No one ever injured their eyesight by looking on the bright side.

No one ever injured their eyesight by looking on the bright side.

I just realized that I always start my posts on a statement of what type of week it was…this time I feel like changing it up and leaving it a mystery.

I have been looking forward to this long weekend so bad, four days of working “weekend hours”, its the farm life dream. Before we get to the weekend though, there still has to be a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. You have probably never experienced a busier week in your entire life. The first draft of sales yearlings going to Johannesburg were leaving this Saturday, so there had to be shoeing and vet checking and some owners and trainers like to come look at the yearlings on the farm as well. Because it was technically only four days in this week, we had to squeeze everything in…we literally used every spare second on the clock to get things done. We made it though, and all on my own I managed to juggle the foals, the weanlings, and the yearlings, the treatments, the farrier, the vet, and everything in between. You know what makes it all worth it, when your boss tells you “…that he is really impressed with you, and really proud.”

I can fully say with confidence that the horses going to the sale are ALL MINE! They are my blood, sweat, and tears. I didn’t think anyone noticed how much work and effort I put into it, nevermind the boss. Now Mrs. So and So isn’t here, they finally see my light! God has got my back, He always has. Like they say, Good always wins.

Starting on the weekend…I just couldn’t wait to get Saturday over and done with. I wanted those horses on the truck and on their way to Johannesburg as soon as possible! Just hoping and praying that the guys packed everything and the horses had all their stuff, and everyone got on the truck okay. To be honest, I have been so anxious I have not been able to sleep or eat at all. I have no idea why I was stressing about it, because it went smoother than a piece of silk.

Another exciting thing happened this weekend, I made a friend! Yes, your probably thinking, you should have tons of friends in Robertson, you’ve been there for eleven months! Holy moly, just got a fright! I have been here for ELEVEN months! Anyways, He (yes, he) is the resident “house-sitter” (No, that’s not his real job. of course.) My work colleagues  occasionally ask him to house sit while they are away. He’s been here a couple of times, but I only properly met him on Friday after work. He wasn’t what I had pictured…down-to-earth, pleasant, has a rather capturing smile, and amazing manners…a proper gentleman. It was probably the first holiday since I left home that I didn’t feel completely alone.

I am not the most social person on the planet, I would much rather get pizza and watch a movie under a blanket than go out drinking till early hours of the morning. I would rather go hiking, go on a road-trip, or do something exciting than spend every weekend at a different party. I guess that is why I haven’t made many friends in eleven months. But, I do have a best friend already, I feel like I don’t need anyone else. My sister is my best friend…she knows me better than anyone else ever could, heck, she knows me better than I know myself! She know’s how I feel by simply reading my messages or hearing my voice. Some people meet their best friends in school, or wherever…I was just incredibly lucky that I grew up with mine. Wow, getting a little emotional over here on my couch. Excuse me, it happens every holiday, I am most emotional during these times of year. I am just super blessed, and super thankful for my family. Even though we are miles and miles apart (I know South Africa use kilometers, but that statement sounds better in miles…even you have to admit) Anyways, even though we are miles apart…I couldn’t feel closer to them.

Back to my mystery friend…I don’t like mentioning any real names on my blog so we are going to call my new friend, Fish (there is  story behind that) let’s hope and pray I don’t mess this one up by being a socially awkward little mouse that doesn’t like getting out of her comfort zone. I really hope this is not the last time we will hear from Fish.

I am always surprised at how much can happen in a week! I am never short of stories, am I? Well, that is really all for now.

As always, thanks for listening.

 

 

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Make progress or make excuses.

Make progress or make excuses.

It’s been a busy week (as usual) thankfully, no tears this week! I think I have found my greatest strength in my hardest fall. Something has changed, I feel confident and I feel like nothing can stop me. I am determined and I want to keep writing this chapter of my story. 

It’s been really busy at work, there is so much going on. Who said the off-season was quiet? Uh, no…you are so wrong my friend. It could probably be because I am currently doing the work of two people! I am actually glad because if I had to sit on my bum the whole day I think I would go insane. Sometimes I want to pull my hair out when I can’t get to everything, I have to put it off and separate everything so I can get it done. I wonder if anyone even notices how much effort I put in? It doesn’t really matter to be honest, I know and God knows…one day they will all see. 

