I have to default on my credit cards and declare bankruptcy. This would be a double win for him: I would be beholden to him and have to bow and scrape to him and it would show me up because I dared to say that I did not go into bankruptcy when my mother said I should, but his wife had and I made the mistake of pointing that out. My ex-finance had me give him cash advances on my credit cards and then stopped paying. I know, it was insane of me to trust a man with felonies including armed robbery, whatsoever. Live and learn. I do not have much trust left and I wonder why? I am not in the slightest bit interested in being involved with a man ever again (nor a woman, for that matter). It takes the Lord Himself and true saints to put up with me and give me real help and learn to trust in what is real.

It is a comedy for me now, actually. It makes me smile that Jess showed up to help me in spirit.

Yes, I live in a House of Cards of my own making and I take responsibility for that, as I did when the ex stopped paying. I learned to negotiate with the card companies and slowly built back my credit over time.

The trustee knows I am happy with the fact that I have the kind of credit I do while having disability from bipolar disorder, which is known for giving people poor impulse control and “manic spending.” So, he must destroy this small victory any way he can, just for spite.

I am okay with that and he can try all he wants. I already know I can negotiate with the credit card companies because I have done it before. They all know what I am going through with the trustee because I have kept them informed over the years.

For today, I do have a conscience and that means I am a happy camper. He may have ripped off my inheritance, but I have my true worth in my Father who loves me and who has not abandoned me and sent His Son to save me and teach me what I did not learn from the Ritter family: the golden rule.

If I were the trustee, I would want to be shown and warned that this will not work out well for him in the end. He may get away with stealing on Earth forever, but in the end, it will not work out well. It just won’t. I didn’t make the rules. I did not learn the Big 10 in the Ritter household and the one thing I was given that my parents left and that is it–nothing else they left me of tangible objects, if anything whatsoever because I have not seen a will nor have I been given the amount I was left– is the family Bible, which was hardly opened. Note to trustee, there is one of those 10 Rules in there: Thou shalt not steal. It is what is called a mortal sin.

You may be the Bernie Madoff of Special Needs Trusts, O trustee, but at least Bernie is fortunate to get some time to repent. You may not be that fortunate because you may just get away scot-free and no one will ever stop you.

Some day you will have to meet the Judge, though. Hope you are ready…Have fun until then because I cannot stop you and no one can and no one cares enough to try. Have a great rest of your life, bro…I love you forever because I totally forgive you and I am free because of it and my love is expressed by letting you be who you are completely, free of me. I tried to make you accountable but I failed, it is way beyond me…

You told me on Christmas a few years ago what burden I am and so now you get to be free of me…go celebrate with your family because they get to see what a great family man you are and such a fantastic provider…

As for me and my house (and horse), we will serve the LORD…


ISOFaithfulandTrue: as precious as a Ruby

It is written that wisdom is as precious as rubies and I found a gleaming gem today. I remembered Ruby and how I noticed him because he had the best topline I had ever personally seen on a horse. I did not know a thing about him or his owner, but I wanted to find out.

I was like a new gym-goer starting to lift weights who noticed an Olympic lifter and wanting to know how he trained to get there. So, I hung out at the gym/ring and watched.

His rider would spend most of their time walking Ruby and doing various moves while walking and her father was her ground person, and gave her feedback. I gradually found out bits about them but I was not there to insert myself into their training, but to learn by watching and observing.

Well, it was no accident that Ruby had that dancer’s physique. He was an upper level dressage horse and his rider had been on her way to the Pan American Games in the past, I believe, when tragedy struck. She was a Grand Prix level dressage rider and was clearly an artist.

Eventually, I would ride during when she rode. She came out in the evening when others were gone. I purposely stayed late to watch. I really treasure those times now.

A Ruby dropped into my world tonight as I was thrilled with Mel and our ride. He reached down for the bit and walked out, but with true relaxation. It was the first time in a long time riding outside because he had had issues with his feet and the rocks outside and anywhere but the indoor ring. The gem appeared after I had watched some of a dressage show today. I enjoyed it most when the horses had a stretchy trot and walk, where they reach down for the bit with a very long rein stretching to meet the bit and make contact. Then, I wondered if Mel would be up to the task today.

