Wednesday, November 18, 2009


As the end of November approaches way too quickly, my thoughts turn to those men and women who serve our country. More specifically, the children of our soldiers who will spend the holidays without them. Project 200 Toys is the best way I can think of to thank them and time is running out. The goal is to collect 200 toys for military children that range in age from infant to 12 years old. Both boys and girls and the deadline is November 30th. We have not reached our goal yet so the push is on folks.

There are several ways for you to take part in this. I ask you to come together in this effort by sending an unwrapped toy or toys to Tena Bastian/C/O Bear Back Ranch and Kennel / 2742 County Road E/Swanton, Ohio 43558. If you are close enough to Swanton, you can also drop toys off and place them under our Project 200 Toys Christmas tree. Another way, in order to save on shipping costs is to purchase a gift card in any amount from either Walmart or Toys R Us and mail it. Still another fast way is to go to and order your gift card using a credit card and giving them the address above to have it mailed.

The spirit of the holidays is about giving to those less fortunate than ourselves and we want to make sure that these children have awesome holiday memories even though their parents will not be with them this Christmas. Please take a few moments to pitch in and help us reach our goal of 200 toys. We are half way through November and we are not halfway to our goal of 200. Spread the word, spread the love and from all of us here at Bear Back Ranch and Kennel...Happy Holidays.

If you are or know of a company that can help, please do not hesitate to call me. (419) 826-5129 or (419) 392-4036. I look forward to hearing from you.

That Ole Yellow Horse

That Ole Yellow Horse
A Tribute To
This Beaus Eligible

There are times in our lives when we just put all reason aside and do what our heart tells us is the right thing to do. Many, many years ago when we were young and impulsive, we happened across a horse tied to the bumper of a pick up truck with a big logging chain around his hind leg. His coat was faded, his leg infected, his body, frail and his spirit seemed broken and we brought him home. All we knew about the horse at the time was that he was a stallion, he was a Palomino and he was in desperate need of attention or he was most likely going to die. What we didn’t know was that he would change the course of our lives forever.

Today is my birthday and as I sit here at my computer early this morning, I can’t think of a more fitting way to start my day than by telling you the story of This Beaus Eligible or Beau as he became known as to so many people. You see, Beau is not just any horse, he is the heart of this family, the center of how we raised our children, the glue of what has kept Bear and I married for the last thirty years. He is the horse version of those people you meet that have “it”, that indescribable something special that just makes them stand out and draws you to them. He is the subject and inspiration of not one but two of my books and although there is a chapter in The Horses We Love, The Lessons We Learn that tells the story of how we met Beau, it is not the whole story and certainly not the story from the very different perspective that I have this morning.

Beau was so sick that October day when we brought him to live here with us that we thought he was only going to be with us a short time. We had no idea looking back that he would survive the winter much less grace our lives for fourteen years. Beau is almost 20 years old. I remember his first day with us as though it was yesterday and today, I feel his last day as though my heart will break into a million pieces and I will never survive this day. You see, Beau has been diagnosed with cancer, a malignant tumor which has the high probability that it has gone to his lungs as well as his glands. It is a high grade malignancy with necrosis, hemorrhage and inflammation, which is what the pathologist found. The vet palpated him and found that it has spread to his glands as well. What we have found is that the tumor has doubled in size in less than a week, it is causing him pain and the light in his beautiful eyes is fading. He picks at his food here and there and when I go into his paddock, he gently lays his forehead against my chest as if to say “I’m tired and it hurts”.

As I said, there are times in our lives when we put all reason aside and do what our heart tells us is the right thing to do and after careful consideration, our hearts tell us that this horse has lived his life with dignity and grace and if we truly love him, we have to find the grace to let him go before the cancer continues to eat away at him, remove piece after piece of him until there is nothing left and possibly give us another month or even a year with him but we would be doing that for us, not him. We know winter is coming and they are tough on him and we know that cancer grows and spreads. Today is about doing what our hearts tell us is best for him and today is about honoring his life.

Our Beau has brought so much joy to so many peoples lives. Through his presence, the babies he has produced, the accomplishments that he has to his credit, the memories of Christmas morning going out to feed him while everyone anxiously waited to open presents, his curiosity as we brought one of his new born foals out to introduce him to his new son or daughter, hauling him 17 hours to Oklahoma to place at the World Show, laughing as the tornado sirens sounded while we were collecting him one spring day and rushing in the pouring rain to put him away before the hail started, side passing him down the rail of the front arena as he moved with grace and speed. The stupid man who cracked a bullwhip in his face while I rode him in a demo at the North American Horse Spectacular and the way Beau didn’t even flinch when it happened. His first Grand Champion ribbon, the way he would entertain me in a class tipping his head from side to side and flexing the muscles in his beautiful neck for an approaching judge if I tapped him gently with the lead rope. I walked out to say goodbye to him and tapped him as I had done so many times before and tipped my head to the side and he still remembered.

The first time he mounted the phantom mare for breeding and got so excited that he passed out and we thought he was dead. The way he lines up at the fence to be sprayed with fly spray and actually turns around when I ask him so I can spray the other side. All the friends we have met through our travels, the fact that he is listed in the very first stud book of the National Foundation Quarter Horse Association, greeting people at various equine events and our favorite little corner of the state fairgrounds during Equine Affaire. The way he would stand and tolerate the little barn cat that used to crawl up on his back and sharpen her nails on his wither. The way he smells. OH my God! He smells like I would imagine heaven to smell and the way he shines like no other horse I have ever met. Riding Beau was something that we kept for ourselves and to date, no one has ever ridden him except for us. That horse has moves that literally take our breath away. The way he would stand on his hind legs to look over the concrete wall between his stall and the one next to him just once, to see who his neighbor was. The way he stood quietly while I hugged him and cried during the time that Bear was so sick and having his second open heart surgery. The way he seems to listen when Garrett, our grandson talks to him, he loves children and he loves other animals. Having him in our lives has been like having a buried treasure in your back yard that no one knows is there and now the thought of actually burying him is more than I can comprehend.

He is the subject of two horse books, various magazine articles, is triple registered and when breeding mares, is always a gentleman. He actually poses for photos when he sees a camera and will stand quietly for hours while we bathe and clip and brush him and ya know, I think he actually enjoys it. He has been a huge part of this family through births and weddings and illnesses and deaths and everything in between. Yes, Beau is more than just that ole yellow horse, he is a celebrity in his own right and our lives are blessed to have known him and love him the way we do.

Our hearts are broken and as the sun rises on his very last day, it is with a heavy heart that we say goodbye to our beautiful ole yellow horse who has left his mark on this world in a big way. This family is still together through all the tough times in part because of his love and the lessons he has taught all of us. As I look out my window and see him standing off in a corner with his head hung low, I don’t doubt that it is the right decision but I must admit that it is going to hurt so badly to look out my bedroom window as I have done for 14 years and not see him there at the fence calling for us to get our asses out of bed and come out and play. I wonder if all his babies, some now grown horses themselves, aren’t feeling the pain that is in our hearts today as we say goodbye to this awesome creature.

God speed Beau, you ole yellow horse, to greener pastures full of mares and free of pain. You leave the way you live… with dignity and grace. We love you.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Project 200 Toys!!!

As most of you know, my daughter has been extremely ill. She has Crohns disease and now either the disease or the treatments seem to have affected her heart. I can't tell you how difficult it is to watch her go through the horrible tests and surgeries and grow thinner and paler as they try to take control of the situation. Our family is fortunate in that although we have been through a lot, we have been through it together and in our lives, we have wonderful memories of holidays and of the day to day struggles.

This is less about us and more about 200 children whos parents are currently serving our country. It is about stepping up and making sure they have fond memories as we did. Its about getting to a point in our lives when we have little control about what happens here so instead, taking all that pent up frustration and turning it into positive energy to help other families.

We have created "Project 200 Toys" which is our effort, with your help, to collect 200 toys for the 180th Fighter Wing of the Air National Guard. Their annual Christmas party is December 3rd and my husband and I want to surprise them with toys for their party. We are giving ourselves now through the month of November to collect 200 toys for their party. We ask for your help with this because we all know that it takes a community to raise a child but it takes all the people we know to raise 200 of them!

We have set aside the reception area of the kennel to pile the toys up until the end of November. We will be taking photos of the pile now and then and posting it to Facebook and Twitter so everyone can see our progress. This is where you come in...

We ask everyone to either mail or drop off an unwrapped toy for a child that ranges in age from 0 to 12 years old, equal amounts of boys and girls, to Bear Back Ranch and Kennel on County Road E in Swanton or if you are mailing it, please send it to Tena Bastian / 2742 County Road E / Swanton, Ohio 43558. If you would rather, a gift card to either Walmart or Toys R Us instead and we will do the shopping for you and add the toys to the pile. Then at the end of November, we will deliver the toys to the powers that be so that Santa can deliver them to these military kids. Please help us help Santa help these 200 kids! Lets all work together to put some positive energy out into the universe for an excellent cause.

