“Become dust - & they will throw thee in the air; Become stone - & they will throw thee on glass." Muhammad Iqbal *Beyond the bushes, boiling with dust, is 4Shoes West boundary road.

Monday, 26 October 2015

Children Deserve BOTH Parents

I'm going rogue @ the 4Shoes today & broaching a controversial topic -- parental rights. Not much of a hook, you say? How about if the parents are a legally married homosexual couple? Are you less or more inclined to curiosity?

I am going to admit that, when a friend sent this GoFundMe campaign to me, my curiosity was piqued as to what inspired my friend to want to spread the word about little Kaydance -- why this case for parental rights is remarkable when there are so many non-custodial parents who struggle for the right to be present & active in the lives of their children every day? 

Kaydance is a little Canadian girl who was planned, conceived, & birthed  together by her 2 mothers. In a twist worthy of an intrigue novel plot, Canadian Mother T. was influenced to allow her name to be removed from Kaydance's birth certificate to avoid persecution in the United Arab Emirates where (Mother L. was raised &) homosexuality is illegal. 

If your interest is piqued about why a homosexual family would ever consider the risk of living in the U.A.E....
If you believe that a child deserves to be allowed the love of both  parents & their extended families... If you believe that  parenting is a joint endeavour & that it is wrong for one parent to make a unilateral decision to relocate with the child without the knowledge or consent  of the other parent...
then I invite you to click over to read more details & updates on the fight for Kaydance. 
There is absolutely no obligation to donate a dime, but I am certain that words of encouragement would be very welcomed.

Mother T's legal case to be re-instated on Kaydance's birth certificate & to prevent Mother L. from moving the child out of reach is scheduled to go before the Supreme Court of Canada in November of 2015. 

*If this is a topic that you found interesting, or if you are sympathetic to this cause, please help Kaydance by spreading the word of Mother T's fight by re-posting her campaign to your social media.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Glorious Fall @ The 4Shoes

"Autumn...the year's last, loveliest smile."  [Indian Summer]
 ~ William Cullen Bryant
Some mornings the dew has lightly frosted over; but those tiny crystal prisms are yet still easily seared away by the earliest kiss of dawn, lingering just long enough in those slimmest of rays to reflect a single wink of refracted light & then gone.

The wind has busily stripped most of the larger trees almost bare, save for stubborn patchy garlands of orange & yellow stragglers; but the smaller trees & bushes still proudly boast thick ribbons & clusters of fluttering scarlet & neon gold edged in somewhat sketchy shades of green. 

The Hummingbirds are departed from here quite some time ago, but soon the Bluejays & the Chickadees will be here, thick as thieves. Daily now, fat Canada Geese land in our hayfields by the hundreds to rest a short while & to bolt down as much food as they can hold before The Saint charges into their midst, barking joyfully & sending them up in raucously protesting waves to flap away south overhead in their signature arrowhead formations. 

The vegetable gardens are harvested & cleaned, save for the chives which the family appreciates snipped into garlic mashed potatoes at suppertime served alongside the last of the sweet, fresh carrots & a roast of our own mouth-watering home-raised meat.

The succulent watermelon vines & Bleeding Hearts, being so tender as they are, have succumbed to the cold & lay lifeless & withered in their beds, just waiting until the Sedum stops its' happy, oblivious blooming & all the other assorted greenery to signal me that they have stored enough energy to tide them over winter by wilting & yellowing. 

Before I know it, the time will have come to stow the naturally artsy chunks of driftwood, the ornamental sculptures, the trellis' & the windchimes away in the old house, & to shield the flowerbeds with their customized lattice caps that remind stir-crazy barncats that they may not shortcut through the gardens even though they lay dormant these next several months.

The pigs have gone to butcher; their pen & wooden shelter so quiet now, though Manic greedily sniffs in all the stories they oinked to each other all summer long while she was forbidden to enter the sanctuary lest she harass them; or they decide to stomp her brazen little head into their muddy wallow. There will be another pair or 3 oinking jokers to love & fuss over come next spring - for now, our big freezer is stuffed tight with meat that is in a whole 'nother taste category than the commercially bred pork available in the grocery stores.