When he had his last saddle fit, our instructor asked if Mel could ever be on a long rein. I said, some days, if he is in the space to handle it. Not that day, though, because he was barely holding it together and was filled with tension, as all kinds of things were going on and he’d been laid up for two months. She just had me get on him and we were the picture of tension–both of us, but we got the job done. He picked his saddle and did not act out at all. BALANCE saddles are chosen by the horse as to which he or she likes best and Mel made his choice very clearly known. I could feel it without a doubt. He moved completely differently. Mission accomplished–his time off had been in part because his saddle no longer fit him properly and it turned out that a used one with just the specifications that he preferred was available in Florida.

Life is quite interesting with Melness, whose registered name is Splendid High. Following what I need to do to take care of him has brought me to some great places and people.

Today I did not get to drop off the piece of tack that I planned to at that show, but I came back to Mel after being a spectator. Ruby trained extensively at the walk and I only recalled it after reflecting on my ride on Mel tonight.

Some say that watching dressage is like watching paint dry, but that does not ring true for me at all. I like watching horses move. I just do. Ruby was like watching Nijinsky.

As I have said before, getting an ex-racehorse to really relax with a rider on him is one of the biggest thrills of my life. Today Mel nailed it completely as he lifted his back and still remained at ease because I did not have to use leg to get him to lift his back and carry himself (and me) because of using the TTouch Balance Rein. It still is strange for me to ride with that Balance Rein. I do not have complete trust of it but I keep using it because I can see how well it works. Mel seems to really enjoy it as well.

That is a gem for me, to accept the things I cannot change and change the things I can. Wisdom is knowing the difference and truly feeling the difference.  When I get off of him and can see literally that his back remains lifted more than it ever was before, I know. I understand and am grateful that the Great Spirit gave his Splendid High-ness some serenity today in answer to prayer–and, I was granted some wisdom to know the difference. I truly knew how much it meant for him to find peace with a rider because that did not happen with his jockeys. He raced for ten years and excelled but he would have rather raced without a jockey, I am quite sure.

Now a Power greater than ourselves teaches us both to release tension through a perpetual prayer, “In the Name of Jesus Christ, peace be still, peace be still, peace be still, peace be still” repeated over and over and over again…” That is our practice–I say it and we both live it, by the grace of God, and I knew that He answered my prayer and goal that I one day be able to ride with the Faithful and True. He has to be in my heart in order for that to ever manifest; and He said, the kingdom of heaven is within you. I ride with Him when He reigns in my heart, and my ego is dethroned. I pray that He takes the reins always because He is truly the Prince of Peace and it takes His intercession for us to have serenity at all…Thank You, Lord!



ISOFaithfulandTrue: On a Splendid High 7-15-18

In “Saddle Solace,” a great article on equines helping combat veterans, the Marine Matt Littrell, who rode across American on his Mustang Crow, gave his take on why horses help rehabilitate veterans. “Combat is the world’s greatest high,” he says in the Western Horseman article. “You’ll never feel more alive that when you’re about to die. You hear and see everything. When guys get back, they chase that level of high. They drive fast cars, party hard and do drugs. But horses give you a different kind of lasting high. The reward doesn’t come from going fast and crazy. It’s from getting a horse to soften and relax.”

That was the Splendid High moment I had tonight, thanks be to a Power greater than ourselves. I have said before that one of the greatest thrills in life for me is to get an ex-racehorse to relax with a rider on him. I am very grateful Linda Tellington-Jones for her invention of the TTouch Balance Rein, which helps equines relax and lift their backs. Tonight we had what for me is an ultimate reward: after liberty work on the ground beforehand where he trotted next to me as I ran beside him with no coercion, he then relaxed with me astride as he lifted his back and stretched his neck down.

