It’s okay if you fall down and loose your spark. Just make sure that when you get back up, you rise as the whole damn fire.

It has been about twenty-nine days since I started the season in Mooi River, Kwa-Zulu Natal.

I was almost at the brink of tears and panic when I read through the responsibilities of my new job. Just then I had realized that I had lost all confidence in myself, and in my career. I started thinking about everything that could go wrong, am I good enough, will I be enough? Then God does something quite amazing, my first night on duty I had delivered three beautiful, healthy foals. I made it through my first day of vet work…with no practice run of what would be in store for me. I am in charge and back to my old self with my lists and organisation, I am doing things that I never thought I would be able to do.

I have always been either with the foals or with the yearlings, this season would be the first time I am dealing with the mares 24/7. I was nervous because it’s more than just waiting for the mares to foal – its checking the dates; making sure they are stabled in time; making sure they have a healthy pregnancy all the way; vet work with the barrens and maidens mares; AND doing my own caslicks now; getting mares to the stallion barn on time; doing treatments as well as getting farrier work done. After all of this…can I tell you a secret? I AM LOVING IT! Even now, I cannot stop smiling as I am writing this! Uh, I love it!

Day after day, I have been slowly picking up the pieces, putting the puzzle back together…I am beginning to see the big picture again. I used to dwell on the past year, and wonder what good could come out of it…but then realize I would not be able to do over half of the things I can do now if I did not go through any of that. I do understand that everything does happen for a reason, and were you are today and what you have been through yesterday is all a part of the grand plan!

So good to be back!

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God gives his hardest battles to his strongest soldiers.

It’s been a little over twenty days since my last blog…I have had trouble figuring out what this post should be about. You wouldn’t believe me if I told you what I have been through in the last twenty days. Why dont we begin with the good stuff –

Since my last blog post, Robertson has had it’s first snow and the city of Cape Town experienced one of the worst storms to welcome the rainy season. It brought havoc to the whole of the Western Cape. Multiple fallen trees, slippy roads, snow, 100 kilometers per hour winds with a below zero chill factor and rain drops falling from every angle possible. We made it through, and scored some epic photos! (The one of me, I just have to give photo credit to my amazing sister: Mikayla – this photo is CLASS)

 

 

Also since my last blog post, my brother has happily moved to Hout Bay in the Western Cape and has begun his new job as a chef. A restaurant overlooking the ocean as he cooks everyday, getting to visit the beach whenever he wants, he is definitely living the dream. It’s been so nice to have all my siblings in one province for once. My sister is still (obviously) living with me, which I think has been the greatest blessing that I could ever ask for right now!

I have had a troubling question stuck in my mind for the past week. Why is ‘giving up’ so bad? There are different types of reasons people give up on things, but ‘giving up’ is always put into one category! And it’s always a bad thing! “You didn’t try hard enough, you didn’t work hard enough, your too lazy to finish, giving up is easy!” But what if the reason you want to give up is because you simply just cannot carry on. You have been beaten and broken, and there is no way you can carry on.

Don’t get me wrong here, but I honestly have no intention of “giving up” anything at the moment. It was just a thought that was well, thought…at the worst of times, giving up is just the answer. Packing up and leaving it all behind you seems to be the easiest. Is it really the answer? Is leaving all your troubles behind the answer? I have wanted to give up multiple times in the last twenty days. I have never met anyone that makes you question everything about yourself, your abilities, your enthusiasm, your dreams. I have never been to a place where I feel like the ladder is broken, and I am stuck. I am not sure how to explain it, and I just don’t know what more I can do anymore. I have given 110% every day, every hour, and every second that I have been here, I have cleaned stables when I need not too, I have not only gone the extra mile but I have gone extra ten miles. If there was something to be done, I would be there. I am always giving more, without one single utter of a complaint, yet I still feel rather insignificant. I don’t know, I am just struggling to find the good in anyone anymore. I simply cannot find the positive in the past two weeks. I cannot find inside my heart to believe that someone is mean because they just are. That is how they “deal” with things, and you must just live with it. I refuse to believe that a person “is trying to teach you” when they call you useless.

No one should have to or deserves to feel so small, and so insignificant from people you hoped to look up too.

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So after getting all of that off my chest…I am going to be (and need to be) super inspirational and pumped up for life because that is just the person that I am. I am NOT ready to go anywhere and I am going to finish what I started! YES, someone had the power to use words to break me down…it hurt, it hurt a lot. I don’t think I have cried that much in my life. Being brought up with the best values, being taught to go the extra mile, being okay when you don’t get any credit for the hard work because you simply know that God knows and He is proud of you. THAT is enough for me! I don’t need to become a hard person with no feelings to make it in this industry, I have made it this far by simply being the person God made me. I have achieved more than I ever thought I would.

I honestly did want to write all rainbows and smiles for you today but I just cannot. Yes, life is not only sunshine and daisies, life has some thorns and rocks to throw at you as well. I don’t have a blog to make everyone happy with smiley stories, I have my blog to write about MY journey through stud life. Unfortunately, everyday is not going to be a good day.  It’s a little something called, LIFE…one day I am going to go back and read about all of this and know I came out a little stronger and a little tougher.

