An Awful First

I don’t know where I heard it, probably in some ridiculous Lifetime movie my mom forced us to watch, but for some reason it has always stuck with me: Life is just a series of firsts. First breath, first tooth, first day of school, first day of college, first love, first day of your first job, first house, etc. etc. Most of the time when we think of “firsts” they are good. But then sometimes we come across some firsts that pretty much suck. First heart break, first loss of a loved one, first broken bone, first wreck, and so on.

I’ve had a lot of really wonderful firsts with my sweet Theodore Bearhug. Catching the first steer I ever roped on him, first day of college, first college rodeo, first check in team roping, first rodeo short go, I could go on and on. He’s been with me since before MyFarmer, a full 10 years now. My parents bought him for me the summer between high school and college so the old boy and I have been through a whoooole lot of life and (me) growing up together. He’s been my faithful companion through it all, even when I didn’t deserve his love, and he has always been the sweet boy that puts a smile on my face. Sure, we have had some times that weren’t so good… like the time he tried to cut his leg off on a fence and that other time when he tore his suspensory ligament, but he came back from both of those injuries better than ever and went on to compete again.

theodore3

theodore2

theodore

He’s so adorable that it hurts.

I had yet another first with my sweet Theodore last week. And it was an AWFUL first. He is 31 years old this year, which is quite old for a horse, but I’m not really accepting his age well. I can see the changes in him, but I refuse to let myself feel them, until they come and hit me like a ton of bricks.

That day was the first time Theodore has gotten down to roll and wasn’t able to get back up on his own. And it was heartbreaking. Thankfully I was at the barn and saw him standing before I saw him struggling, so I knew he hadn’t been down for long. Also very luckily MyFarmer was planting sweet corn really close by so he was able to help in a hurry. When I got to Theo he had been trying to get up and had physically wore himself out. He just layed there with his head on the ground while I petted him and let him catch his breath… while I held mine.

Once MyFarmer got to us we were able to push his front end up and hold him there until he was able to get his back end under himself. Once he was up he went right back to grazing like nothing happened. MyFarmer looked at me and said: “Don’t you start crying now. He’s okay.” And with those seven words the water works began. Tears that he was fine, and tears that he’s not fine.  He is THIRTY ONE years old. And there is NOTHING I can do about it. No amount of love, attention, nutrition, therapy, can slow down time. And that sucks. But it also served as a reminder to truly cherish the time I’ve got left with him, until I have to endure the very last first we’ll ever have. The first day without him.

Some people are reading this and it totally get it. They know the love a person can have for an animal and how much it hurts having to watch them age or lose them. Other people will think to themselves, “He’s just a horse. Get over it.” And that’s fine too. It’s impossible to explain the love between a girl a her horse, but trust me, it is a force to be reckoned with.

Laney

P.S. I feel like I need to add this in:

A few days later I got to witness another first for my Theodore… but this one was precious. MyFarmer (a self proclaimed “horse hater” *eyeroll*) came down to the horse barn to talk to me and was standing next to Theo’s pen. Theodore got this mischievous look on his face and reached over the panels to playfully nuzzle on MyFarmer. He started at his hip and worked his way up to his face. If a horse can smile, Theodore most certainly was, as was MyFarmer. My heart almost exploded in that moment. That little show of affection between my two favorite 31 year old’s in the world will forever be engraved in my brain. ❤

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The Paris Disappointments

While I have never been to the “real” Paris, like the one not in the United States, I have been to 3 Paris towns in my life, all with varying levels of buzzkill for me.

Of the three Parises(?)Paris, Kentucky is my favorite. Lots of rolling hills and beautiful pastures as far as the eye can see. It’s very close to Lexington, KY, so thoroughbred horse farms are everywhere and it is breathtaking. The area itself is beautiful, but man did I have an interesting experience with some less than beautiful people. I went with a friend of mine that was “Racer One” (Murray States mascot) to be a part of some kind of alumni function. When we pulled into this estate you would have thought a prince lived there. Anyway, we were treated like servants, not offered anything to eat or drink all evening, and had to deal with a devil horse that tried to bite you every chance he got. All while maintaining a smile for the photo ops with the richie riches. The only reason we got any food is because an awesome lady (who obviously wasn’t like the others) made us some to go plates and sent us out the back door. But I’m not going to hate Paris, Kentucky just because of that night. I’m sure not everyone there is a rude snob.