I also ask that you send this blog addy to as many people as you can so it keeps going. Post it on your facebook page or on Twitter or Myspace or better yet, send it on to Hasbro or Mattel or Ellen or anyone you feel might be able to help. All I am asking is one toy for each child but the more, the merrier. The countdown begins for Project 200 toys! I will keep a tally and see if we can reach our goal. So the view from the back of my horse is 200 military children whos parents unselfishly serve our country. May they have a merrier Christmas this year because you care enough to help. Thanks rock!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Author Unknown

Author Unknown
Tena Bastian

She is sitting in the hospital, waiting to be seen
Nine months pregnant and barely sixteen
When a voice in her head says “Take a deep breath”
And “pick up the magazine.”
She flips through the pages as she sits there alone
She wants to call her mother and ask if she can come home
When she comes across a letter there on the magazine page
That seems to be written by another young girl approximately her age.
It says…

Mama, I need your guidance
Because I don’t know what to do
I’m scared and alone and I want to come home
Because I feel safe with you.

Through her tears and her pain, as she reaches for her phone
She notices the letter is signed
Author Unknown.

She sits in her car in the parking lot as her world comes crashing down
She has been diagnosed with cancer, a tumor has been found
When a voice in her head says, “Take a deep breath”
And “turn the radio on”.
She flips through all of the channels as she sits there all alone.
She wants to call her husband and ask if he can come home
When she happens across a familiar song there on the radio
That seems to be written by another young woman with a long, long way to go
It says…

Honey, I need your guidance
Because I don’t know what to do
I’m scared and alone and I want to come home
Because I feel safe with you.

Through her tears and her pain, as she reaches for the phone
She notices the radio says
Author Unknown.

She is sitting with her mother on her very last day
She knows it won’t be long now as the seconds tick away
When a voice in her head says, “Take a deep breath”
And “listen to your mom”
She has something important to say to you and you need to hear it before she is gone
So she leans in ever closer as her mother struggles to speak
She takes her hand and kisses her as a tear rolls down her cheek
She says…

Lord, I need your guidance
Because I don’t know what to do
My daughter is scared but I want to come home
Because I feel safe with you

Please help her find the strength Lord, not to miss me when I am gone
It is at that moment that she realizes that it was HIS voice all along
The magazine, the radio, as she takes her final breath
Through the tears and the pain, he was always there from her birth until her death
When she was pregnant, when the tumor was found, every time she felt alone
It was God that loved her, that showed her the way
Until now HE was the
Author Unknown.

Texas Woman

Good morning ya'all! This is the lyrics of a song I wrote for a friend of mine from Texas. I thought I would share it with you today. Whats new with me? Playing with my mini aussie pups before they are sold and LOVING them. Getting ready to head down to Congress and wishing my friend Emily Jo success on her big trail ride and charity auction next weekend.Hope you enjoy this.

Texas Woman

She wears cowboy boots with cut off jeans
Her nails are painted red
She doesn’t cut and curl her hair
She wears baseball caps instead

She doesn’t care what people think
She pays no mind to what they say
She just smiles that smile that knows it all
Then turns and walks away
Don’t ask her what she thinks ‘cause she’ll tell ya
Don’t hold her to what she said
‘cause she’s a fast talking, two stepping, fun loving filly
She’s Texas born and bred

She prefers rodeos to fancy clothes
A well broke horse to a new born foal
Her old Ford truck to your Mercedes Benz
Country to rock and roll

She knows what she wants so don’t try to tell her
Once she’s made up her mind
She is true to herself and true to her friends
But prefers the four legged kind
Don’t expect her to know what you want, she’ll surprise you
Just tell her what’s on your mind
‘cause she’s a good loving, two stepping, fun loving filly
She’s a cowboy of the good smelling kind.

Don’t buy her a dress with ribbons and lace
When a new pair of jeans will do
Don’t take her to a fancy party
When she would rather play poker with you

Take her to church on Sunday
To a picnic in the afternoon
But buy her a new set of spurs for her birthday
And she’ll act like you hung the moon.
Don’t try to outride her, she’ll kick your ass
The moment she leaves the gate
Cause she’s a hard riding, two stepping, fun loving filly
She’s a woman from the lone star state
Yeah, she’s a fast talking, good loving, hard riding filly
She’s a woman from the lone star state.

Tena Bastian copyright

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Trail Riding Through Cyber Space

You’ve charted your course, saddled your horse, cleaned your leather, checked the weather and the only thing that lies between you and your destination is that old relic of a computer that makes you pull your hair out every time you hit the power button. You know you should have replaced it years ago but between the price of hay, the unexpected Vet bill, the rising cost of everything related to caring for your horse, your hopes of owning that high speed, fully loaded shiny new laptop have been dashed.

Now some of you are asking what a computer has to do with going on a trail ride but most of you computer savvy Tweeters know exactly where this is going. The technological transformation of the equine industry is apparent everywhere we go. Just try to sit through a seminar or a clinic without hearing the distracting orchestra of cell phones ringing or experience the frustration of waiting to enter the show ring while the young girl on the horse in front of you finishes texting her friend and you will understand what I mean. While presenting a seminar at Equine Affaire a couple years ago, a woman in the front row answered her cell phone which was ringing rather loudly and proceeded to have a conversation with the person on the other end so I stopped speaking. I smiled and walked over to the edge of the stage and waited. Everyone laughed and listened as she discussed the beautiful pair of boots she had purchased. Several minutes later, she became aware that she was the center of attention and hung up the phone. The call seemed important so I didn’t want to be rude and interrupt.

Remember the good old days when our time was spent wandering aimlessly through the State Park for hours with no particular place in mind aside from whatever happened to be around the next turn? Remember when the content of our saddle bags was reduced to a first aid kit, a sandwich and a cold drink? It was just you and your horse and the open trails but that has all changed. Now the trail winds through the World Wide Web and I actually saw a saddle bag at Quarter Horse Congress that included a special pocket in which to carry your cell phone.

Don’t get me wrong, fingertip access to the most current information on colic and the advertising opportunities that await you through a web based outlet are exciting and informative. Live updates from Quarterfest when you can’t actually be there is the next best thing. The ability to keep in touch with your horsey friends in real time through Facebook and Twitter and similar sites is addictive but imagine taking it one step further. Imagine, if you will that your relaxing trail ride depended fully on your old outdated frustrating computer. Imagine that your trail ride was a virtual ride that led you astray with error messages and glitches and horse treats were replaced with horse tweets and the only way you could cue your horse was to text him with what you wanted him to do. I imagine it would go something like this…

“Dear Beau (That’s my horses name) there is a cliff ahead and although you are now at a dead run because I have lost control of my reins in an effort to text this message, I need you to hang a left immediately” SEND. Imagine how long that message would take to send if you didn’t have a fancy QUERTY keyboard!

Or lets say you are riding along on your way to for example and you encounter a huge sign that says “Warning! Your virtual memory is dangerously low!” Now you have no idea what that means much less what to do to get around it and yet there it is, all big and yellow with red letters and standing in your way. This would take our frustration with that old outdated computer to an entirely new level. My point is that although the new technology definitely has a place in the equine industry, trail riding through cyber space would not only be frustrating but dangerous as well.

So I think we need to use a little common sense when mixing horses with technology and follow a few simple rules. Take the cell phone with you on a trail ride in case of an emergency but do not use it to tweet your friends that you saw a deer. If you’re sitting in a clinic or seminar and waiting for an important call, put your phone on vibrate and excuse yourself before you answer it. I don’t think it is an official rule but if you are in a class and you are texting your friends, the judge might take points off for that.

Keep your trail rides real and enjoyable and remember that cyber space has its place and balancing the two is the key. This computer geek is hoping the geniuses of the horse world aren’t developing a saddle with a laptop built in but imagine the possibilities. The view from the back of my horse is all of you, my Facebook friends, my Twitter Tweeps, my partners in the world wide web. Living where I do and being as busy as I am, if it were not for you I would have no time for friends at all I think. The moment I get a text from one of the horses, I am throwing away the new pink Blackberry! That would just freak me out.

If your life becomes more bitter than sweet, meet your friends on twitter and go give your horse a treat.

Monday, September 7, 2009


I stood at ground zero on the one year anniversary of argueably the darkest day in American history. I took my daughter who had been there the previous April and had taken the most beautiful photo from the ferry of the twin towers. The photo she took hung on my office wall where it remains today. The day of the terrible tragedy, hanging from the ceiling in front of that photo was ironically a model airplane that a friend of hers had made her. I can remember the hair on the back of my neck stood when I walked in my office that morning after the second plane hit the towers to call school and tell them I was coming to pick her up. Seeing the twin towers photo and the airplane just seemed so precognative and surreal. That day changed our lives forever. ALL of our lives. The safety net of being an American and all that it implied was shaken forever. The bottom fell out of our idealistic belief that we could never be taken by such shock and horror that comes with being attacked on our own soil.

To say that we were touched at what we saw as we stood on the NY city streets on that one year anniversary would be an understatement. There were wooden boards for blocks that held memories of the people lost there and tributes to their bravery and sacrifice. Letters from loved ones, photos and flowers. Behind the fragrant breeze of lillies and carnations and roses was the unmistakable smell of loss and death. It lingered in our noses even after a year and now as I reflect back on that day, it lingers still in our collective American soul. For those who lost coworkers and loved ones on that day, life has moved on but no one has forgotten that empty hole that used to be filled with their presence and no one has forgotten the sacrifice they made in the name of freedom. That day was such a wake up call for all of us and it doesn't matter who you are, where you were or what you were doing that early September morning, it changed your life forever.