As the song says, I was “16 hands closer to Heaven”–on a horse appropriately named Splendid High, who is the best medicine ever for post-traumatic stress disorder. I am grateful to the Creator of this force of nature, in whom the Great Spirit resides and teaches me what the real prize in life is. To us, riding for the Prince of Peace and striving to be centered in His Peace is all…and He helps us as I ride praying the holy rosary recorded on my phone.

I had a midsummer night’s dream-come-true of becoming a “stable nun” who finds Him in the manger of our hearts at peace with Him. Thank You, O Holy Ghost, for teaching us tonight and bringing all things to our remembrance whatsoever He taught us. You are indeed the Great Spirit in Nature who can train us and is…Thank You, and thank you St. Kateri, whom I believe has interceded for us, as well, as the patron saint of horsewomen and a devotee of the holy rosary also. We are grateful! May we ride to glorify Him always…



ISOFaithfulandTrue: 50 Shades of Rage Redirected

A man of God brought me a new direction and I knew it was of the Holy Spirit. I have learned how to bridle my tongue in this matter, but now the power of the wordpress is unleashed here.

I have been praying to be able to work and now I have an assignment but it is not a paid one and may never be of benefit to me personally, financially. Why would I do it, then?

My madness is being redirected even as Hercules diverted a river to cleanse the Augean stables. I have been a poor steward of what I was left.

Part of me has avoided this confrontation for years in so many way. I would far rather not take up this fight, but the upright, righteous man delivered to me my marching orders. I know exactly where they came from, too: the Faithful and True.

He showed up in my life through this man’s wife first. She is truly a Godsend as well, and they are a powerfully anointed couple.

I have to pray that God raises up an advocate who will take up the cause that I have been totally powerless to advance myself. It may be of no benefit to me but would help those who have no ability to even try to do what I have attempted, but failed at miserably.

I have not been able to get the legally required accounting from my brother, the trustee of my Special Needs Trust. My mother passed on in 2008 and he has been trustee since then.

I have spent countless hours in recent days trying to go through and retrieve every single scrap of receipt in order to be reimbursed and it has not been easy at all. My brain injury makes the task very difficult indeed. That is my issue, but I am not legally required to submit these, as he is on his end. He has never submitted the receipts and he is a master at projecting what he is doing onto me.

I literally do not know what I was left in my inheritance. My parents’ house was in one of the most exclusive zip codes in the world. I know what it sold for only because I googled it. I have been shown a spreadsheet from the trustee but it is not third party verified and he has a lifelong history of prevarication and worse.

So my saga is not one that draws much response from anyone and I accept that. Who cares about trust funds babies when the State cannot pay for fighting fires? I completely understand that reality. It is now my mission to find someone who will advance legislation to give protections to trusts for disabled persons who have no recourse and may be moneychanged out of their temples by others with impunity and may even lose their lives through neglect or worse. I was classified as a gifted child and even with my now compromised brain, I still have retained a skill set for phoning and writing people. I worked as a health reporter and was successful at it with my injury but I lived in a real mess of my own making then and had sub par computer skills as well.

After calling countless agencies, politicians, attorneys, disability advocates of various types, I still have no ability to get done what my psychiatrist said I needed to do: hold my brother to account. I may never be able to do so. It may be impossible and even my excellent attorney has not been able to do so either. He has said that the laws need to be changed and my case is the worst of its kind he has seen and he is a gentleman with a long, storied career in this field.

I may well have the Bernie Madoff of Special Needs Trustees. I cannot say for sure because I do not know the facts, nor may I ever. What I do know is that there are developmentally disabled people out there who are being abused and neglected and they have not even the slightest ability to try doing what I have attempted and failed repeatedly to do.

So, since this is an election year, I have an advantage. It is not possible for me to do. I have tried. Now what I have to do is pray to have someone raised up by the Lord. I will make my case on my blog and it will be a public record and I am better able to make my case in writing than verbally. The truth is, I have little faith I can get this done. That is a sad fact of which I am not proud. I know that the Lord cares and I think He has tried to get many people to do this but they have not cared to do so. Why would they now? I cannot say, in truth, except I have this righteous man and his wife and they are prayer warriors and where two or more are gathered in His Name, He is in the midst of them.