Thank you for reading! I hope somehow that my blog is an inspiration. People are going to tell you that you need to change, but God made me who I am and He knows what He is doing. He put me here for a reason, and if I weren’t meant to be here…I wouldn’t be.

Until next time.

H.O.P.E – HOLD ON, PAIN ENDS.

Grow through what you go through.

I have not posted anything in quite a while, so I thought I would just sit down today and write a little update on everything.

Let’s get updating. If I thought previous months were crazy, I should think again. I had been looking forward to May for ages since my family came down for a visit all the way from Limpopo and my brother came from Natal, it was the first time in a long time we were all together. They had planned a visit for a while so that my sister could come down and live with me.  It was an awesome visit, and I loved being with my whole family again…we ate, we fished, we laughed and we ate some more. The older you get the more you appreciate the time that you have with family. I definitely savored every single moment. I think the goodbye was not as hard this time because my sister was staying behind. She has been with me now for about three weeks…time has just gone so quick while she has been here; I have loved every single minute having her with me. The days seem shorter and my smile bigger. She has brought back a side of me I had thought was lost…you do become the people that you spend most of your time with. That is the thing about stud farms; you see the same faces every day. There are no clients that come in on a daily basis. It’s just you and the same colleagues every day.  It is so hard not to fall into that trap, I found I was more negative and complaining was coming too easy. I decided to remove myself from all of that. I just need to thank my sister though…she has not been corrupted by the world – She is still my pure little sister and holds the innocence and safety of home within her beautiful heart. I thank God every day for blessing me with a friend within a sister and for bringing this opportunity for us to live together…I have been grounded by my family just by chatting to them but now I have a little piece of my family with me. I needed her more this week than I have ever needed her before. Sorry but this calls for a hashtag…

#BLESSED

In between family visits, sister adventures, new adventures…life and work still goes on. I have already sent another lot of yearlings to the sales and have two lots being prepared at the moment. It is much easier now with the yearlings since they are much older (almost two years old now). They handle everything like champs, just walk straight into the walker, and they take blankets like a breeze. The horses (and I) are taking to prep much easier now. I know the routines, the horses, the schedules, everything….I am a yearling prep machine.

All the while we are dealing with yearling preparation and all tIMG_0510heir treatments and issues…we are almost finished with weaning all the foals. The last group will be coming in next week and then all the weanlings will be my department as well (that is probably one hundred weanlings).

All in a days work right. People always wonder what life is like on a farm, well, I am here to tell you. There is never nothing to do. There will always be a pole that needs fixing, a horse that needs tending, they all need to eat, and boy, do they eat! That is what I like about this job…every day is a new one…routine? What is that? Horses will always have something new to throw at you, a new lesson to learn every day.

Before we know it the breeding season will be upon us. At least this wont be my first rodeo. I don’t have to get use to a new routine on a new stud and everything. The only difference this year is I will or might be foaling on my own! Scared? YES! Excited? OH YES! This will be the biggest step in my career.

I still cannot believe I have been on this stud for almost a year. I thought I would feel like I wanted to stay, I thought I would have found my ‘permanent’ And then God does something to put me straight, as if to say, “Excuse me, why are you letting go of all your dreams…this is just a chapter in your story!” I have a great God. I am only 23 now. I still have a lot of the world to see and I WILL lead a horse in the ring at Gold Coast before I even think of staying in one place. Taking into account that there is still six months of the year left, there is still going to be a lot more to learn. This year is just going to fly by before you know it. I think I am more excited now more than ever to leave. I have gained experience in so many fields I never thought I would have the opportunity too, I gained confidence in certain fields and lost a bit in others. I am glad I stayed for more than a season, I have more experience under my belt and a beautiful addition to my CV.

Before I close…My mom made me realize that I have been so focused on the negative people and all the things have come against me that I have realized that I have forgotten why I love this job so much. I was so focused on the negative, I forgot about the positive. I was so focused on things that needed to be done, I was so focused on what could go wrong…I was missing out on all the moments that things went right. I heard once that life is 10% what you make it and 90% how you take it.  I decided to let stress, worry, and negative people control my outcomes. Not anymore. I have decided to go back to that little girl who just needed the warm breath of a gentle giant on her face to make her day, and the graze of a prickly muzzle to make her smile. You know what, you do only live once and if you do it right…once is enough! I am back to that girl who doesn’t have a job, she has a passion.

“…life is 10% what you make it

and 90% how you take it.”

Last week was not the greatest of weeks in the history of great weeks, not work wise but life wise. My Dad always told me that, “…once you have had the worst of the worst days out of the way, only good days can come after that…”

So, excited for the week ahead, I get to see my father and brother on Friday and I have an off weekend coming up! I have another week with the best roomie anyone could ask for, a job everyone only dreams of, a future to work for and be excited about, a loving family by my side. What more can I ask for?

I think you are all caught up now…that is just about everything in a nutshell. Thank you for readying.

Over and Out.

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.

 

 

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.

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!