As we approach the anniversary of that horrible day this week, I wanted to share with you a memory that sticks with me even until this day. It is the memory of one woman who knelt at that wall on the one year anniversary and sobbed. It was quiet and serene along the wall and although the jackhammers pounded and the high pitched sound of the steel workers tools pierced your ears, behind it were whispers of those in attendance. Whispers of memories and curiousity and readings aloud of letters that were left there for all to see but above it all, the moan of that one woman sobbing uncontrolably, her hand on one of the many photos and her knees on bare concrete as her two young children stood beside her in an effort to comfort her. No matter how many people attended that day to pay tribute, in her heart and in her grief, she was completely alone. I assumed that the photo was that of her husband, lost in the tragedy that day and after all these years, I wonder if she has found some assembly of peace and has moved on with her life. I wonder if she returns to the place where her husband perished on that day and most of all I wonder if those reponsible hear her cries as I do so often in my mind when I reflect on that day.

The simple truth is that NONE OF US SHOULD EVER FORGET. That we never forget the sacrifice or the bravery or the loss or how it changed our country's fabric or ever forget that one woman and her children and the cost that came with 9-11 for all of us. It was a very high price to pay for so many and history has shown us that if we do not learn from our mistakes, we are destined to repeat them. What grew out of the ash that covered the streets that day was love and hope and for that, we should be grateful. Because if we are and we remember, then none of them, not even that womans husband died in vein.

The view from the back of my horse is that woman, her children and everyone who was touched by tragedy that day. Having been a 9-1-1 emergency dispatch operator at one point in my life, I have a tack pin that I recieved when I was sworn in and I wear it on my cowboy hat still today everywhere I go because on that day, the pin took on a new meaning for me. I am often asked by people who see it where they can get one and as far as I know, they can't unless they have earned it. They assume that it represents that horrible day and now in so many ways, I wear it for that reason because it makes people remember. The photo of the twin towers that my daughter took that April still hangs on my office wall and beside it, a photo of her standing at the wall one year later. The model airplane that hung in front of it is now long gone but the pictures remain and will stay there until they fade away but for me, the memory of the one woman among thousands of people will never fade. The sound of her grief will never fade and my respect for those lost and those left behind will never fade.

May God bless each and everyone of them and everyone of you as well. We are Americans and we are strong of will and pure of heart and NOTHING will ever take that away because we are survivors and above all... we will never forget.


Saturday, August 22, 2009

Celebrating Corn and the County Fair

Yee Ha!Today is the annual Corn Festival here in Swantucky. There will be a parade featuring corn. Then there will be games and booths and food featuring corn. There will be beer which has little to do with corn but in Swantucky, there is always beer. According to the weather man there will be rain which will make the corn grow but would suck if there wasn't beer. We take our corn seriously here people so come on over and grab a beer.

Our county Fair is in a week and a half and it is a huge deal. Its one of the biggest in Ohio and if you want to haul your camper out there to camp, you have to call on April 1st to reserve a site and if you are fortunate enough to get one, you NEVER give it up. We dont camp often so in our woods is a 1972 camper that sleeps six. We haul that baby out once a year and clean it up and take it to our site and set it up. One year we took a large refrigerator and we had a storm that actually blew the fridge over and tore the screened room we keep there. We spend each night going from campsite to campsite visiting with whomever is making a hobo dinner that night. A hobo dinner consists of sausage, potatoes, cabbage and you guessed it, corn. This has been our Fair routine every year now for 16 years and we are proud to say that our little camper is the ugliest one on the entire campgrounds. Dont knock it, its a Swantucky thing. We used to haul several horses up there back when we showed horses and were 4H advisors but now with our busy lives, we are lucky if we get to actually sleep out there one night. It's still nice to go out in the evenings and drink margueritas and watch the horse shows. As I said, no matter what, NEVER give up your campsite. NEVER!

One year, I had pneumonia and ended up in the emergency room at 4 am and the hospital wanted to admit me but alas we checked me out and went back to the fairgrounds because we had kids showing their horses in a couple hours. We showed up only to be yelled at by the kids parents because we were 20 minutes late. Bear had open heart surgery but his priority was Jen and I going out and setting up our campsite so we wouldn't lose it and go back on the waiting list. We did it for him and after we did, Jen ended up in the hospital and I had to take it all down by myself. It always rains, most often storms, always turns cold after days of seering heat with no shade, people are always stressed and nasty by the third or fourth day and bitchy, but there is the food and the rides and the corn and most of all the tradition that makes us return year after year to the same campsite and take it all in.

So here in Swatucky, we take our Fair seriously. We take our corn seriously and we take our beer and margueritas seriously and if you live here, the one thing you honor is tradition. Time to pull the little camper that sleeps six uncomfortably out of the woods and clean her up. Oh yeah, did I mention that the license plate on it is from 1982? It isn't ours either. I think the person it was originally registered to is dead now. Ahhhh, life in Swantucky! As usual, we will be enjoying the scenic route of the back roads hauling out to Fair. Rednecks who celebrate corn do NOT mess with tradition! You, fellow Swantuckians are the view from the back of my horse today. Rock on!!!


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Mama said there'd be days like this

Yesterday shall go down in the record books as one of the suckiest days but that was yesterday and I woke up this morning to a new one. YEAH! I try not to hold on to those bad ones for very long. If I do, I lose sight of the next day which could be a better one all together. Mama said there would be days like this as the song goes but she also said that if I kissed a boy, I would go blind so I cant believe everything she says.

I entertained myself by going to walmart last night and buying the neighbors baby black pajamas with glow in the dark bones on it. Like a skeleton. Best $3 I ever spent. Kids don't usually care what clothes you put on them unless it glows in the dark and then BAM! They are suddenly interested. He is seven months old, sitting up on his own and has no teeth yet but the dude is a great judge of what is interesting and skeleton jammies totally rock the house! Made me wish I had a pair to fit me.

So looking ahead... our mini aussie Sadie is due to have puppies in two weeks and she is huge! I love puppies. The only thing that would make them any cuter is , you guessed it, skeleton pajamas! Sadie now sprawls out on her belly with all four legs spread out beside her and last night, she did this in our bed and would not move. She had me pinned in one position for the entire night. It was storming so our bed is the most popular place in the house. With five dogs, I have to make reservations ahead of time to find a spot to sleep. Life is good!

Twitter is rocking and I havent been able to join in for a while so since it is going to be a rainy day, time to tweet, my friends. Then of course there is the Carnival Games by WII. Need I say more? It's like being at Fair. So the view from the back of my horse today is being kind to myself, screwing around and accomplishing nothing! I feel I owe it to myself and if I had them, I would spend the day in my skeleton jammies and glow in the dark. Have a good day everyone and mama...there may be days like that but today is not one of them.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Best advice

The best advice I have ever recieved is a simple one word that we should do by reflex and yet when things get really hectic, we sometimes forget. I called a friend one day when things were reallyu bad and she listened and then said that one word that I still remind myself of every day when I wake up feeling like that 600 lb weight is on my chest...BREATHE!

My life for almost five years now has been balancing on the edge of my worst fear which is losing my hubby. We still visit the emergency room, live our lives by the way he feels on any given day and get frightened at the possibilities. Recently his left arm has been going numb, he has been feeling nauscous and is tired all the time. Breathe!

He looks pale and his hair is going grey like overnight...breathe. Good advice. It really is but even the best advice is sometimes not enough to stop living in fear of losing him. I am only half of who I am without him and when I look at him, I am reminded of that and the fact that he is not the same as he was and never again will be. But back to the best advice...

The best advice in the world is not going to chenge you unless you genuinely feel it inside yourself. To hear someone say it to you is reassuring for a while but I can tell you that at 4 am when you lie there in the darkness and the scarey thoughts consume you, it is difficult to hear the reassurance and to hear the posisivity and it is difficult to breathe.

Maybe a post it on the headboard would help. Maybe a recording that I could play for myself and maybe just to wake one morning and look at him and know he isnt struggling through all the things we take for granted. Maybe all this would help, I dont know. I live in the moment and in this moment, I am frightened. So the view from the back of my horse is the best advice I have ever gotten and I pass it on to you. No matter how bad it seems, it could be worst and no matter how bad it actually gets, we have to remind each other and ourselves... to breathe.

Monday, August 17, 2009

As summer draws to an end

What?! Did I really just say that?! Summer drawing to an end. I think I did and I am sorry but it is what it is and there aint notta thing we can do about it. This is where I say "but heres the good news" but there aint no good news really. Oh wait, thought of one...hurricane season. Thats right, hurricane season. See my friend Emily Jo taught me a new game.

Jim Cantone I think his name is, maybe Bill but I think it's Jim. I did get the Cantone part right however is a weather man who says "Hunker down!" Now I say that all the time but when HE says it, do a shot! So Hurricane Bill is building strength and when he does, ya'all better HUNKER DOWN. SHOT! Sweet!

Sweet as in short and sweet for todays blog. The view from the back of my horse is most definately Jim (or Bill) Cantone from the weather channel. Ya'all hunker down now and keep those shots coming!
P.S. I miss summer. :( I vow to everyone to wear my flip flops till the first four inches of snow falls on the ground!) That is me being rebellious. Im gonna hunker down no matter how cold my feet get and just deal. Maybe with a shot or two of that delicious Firefly vodka sweet tea! SWEET!


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Talent, Telephones and Talking with new friends

Talent... Remember this name people...Emily Jo Peak because she is one of the most talented photographers I have had the pleasure to meet and is just now starting to shoot professionally. In my line of work, I see a lot of photography but hers has that "it" factor and I have to do a project with her. She rocks and any magazine who doesn't contact her and use her is not thinking clearly.