My equine partner who is a  service animal legally, whose name is Splendid High aka Mel and I will pray for it, too. It matters greatly to him because he would be gone and sold long ago if my brother had had his way. He came into my life for a reason and one reason is to defeat my ego. In truth it is my ego that would rather be a long-suffering fake saint than an advocate who can be seen as a real bitch. I use that word advisedly.

I do not have a particularly glowing personality nor am I person people desire to spend time with on daily basis. I understand that is my own deficit and I accept that because it is my issue not the world’s. There is a reason for it. It may make this task impossible but I have to keep trying until the end of my life, no matter what. That is something I have to do.

When I was an intern at Classroom Computer Learning Magazine in college, my editor said that when she gave me an assignment I was like a dog with a bone that would not let go until I completed it. Yes, a female dog with dogged determination. I was never rude there, I was just professionally  polite and I had a phone presence that got things done. So, that is my task and I have no idea how it will turn out, except I will be humbled by seeing that what I could not do, another can easily do for others. It won’t be for me. I was ready to throw in the towel and just let him slide to get rid of having to deal with him and have him out of my life completely forever. No such luck! I still have the wretched task of complying with every single perverse demand in order to have some of the bills paid. Sobeit. It will just be a running tab showing how bad it can get for someone who was in graduate school at Stanford. I had a full fellowship to Stanford Graduate School in Communications (print journalism) but had to withdraw from that program due to my psychiatric hospitalization, but I did complete the Mass Media Institute at Stanford for what it’s worth. So I have much more ability to call someone to account than most disabled people, as that is what I am trained to do.

I know I am supposed to love my brother and I confess I really do not anymore. I just don’t. That is my problem, I know and I will be judged for it. The best I can do is just accept that he is the way he is and there is nothing I can do about it. He is free to do whatever he wants with his life because I cannot make him do anything and never will be able to either. He gets to try to completely destroy my life and my recovery. He has tried everything but I am sure he has more tricks up his sleeve to try yet. Now the best I can do is just accept his maliciousness and move on. I do forgive him completely.  I do.

I can honestly say that, and I love this about him: his opposition to my recovery has been like a swimming against a riptide every day, and because I did not drown, I have now become a stronger swimmer. So, that I do love about him. It has given me a mission, too. His opposition has strengthened me. I want to learn never to be like him. Ever. He is free to be himself and I get to be different–or try.

Most developmentally disabled people I have met have really big hearts and far better work ethics than I do. They really are better human beings than I. They love most everyone unconditionally. So, I will learn to have to humble myself and beg on behalf of others more deserving and hopefully it will build character I do not have.

So, help me, God!


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Happy Birthday Angel Jack–River Island!

Today River Island, known as Jack, would be 16 years old, and I am so grateful he came into my life! He was the being on earth who brought the greatest healing to me and he took his job of facilitating my recovery very seriously indeed.

He is not done with me yet, for sure. I have not been able to do what I thought would bring justice to him and his friends and their memory, yet evidently my ideas were insufficient (of course!). Getting money or apologies does not guarantee recovery at all. Indeed, I have had it drilled into my consciousness over and over and over again that it is resentment that brings me back to my addictions. If I really care about Jack and what he did for me, then I will strive for complete and total recovery and nothing less. That means complete and total forgiveness for anyone and everyone who caused him harm whether intentional or not. If I were to pass away tonight, could I know that I accomplished that mission? Yes, by His Grace, I can.

If my time was up tonight could I face my Maker and be free of trying to get some kind of justice myself? Yes, I can, thank goodness.

I lost my recovery that terrible day and others did what they thought they had to do to cope also. They needed a scapegoat and that is that. Some hit the bottle hard and did not let up. That example may have led to one dying in the disease of addiction later on. I do not know for sure and it is not for me to judge, in truth. All I know is that I have had a chance to take many personal inventories and given many confessions, and though I still cannot say I am at all at peace with what transpired that awful day, I have diligently sought to get my side of the street clean, so to speak.

