Facing Unexpected Challenges
by Catherine Madera
Let’s face it, sometimes life is scary. We’ll all face unexpected, overwhelming challenges at one point or another. The way forward may not only look impossible, it can feel terrifying. It reminds me of a training experience last fall with my horse, Eli.
The obstacle course at Fire Mountain Trail Course has provided valuable opportunities for Eli and me to grow as a team. We’ve learned better communication and the importance of building confidence. Perhaps the most frightening obstacle for Eli is the teeter-totter bridge. The first time he encountered the bridge, he willingly walked across. He was shocked to discover the solid ground beneath him was going to pitch and tilt under his feet. A naturally forward thinking horse, Eli became paralyzed when he again faced this bridge.
The last time we went to Fire Mountain I was determined to help Eli find a way forward. It took an hour of standing on the bridge, in the center to feel the tilting effect of it, before he developed the courage to walk over. His legs literally shook while learning to stand quietly on top of the obstacle. A proud and dignified stallion, it was very difficult for Eli to put himself in this vulnerable position.
Many of you know how Karen and Mark Pickering’s life changed last December. The way forward after a devastating stroke is difficult, it’s scary, it’s exceedingly vulnerable. During this challenging time they need the horse community to rally around them. I hope you will all consider attending the auction and dinner event in Lynden, WA on February 28. All proceeds will benefit the Pickerings and help pay their exorbitant medical bills. Donations can also be received at http://www.gofundme.com/j7apfo and any Whatcom Educational Credit Union location (The Mark Pickering Fund).
Enjoy the magazine this month, especially the story of Kate Shadow of Kalypso Bay Farm, a woman who experienced life changing challenges yet found an inspiring way forward. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Catherine Madera served as editor of the Northwest Horse Source for five years. She has written for numerous regional and national publications and is a contributing writer for Guideposts Magazine and the author of four equine-related books. She has two grown children and lives with her husband and three horses in Northwest Washington.