Telephones... In November, I renewed my service with Verizon and used my renewal to get hubby a new phone after he washed his in the washing machine...oops! I was told that his would renew in August and I could get my new pink Blackberry that I so badly want. Yesterday I finally turn my calender to August and there is the note I made myself to call Verizon. Ironically, my env has been acting crazy so I took the time to call. They said when I renewed mine, they changed the date of hubbys renewal and blah blah blah, I cant get my new pink Blackberry!Now what I want to know is why a new person who may or may not pay their bill on time as I do or may or may not be a good loyal customer for as many years as I have been can have the damn phone but I can't. Loyalty is priceless and I pay a LOT of money for our three phones every month and unless I pay full price for my phone, I can't actually use their service when my EnV finally dies. I don't pay full price for anything! Pink is my signature color and Verizon... you suck.

Talking with new friends... I was invited to go to a friends barn and meet some people from Texas that share a few mutual friends with me and it was really busy here but we decided to take a break and catch the end of this persons clinic and chat for a while. Brent Graef and his wife Kris are especially nice people who all of you should get to know. At the very least, sign up for Brent's clinic if he is in your area. You will love it. o the view from the back of my horse is Clinician Brent Graef and his wife Kris, welcome to Ohio, again. It was very nice to meet you both. From the back of my horse, I can also see the vast open space of Verizon's millions of new customers who are loving their pink blackberries while I answer my EnV that is gauranteed to drop your call if I can dial it at all because the battery wont hold a charge and the talent of Emily Jo who is easily found on Twitter and FB. Happy trails to all of you


Monday, July 27, 2009


Well I just got back from a little town in Oklahoma called Burns Flat. I am not sure how many people live there because I only saw a few but it is near Cordell and quite a drive from the airport in Oklahoma City. I woke every morning to sit on the front porch and watch the cow babies and the horses play in the vast pasture that is their yard. I am sure they didnt know what to think of me walking out every morning and yelling "COW BABIES!"

I drank Firefly vodka sweet tea with my friend Holly and went fishing at the junction with the water moccasins and Holly's family. Oooo, maybe I should have mentioned the people before the snakes? Oh well, they know I love them. Did I mention the firefly vodka? I dented my head crawling into Holly's truck. Played with the horses, got mauled by cattle when the trigger to the automatic feeder on the truck broke while out in the pasture. We ate awesome Mexican food and took lots of photos for an article I am working on. Loved the red dirt and blue sky and 1000 degree temps!

My job may not pay much, being a writer but I can tell you it makes up for it in spades when I get the opportunity to call this work at all. The view from the back of my horse is my buddy Holly Clanahan and her hubby Chad and their many, many acres of animals. Had a great time, my friend. Thanks for the AQHA bling. Thanks for the friendship, the Firefly and oh yeah, the big dent in my head! Love ya


Saturday, July 18, 2009

Fish, Friends and Finishing What I Started

Some days, the world seems to be moving way too fast for me to keep up with it. When this happens, I just shut out the world and go spend time with my ole pal, Hootie. I've been sneaking more and more time with this horse and his mother, Cher and their friend the paint, Nova. At our farm, that is the most quiet, least demanding area and aside from a flake of hay and a full water bucket, they don't really ask anything of me. Beau, our stallion is cool too but when I walk out the back door, which I do quite often throughout the day, he calls to me to come and spray him with fly spray. He is obsessed with the ritual and I can be in the house ten minutes and walk back out the door andf he lines up at the fence and whimpers for me to pick up that fly spray. I spray him and he actually turns around for me to hit the other side. Then he is happy until I walk out the back door again.

As a writer, I have an editor. She (or he) edits everything I say so that it looks more intellegant on the written page. This way, I seem more insightful and more educated and well... just more. I am really grateful for editors. I have decided that I need one to edit my life. The decisions I make, the people I allow close to me, how I spend my time. I need a life editor to keep me focused on getting things done such as articles and this blog, the childrens books that I write for every child born to someone close to me. I need an editor who tells me when I have been on twitter too long and to tell me to RUN when I meet someone who is later going to cause me grief. To stop me when I am about to say something stupid and most of all to cover my butt when I need to go spend time with the horses. She could take my cell phone and my email and the kennel phone and just edit my life while I play. Anyone want to sign up for this position, the pay sucks, the hours are brutal but I promise you will never get bored as there is always something that needs to be done.

So moving on... FISH. We built a garden with a little pond just outside my office window so I would have a quiet place to go when I wasn't busy. First of all there is not one place or one moment anymore that is not busy or quiet now that the dog kennel is in full swing and the phone is always ringing and people are coming and going but it's pretty and I can hear the water bubbling as I write and that is really relaxing. Soooo we bought fish for the pond. How fun! Bear put a big bucket with holes in it so they could get out of the sun and plants and ledges for the tadpoles to climb out when they grow legs and turn into bullfrogs. One morning I go out there to find they are missing. Not floating, not sucked into the filter, just gone. After a long discussion as to where they might have gone, we go and buy more fish but this time, we are going to watch more closely to see if we can figure it out. The pond is a long way from the barn and it is nestled in a garden with a fence around it. I've seen birds land and drink from it or eat the seed I leave for them nearby but no raccoons or predators have ever been seen nearby. Then one day I walk out to find the orange barn cat, Redford sitting on the shale rock on the bucket, the little island of the pond with his arm all the way up to his shoulder submersed in the water fishing. REDFORD! I yell and I startled him, he lost his balance and fell into the water. Mystery solved. The damn cat has been fishing in my pond. Expensive meal for a barn cat.

FRIENDS... friends can sometimes be like that damn cat. You feed them with kindness, you open your door to them and what do they do? They eat your fish! Someone should invent a friend filter that warns you of which friends are going to be good ones and which ones are well, just psychotic. My life editor certainly would have warned me about this one. A year ago I met a woman who wanted a horse. Now don't get me wrong, I have some really good friends both old and new that I thoroughly enjoy but then there are ones such as... we shall call her ...ummmm Worm. For no particular reason aside from the fact that she wormed her way into my life and then ate my fish. Worm wanted a horse. I had two we werent using so they moved in to her barn. We made her wait a month before we gave her the horses so we would be sure she wouldnt change her mind because that is a big decision. The month passed, the horses moved, she also had two donkeys. Then three weeks to the day I recieve a call that she wants to get rid of everyone and everything and I needed to come get them because she was depressed and just wanted them gone. She wasnt a horse person and she had gone off her meds and was falling apart. So I did what any friend would do and helped her find a place for all four animals. The donkeys went to Ernies and the horses went to another lady around the corner. I couldn't bring them back here because I had taken the opportunity to strip the fencing in that pasture and rebuild it. Hootie and his crew were in the other pasture. She appologized up one end and down the other and I let it go, encouraged her to go back on her meds and she vowed she would NEVER change her mind. She showed up at my house and gave me a pretty little saddle and bridle and various tack to thank me for helping her. Nice!

Then the other day, almost a year to the date and completely out of the blue, she called to say "remember that saddle and bridle I LOANED you?" "Well I bought more horses and need it back." I said WHATTT??? My first thought was this woman was not a horse person by any definition, she gave me the saddle for helping her get through a really tough time, I had four saddles so I would not have borrowed one from her and oh my gosh, she is off her meds again. I recounted the events that had transpired the year before and toldher that the saddle had been passed on to someone who neeeded one and I wasnt sure if I even had the bridle anymore but would look when I had some time. The following morning she called to say she was going to come over and help look for the bridle. I had 14 dogs all together and was packing to go to Oklahoma and was really busy. She would not actually get the new victims, I mean horses for a month so there was no rush, right? No. I went out and dug through twelve boxes of tack and could not find THE bridle. I called and told her that I would just pay for the saddle and bridle but couldn't find it and didn't have any more time to look. She declined and this was followed by about six more phone messages about how she wanted to continue to be my friend, not to be mad at her, she doesn't really remember what she said because she was not right at the time. All of which I simply ignored and went about my busy day. At some point in the conversations, she told me that she had also been calling Ernie to get her donkeys back a year later. I bet he is feeling about as angry as I am at the moment but am afraid to call him. Sooo heres to a friend filter that filters out indian givers, people who dial my digits way too often and people who can't decide what they want in life. Saddle gone, bridle gone, horses gone, donkeys gone and a year gone by. Move on.

Long winded I know but now finishing what I started... I am headed to Oklahoma this week to write an article for a fairly new magazine who hired me to write two articles. One, I already sent in. The second article is about a wonderful man who recently passed away, a cattle man and the father of a friend. My reservations and research were set about three weeks ago. and I am due to leave in a few days. I have made an attempt to touch base with the editor at least five times since then and have recieved no response from her. I am a little concerned because she is supposed to reimburse me for my travel and I have a couple questions for her before I go. I think it is important to tell this mans story and to finish what I start andI have quite a bit of time into this particular article. So the plan is to go and get the story and write the article regardless. Then maybe my life editor can help me decide what to do from there. So Oklahoma, here I come. A few days with friends, some research and who knows, maybe itwill all work out and maybe it will end up in a different publication but either way, my job is to tell a story so thats what I intend to do.

So the view from the back of my horse is not the fish, the friends or finishing what I started, its the little corner of the farm where Hootie and his crew reside and after I finish this blog entry, spray Beau with his fly spray and find me a life editor, I will be taking the phone off the hook and headed to the back of the woods to spend time with my horse because thats what is important and that is where things become clear to me. My horses, they speak volumes without even saying a word.