I wish that instead of trying to convince others to stop the premonitions I had, I had instead turned to a Power greater than myself to avert the catastrophe by the power of the most holy rosary, as Out Lady of Good Help did in the Peshtigo fire disaster. That would have required my being able to be on site to pray though, and I was forbidden to be there.

April 23 is St. George’s Day and he slays the dragon who demands sacrifice of the innocent to gain access to water. I like to visualize St. George riding River Island now and doing away with the enemy within me of my ego and its desire to get even. The only way to truly win is say adios to the ego permanently and it is the addiction to the human ego which I have been taught is the ultimate addiction. My ego is not my amigo as the recovery saying goes, and my true conscience is my truest friend, as the guardian angel of my recovery.

Thank God today for you River Island, as you helped Splendid High settle down and be at peace as we rode in honor of your birthday, repeating over and over again “In the Name of Jesus Christ, peace be still, peace be still, peace be still, peace be still; in the Name of Jesus Christ, peace be still…” The nearby Stillwater River flows and moves swiftly yet there is still a calming purpose to it. Finding poetry in mellifluous motion was our tribute to you today River Island…Thank you!

Chasing Freedom: ISOFaithfulandTrue

Tomorrow I begin a new Daniel Fast for a Financial Breakthrough. One time when I did one, I had a budget of $50 for the month for food and the LORD came through. I was able to pay for my equine partner’s supplements and necessities and got through the 21 day fast of water and vegetable-based foods because I had bulk beans and brown rice. On the 21st day, I had a small windfall of a few unexpected dollars which got me through the rest of the month.

I also was able to make hundreds of dollars in credit card payments, which I was happy to do. Financial guru Dave Ramsey would scold me, but I do not regret it one bit. The money in my Special Needs Trust is there to pay all of the debts in full today, but the trustee has other plans for it. It simply must sit there in the account, unproductively, as proof of his total inability to carry out the duties of being a trustee. Thank goodness this is an election year and those running for office are eager to want to show they care for their constituents. It may take some time, but the trustee will be held accountable. Of that I am sure.

I consider J.P. Morgan Chase to be better than family and I am Chasing Freedom and they are backing me…I hope to inspire a campaign for Chase extending credit to domestic violence victims so they can Chase their freedom, as well. Dave Ramsey really has no plan for them, as far as I can see, and Chase could save lives.

When you have to leave an abusive situation, time is of the essence. The abuser often has strict control of the finances as a way to assert control and power. It can be a matter of life or death to just up and leave. I had to when I left an ex many years ago. I became homeless, but I was alive. A kind policeman showed me a mug shot of him having spent over a month in jail for beating his mother. That’s when I said, this is beyond me, I am gone forever.

A mother with children who need food and diapers and shelter could make wise use of credit to escape the bondage of the abuser and build a new life and her own credit. This is part of why I wanted to study copywriting. I think Chase would be perfect for such a campaign.

What I am going through is merely financial abuse of an elder and disabled person, from what I have been told. I do not have children. I just have a Service Animal whose veterinary bill the trustee has not paid, I just found out. As my Vocational Rehabilitation counselor previously said, he knows that your horse is your therapy and it is like you are a diabetic and he refuses to pay for the insulin. So, I have contacted Chase and will contact AmEx and First Interstate and get this bill paid myself. Because I was willing to only spend $50 on food and pay my cards when the trustee would not, I am still chasing freedom from the untrustworthy trustee. I still have some credit. And this will be admissible in court as a record.

I cannot wait to see how the LORD God will come through once again through the Daniel Fast. I am thrilled to see it all unfold…

ISOFaithfulandTrue–the blog: in memory of Carol Brett

“We put bits in the horse’s mouths that they may obey us

And we turn about their whole bodies

So is the tongue a little member and boasteth great things”

From the Fulmer bit in Splendid High’s mouth

To the Zenith on his back

And the cavesson for lungeing him

Carol Brett in inextricably bound in

With my life with my Splendid High partner, known as Mel

She dubbed him “Mellifluous” because his gaits flow as smoothly as honey

He is Doctor Mellifluous to me, as a Saint Bernard rescue dog it to a stranded traveler

And I would never have met him if it weren’t for Carol Brett.