The next few weeks are going to be glorious, I wont have this dark cloud following me around just waiting to rain on my parade. This is my time to shine, this is my time to prove myself. I am going to have to pull up my socks, and tighten my belt. I can finally throw away my umbrella and let my light shine. 

Although, I am not going to lie. I have been overwhelmed by everything that I have to do, the sales preparation of thirty plus horses and departure of two sets of sales have been put on me and everything that goes with the two. Oh, wait…you thought I was done. No, in between I have to look after the yearlings and newest weanlings, as well as the foals that are still with their Moms. Well, It should not really be much of a challenge because I have almost been doing everything anyways. So, I am actually, kind of prepared. This is just everything 2.0.

Right now I am not even going to get into how much Mrs. So anQuote 6d So doesn’t even care how everything plays out and how I have had
to hear it over and over again. I am sure I have bite marks on my tongue because I had to constantly hold my words last week. Nope, you know what, I am going to be okay. Look at me, my panic is pouring through my words. Can you blame me? I just keep thinking – I did not graduate as top student twice and survive a season in New Zealand and make it through Karaka, do four seasons IN A ROW may I add, to not be able to do my job. This is the little league compared to what God has in store for me. One day I will be a manager, this is my time to take that first step. Prove that I can do this on my own…not for my boss, Mrs. So and So (actually don’t need to prove anything to her at all), or anyone else. The person I need to prove myself to…is Me.

So, let’s do this thing. Nothing is to big for a Hammond…bring it on. I am ready! 

Until next week, Four Boots out. 

Quotes 4

Before Alice went to Wonderland, she had to fall.

Before Alice went to Wonderland, she had to fall.

There is a saying, “When the going gets tough, the tough gets going.” What happens if your tough got going, but it just ain’t going anywhere, anymore. What do you do then?

I know better than to ask God, why cant I just be happy? Why must there always be a person in my life that is set out to destroy me. Why? I know this is His plan…there is nothing that is happening in my life right now that He doesn’t know about. I wish I knew what I was supposed to do though, where am I supposed to go from here? I wish I had a copy of my story – wouldn’t that make life so much easier? Then again, given the choice…would you really want a copy of your story? Would you want to know every detail? I know, I know – what lessons would you learn from not going through hardships, what would you learn if everything came easy?

How much pain do you have to go through until ‘giving up’ is okay?

I don’t have this blog to always write about the good times, people have hard times too…it’s all apart of the story.

Last week was one of the toughest weeks for me…it has been a build up for a long time but I finally cracked. I have always just pushed it aside, in hope that it will get better. That is just who I am. My breaking point came on a hot, Friday afternoon when I was called useless. I literally got a sharp pain in my chest as my heart broke…never in my life have I been put in a category as useless. I dedicated two years of my life on learning to do what I do, and always give it one hundred and ten percent. You couldn’t even begin to imagine what is behind this smile, what pain, what blood, sweat, and tears, all the stories behind becoming who I am today. You know what, I wouldn’t change any of it! Not one detail.

I have enjoyed every single minute on this farm, I have enjoyed the laughs, survived the tears, and made it through the pain. I can write pages and pages on how much I have learned, and how much I have done here. Is this God’s way of saying, “C’mon Ash, don’t get comfortable now, your story has a twist! It’s time for a new adventure.” I don’t know.

There is a difference between giving up and knowing when you have had enough.

I am just lucky that I have an amazing family by my side…I never have to go through anything alone, I never have to make any decisions alone. I just cant go wrong. That is where some people make the biggest mistake. I actually heard it in church today, the worst thing you can do is go through anything alone. Proverbs 4:7 – The beginning of wisdom is this: GET WISDOM. Though it cost you all you have. We should never be afraid to ASK questions, to ask for help. That is how we gain wisdom.

I am going to end on this quote that I found, it sums up what I am going through perfectly!

Never waste your time trying to explain who you are to people who are committed to misunderstanding you. 

Here is too what is to come!

Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory. – Dr. Seuss

Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory. – Dr. Seuss

Hello again strangers,

It’s been quite a while, but I am back in action.