The horses' still slick forms gleam in the sunlight now, but it won't be long before their undercoats begin to grow in & they will more resemble horse-shaped puffballs. 
For now they graze lazily, hardly bothered by the last sluggish flies of the season. I've dropped the wire at the mouth of the hayfield to give the horses access to the small bounty that has sprouted up since the final cutting - they are gleefully & systematically mowing it to the ground, putting on a few extra pounds for what will inevitably come. 
The days of great & lustily blown snorts & plumes of steam that momentarily transform horses to dragon-steeds are coming... but slowly, I hope, slowly. 

Here's wishing that you will all have the chance to linger in & enjoy this last but loveliest smile of 2015 for as long as Mother Nature chooses to favour us with her charms.

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Analyzing the Fall....

*In this piece when I reference 'falling off', I am talking about falling off a horse at a low speed. I am not talking about being bucked off, slung off, knocked off or thrown over a horse's head; just. falling.
Today I received a letter from friends who now own one of my retired racehorses, Andy. Before we agreed that Andy could go home with them for an initial trial period, their 14 year old daughter attended riding lessons & then came to stay with us at the 4Shoes for a spell while attending an intensive, immersion-style lesson program at a professional training stable nearby.
The mother related to me how Meilla had recently fallen* off her mare - not thrown, fallen off when (at a walk) the mare zigged while the kid zagged. The young lady was not at all hurt, but she was angry with herself & a little confused. 
Talking to her dad afterwards, she had said, "Mrs Shoes said that 99% of the time that you fall* off, it is your own fault & not the horse; but I don't know what I did wrong." 
The father, who had witnessed the fall, gently told her, "I know what you did wrong Honey - you weren't paying attention." 
Meilla is a novice determined to become a good rider; I was so pleased to hear that her first instinct after taking a fall was to try to analyze what she might have done or not done - looking for the lesson she could take from the experience. I was already impressed with this young girl's attitude, but that story raised her (& her dad) even higher in my esteem.
Picturing in my mind this little girl cheesed off but not discouraged put me in mind of this 4Shoes story...
When our daughter, Slipper, was in high school she had a little grade mare that she called Venus. Slipper did not care to ride out on her own or want to take lessons, but she was a competent enough rider & we did quite a lot of riding together which made for treasured family memories.

One crisp fall evening we had saddled up & headed out, looking forward to a nice ride, but we hadn't gotten out of the driveway before Slipper was having some trouble. Venus was balking & fractious -- despite her nature being pretty co-operative & laid back - many of the horses I've known in my lifetime (both as former hired groom & as a horsewoman) have very occasionally had 'one of those days'. 
Venus grabbed onto the bit & ran right through it, pulling an impressive roll back & whistling briskly back to the barn, ignoring Slipper who was trying her best to be firm & pro-active. 
Venus ducked around the corner & into the barn so quickly that she dragged Slipper's whole leg against the door & I could see the saddle begin to slip. 
At that point I lit out after them, jumping from a stand-still straight into a gallop. My gelding slid to a stop outside the barn door like the very best of reiners, sitting firmly back on his haunches, planting his forelegs & leaving a 6 foot skid mark. I was about to throw myself off running when I saw her... 
There was my girl -- not hurt, not crying, not discouraged or putting her horse away as I had half expected to see.
What I did see was that she was MAD as a hornet & not about to let that mare get away with that crap. Slipper had Venus snugged up to a post & she was re-saddling as she gave her horse a firm talking to. She popped the knot on that lead rope & slung it over her saddle horn, picking up her reins & mounting from the ground with no hint of hesitation, more confident & with more purpose than I'd ever seen her be with her horse. My girl was so intent on what she was doing that she didn't even notice me & my gelding standing there watching until she turned her horse towards the door.
Slipper didn't waste any more time questioning what happened or offering any explanations or excuses; instead she was darn sure about to redefine that day's ride for Venus & for herself. 
Kicking her now contrite looking mare into a trot, Slipper passed me on the fly & called back over her shoulder, "Are we riding today or what?"
I almost swallowed a fly, my mouth was open that wide.
That day is a long time past now & our little girl is a young woman in her 5th year of university. Slipper has given us many, many proud moments as parents; but, as a horsewoman, that memory will remain one of my very favourites.

Thursday, 8 October 2015

My Thanksgiving is Perpetual

Wishing a Happy Canadian Thanksgiving Holiday from The 4Shoes to You & Yours.  October 12, 2015