She taught at a clinic and advocated for my being able to attend

And stood up for me when all the town believed the calumny.

Carol Brett is my heroine and will always be so.

Because of what she taught me, I did not blame another’s horse for throwing me

And fracturing three ribs

Because he had an ill-fitting saddle and a sore back

And I refused all pain pills and continued to do the remedial training with Mel

Wearing a rib belt

My doctor said I was the only person he knew who got through broken ribs without any

pain medication

Carol Brett was and is my heroine

I knew that I had the pain for a reason and I would not forget it

And now I know I will never again ride a horse who does not have a saddle which does not fit properly

because Carol Brett is my heroine

She has passed on, but she lives on in every horse who has had a lighter load

And less ego to carry

A burden lifted

Because Carol Brett is a heroine to all horses for all times

And I miss her terribly

And want to do her memory justice

But I cannot

So I dream of riding Mel in a BALANCE Western Saddle

in Western Dressage classes

With that Fulmer bit, if only I could bridle my own tongue

And use it to teach what she taught

But no one can.

She is irreplaceable

And she is riding with the Faithful and True now

in His Army as St. George slays the dragon

of the ego-centered Death Rider

Who only thinks of herself and her wants

And Carol Brett is all of our heroine

In the cause for humans to become humankind.

I bow to her heart and pray that we carry on somehow.

From the depths of our being, Mel and I are grieving our loss

and the world’s.

Our life is held in the BALANCE by the golden thread of the life

That is Carol Brett’s

Together with her life partner Lesley, they birthed a better way

for equestrians.

May the tapestry and the artistry never die

And I pray that Mel and I do justice to her legacy somehow

As we dance together for the star that is Carol

As her guardian angel carries on, inspiring us forever

teaching us through the Spirit of Truth which is

the wholeness she now knows

free of dis-ease and embraced by the Comforter

because she was a heroine to true horsemen

and she lives on as our conscience to do right by the horse

and listen and have empathy

for all creatures great and small

Goodbye dear friend.

We love you forever.


His Royal Mellifluous Splendid Highness and his imperfect caretaker, Caroline, in service to the Queen of Peace as Her servants–the only one who can teach us now that our only riding teacher and trainer has passed on



ISOFaithfulandTrue: Training for the Blue Zone Prize

If I desire to have my equine partner and I live in a “Blue Zone” of health and longevity, then what must I do? The Blue Zones are those places on Earth where people live the longest and healthiest lives.

I have found a way to heal my brain injury and the program cost just $5.95 as an ebook, although I have the basic equipment from when all in the United States were given stimulus money to help the economy. I thought very carefully how I would invest it. At the time I had a sleep disorder, too, so I bought the HeartMath program for sound sleep. I would love if the original investment would enable me to pay income taxes and contribute to the economy. I will be using that emWave (which was included in the sleep program) for the new training.

I am sold on trying HeartMath’s protocol for brain training. as some have used it to recover from brain injuries. There are actual studies cited, as  well.

When people say, why did this have to happen to me, I like to say, Why not me? I am more likely to try this than the average person and if it works, then I have a real testimony to share, as many suffer from brain disorders of various kinds. My first journalism professor used to always say, “no experience is ever lost upon a writer.”

This will take some work, but until I can gain more neuro functioning sufficient to have reasonable tech-mastery, I am treading water. I can read and I can write but much more than that on these devices is beyond me.

Well, I am not supposed to have the recovery from dual disorders of psychiatric illness and addictions to the extent I do have. Neuroscientist Dr. Susan Peirce Thompson, PhD. says the statistics are really grim of those who are obese getting to a right sized body–only 1%–and it is even a smaller fraction of that 1% who keep the weight off for years. So, I am unusual. Some would say, strange, and I will concede that assessment. It also gives me a life experience that few have and that can yet be valuable in my re-training, possibly.