I’m pretty indifferent about Paris, Tennessee. It hasn’t ever done anything bad to me, but nothing necessarily great either. It is known for having the worlds largest fish fry, and probably even better known for the Jason Aldean song. “Climbed a water tower, in Paris, Tennessee…” I don’t eat fish, I’ve never climbed the water tower, and the rodeo they have during the fish fry is always a muddy mess, so I don’t have a lot of love for that town. The one reason I do have some fondness for the town is because in college it was the closest place we could buy liquor. (I never bought any of the cheapest vodka ever made while in Paris, but I would ride down with my friends for THEM to get some.) Yup, MyFarmer and I went to college in a dry county. And yes, dry counties still do exist to this day in Kentucky. Anyway, I’ve had some fun times in Paris, Tennessee, so I don’t hate the place, but I’m not dying to go back.

Then there is Paris, Texas. By far the biggest let down of the 3 Paris’ in my life. And it didn’t have to be that way. But now it is. And we can’t change that.

My BFF AnnieLisa and I went on an awesome road trip last summer to go see DanaDoodle in south-central Oklahoma. The trip was amazing. Neither one of us had really been on a trip without towing horses, so it was nice to be able to travel at a leisurely pace and stop at all the historic landmarks in Northern Texas… and all the western stores. We stop at this killer western store just outside of Paris, Texas right before lunchtime…

We spend about an hour skimming through the store in awe. Cute clothes, tons a boots, some tack and jewelry. It was a winner of a store for two girls like us. As we were checking out the sweet lady was asking us where we are from, what brings us to Texas, etc. etc. and we told her that we were actually just killing time on our trip because we were running about 6 hours ahead of schedule. (Yeah, we were a little overzealous and excited to see Doodle.)

The sweet lady hands us a couple of Paris, Texas magnets and says with so much excitement that she can hardly stand it, “You HAVE to go see the Eiffel Tower! It’s HUGE! There’s a GIANT cowboy hat on the top! It’s SO COOL!” Hook, line, and sinker AnnieLisa and I are IN. The lady gives us “directions” and off we go with extremely high expectations. We pull down the road it is supposed to be on, and start excitedly looking to the sky. We couldn’t see it until we were literally in the parking lot, and the let down started to set in. There is was. Maybe a couple stories tall, with a big-ish cowboy hat. A couple stories tall of black metal. In the 10 minutes it took us to get there we had built up the excitement to a really unattainable level. And let me tell you that Eiffel Tower wasn’t even close to reaching the level we wanted it to be. As much of a disappointment it was, it was equally as hilarious. But hey we were there for the experience, so take pictures and enjoy the experience we did.

While the Paris, Texas Eiffel Tower was a total let down, I do still suggest that you go if you’re in the area. In all fairness it really isn’t that lame… it just definitely isn’t as cool as we were led to believe. HA! Plus there is a really nice veterans memorial right next to it. The memorial totally made our hunt to find the tower with it. We also found a little diner that had amazing cheeseburgers close by. #winning

I hope that sometime in your life you can make a 24 hour round-trip road trip with your BFF. We had such an amazing time, and too many random stories that I could never share all of them. A couple highlights:

  • “Have we passed Memphis yet?” … As we were closing in on Little Rock.
  • The first time we saw a “Watch for Rattlesnakes” sign.
  • When a random loose heifer on a back road in North Texas called our bluff… in the truck.
  • Sleeping with a knife in the motel room because our door didn’t have a secondary lock.
  • The look you get when asking about the Clinton family in Bill Clinton’s hometown in Arkansas. (Hint… it’s not a good one.)
  • Exciting announcing “There’s a cactus!” every time we saw a wild cactus.
  • Trying on every single piece of clothing at the discount western store.
  • Laughing. Lots and lots of laughing.

A few pictures of one of the funnest weekends ever.

Stopping at all of the historical landmarks in north Texas was for sure a highlight of the trip. I’m kind of a nerd (as if you haven’t picked that up yet) so every sign we saw we would whip it off the highway.

That stupid Eiffel Tower. I hate it, but actually I love it.

The veterans memorial. Go there.

I’ll go to any Paris as long as these girls are there!

Laney