Saturday, June 13, 2009

Biting the Hand That Feeds You

Part of a song I wrote goes...
"Don't kiss a boy or you'll go blind, don't bite the hand that feeds you, Don't cut off your nose to spite your face because there's too many people who need you."
It's just a humorous little diddy about advice my mother gave me growing up that made absolutely no sense at the time and I thought she was crazy (well actually she was but that aside) some of it was good advice.

Two dogs checked into our boarding kennel the other day and one is just as nice as can be but the second one tried to take my arm off when I reached in his run to fill his bowl with food. I was trying to do something nice for him and he returned the favor by trying to bite me. I guess he never met my mother. I remember when I was writing Tips and Tidbits For The Horse Lover, I was writing a tip about never feeding your horse your fingers, being careful to approach them with an open palm because horses have peripheal vision and can not see what is directly in front of them. On that particular day, I didnt heed my own advice and for the first time in my life, one of the horses bit the tip of my finger. Ironic, isn't it?

Anyway, some people are just like that mean dog, you go out of your way to do something nice for them and they bite you. Not literally but figuratively. I have never understood this but it seems the more you do for them, the more they bite you. Now you would think we would learn and just stay away but when you care for those people, you just continue to ignore the biting and do more for them. Then one day, you are in enough pain that it registers and you learn your lesson and you stop doing for them. Ahhhh, but now they have come to expect it and they resent you for not feeding them with your kindness. Their anger and expectation grows and because they haven't learned to do for themselves and have come to depend on you to do for them, they lash out in an attempt to put their universe back on its axis where you give and they take.

Instead of realizing how much you have given them and learn to give back in appreciation, they blame you for everything that has gone wrong in their life and you become the enemy. The smart thing to do is to just walk away and allow them to grow as a person by learning to do for themselves. Then the third party biting begins. This is where you hear from a third person what a horrible human being you are because the biter says it is so, not to your face but to the third party which hurts even more than the original bite. If you confront the biter with the hurtful things they said, you are just putting yourself back within biting range which is stupid and since nothing is ever their fault, (just ask them) the fault falls on you through the third party. Are you with me so far or have I lost you yet?

I tuned the mean dog and his grateful, fun loving friend loose in the play yard. The food was already in the yard, prepared by me as always however both dogs were unaware that I was the one that gave them the food. The nicer of the two dogs came to me for attention wagging his tail and then went directly to his food. When he was finished, he was content and went to lie down and bask in the sunshine. The mean dog? He didn't notice the food, hair standing on end ready to attack, he came at me and I turned my back on him. He was expecting me to feed him and I ignored him completely. He growled in an attempt to get me to give him food. I continued to ignore him. The food was there, the only thing that changed was that he had to go out in the world and find the food himself. I was no longer willing to risk the bite by giving him the food. He eventually found the food while his friend lay at my feet content just to be in my presence. A loyal dog who understood that unless he met me with love and respect, he was on his own. Unless he showed gratitude at the fact that I was willing to feed him at all, he would have to figure it all out on his own.

It made me realize that when we do too much for the people we love and that effort is not met with loyalty and respect, we are doing them a terrible injustice. We are robbing them of the ability to do things for themselves, to go out in the play yard and find the food for themselves. When we do too much for them and it is not met with love loyalty and respect, we are teaching them that it is all right to bite the hand that feeds them because they have come to rely too much on the fact that you are always going to feed them with your love and generousity whether they bite you or not.

The view from the back of my horse today is that nasty, mean dog who taught me a very important lesson about human nature. Also his friend who taught me that when I put myself out there for the people I love, I should expect nothing less than love and loyalty and respect in return. So go ahead and kiss a boy because you probably wont go blind but don't feed the ones that bite you because if you truly love them, they need to learn that biting is absolutely unacceptable and when someone reaches their hand out to you when you need them, never bite them.


Saturday, May 30, 2009

Tribute To Skipper

After a day like today, I feel like some appreciation needs to go out to one particular palomino gelding named Skipper. If none of you mind.

Skipper belonged to a rather well off family here in my area way back about 25 years ago. He walked in a class and came out with blue ribbons. He worked hard for them and always made it seem easy. He has babysat more of our youth in this area than any horse I know. He was kind, loving, probably more so than most people I've met. When Skipper retired, he was sold for a mere $300 to the girls next door from me. I would go out to feed my horses and Skipper would stand at the fence and watch. He has had his fair share of aches and pains over the years and of course he was the last one of the herd to shed out his winter coat. Once he did, he shined! He was a horse that anyone could ride and everyone wished they had 100 of.

Early this morning, I received a call from the girls asking me if I would bring over some syringes and needles as Skipper wasn't feeling well and they wanted to get the banamine out. It was too early to get hold of the vet. By the time I got over there, another friend had already given him a shot and he stood with his head low and was still in a lot of pain. We recounted his wonderful career and his 28 years on this earth. It was with a very heavy heart but in his best interest that they made the decision to call the vet a few hours later and have Skipper put down. He was old and tired and had a great life here on earth. I watched from my barn as Sherry walked him down the path between their pasture and mine and every single horse called to him and lined up at the fence as he took his final walk to the back of the woods. Not because they were upset, you see but because Skipper was a legend and they wanted to give him his due.

I recalled all the times I stood in awe as he beat our horses in class after class over the years and how angry my daughter would get because she couldn't beat that horse. He was the horse that every other horse aspired to be. When he retired, he had such a wonderful home with people who loved him.

I awoke yesterday after a hard rain to find one perfect flower in full bloom in my garden and I think God put it there for a reason because it seemed fitting that such a perfect horse should get this perfect, beautiful flower in tribute to all he has accomplished in his life. I wrapped it in white daisies and lay it on Skipper's grave this afternoon. So all of you horse people, please keep Skipper in your thoughts today and also Mary and Sherry for loving him enough to make the most difficult decision that we ever have to face.

The view from the back of my horse is Skipper...God has one more perfect gelding in his herd.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Finding Comfort

Life can be stressful but there are ways to find comfort and peace. Sometimes it comes in the form of a sunny beach and a cold drink and a cababana boy seeing to your every need but lets get real.

Comfort comes in many forms and sometimes the simplest things can renew your soul if you just learn to relax. Walking out to the barn and watching the horses run as you release them into the pasture. A hot cup of tea and a purring cat sitting in your lap. Waking up to sound of your loved one breathing deeply as they sleep next to you. The sun coming out after a storm. Sitting in the garden pulling weeds while you admire the new growth and the flowers blooming. A deep breath.

The best comforts are the ones you give to those around you. Since my daughter got sick, I found that when she gets to that point where she really can't keep anything down, I see it coming and I start baking. Banana bread is her comfort food so I make two loaves. One for now and one for the freezer. I also bake cookies and freeze them in large ziplock bags and when its time to go to the hospital, I grab them on the way out the door. In one year, I lost both my dad and my brother and when Joe, my brother was ill, I used to go visit him in his resident room and bring the ipod with me. I would put the ear buds in his ears as he slept and play his favorites for him. My dads favorite song was Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain and he loved Patsy Cline so that is what I played for him during those last few hours and it took him to a better place than the fear of dying.

I find comfort in giving comfort to others even if it just little things. I allow my daughter to go shopping in my closet when she is feeling down because she used to love to shop before money got so tight. I write to bring comfort to others and I measure my success by emails I recieve telling me that it made a difference in someones life. So the view from the back of my horse today is comfort and giving it to others and what a difference that it makes in changing the world. So today, I ask you to not only try to find comfort for yourself but offer it to someone else. Bake a bread, donate to your favorite charity, a hug, a compliment, a smile. It doesn't have to be a huge effort but rather a small gesture. Take a box of milk bones to the local animal shelter, brushing your horse offers comfort to him as well as to yourself. If someone calls you with a problem, you don't have to make it your problem but listen, take the time to give them a shoulder to cry on and then tell them you love them.

I think comfort is the key to putting our world back on its axis. It also makes the best gift I can possibly think of. Have a good day today and go in search of comfort for yourself and those around you.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Four Letter Words

Hmmm. I know a lot of four letter words and lately I have used most of them in very creative ways. I certainly have used them more often than usual lately but I always try to replace them with four letter words that aren't quite so abrasive.

Hope...This one is a favorite of mine although I find that I am losing this one. I try and open my mouth to say it and the strangest thing happens. I am finding that I can no longer form the word.

Cash...shoot! That one was gone a really long time ago. I dont even say that one out loud in my head anymore.

Cure... Still holding out for that one. That is where hope comes in most often.

Liar...The worst kind are the ones that look you straight in the eye before they dare to lie to you. I avoid that one all together.

Help...I used to have a lot of trouble asking for this one. I was always better at offering it. Circumstances have sure changed that. Now that one seems to have several exclamation marks after it.

Luck... Hahahahaha! Sat down this weekend to have a relaxing meal with my husband at the glass topped patio table and it shattered into a million pieces. We decided it was symbolic of our lives lately and have decided to call in an exorcist. Yes, it has come to that.

Mail... UhOh! Now this one frightens me a lot!

Love...still have this one so things can't be all bad, right?

I noticed that with horses, there are a lot of great four letter words from our four legged friends...walk, trot, whoa, lope, back, slow, easy, see? Now there have been times when I have used some of those less accepted four letter words when riding but not usually. I also noticed that horses never lie to us. If they are going to do something evil they just out and out do it, like bucking or rearing, etc. They never tell us one thing and then do another. They leave that up to the humans in our lives. Are you by chance seeing a pattern here today? Thats right, someone I thought I could trust actually looked me right in the eye and lied to me. Well all right it was on the phone but still.