For now, I am grateful that I have a professional runner to train me in enduring: Splendid High, known as Mel, had a 10 year racing career. He will trot next to me while I run as we did briefly today before I rode him. He was such a splendid version of himself, I got off of him as soon as he offered the relaxed, rhythmical trot I was looking for as he reached for the bit. This is what Col. Podhajsky teaches: if your equine partner does a really nice job of responding to what you are asking, dismount immediately as a reward. We were in the Zone, for today, and that made my day.

The only Blue Zone in the United States is in Loma Linda, California which is a Seventh Day Adventist city. They keep the Sabbath on Saturday and I have begun to give Mel Saturdays off recently, instead of Sundays. It brings me back to my roots as a Messianic Jew. Today, I am very grateful to have a partner on this adventure of pursuing healthy longevity with Melness…I know Our Lady had a hand in it because today is the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes and I had given my daily quota of rosaries before getting on him. Maybe we were training for Her Blue Army of recovery…I pray that is the case…

ISOFaithfulandTrue: A Rewarding Day

Today I needed to get to the stable before the sun rose in order to deal with Mel’s water. He had a pile of snow and ice drop down from the roof onto his back when he was drinking at the waterer and since then refused to drink there again. I filled buckets instead and also decided I would train him to not be afraid of the area through the positive reinforcement training fellow-boarders Sarah Shipman and Sarah Kenyon taught us. If he would take a step forward towards the waterer to eat his grain or hay, I would click and reward him with a carrot or the feed itself. I was not at all sure how long this would take, as he would not go anywhere near it yesterday. I knew that if I forced him to get close to it with strong-arming him in any way, it would only make things worse. As a person with post-traumatic stress disorder, I understand that places where bad things happen to me trigger a stress response even if I know that the same thing is unlikely to occur there again.

In my case, the Catholic Church can ellicit that response because that is where my disability began with being sexually abused by a priest. For my equine partner who is legally a service animal in the State of Montana, he does not understand that the snow dump on him is not because he drank at the waterer, he just is–or was–sure that if he went near it, he would be bombed by snow again.

We got very close to it today with his grain (actually, really alfalfa and timothy pellets with ground flax and herbal supplements and Sea Meal as well as some cooked brown rice and miso). We were very, very close indeed and he was relaxed and at ease as he ate. I was having him approach the waterer from the side so he was not next to the building. Having him snow-bombed again would not be good at all. I wanted him to have a good, positive experience being close to the water and learn to associate it with enjoyable things.

Just as I myself was coming very close to being completely alright with being in Church, this whole debacle of Pope Francis and his treatment of sex abuse survivors in Chile set me back quite a bit. I cannot say where that all will go, but I know this for sure: I do not want to decompensate and have to be hospitalized, which the State would have to pay for, which is not at all fair. Also, Mel would negatively impacted as well and he is teaching me how to trust again, so that is not fair either. I am striving to be retrained in some area but have run into my brain injury from ECTs (shock treatments) and am not sure how long that will take to overcome so I can be effective with technology as I have to be now. Reading and writing I can do–beyond that, I do not have anything like tech-mastery at all yet.

One of the strategies to heal brain injuries is physical work and exercise as well as prayer and meditation, which studies have shown to enhance neuroplasticity. All along, the Faithful and True knew how healing equines are for me–and for many.

I took Splendid High, known as Mel, out for a walk in his pasture to see if he could handle the footing now. He did just great now that the ice is buried in deep snow. Just about that time, his neighbors, the two black and white Walker mares Duchess and Poco, decided to break out of their place and go see him. Mel adores them, and mares, in general. Those two were like adoring fans crashing the barriers to see their favorite rock star. His Splendid Highness ate it up. They were running around and he was acting like an equine peacock strutting his stuff.

