Sybil Ludington Rides Again

Politics, Freedom and Farm Life

Category: Horses


Moving on or up?

In the mid-1970s there was a TV show called “Movin’ On” about a pair of truck drivers, Will and Sonny, theme song by Merle Haggard. These guys were not pick up truck drivers as you can see, they drove the big 18 wheelers and probably why Kenworth is still my favorite. Can you imagine the nightmare of one being stuck in deep snow? Or mud? Those things don’t turn on a dime, they are not exactly light and agile, you add in deep slick snow or thick mud? There is a nightmare.

Do you ever feel like that in life? Like you are stuck in molasses or deep thick mud? You know you don’t like where you are, you have a glimmer of maybe not where, but how you would like to be but you haven’t a clue how to get there. Perhaps it is some goal you’ve set, to finish college, or start college, perhaps it’s to take up race car driving or trap shooting. How does one get from here to there? That’s a challenge in and of itself isn’t it?

Now add in perhaps you’ve made a commitment, one that you fully intended to keep. To help someone that needs it out every, say every evening. And so you go along for a few years helping them out every evening. You feel good in the knowledge you are helping someone who needs help, you are doing a kindness. But as time goes on it is beginning to wear on you. You have your own work to do, and your own deadlines to meet. And you are cutting yourself short on things because you do have other responsibilities, at home, at work and in life. And then, then that local community college nearby adds a course in the field you’ve always wanted. It’s for a limited time, only 3 years to see if there is enough interest in it to permanently add it to their roster, and it’s a 2 year degree.

To do it, you will need to face a mountain of obstacles, how will I pay for it? Do I make enough money I can support myself and my dependents? Can I stay where I live? If not, can I find another place? Do I have the time to study and really learn the material? Am I too old to start over in that kind of a college environment, those kids are probably really sharp, will I be able to keep up in class? I used to be a good student, but perhaps my best scholastic days are behind me. That’s a plenty to sort isn’t it?

And then you come to a really big obstacle. You help this person out every night. And they really do need your help. They’ve become accustomed to you, how you do things, and there is a sort of friendship there. You’ve said that you would be there to help them as long as they needed you. But now, now you want to do this. It would give your a different chance in life. Maybe better, maybe not. There are no guarantees, only opportunities, only chances, no guarantees, not a one. So you think you would like to take this chance, you think you would like to break free and run for the chance.

But, what right do you have to break your word? To break the promise you would come every night to help them? There isn’t anyone else and what makes your happiness more important that theirs? After all, you did give your word, you did promise. Oh, back then you didn’t have a crystal ball and didn’t know as time passed the situation would change, but it has. Perhaps you shouldn’t have promised rashly? Perhaps it wasn’t rashly. You really intended to keep that promise. But still, the situation has changed, they always do.

This week I listened to Temple Talk radio like I always do, I love that show and learn so much from it. You can listen to the whole show here.

But this is a little clip just a few minutes long, with the relevant part. Just a smidge over 4 minutes.

So are we allowed to change our minds? Even if it makes someone else sad?

And once we get past that, then we get to deal with all the other things I started out with, paying for it, income, staying where we are and being to old to start over in college and keeping up all our other responsibilities in life.

This was from one of my devotional books yesterday. I have some devotional books I like reading every morning with my coffee.

Another one of them is by Rebbe Nachman of Breslov and this was the page I read yesterday.


Ruler of the World, grant me truth!

Spare me from the lies of others.

Help me stop myself from lying to others.

Save me from lying to myself, and spare me from the lies of my own illusions.

O God, never let me live a lie, even for only a moment.

(LM 1:7)

And that’s where the wheels of Will and Sonny’s Kenworth are for I think a lot of people. A faint glimmer of what is wanted, but all 18 wheels stuck in the mud.

