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!
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.
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.
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…
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 their 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.
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.
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 and 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.
There is no other way to start a post at this point in my life other than. . . What a crazy busy week! And it’s almost the end of the season? This time it’s different for me, it doesn’t really feel like the end since we have the yearling preparation going on now for the sale in January. Although we are coming to an end with the foaling season, a whole other season is in full swing. My body does not cooperate with my mind anymore…I am in constant battle of convincing myself that I can push myself more and more every day, more mentally than physically some days.
This week I have had to vaccinate all my yearlings, as well as walk paddocks every other day in conjunction with organizing and managing a whole barn of forty yearlings with five boys which included farrier twice this week, and a vet visit, as well as daily treatments and trying to get these yearlings in tip-top shape for a sale only TWO MONTHS away! Oh my goodness, oh my goodness.
We only have about nineteen mares left to foal on the farm, which is shocking, I can’t believe it’s almost at an end! My fourth breeding season under wraps…although a whole new season will then begin for me…I have always left a farm after all the foals were born and I have never stayed for weaning or actually seeing the foals become yearlings. So, I am really excited to do something new and also have a place to call home for a year to save up some more money for my next adventure. I had sleepless nights thinking about this decision…Am I wasting time staying here for a whole year? Am I just going to settle because I am comfortable? WHOA, let’s just hold on to those horses for a second. I am most definitely not comfortable! Hours are long, (but that changes with the season), I am confused by choices everyday because orders are coming from so many directions, and who do you listen too? Because if you “obey” one order the other turns their back on you…that is my biggest fear, becoming the hated. Are you afraid of being hated even though you know you have done nothing wrong? I am. People confuse it for “people pleasing”, but you know what…the world we live in today you are either somebody’s friend when you can be at their beck and call but once you say, “no” or even think of saying, “no”….in a blink of an eye you are the worst enemy. That is my biggest fear, hence I try to do my best to keep everyone happy and in the end I am the one who suffers. I will do favors for you, I will go the extra mile to lend a helping hand. I will do one hundred and ten percent for people even though I know that they wouldn’t even do the same for me. What is wrong with me?
Anyways, this weekend I took a stand for myself. I said NO for the first time in a long time, I said “no”. With no explanation or excuse, I plainly said I can’t do that for you. Usually I would give up all my plans to help someone out, to lend a helping hand. This weekend I put ME first. So, I have got to pat myself on the back and say well done Ash, for getting some balls and standing up for yourself for once. Like they say, Rome was not built in a day!
There you go, all caught up on the news and some of my thoughts on everything. I really just want to push this thought on everyone that will read this. Don’t ask someone to do something if you are not willing to do the same for them. Take it from me, the one on the other end…I have a really big heart and the word, “no” is hard for me because of that fear of being hated. That is simply called MANIPULATION. It is not fair; it is not fair to put someone under that pressure. Don’t let someone fear being rejected by you so they are forced to do anything. I don’t know how else to put it, once again it is just the world we live in. But as my Mom says, why try so hard to fit in when you were born to stand out.
Let me just end on this beautiful picture that I took last weekend. These mountains make me feel so small and insignificant. I stare in awe of how beautiful God’s creation is. I feel rather selfish being caught up in my fears of being rejected by the people of this world and forget that the only acceptance I really need is God’s.
“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”
Today is the twenty-fifth day into my new season…which sounds like so little compared to the way it feels. I feel like I have been here for much longer, is that a bad thing? Let me elaborate on this quick, I only think it feels longer because of the experience that I have already gained since I have been here…not only for my career but my confidence as well…and the season hasn’t even started yet!
So, twenty-five days in and it just happens to be my off-weekend. I have literally done absolutely nothing except think about things I should rather be doing. Hey, what are off weekends for after all. I did make some progress today and washed my car (that’s a start!).
Lets get back to business, so what has happened since my last post, which would be about two weeks ago. I have been getting used to the routine around the farm and it’s going pretty well. I am “in charge” of the weanlings at the moment, as well as some treatments. I have done some pretty cool things with the vet and I have learned to work a pretty kick-ass blood machine, I have done so much already and like I have said…THE SEASON HASN’T EVEN STARTED! I have had my trails and errors so far, but that is all apart of life, we are not going to learn anything if we don’t get anything wrong will we?
The people are so nice, the farm is organised, I am not treated like just another clown at the circus. I feel like I fit in, at some times it feel so weird to actually be important. The other day, all the managers were having some milk tart that Mr. Italy brought in the office. I was busy doing something and realized everyone was gone…then got called to come and hang out and eat milk tart with everyone. It just takes some getting used to being somebody important, well, being a SOMEBODY.
I have also made a new friend here, his name is Captain. as usual he has four legs and has just managed to steal my heart. He’s a big, beautiful, retired racehorse. It’s nice to go and talk to someone after work and The Boss Man has also given me permission to ride him. All I need to do now is find some tack.
Other than work, my mind has been caught up in getting everything ready for England! My mind has been in my finances, my mind has been home, my mind has been on travelling, my mind has been on the future! But you can only accomplish one thing at a time, at the moment, I am HERE and NOW. Bring on the next 152 days!