I texted Kelli and Matt at the Ranch that they were loose because I had heard horror stories of those two mares running around refusing to be caught. Well, it turned out that after I put Mel back in his place he was so excited, he ran past the waterer under the roof just to run around and perform for his mare entourage. I guess that was the motivation he needed to get over his “PTSD” and be healed of his phobia.

Fortunately, the truant mares remembered I carried carrots with me at all times as rewards and I told them if they let me catch them they would have plenty. I had in the past taught them both that if I said, “back” and they backed up, I would give them a carrot and they learned that well. They used to charge at Mel when I’d lead him out and I was not fond of either Mel avoiding them by pushing me over or him getting bitten, so I “trained” them to listen to my command “back.” I learned this from Cynthia Royal, the trainer who trained her horse who played Shadowfax in Lord of the Rings movies. I have her DVD set and try to apply what she teaches.

I was able to catch them both fairly quickly (also thanks to the Mother of Mercy answering my prayers). The experience made me realize that rewards are indeed a greater motivator than fear of punishment. Duchess is a very large mare and not afraid of much anyway. It took me some time to get her to mind me–to back for me–but I never laid a hand on her in punishment. I just would not give her anything at all–I would ignore her, as the Sarahs taught me is a negative punishment–in other words, instead of doing something to punish them, I just withheld something they wanted. That’s all. It really irked Duchess because she felt entitled to the carrot. Tough luck! Her royal highness would not get it, unless she behaved. Now, this I did before I learned of the policy not to feed other horses treats. Now, usually if I need to do something regarding her, I will give her some of Mel’s hay as a reward rather than carrots, which are treats.

I even decided to use some similar tricks to teach Diesel the Ranch cat to eat the new food he is getting to combat his obesity. He did not want to eat it and I could not force him to do it. I was worried that his not eating was going to cause him liver problems and had scheduled another vet exam for him. Then I saw he would eat the regular cat food. So, I decided to put him in the cat carrier with his food until he ate it. Well, he was not thrilled with that but he has learned eventually to eat it all up. At first, he would not eat it all, so I would let him out. Then, he would cry for food, so I would put him back in the carrier. He learned to eat it and he is losing weight. I was sure he was going to call the animal cruelty officers to have me arrested and Kelli heard him growling and said “is that Diesel? He’s pissed!”

Yes he was, but he got over it. And now I know he’s eating the 1/2 cup prescribed for him by the vet–not the kitten, Premium, who gladly would eat it for him. Now I cannot say it is truly positive reward because I did have to push him into the carrier. I was not sure he’d ever speak to me again, but he is fine. He is a very, very good natured cat, fortunately.

Mel showed me that his love of his “fans” will override his phobias and he is now outside next to them again because his feet are fine on the snow. There is a lesson in all of this for me, as well. If I love the Faithful and True enough, I can do whatever it is He wants me to do. I just have to trust Him. He got me into the Church and He had His reasons and whatever they are or were, they can be fulfilled if I stick with Him and His Holy Mother and the rosary. Whatever they decide to do or not to do in the Vatican is up to them. “As for me and my house (and horse), we will serve the LORD…” striving to be a “stable nun” in recovery rather than locked into madness. So help me God, as You put this stressed, depressed patient on a horse named “Splendid High.” It’s been quite a ride indeed and if I have to be stuffed into a confession booth weekly, sobeit…If You have something else in mind, I am alright with that, too, in Your taming of this shrew–a Messianic Jew–who is one of the stiff-necked generation. Whatever it takes O LORD to do that which pleases You most…

ISOFaithfulandTrue: Confession and Direction

Today the Lord got me to confession and it was wonderful, as it always has been before. My rage will only consume me if I let it and it won’t bring about change and healing for myself and others. Yet at the same time, I remembered this quote from Fr. Heilman’s Basic Training  manual: “Hope has two beautiful daughters: their names are anger and courage. Anger that things are the way they are. Courage to make them the way they ought to be.” So, my anger can be transformed by the power of the Surrender Rosary into courage to turn it over to Our Lady of Good Remedy and do something that is constructive. I have some insight about something I can do to effect positive change–thank goodness…