Do we live with the illusion that we won’t be sorry we didn’t take the chance, take our shot? Or is the illusion that we won’t miss the routine of our life now? It’s not really all that bad is it now? That when the challenges end up being much more than we dreamed of that we won’t berate ourselves for having thrown, perhaps not happiness, but a stable existence away? And what if it causes us to lose something that is even more dear to us that the thought of that college degree we always dreamed of? Those letters behind our name? The knowledge, oh yes, the knowledge we’ve yearned for. But what if the price for that is far more dear than we anticipated?

I have no answers for anyone, I know someone who does. Hint? He made horses…..


A Lot Can Happen In 30 Seconds

A tornado hit my best friend’s farm the other night. I got a call from her a few minutes after it happened. She sounded pretty calm, it crossed my mind it could be the calm of someone partly in shock. I wanted to go down then, but there was still a storm going and she told me that too many power lines were down. I said I’d come the next day. She told me I’d never get through. I said I’ll come Wednesday, she said I might be able to make it then. She said they were all safe except one kitty who was missing. The roof was gone off the barn, windows were broken through the house, but they were safe and at her Mom’s which didn’t sustain much damage.

So today was the day, I went prepared with two big foil pans full of Cafe Rio Black Beans, a bag of mountain trail mix, 2-2 liter bottles of Coca Cola, a 2 liter of cherry Coca Cola (the only thing she asked for was that I bring 4 Coca colas for them) a gallon of Arizona Sweet Tea, a 2 liter of Diet Mountain Lightening, it’s like diet mountain dew and 20 pounds of ice. 2 packages of baby butt wipes, in refreshing cucumber scent since in addition to no power, they had no water. A box of assorted flavors of black tea, and since she sounded so down Tuesday night I asked her what I could bring her to give her a lift. She couldn’t think of anything. Luckily I knew just the thing, I got her a bag of Hersey’s kisses with caramel. One of her favorite things is caramel. While chocolate may not solve life’s problems, it does make them easier to bear.

When I finally got there she and her Mom were having a sandwich, I unloaded and went in. She offered me a cookie, one relative had brought sandwiches last night, someone else brought a box of cookies. Their Golden retriever Charlie came up to me with his zebra toy in his mouth excitedly telling me about what had happened. I listened and commiserated with him.

As I munched my chocolate chip cookie Celeste told me how it all went down.

First, a little of the layout. Celeste and her family live in one side of a earth contact duplex, her Mom lives in the other. The two share a common laundry room/mud room. Each has a separate entrance to the respective houses from a shared patio area that used to be covered with a charming arbor trellis. In the summer it would be lovely shade made of vibrant trumpet vines.

Bill, Celeste’s husband, had been outside the front door of Edith, his mother in law’s side. He saw the flashes of lightning and the power flashes, then he saw the tornado.

Now some of this is hitting me strongly because of the recent Systema class I took, and because I just finished Joe Mayberry’s first book, The Systema Warrior Guidebook. I’ll give you a link to the series of articles I’ve been doing for The Zelman Partisans at the end of this column.

Bill didn’t stand there and think, well, it’s a tornado, it may turn, they do that. He didn’t stand there and watch it to see what it would do, he read the writing on the wall and reacted instinctively. He spun and whipped back into the house and started yelling for them to get down. Celeste was at her Mom’s but they didn’t know where there 20ish son Jake was. Bill was yelling at Jake to get down, Edith was already on her knees and Bill put her all the way down and shielded her body with his. Edith was worried about her only pet and constant companion Molly, a little dog. Celeste put Molly under her, and shielded Molly with her body. Jake was in his house, he lives with Bill and Celeste when he’s in town. When Bill yelled at him, Jake didn’t say “Aww DAD, seriously?” He didn’t argue with his Dad, he didn’t look out the window to see if he could see it, he didn’t go out the door to check it out. Had he done any of those things? He’d be dead. This young man I’ve known since he was maybe six? He’d be gone.

Jake grabbed his Golden retriever Henry and threw him in the laundry room, then dived in after him. As he was diving into the laundry room, which has no windows the wind sucked the door closed after him. Estimates are within less than 2 seconds time from when Jake hit the laundry room to the door slamming shut. One thousand one, one thousand two. You’re dead. The wind came from the massive beam that flew through the kitchen window where Jake had been standing.