She said, "tell me whats wrong, I want to help". I fell for it and as soon as she hung up the phone, she used what I told her to start trouble between myself and someone I dearly love. A horse would never do that. Horses don't gossip, don't share secrets, do not betray your confidence, they don't pretend to be your friend and then make your life more difficult. I can tell you that when the exorcist is called, she will be one of the evil things that is forever removed from our lives but first I have a few four letter words for her that I will just keep to myself until the time is right because people like that tend to hang themselves without any help from anyone else and me, I prefer to keep my heart as pure as possible and concentrate on the love. The view from the back of my horse today is the four letter word and all of its many uses. Keep the bad words only in your head and keep the big haired women with way too much jewelry in your rear view mirror. Be true to your friends but stick to the four legged kind.


Monday, May 25, 2009

Happy Memorial Day

By Tena Bastian

I give my life for your life
I give my strength for your day today
My family goes on without me
So that yours can stand up and say...
I am proud to be an American
There is no other country where I would ever be
The sons and daughters, the sisters and brothers
Our sacrifice comes down to me
The soldier who fought for freedom
and the mother who sits alone
Holding in her hand, the letter
That says I did not make it home

I give my life for your life
I do this without regret
I only ask one thing of you
That none of you will ever forget
How priceless is this freedom
To young and old, rich and poor
That all of you live your life to it's fullest
And remember what were fighting for
Not just today but every day
Pause for a moment and bow your head
For those who stepped up and offered their service
And for the wounded and the dead.

I give my life for your life
As does every soldier in every war
On American soil or in a distant land
If I can ask just one thing more...
May God bless the wounded soldier
May he bless and keep those close to him now
May he watch over the ones who stand at arms
And help them find their way home somehow
May you keep them in your thoughts and prayers
May the fighting someday cease
Because I give my life for your life
But I also pray for peace.

HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY. Please keep this going by forwarding it today to everyone in your life. In honor of those who fight for freedom and pray for peace, of their families who make the ultimate sacrifice, THANK YOU!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

To See Her Ride Again

To See Her Ride Again
By Tena Bastian

When she was ten years old, she decided to go compete at the State Fair and although we felt she was way out of her league; her father and I decided to support her in her effort. Jennifer was up before the sun and ready to work. Before my eyes were fully open, I could hear her running into my room dressed in her pajamas and cowboy boots begging me to get up and help her saddle her horse. She knew there were chores to do before riding but she didn’t care. She would run through the barn with flakes of hay and scoops of grain and she would brush her pony and stagger as she tried to maneuver the wheelbarrow down the long hallway of the barn so we could clean stalls. By the time most people were just getting out of bed, she had finished all of her chores and was in the arena riding her pony. It was summer and all I wanted to do was to sleep in.

It wasn’t always a good ride but she kept trying as she was determined to go to State and the only thing between her and her dream was to be good enough to qualify and she knew that would not be an easy task. There were days when she was frustrated because she couldn’t get Checkers to pick up the correct lead or give her a smooth transition but she kept trying. I remember one day in particular when she got angry, dismounted the pony and handed her to me. With arms crossed and a defiant look on her face she exclaimed, “I am not getting on that horse again and you can’t make me!”. Tears running down her cheeks, she stood there defiantly as I walked her horse to the gate. “WAIT!”, she said as she realized I had no intentions of making her ride. “Please wait!”, she begged. She would start again.

With a lot of work, Jennifer qualified for the State competition and we loaded her horse and headed to Columbus. She didn’t win, she didn’t even place in her class of 63 horses but she went. The following month at our county Fair, she took Grand Champion in her class and watching her ride to perfection made me cry with joy. Jennifer continued to ride for several years with every bit of enthusiasm until one day when she was about seventeen years old, things changed. I woke before she did, I had to fight to get her out of bed in the morning. Her little cowboy boots gathered dust in the corner as did her saddle and eventually she sold her horse that had replaced the pony that she rode to victory at Fair. Her personality began to change and she didn’t feel good most of the time. She struggled and we knew something was wrong.

After a lengthy hospital stay, the doctors confirmed our fears as they diagnosed her with Crohns disease, a debilitating disease of sometimes epic proportion that disrupts the immune system and for some unknown reason, begins by attacking the gastrointestinal system. It also leaves the body vulnerable to viruses, bacteria and even cancer. Jen slept a lot in the beginning and suffered from vomiting, diarrhea and weight loss. She barely had the strength to go to the barn much less ride anymore and missed so many college courses that she lost her scholarship and eventually had to stop attending all together. The initial hospital visit was followed by many others and the light in her eyes began to fade. The little girl who had lived to go to the barn, was now frail and sad and sick and slept all the time. The tears of joy that I had shed at the sight of her riding her pony had become tears of sadness and fear and they flowed more often than not. After a lot of research, we decided to drive her to Chicago to see a doctor who specialized in the disease and Jennifer would begin giving herself shots in her stomach that the doctor felt would get her back on track. The problem was that this medication along with the ones that accompanied it would not only suppress her immune system more but we were told that having children would not ever be likely. To Jennifer, this was not a priority at this point in her life however to me, the thought of it broke my heart. My daughters had brought me such joy in my life and the thought that she would never experience a ten year old in pajamas and cowboy boots jumping on her bed at the crack of dawn broke my heart beyond belief.

The medication worked and Jennifer experienced what they called a remission of sorts and we had such hope. She wasn’t strong enough to ride again but she smiled and she could stay awake for more than a couple hours a day. She met a guy and just as their relationship began to blossom, her father had a stroke, followed by another, then another. Then it was discovered that an infection was causing his strokes and apparently it had also infected his heart. Jennifer put the relationship on hold and instead, stayed by my side as her dad underwent two open heart surgeries to replace both valves and insert a pacemaker. For over a year, she stayed in remission and helped me care for her dad and one day, she reconnected with Mike, the young man she had met and they became very close during the time shortly after her fathers recovery. In October of the following year, two very important events occurred. Jennifer and Mike were married and Jennifer went out of remission. She was sick again and as I watched what should have been the best year of her life interrupted by constant hospital stays, my heart ached for both of them.

Her health worsened until one day after about twenty some hospital stays in one year, I decided to track down the doctor from Chicago who was now at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. I packed the car and drove Jen about ten hours to the Mayo clinic on donations from friends and credit cards. They admitted her. I only had enough money to stay for three days and get her settled in and then I had to drive home. It was the first time I ever had to walk away from her when she was sick and I cried through Minnesota, Wisconsin and Indiana before reaching the Ohio border. The further away I got from her, the more my heart broke. Her husband, who was dangerously close to losing his job because of all the time off he had taken during her illness, drove out to get her. That was three months ago and twice since, she has had to be admitted again.

We don’t know what the future holds at this point, none of us ever do but we are sure of one thing… wishes are horses. We have heard that said and we believe it to be true. For Jennifer and for her dad, their illnesses have not gotten the best of them and I believe that the horses in our life somehow keep things from going too far astray. Their love of horses keeps them strong and for me, they give me inner peace. If wishes are horses, my one wish now is to see her ride again. To somehow find an answer to this disease, a real cure. The doctors say that her dad can never ride again with the damage that has been done to his heart and on some level he has accepted that. I can’t tell you what I wouldn’t give to see Jennifer healthy and happy and beside me for just one more ride. To feel the way I did when I would hear those little cowboy boots come running into my bedroom to jump on my bed and beg me to get up so she could ride. I often think about those days in the first few minutes of the morning before I get out of bed and I listen for her but it is quiet. That pony is long gone as are most of the horses that graced our pasture back then. Jen is grown up and married and continues to fight this horrible disease but oh what I wouldn’t give to see her ride again.

Note: Read more about this family in an article by Holly Clanahan in the June issue of Americas Horse magazine.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

But the Good News Is...

Ok, so I didnt win the mega millions as I had planned but the good news is... it only cost me $1.00 to take a shot at it. After my last blog, I recieved an interesting phone call from a stranger from Nebraska who simply asked me "How do you do it?" I said "Do what?" "All of it!" she said. I laughed. She had been reading my blogs and had the skinny on the hectic mess our lives have become and she looked under contact on the web site and just picked up the phone and called me. It was a good conversation with a perfect stranger. Neither of us left with any more insight than we had when I answered the phone but it was just a good conversation between two horsewomen. Both mothers, both with a sense of humor and both needing a good laugh.

Here is the matter what happens in our lives, no matter how difficult or even totally bizzare in my case, things get, when you repeat it to anyone or even just go through it in your head, add "but the good news is..." to the end of each sentence. Then reach really deep inside yourself for something to follow. It doesnt have to be something as big as ...I won the mega millions jackpot or they found a miracle cure for cancer but it has to be something positive.

This is where hope comes in when everything else is falling apart around you. No matter what you lose or how bad things are going, you still have hope and if you remember to add that to your sentence and to your thought process, that hope is yours to keep and no one can take it away from you. So even the worst of situations hav e a light at the end of the tunnel that is not a train. Lets try it out, shall we?

I ran over a dog this morning but the good news is... it wasn't my dog!

See, that wasn't so difficult. Heres another.

I recieved a foreclosure notice in the mail today but the good news is... it was addressed to my neighbor.

Of course I am kidding but the point I am trying to make is that the only thing standing between myself and the nervous breakdown I so richly deserve is a sense of humor. That and any trace of a positive attitude I can manage to hold on to are mine to keep. Thanks for the call Anita, my new friend from Nebraska. Best of luck with your new foal.