Let me begin by saying that my sister and I had the most amazing, mind-blowing, bucket list-kinda-stuff, out of this world, unbelievable time in New Zealand. The things we did, the stuff we saw, times that will be treasured forever. I still cannot believe that we dreamed of the day we would travel together but it always seemed like just a dream. Now that dream came true and my sister and I have traveled not one, but TWO countries together! All I really have to say is that we have an amazing God: we are crazy blessed! I know this is only the beginning, we have many adventures to come. Oh, thank you for everyone who liked our travel Instagram! #muchlove

I will be writing a separate blog post all about our time in New Zealand with pictures and all. I just wanted to let all my followers know that I am back, and fill you in on what has been happening since. Other than feeling like I have gone through a break-up (with travel). Don’t laugh, I heard it is a real thing…

Sehnsucht (n) Origin: German

A wistful longing and yearning in the heart for travels that have been and travels to come.

When you’re not travelling this can be an overwhelming feeling, or when you think about the travel you’ve done and you wish you could relive it all over again. This feeling is why you need to make the most of every moment! It’s why the more you travel, the harder it gets.

http://www.migratingmiss.com

Can you actually believe I have been back at work for two weeks already? So much is happening at the moment, we have started weaning the foals (taking them away from their mothers). I was quite excited about this since I have never been around for the weaning process. It has been so much simpler than what books explain, or what I imagined. I guess all farms do it differently, but I really like the way our farm does it. It’s so hand-on and there is so much patience and care the foals don’t even know their mothers are gone. It’s pretty cool! I try to be involved with as much as I can and help out wherever I can, even though I am technically on the yearling side. I am also assistant to the foaling side but apparently weaning is not apart of our job. Some people believe that if it is not in their job description then it’s not their “problem”. I cannot think that way, I believe every opportunity is a chance to learn even if it’s not my ‘job description’. This is the first farm I have been on where it has been like this. “Teamwork” is not a regular word here, it’s every man for himself really. I don’t really care about the whole, “this is my side, and that is your side” situation. If you need a hand, I will lend you one…if I see something that needs to be done, I am going to do it. That is how a stud farm works!

In between weaning, we have tons of sales preparation going on. Horses that need to go in the walker, horses that need to be groomed and hand walked daily. Then I have to look after the rest of the yearlings that haven’t made the cut for the major sales (but will go to other sales), in between dealing with farriers, vet visits (my favorite), and then my not so favorite-grumpy people, and people who don’t want to work.

I just cannot believe that it’s been three weeks since our big adventure.  Where did three weeks go? I like being excited for something, looking forward to something. The next thing is that my family (hopefully, the WHOLE family) will be coming down to Cape Town to visit me…and and and, wait for it, another exciting thing is that my sister will be staying with me for a couple of months. Talk about looking forward to something, the time cannot come quick enough! We can add some South African adventures to our list.

So this week I need to conquer some mountains anIMG_6176d make some decisions. So much going on in this head of mine, just too much to get through right now. I just wanted to let everyone know that I am back on African soil, back and blogging about life, horses, people, problems, everything really…you guys know me.

Thank you for listening…

Here’s to the stories to come!

 

 

 

 

 

Make them wonder how you’re still smiling.

Make them wonder how you’re still smiling.

Before I begin, I need to state something that has been holding up this post. My blog is about my story, my experiences, the way I felt and the way I see the world. I am not here to just write about sunshine and roses because that is what people want to hear! Life is not like that, life has it’s up’s and downs. I want to read back on these stories…I want to look back and say I made it, look who I am today! Most of all, I want you to read it and think, “If she can do it, so can I!”

So, the January sale is done and dusted. Months of preparing horses day and night making sure they are in tip top shape to be sold under the judgmental, careful, extremely excruciating process of picking a champion. It’s always funny to me, you spend hours and hours with these horses, knowing their good side and their bad side like the back of your hands…and to give them away to the highest bidder who thinks that they walk just right, their legs are straight enough or their heads are in proportion to their bodies. What about that horse that has slightly skew legs but has the most loving nature…he could be a champion too. That is the thing though, you never know. It’s all about taking the chance!

It’s a weird industry!

Well, let me get to sales week. I have no idea where to begin! Ready to go with new trainers and all, prepared for the hard work ahead. All thirty-six of our horses arrived at the Cape Town Convention Center mid-day on the 17th of January. I was so happy I got to drive in the truck with the horses, in the front! Getting in with my short legs was a whole story on it’s own!

We stayed in a beautiful hotel, my room was awesome, the shower was grand, and the bed was comfortable. Much better than what we stayed at when we did sales in New Zealand! I was not quite sure what to expect here, I was warned that  it was going to be tough and a lot of hard work (that never stopped me). I survived Karaka, I am sure a draft of thirty-six horses will be a breeze.