I absently reached down and rubbed Charlie some more as he continued to tell me his odyssey. Charlie had been missing for a while, he was finally found hiding in the garage, sitting on the golf cart that they use to putt around the farm. Everyday Celeste and the Goldens get on the golf cart and go down to their beautiful woods that Bill keeps like a park and the boys have a nice run through the fields. So I guess to Charlie? The golf cart is a “safe space”. It’s a bit disconcerting to realize a neutered Golden Retriever has more balls than most liberal snowflakes.

We finished our cookies and took the boys for a walk and she showed me the devastation. We fed the horses at the barn, all three were ok. One has a small scratch on his nose, that’s it. The roof was ripped off the barn while the horses were in it, and they are ok. Matt cat had reappeared yesterday and Celeste said in spite of the horror of all of this, after Matt cat came back she felt so much better. She said he was all sticky and covered in something, they have no idea what but by the time I saw him, he was sleek and shiny. Orange and white Paladin cat accompanied us, to supervise I suppose. She had managed to tie up the field fence around the pony pen with hay twine, so she had been able to let the horses out of their stalls after almost three days. So their brains were improving. We fed them and changed water in their buckets since the white van in the drive when I got there was the nice water man and water had been restored. Seems when water pipe is ripped out of the side of your house it creates lakes in your patio area. Huh. So fresh water all around for the horses and Matt cat.

Bill and some buddies from work were nailing a barn door back on to one end of the barn, that cut down on the wind tunnel, it’s a temporary fix, as is the barn roof, but if it works for a few weeks it’ll do.

About then Celeste’s cousin Charlie (not the dog, a really nice guy) got there with a big dish of fresh homemade chocolate chip cookies. I just laughed and said “Well, we are people of the South, when disaster strikes we show up with food and work gloves”. FEMA? BAH! The government? BAH, we bring food, tools and work gloves.

Bill came up on the golf cart when Charlie got there, I don’t think the chocolate chip cookies had anything to do with it though. I walk over to Bill and said “This will never happen again” and gave him the longest hug. I am SO grateful for this smart, savvy, brave man who does whatever he has to do to protect and take care of his family.

Then Celeste, Edith and I got to work. Celeste pointed to a debris field and said “salvage”. While she worked on salvage with her Mom cataloging what was saved and what was lost for insurance purposes I started treading beams of what used to be a storage shed. I found old photos of pets I vaguely remember Celeste having when we first met and became friends, they were fine. They were right next to ruined books, covered by a pair of men’s underwear. I found numerous marbles from Jake’s collection. I took great joy in giving them to Celeste and telling her, “no matter what you may think, or people may say, you have not lost them all”.

The field was littered with broken glass and boards loaded with nails, so the dogs had been penned up in the house. The cats were still on hand to supervise us though.

A set of intact china belonging to their daughter was found, but much of Bill’s Mom’s china was broken, although we did find some pieces. I found vases, some of Celeste’s beautiful silk flowers she makes lovely arrangements from, pieces of their nativity set, handmade quilts and afghans.

It was very sobering. I was chewing over what Bill said, “Sybil, a lot can happen in 30 seconds”. I searched through this family’s memories for things I could save for them, baby books? Bill’s letters from college, a vase that had been aunt somebody’s. Memories saved and treasured strewn over huge swathes of land decorated by uprooted trees and the neighbors clothes.

It was interesting, for the last few months, I don’t really know how long, I’ve felt my intuition and instinct have been jammed up. I don’t really know why, I think I’m getting a glimmer though. But as I mused on Bill’s words, I began to think about what is really important in life, what really matters. And about how we live our lives. And I began to try to let my instinct and intuition guide my searches. I found some amazing things intact. Celeste was overjoyed and shocked. I had been searching in a part of the debris field that had already been searched. By three people. So perhaps in trying to good for someone else, I am having some healing of some sort. Because the radar was working.