The view from the back of my horse today is Anita and Holly Clanahan from Americas Horse magazine, this writers favorite writer. She has taken on the task of telling our story in the upcoming June issue of the magazine which will be in the mail in the next couple weeks. Life may be difficult right now but the good news is... I have people like Anita and Holly in my corner.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

How You Know When You're Having a Bad Day

I bought a lottery ticket yesterday. Doesn't it just seem like there are some days that go so terribly wrong that you just feel as though the luck your having can only get better? That was yesterday. Jen admitted at the Cleveland clinic and doing yard work to keep my mind off it. It wasnt my turn to take her and in order for everyone to keep their sanity, you have to let others take turns.

So here I am with the weed wacker taking out some of my anger on those darn dandelions and I am covered in grass, still in my pajama pants and a yellow shirt. My hair being held back by my sunglasses. I am sweaty and dirty and I have to drive over and walk Jen's dog. "No one will see me" I think to myself as I drive the 15 or so miles to her house when my cell phone rings. It is my husband. "Honey, I can't feel my left arm, it's numb so I think I am going to the hospital", he says. Smart man. When you have his history of heart issues and two metal valves and a pacemaker keeping you alive, you dont ignore a numb left arm. So I tell him I will meet him there and head for the hospital. A different hospital, two hours from the one Jen is in. So I get there first and walk into a crowded waiting room full of people waiting to be seen and quietly walk up to the counter and say, "You have a possible heart attack walking through the door at any minute and he has two metal valves and a pacemaker and has had three strokes and two open heart surgeries". She takes notice and asks, "How old is he?" I say 50. She says "Pardon me?"

Bear arrives and he is calm but none too hapy about seeing the inside of another emergency room. They take him right back and the nurse comes in with a form. She says, "Any medical history?" Haha! All I can do is laugh because she has no idea so I begin. My daughter Dusty walks in and sits beside me. The list goes something like this...
Subacute Bacterial Endocardidis
Two back surgeries
Two cages and four metal screws
Three strokes
Open heart surgery
A second open heart surgery three months later
Two metal heart valves
A pacemaker
She says..."Is that all?"
I say..."Oh yeah, then he was struck by lightening"
Dusty chuckles and Bear is over getting an EKG. The nurse looks at us out of the corner of her eye and says "You're kidding right?" Like I havent heard this before.
"No, I am not kidding", I assure her. She continues the questions, the doctor comes in and says, "Are you kidding?" looking at the chart. "Nope".
We wait our several hours for tests and results and one room down, a young drug seeker is screaming obsenities at the top of her lungs. My cell phone has died so it is in the car charging. I am leaving a trail of grass everywhere I go and Bear still can't feel his arm. The results of the tests have come back and show nothing. Now keeping in mind that the tests showed nothing after each of the three strokes and he had a piece of infectious material sitting on his heart valve while pieces were breaking off, going through his bloodstream to his brain and causing the strokes. I am not reassured by the test results but they sent him home and said it was neurological. Possibly a pinched nerve but they dont know for sure. Uh oh, sleepless night coming. So covered in grass in my dirty clothes with my sunglasses holding my hair back, I walk into a carryout, dig out $1.00 in change which was about all I had and buy a chance at the mega millions jackpot. I have never bought one before in my life but after a day like this, my luck is bound to change.

Soooooo, the view from the back of my horse is the trail of grass I left behind and the look on the poor nurses face as Dusty and I recited the list to her. Here is to Bear who wonders if he willever feel his arm again. Here is to winning the mega millions and paying off some medical bills and getting caught up. Here is to someday being able to breathe and not having to worry. Heres to poor Jen who is back in the hospital for like the forty seventh time this year and here is to anyone who actually reads my ramblings here in this blog. It is excellent therapy. Last but not least, here is to the srug seeking screaming maniac girl at the hospital, may she find peace or at the very least some soap to wash out that foul mouth of hers.


Friday, May 8, 2009

Same old song and dance

Admitted Jen back in Cleveland Clinic. Prayers please?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Open Letter To The Universe

This is an open letter to the entire universe on this day, the day where I have been pushed beyond the limits of what I can take.

I am a mom, a wife and a horse woman which means basically that I am a force to be reckoned with and I am tired and my daughter is tired and in desperate need of one big collective prayer. You see, here we go again. Back to the hospital, back to being the vicitim of a horrible disease that has stolen the best years of her life. I am sure she can accept what it has done to her so far and move on and I am sure she can accept that she can't ever be a mom herself and maybe she can accept the fact that she worked so hard to help save her dad for all that time only to become the patient herself but enough is enough.

I can barely even look her in the eye anymore after five years of telling her that everything is going to be all right. I watch her throw up and not eat and get thinner and thinner and I just want to scream. She does NOT deserve this. She deserves to be healthy and happy and not have to spend these beautiful spring days in hospitals.

I swear that I would lay down my life to see her healthy and happy. I would give every penny I owned if I had any pennies left to continue to give them just to give her the life she deserves. I can say it is only money but when it is the thing that stands between her being healthy or being sick, the bill collectors dont see it that way. I am asking, no begging, pleading, praying that we see an end to this continuous nightmare of illness that this family has been through. If it is true that we put things out into the universe and they are heard, hear this... somehow, some way, we are not going to let this disease take her from us. Please everyone who reads this letter, help me put that thought out there so the universe will know that we are tired but not broken yet and we will not stop until she is healthy.

Just needed to vent, hope no one minds. The view from the back of my horse is the same as the one from the rear view mirror of the car, the Mayo clinic in Rochester Minnesota. We will see you again soon.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Learning To Ask For Help

Recently, my friend Laura and I had a conversation about the dilema my family has experienced. Its been a long road for us and most recently, my friend and web site devoloper Michelle, set up a family fund for us to help pay medical expenses.

Laura and Jeff are two of the most wonderful friends a person can have and they have been with us for many years through thick and thin. Laura answered Michelles call and donated money into the account that has been set up. It felt strange. Not because I didn't appreciate the help but rather because I have never asked for help before. As a horse person, I have always instructed people that if they need help with their horse, do not be afraid to ask for help and yet here I was, needing help and at the same time afraid to take it.

It has been a long hard road trying to stay on top of all that has happened to us by myself and there is such a relief in knowing that there are actually people who are willing to help.

I am struggling with the fact that it feels so much better to give than to recieveand yet here I am in a place deeper than I ever even thought possible and needing the help and questioning it and feeling uncomfortable about it. I owe Laura a huge appology and a great big thank you.

I love you for helping me and I love you for caring about all of us. You are a good friend more like a sister and I want to take a moment to thank everyone who has come to our aid and have cared enough to help.

I just got off the phone with my friend Holly from Americas Horse magazine who wrote a beautiful article about our experience and it will be in the June issue coming out in the middle of May. Thank you Holly, Michelle, Laura and every other friend who has my back right now. You are all the light at the end of the tunnel and on this cold windy Monday, you are the view from the back of my horse...I love you.


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Walking Away

Mothers and daughters can sometimes be a difficult relationship. It has to be based on trust and love and respect and it has to be bonded together with a strength that can endure anything life throws at it.

I have two daughters and I would lay down my own life for either one of them. The decisions I have made in their lives may not have always been the best ones but each has been made with their best interest at heart. Today, my heart is heavy with worry about my youngest, Jennifer. Her Crohns disease has gotten the best of her so I made the decision to contact the best doctor I could find and drove her 10 or so hours to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester Minnesota. After a lengthy consultation, Dr. Kane decied that Jen needed to be admitted in St. Mary's hospital there. Financially, I had traveled there on a wing and a prayer along with a few donations from people who know what this family has been through lately. Jen and I went back to the hotel, dumped our suitcases and made her one good one out of what was still clean and admitted her.

Then came one of the most difficult things I have ever had to do...leave her there. I left her with clean clothes, the last of the money aside from the gas money that I needed to get home, kissed her goodbye and drove back to Ohio by myself because we couldnt afford the hotel and expenses to stay. I cried all the way through Minnesota and Wisconsin and part of Illinois. She was so strong and understood why I had to come home but I was jello. We had been awake most of the night before because she was so sick. Vomiting and crying and I was helpless to do anything about it.

I sit here this morning with such a heavy heart because it is totally out of my nature to walk away from anyone I love when they are in trouble. After my husband was diagnosed with his illness and he had three strokes, two back surgeries and two open heart surgeries, he barely survived and came out of it with two metal valves and a pacemaker. He was so sick that they wanted to put him in a rest home and it was Jennifer that spent months helping me take care of him so he could be home instead. Now she is so sick and I had to walk away. They say money is the root of all evil and today I feel that firsthand because it is keeping me from being with my daughter.

I have sold so many things and have had to make so many sacrifices to keep up and have worked so hard. I am tired and have run out of options. I want to be there but have to be here. I want our family to be given a repreive from this chaos of medical problems and most of all, I want to sleep knowing she is all right and this heavy weight to be lifted off our shoulders. She is not only my daughter but my friend and she is so sick that I barely recognize her anymore. She deserves a happy life with her new husband and her dog, Capone in their little apartment and she deserves to be healthy again. Walking away was impossible to do and all I really want is to walk away with her and have this nightmare behind us.

So the view from the back of my horse today is the Mayo clinic in Minnesota who is caring for Jennifer and I can tell you that the view is a long one because right now it seems a world away from me. Please send your prayers to them and to her until she is home again.