I was suffering with terrible hay fever the whole week, barely being able to breathe through my nose, being sworn to and embarrassed in front of the biggest people in the industry on top of it all. Sound like fun? People now tell me that it’s because “people” are under a lot of pressure, “they” are stressed, it’s a lot for “them” to handle. You know what, that is NOT an excuse! I REFUSE to accept that, under the most stressful situation I believe you can find enough humility to treat people with respect! Don’t you think we would then work harder and harder and try be better and better? How do these people’s brains work? Now I am the one who people will remember as the idiot that couldn’t do anything because that is how you portrayed me!

All I have got to add is, THAT is exactly what a life without God looks like! Unhappy, stressed out, tired, and a stone hard, ice cold heart.

Too scared to even sit down and have lunch, in fear of your name being shouted out with multiple curse words in front of an overseas buyer, I stood just waiting at the top of the yard…feet dead from the weight and blisters boiling in your tight shoes from swollen feet…wearing a smile behind the pain and boiling blood with images of packing your bag and leaving with a mic drop moment at the next tipping point (that would never happen).

Sales ended with a sort of anti-climax, no celebration, no thank you, nothing. We had sold all the horses, packed up and went back to our hotels at nearly 12pm on Sunday night. I don’t want fancy champagne, I don’t want a box of chocolates, I just want a thank you…a simple thank you for all the hard work and even a sorry for being so hard, but we got nothing.

I am trying to explain that feeling that I got, I simply cannot put it into words…being yelled at and well, you know – in Harry Potter what dementors do to wizards when they attack, they suck all the happiness out of the victim. I guess that is what it felt like, it felt like I was useless and there was no point in trying to prove him wrong because everyone close enough now believed it too. Through the tears streaming into my eyes, and broken voice, I still called lot numbers and greeted buyers with a firm hand shake and a big smile. I carried on. My light was fighting to shine through the biggest storm and strongest winds threatening to break the glass of my lantern and blow out my light.

So, that was the sales all wrapped up short and well, depressing – sorry about that. I am not going to sit here and candy coat an experience because it makes good reading. This industry is not easy especially when you are five foot something, with a small voice and an extremely big heart, just wanting to make a name for herself, make her parents proud, and live a dream people only imagine in their lifetimes. I am glad I had a “friend” there, for months she had made sure I didn’t have it easy, but in the time where we had shared the same pain we sort of had an understanding. We wouldn’t have made it without each other. Who know’s what it will be like back on the farm…I am just glad that in a dark place the most unlikely person found their light. Let’s hope it keeps burning.

Now only two weeks and a weekend and I will be setting off on a grand adventure with my little sister to New Zealand. Exhausted, and mentally finished, I simply really need to put the past behind me. I was trying to search for a soul gripping quote about letting the past go, and looking forward to the future. Well, you know what, there is really nothing more to be said. It’s that easy…just let go. There are more chapters in this book to read!

You will be too much for some people, those aren’t your people. Glennon Melton

 

What’s comin’ will come and we’ll meet it when it does. – Hagrid

What’s comin’ will come and we’ll meet it when it does. – Hagrid

I had written an “almost” whole post before I left for Christmas holidays and didn’t end up posting it. I did in fact post a little video with all (well, most) of the pictures I had taken during the season. If you follow me on facebook, you would have seen it. (Hint-Hint). Anyways, I have decided to scrap that old post and start afresh, seen as it is a new year. Happy New Year to all my followers, and the few that read my blog. I really do appreciate it, I still hope to inspire you through my journey…even if it is just one person. So, thank you for the support…this year will be my first off season and I am doing another season at the same stud farm! I am really excited, I know that this road is going to be an awesome journey and the destination is going to be worth it!

My Christmas break was just amazing, just what I needed after the season. I can’t thank God enough for working things out in my favor so I could spend Christmas with my family…most of all my sister’s 21st birthday. If God is for you, who could possibly be against you. Back in time for my New Years shift (unfortunately) wish I could have spent longer at home, but the positive side is, 28  days from now my sister and I will be jet-setting to New Zealand! Not so bad right? It still didn’t stop me from balling my eyes out at the airport! Idiot! I cant help it, I hate saying goodbye. Hate it. As my dear Mother would say, “Get over it, and get on with it!” In an extremely caring, loving way…of course! She has a way with words, I thought she was being tough in the beginning but the older I have gotten, I have realized that she was teaching me that at some point you have just got to buck up, it is the only way you can move forward! No point dwelling on the sad stuff, thank you Mom. I just love her!