When Celeste and I got our turn with the golf cart we took the Goldens and went to the field again. Heartbreaking, trees over a couple hundred years old, laying on their sides with root balls exposed far taller than I am, they left holes 8 feet deep in the ground. Their woods will never be the same again. Not because they didn’t take care of it, but because something beyond their control whipped through, a lot can change in 30 seconds.

No matter how rooted we think we are in this life, no matter how rooted we think our lives are, they aren’t. Nothing on this earth is rooted beyond destruction. Only, only the things we have rooted in G-d are beyond the reach of this life. And a lot can change in 30 seconds. Live each day, the best we can, try not to borrow trouble, try to appreciate the things that bring us joy. Horses kisses? Oh yeah, a kitty on the lap, your dog nuzzling you? A friend on the phone, a random text message saying someone thought of you, coffee with a friend, good music and fabulous sunsets and sunrises. Enjoy it all, drink it in. A lot can happen in 30 seconds, and some of them may well be miracles.

Cutting Calves

The Warrior’s Path, Systema Part 1

The Warrior’s Path, Systema Part 2

The Warrior’s Path, Systema Part 3


Massive root ball leaving 8 foot hole

Damage near by


War Horses

My one week late tardy column. Believe me when I say I’m sorry it’s late, but the cause was a very worthy one, and I so much wanted to be able to tell you how my event went. Probably the toughest course I’ve done (not that I’ve done all that many) but it was pert near chilly and quite windy. Yet I turned in my very best time. This race was the closest one to my heart I’ve ever done. I really wanted to give it my very best, not for me, not for time. For THEM, for those that suited up, showed up and served. For them this time I walked.

Read the rest at TZP, and when you get to the final little graphic, click on it, you need to make it bigger to work 😉


Mother’s Day Musings–At TZP

I thought I might write a little Mother’s Day tribute to those women that actually are Mother’s.  Mother’s Day Musings

And in case you haven’t seen the line of logowear, The Zelman Partisans now has it’s own line of clothing, very cool clothing! I’m thinking I’m going to have a very TZP kind of summer. Two t-shirts, very cute style,  made for women. Two polo shirts, one sleeveless and one with 3/4 length sleeves. Since I joined at a Premium 100 Member (one of the first 100 to join as a premium) I got a copy of Claire Wolfe’s RebelFire: Out of the Grey Zone autographed to me! I haven’t decided yet what to put the TZP morale patch on just yet.

A very TZP kind of summer

A very TZP kind of summer


Sabertooth Snowflakes

So today was Captain’s and my first day back in school this year. They had predicted snow around noon. My lesson started at noon. I thought, well Lord, if it’s going to snow, let it be before that. It didn’t. So on we went. We warmed up, he held a lovely canter circle both directions without breaking gait or losing the proper lead. My instructor talked about some riding theory, thing we were going to work on today. I tightened up the girth (Captain and I are both at our “bear weight” hibernation weight gain that comes in winter, or with menopause) and stepped on. We started working on precision by riding a box using barrels for the box corners. That was going well, ride to the corner, pivot using the hindquarters, then go the new direction. While we were working on that, a blizzard started. Well, maybe not a grand blizzard, but a LOT of little snowflakes, BLOWING snowflakes! LOTS of them! And Captain didn’t appreciate it at ALL! Those sabretooth snowflakes attacked his delicate paint horse nose. He put his head down, rubbed it on his sports medicine boots, shook his head, got really agitated and antsy. He really didn’t want to think about working anymore, he wanted to think about fonching and acting a fool. But our teacher was very patient, and I kept working Captain, our precision went down the tubes, we were doing good to make a square, let alone precise turns. But eventually his brain came back. Our turns got nicer, I figured something out and our lines got straighter and it still kept snowing! The end of our lesson we trotted a nice square around the barrels. He DID break gait on that a few times, and kicked out once when I got after him with the whip, but we kept on working. He ended up doing great. Is he thrilled about working in snow? No, but he can and did. I had been telling him, “someday buddy, we will ride in the snow”. I meant after it was already on the ground. But, hey, I guess we did ride in the snow today. While the flakes were little, there were a LOT of them! Was it good to be back in school? GRACIOUS YES!!!!! Am I sorry it snowed during class, no! We gained life experience, we’ll have it for next time!