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Generosity of Horse People

My heart is full and I am humbled by the generousity of horse people. I feel truly blessed to be in the midst of such good hearted people. Three years ago as some of you know, my husband Bear had a stroke followed by another and then another. It was discovered that a tooth infection had gone systemic and went to his heart, brain and spine. Next came an open heart surgery and then a second. Followed by expensive medical treatment and continued care. At 50 years old, he has two metal valves and a pacemaker as a result.

During this time, our daughter Jennifer who was diagnosed with Crohns disease became very ill. At one point, I had each of them in two seperate hospitals and was so tired and overwhelmed with medical bills. We sold almost everything we owned to stay on top of it. We continually recieved prayers and cards and letters and emotional support from this industry of loving caring horsepeople.

Recently, Jennifer's disease has gotten the best of her and she has spent weeks in the hospital only to be released and admitted again. Now I am getting ready to drive her 9 1/2 hours to the Mayo clinic looking for an end to this and I put out a call for help to anyone between us here in NW Ohio and Rochester Minnesota for a place to stay on the way if we get in trouble. What I recieved in return is so much more than I ever expected.

Phone calls, prayers and emails started to come in and our paypal account began growing slightly with small donations to help with the trip. $20 here and $5 there and suddenly for the first time in years, I felt a weight lift off my shoulders and did not feel alone in trying to get our lives back. I know how good I have felt helping other fellow horse people in their times of desperation and for the first time, I feel the love of those who want to help us and I can't tell you how good that feels.

We as horse people come from all walks of life, each of us with a story of our own and a struggle that we are faced with and yet when any one of us are in need, we come together as a family and love and support each other. I can not tell you the last time I wasn't frightened that I would lose it all and with it, my husband or my daughter. I can't tell you the last time I have been able to sleep through the night and wake up and not worry that it was my last day with them or that we would lose our house.

Through my books, I have shared our lives and have had the opportunity to meet a lot of you through emails that you sent or at book signings or seminars that I have given and a lot of you have become friends. I wrote a little collection of stories called The Horses We Love, The Lessons We Learn and have recieved emails from all over the world telling me how it has changed your lives and I am so grateful for each and every one.

Thank you for your friendship and thank you for your help and most of all thank you for allowing us to be part of this family of horse lovers that continue to welcome us and support us when we need it. I know that our struggle isn't even close to being over at this point but at least I don't feel alone in trying to make it all work out. Michelle, our friend and web site developer asked if she could put a donation button on the web site and my first thought was that the economy has really hit everyone so hard and my pride wouldn't allow it. Then I recieved an email from Lynne Wiser who said that people wanted to know where to go to help. I just want to ask for your continued prayers and emails and phone calls and letters that tell me that I have an entire equine world of support as we travel back and forth for treatment and continue to get our lives back on track.

To all of you that have cared enough to be there for me and my family, thank you from the bottom of my heart. May God bless you and your families for your caring spirit.

Love Tena
Note: A special fund has been set up for Tena and her family to help with medical bills. To learn more, go to

Sunday, March 1, 2009

How The Mind Works

Isn't it funny how the mind works. Don't get me wrong, I am happy mine works at all some days but during the most chaotic moments, my mind writes songs. Yep, I dont sing, or read or write music or even play an instrument but my mind writes entire songs with lyrics and everything. For Christmas, my hubby got me a keyboard and I found that if I sit at it, I can find the the right keys that create the melody. Interesting.

They are random. They have little or nothing to do with anything that is going on in my life. So this morning, I thought I would share with you the one that is currently in my head. It is really sad but has a haunting melody and is really pretty. It's called "Don't Leave Me Tonight". I hope you like it.

He was barely sixteen when she got the call
Coming home with some friends from a party
He lied to her and said that they would be at the mall
But he wasn't where he was supposed to be

She tried to be strong
while the other parents cried
Their babies were gone
But her son survived

Don't leave me tonight
Baby don't close your eyes
All the words left unspoken, the promises broken, nothing but lies

Tomorrow will come and go
and I'll be alone
My life will be shattered, nothing else matters
God, don't take him home.

She sits by his bed on a cold winter night
Snow falls outside the window
She knows in her heart that it won't be long
But she can't find the words to just let him go

She tries to be strong
To hold on to the past
But it won't be long
because he's fading so fast

Don't leave me tonight
Baby don't close your eyes
All the words left unspoken, the promises broken, nothing but lies

Tomorrow will come and go
and I'll be alone
My life will be shattered, nothing else matters
God don't take him home

They whisper and stare as she walks down the hall
They talk about the collision
But she doesn't care, for the rest of her life
She'll pay for someone elses bad decision

She tries to be strong
but he's barely alive
Still her words echo...
"Don't drink and drive"

Don't leave me tonight
Baby don't close your eyes
All the words left unspoken, the promises broken, nothing but lies

Tomorrow will come and go and I'll be alone
My life will be shattered, nothing else matters
God don't take him home

She sits by his bed on the fourth of July
Fireworks outside the window
She knows in her heart that it won't be long
But she can't find the words to just let him go

She tries to seperate
her anger from her fears
But he's not coming home...
It's been fifteen years

Don't leave me tonight
Baby don't close your eyes
All the words left unspoken, promises broken, nothing but lies

Tomorrow will come and go
and I'll be alone
My life will be shattered, nothing else matters
God don't take him home

Just a small sample of how the mind works. At least my mind. Somewhere in the back of my mind while I am busy with every day life, I compose songs, lots of them. My hubby loves one called The Famous song which is a funny tune about a girl that has big dreams but she is sitting in jail. Maybe that one is for another time. In the meantime, the message of this one I think is when you make a decision to drink and get behind the wheel, consider the impact of those you leave behind. Life and death isn't always black and white. There is a very grey area between life and death where the people you love suffer a lot. Sad but true. It's March...go saddle up your horse and go for a ride.


Monday, February 23, 2009

Just A Cowboy Steven Bland

In August of 2005, I sat in a hospital room where my husband Bear was gravely sick. A lot of you knew this but some of you did not. He had open heart surgery at 47 years old because his heart was infected from a tooth extraction. We were told at the time that it would be a miracle if he survived. After many agonizing months, we recieved our miracle. At the time, a name kept coming up inconversation with fellow horse people. Tootie Bland.

It would seem that she and her husband Steven did not recieve the same miracle and Steven passed away. My heart ached for her as it does still today and they were in my thoughts a lot. I didn't know them at the time, only heard her name cross the lips of so many people. Their situation mirrored ours in a lot of ways. Horse people, heart surgery, the men were the same age, and two women who loved their husbands dearly cherished every moment that we had with them.

There is a certain amount of guilt that comes with being a survivor when others were not as fortunate and I really felt compelled to reach out to this stranger but hesitated because my husband survived and hers did not. I could feel her pain although I had never met her because in that dark place between life and death, pain is too unbearable not to share.

Recently, I sent her an email because I couldn't get her out of my mind. I saw her name again in conjunction with an event called The Road To The Horse that was being planned for the middle of March. It wasn't so much the dates or even the event that caught my attention but rather the location. Franklin Tennessee.

The location in which the event was being held is actually minutes from the small cabin where I love to go to write. Marvin and Maryella's cabin. So as I said I finally reached out to Tootie in an email and she called me a week or so ago. We chatted for quite some time and shared our stories and the similarities in our lives and she couldn't have been nicer. Hearing her talk about Steven and their lives promted me to write a small tribute to their love for each other. She told me that he used to say that he was "Just A Cowboy". Her love for him tells me that he was so much more than that.

Steven will be inducted into the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame next month and she has asked to use the tribute aspart of the celebration of his life and accomplishments. I am both honored and humbled by this. I dearly wish their ending would have been a happier one because she deserves many happy endings.

We have spoken a few times since via email and Bear and I will be with her at The Road To The Horse next month and give her the biggest hug ever! Her strength in the face of adversity deserves a place in the Hall of Fame aside her husbands name. Tootie, our love and respect to you and the memory of your Steven.

By Tena Bastian

A man is judged by who he is
Not what he has done or where he has been
Not silver buckles, titles or trophies
But by those who love him and call him their friend.

A cowboy is judged by his character
By his ability to make a good decision
Not the height of his horse or the size of his spurs
That is not what makes him an American Tradition.

He said, “I’m just a cowboy”
Nothing more and nothing less
A man of his word who’s love and compassion
Measured his success.

Just A Cowboy lived his life
With love in his heart and a comforting smile
His accomplishments were many
He had grace and dignity and style.

Just A Cowboy loved a woman
With a heart so pure, she made him whole
She was the love of his life, his kindred spirit
One life, one love, one soul.

They rode the plains of Texas northwest of Abilene
Their mornings spent tending cattle and checking the fields of hay
A sky of blue and pastures green
Just A Cowboy led the way.

The road to the horse is a quiet one
With steady hands and a compassionate heart
Where a horse is never broken
But rather given a solid start.

They knew it wouldn’t be easy
Because nothing worth having ever was
But they believed in the strength of each other
In their faith, their abilities and their love.

They took the road less traveled
But they set their minds and stayed their course
El Camino Del Cabbalas
Welcome to The Road To The Horse.

He said “I’m just a cowboy”
And he lived his life with no regret
For the things they had accomplished
And the ones she ain’t done yet.

He will always be here in spirit
To comfort you, to catch you when you fall
To love you unconditionally
Because he is “Just A Cowboy” after all.

For Tootie with love