Now, on my own again, settling in…getting ready for the year ahead! One whole year at the same stud, I couldn’t believe it at first but I am really excited now! I am excited to finally help with the weaning process, and prepare for more sales, assist with many more veterinary projects, and so on. It’s going to be exciting! I have a year to save for my plane ticket to America, that is my next destination! If Highlands sends me or I follow my dreams to Lanes End, we will see. Isn’t that the magic of a journey, you never know where undiscovered roads lead too.

I wanted to write about New Year’s Resolutions, my resolutions. Every year it’s almost the same-get fit, loose weight, exercise more, eat healthy, save money, be better. I still aim to do that, but a few more things to add to the list is to be okay on my own, live everyday to the fullest, be slow to anger and worry, be smart, learn learn learn. They all sound like old resolutions, everybody’s resolutions really. But these are mine, among many. The point I am trying to make is, there is always things we want to get better at or improve…resolutions? Call it what you want.

So this is it, my first post of the New Year, this year is going to be an awesome one…I can feel it! I want this year to be the year for my family. There are still obstacles that stand in my way, and have unfortunately followed me into the new year, people to be exact.  I WILL NOT let people control my happiness or my future anymore. That is God’s job! So, this year I am just going to take everything one step at a time…

STEP ONE: CTS Book 1 Yearling Sales – LET’S DO IT!

Another summer day, has come and gone away.

Another summer day, has come and gone away.

I am sorry I haven’t posted in a long time. It feels like forever, to be honest I have sat down and wrote several times but my mind was not quite in the same place as my heart. My mother taught me to never do anything when I am angry. So it would have definitely showed in my writing.

Well, the past two weeks has gone by in a flash. Last, last weekend I celebrated my 23rd birthday. My family brought me to tears as I opened their surprise package that they sent me. I was super emotional, I was going to say, “I don’t know why” but I am always emotional. That was the BEST part of the whole day. Too feel so close to them even though I am so far.

Only one whole week has gone by since, and I need a foot rub, a back rub, leg rub, head rub, and can someone rub my heart too? I have never ever experienced more mental drainage than physical. This job is definitely  the other way round right?! You know those movies, where there is always that bad guy that wont settle until their lies and wicked ways ruin your life and make YOU look like the bad guy. HELP ME! I have never had to deal with this before! I am stuck between a rock and a boulder!

Like superheroes, and nerds, and those unexpected heroes that save the day. I don’t feel like one of those. How do you fix this, how do you push through the climax and defeat the villain to find your happily ever after? I was told the past week that people have come, people have fought but lost the battle and decided that it was too much, (this came as a surprise to know that I am not alone, I am not the first one) I must stand out and be the change…be the light to finally defeat this darkness.

BE THE LIGHT! Be the light. This week’s challenge. To be the light in the darkness, be the one to finally conquer this battle. I am sounding really dramatic, I know. But this is how it feels, this is how I feel.

I cannot really share much about work, the horse industry right? In a nutshell, the season has been winding down quicker than we expected. We have only two mares left to foal and as usual, they will hold on to till the very last minute. I have foaled a total of fifty-four mares this season. To be honest, I am not as exhausted as I thought I would be. It was most definitely a very long season, and we had our ups and downs, but we made it. We made it. Normally it would start feeling more settled and a little relaxed but my stress levels are still at about ninety nine percent with the sales yearling in, and the multiple treatments that has fallen into my hands, sick horses, new horses, you name it…I am doing it. I have experienced some awesome things in the past week though, I assisted in my first castration (not as grueling as you think), and I was in charge of rectals and vet work. I have passed some major hurdles with flying colors. Told you its not all bad!

Best news of all…I am going home in 19 days!!! I really did feel bad in the beginning, but I am really past it. I have been used and abused by my so called “manager”. I was entitled to go home in December when I first got here, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU boss! I am going home for my sisters biggest day of her life, and a Christmas with my family. LIKE PLANNED. Once again, thank you boss, and may I just say thank you to God, I am blessed that is why I am going home as planned, I have His crown of favor.

Psalm 34:18

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.

Counting the days until I get to pack my bag and get on that plane home! Hug my parents, have long chats with my sister, ride my horse. Just BE HOME.