26 May, 2009

Road Trip

The road stretches before me, tempting and inviting, the allure of the great big adventure overwhelming my ability to reason rationally and pushing me away from what appears safe, familiar and comfortable. Did you ever stop long enough and look around at the life you have made? I mean, stopped long enough to objectively look at all that you know and understand? Did you ever reach a point in life where you aren't sure just how you arrived at the place where you are currently standing?

"Looking out at the road rushing under my wheels
Looking back at the years gone by like so many summer fields..."-Jackson Browne, from his song, Running on Empty
It seems like in the last 10 years or so, I have spent a lot of time and effort running back to the person I was 20 years ago. Finally, I feel comfortable with the person that I thought I didn't ever want to be. Horses have always been the constant in my life. No matter how crazy or how scary my life has been, horses were at the center of my being...a great source of joy, of encouragement, of inspiration. It is so challenging to be 17, to make life decisions or a forever kind of decision at a time in your life when you don't even understand what forever really is all about. I find myself wishing that those decisions could have been postponed, maybe until after savoring life a little more.

I visited friends, late last week. I had been looking forward to this particular trip since late April. I met Caryn Rogosky and Marilyn Lang, almost 12 years ago. I knew of both ladies, as they were breeding straight Egyptian Arabians: Caryn's program blended the bloodlines of *Ansata Ibn Halima/Moniet el Nefous/Maar-Ree/Sirecho; while Marilyn was combining similar elements in her program, with additional sources of Babson blood and the EAO mare, Bukra. Halim el Mansour figures prominently in both programs, having been a herd sire on both farms. While Caryn had El Mon Moniet; Marilyn had Fa Daalim and AK Sirhalima. I never really thought about combining these genetic elements in the way that Caryn and Marilyn have combined them, however, I was quick to recognize how these horses complemented each other. Individually, I appreciate all of the foundation horses found in both programs and was grateful for the opportunity to form friendships with like-minded individuals.

Seeng Caryn's horses, 5 or 6 years later, was an incredible experience, as the horses had matured and produced progeny of their own. They were different horses, much better than I remembered. I haven't been the same person since last week's road trip. Something happened to me and I am not sure I even understand what it is all about. There was a particular mare, Jazelle, whom Caryn had told me about, many times before. When Caryn slid back the stall door and I saw her, I was stunned. I was really very unprepared to meet this horse. I felt like I was going to faint. I leaned on the mare, hoping to catch my breath and not make a fool of myself.
Jazelle is even more beautiful than Caryn described and here, in one horse, is everything that I have ever been looking for. Jazelle is a daughter of Halim el Mansour and out of a daughter of El Mon Moniet, WK Elsaria Moniet (who has 3 lines to *Tuhotmos). She is tall, with a fantastic shoulder, which flowed into one of the strongest toplines that I have ever seen. The connection of her barrel and her hindquarter is amazing, with a deep hip and some wonderful curve to the top of her hindquarter, suggesting that she has the ability to really reach under herself and drive into a powerful stride. Here was Jazelle, a very pretty mare, a big-bodied mare, on the fringe of being exotic, possessing all the conformational qualities that will allow her to be suitable for my USDF dream.

"In midlife, its tempting to succumb to the idea that because you have more years behind you than ahead, what you already know will carry you along."-Jon Katz, from his book, Running to the Mountain

I am almost cresting that big mountain. Sometimes, the climb has been slippery and I have fallen back down, having to keep my wits about me, shake myself off and start climbing again. Now, I am almost done climbing the mountain. I can sort of see the great big valley in the distance, this valley called midlife. Some of it looks great and inviting, however, a lot of it looks unfamiliar and terrifying. In the horizon, with some imagination, I can see the descent down the mountain and I begin to wonder how dangerous, how steep, how slippery it will be, when I finally get there. What's my plan? I don't think I have formed one, ever, and possibly, my vision is so stuck on my past, that I may not have had the ability to experience life fully, since all I seem to know is regret and shame.

Gotta do what you can just to keep your love alive
Trying not to confuse it with what you do to survive.."-Jackson Browne, from his song, Running on Empty

It is obvious, after seeing Caryn's horses, that she has a plan. This is where Caryn is different from me. Caryn is an artist and her eye remains sharp, objective and authentic to her vision of the Egyptian Arabian Horse. Her plan is like a "road map", guiding her, enabling her to get from one part of her vision to the next, while minimizing the opportunities to become distracted, to become lost, and to place her horses, her program, farther away from the image she sees in her mind's eye. Suddenly, I feel like I am running out of time and I know myself well enough to know that I have never taken the time to develop a formal plan. But how to establish this plan, when you really don't know what to do? Do I want to become the breeder that I have dreamed of becoming or will I become the classical rider that I have also desired, actually yearned to become? Caryn, through this horse Jazelle, has shown me the personal excellence that is very real and possible, in breeding horses. While all of her horses are glorious creatures, Jazelle is really a masterpiece; the melding of a vision made with love, courage and determination. Maybe after all of this internal chaos, the agonizing thought, I am actually getting to the heart of the matter and closer to indentifying what is really going on inside of me. A horse like Jazelle becomes more than just a horse, she becomes the catalyst for change. She becomes a physical representation for hope, for liberation and for the materialization of a closely-guarded dream. It's real. She is really all of my dreams, rolled into one individual. While meeting Jazelle has turned my world upside down, maybe this is exactly what needs to happen, in order to embrace change without fear, invite it in and find the direction that I so badly need and finally, get back on the road and put some real distance between myself and the regret that I feel burning inside of me.

I think this story is to be continued and that, is a very good thing.

EnJoy your life, EnJoy your horses,



The Mane Point said...

Wow - that song brings back some memories!



Tzviah said...

Where, oh where, Ralph, is a picture of Jazelle?