Captain contemplates the sabretooth snowflakes

Captain contemplates the sabertooth snowflakes

A Human Being, or Human Doing?

I’ve felt so many times to be so hip deep in alligators I should just name them and get them vaccinated. I can vaguely remember a life where I used to keep the house fairly (for me) clean, I sewed a lot, knitted, crocheted had a sense of humor, you know, was a real person! I worked with my horse almost every day.

For a long time it’s felt like I just run from one responsibility to the next. My fence rows need to be cleaned, my house needs to be cleaned, though it is better. I need to fix a fence, clean out the chicken house and their play area and make sure it’s safe for them. I’d like to read a book, see if I remember how to knit and crochet. Goodness knows Captain could use the work, though probably less than I need to work him. It’s good for me.

Today I did some of the things I needed to do, but I also read a real book, just for a little bit and then I took advantage of the beautiful day God gave us. I went out and fixed the downed panels in the little round corral and got Captain. We just worked some on line, then I had the bareback pad on him and got on. First time this year. It’s been a brutal winter. Seems either the footing was good and it was -20, which is probably why the footing was good, it was frozen. Or the weather was 30 degrees and the footing was too sloppy. Or I had 14 other things demanding my attention. But today, I was a human, I rode my horse. We weren’t spectacular, he is still coming off the rail, but he did very well for not having been ridden for at least 3 months.  I was really hoping we wouldn’t rodeo, and we didn’t. He was really a good boy. He knows he was, he’s gets cookies when he gets it right. Hey, I don’t work for free, I don’t expect him to, and for him, it makes it more of a game and he likes to win that cookie.

We watched a movie tonight, Ring The Bell it is a Christian movie about a big city sports agent that runs from contract to contract with no need for God or really even other people in his life. He is a human doing, trying to accomplish all the goals the world says make him a successful man.

I think we can all fall into this trap, I know I have. Not because I want to achieve the world’s idea of “success” but because of the responsibilities that pull at me from many directions. The old, so focused on the journey, we forget to pay attention to the ride sort of thing.

As I search to find the direction God is pointing me, I need to remember I am a human being, there are times I need to just, well, be. And I firmly believe that blingy browbands can help me remember that I’ve been given many blessings by God. I should take time to appreciate them!

Blingy Browbands- They enhance your life!

Blingy Browbands- They enhance your life!

Mustang Sally

Naw, I don’t really have a Mustang….I have something way cooler, a Saturn SC2. Which the nicest old man backed into back in January. I finally took it in to Raymore Collision Plus the week to get it fixed. They were on the list of shops American Family (the hit-ers) insurance works with. The hit-ee (that would be me) can choose off the list and not have to get second estimates or anything. I admit, I had a lot of concern that it would look like an “appaloosa” car. That the spot would show, but it doesn’t. It looks perfect, and I mean perfect! They even cleaned the car out. They should get a medal for bravery for that!

I returned the rental car, and picked up my car. YEAH!

As soon as I got home I jumped in my truck to take it in to my regular mechanic to get the wheel bearings fixed/replaced whatever he’s going to have to do so I can haul the illustrious Captain (my version of the original Sybil’s Star) to where ever we need to go, safely.

I hope that’s it on the automobile shuffle game for a while. But boy Raymore Collision Plus sure did do a GREAT job. And they were all really, really nice!

The first part of the day was the Mustang part. I made good on my Valentines gift to hubby and had his horses teeth floated. For those that don’t know, that means filing the sharp edges off their teeth. This horse is old and only has about 4 teeth left. While it might seem like with 4 teeth it doesn’t matter, it matters even more then. Dr. Aaron did just a great job, and he says hubby’s horse is looking great for his age and for me to keep feeding the same way I have been. Almost like giving him two gifts!

Saturn SC2

Saturn SC2