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.

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You are your only limit.

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 dscf6519managing 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.

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“Be who  you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

– Dr. Seuss –

Thriving, not just Surviving.

A lot has happened over the past two weeks, where do I begin? Firstly, the date is set and tickets are booked for when my family will make their way to Cape Town! I am so excited! I know it’s a month and a bit from now, but I just can’t wait! I cant wait to share this experience with them, I cant wait to share my life with them and most of ALL I cant wait for them to experience the reason I love my job so much which is helping a new life enter this world. Did i mention, I just can’t wait…only 52 days to go!

The second thing that has happened in the past two weeks…drum roll please…I now have a kitten?!? Yes, you read right, I have a kitten who I have named, Thomas. He was a stray cat living in one of the hay barns on the farm. It looked like he was the last surviving in his litter. There are some moments, where I wonder, “Why did you go and do that for Ashlee?” And then I come home and these big green eyes look up at me, and my heart just seems to smile. I know it’s a bigger responsibility looking after another life and it’s not like a have the expenses. I do know that God would not have blessed me with this little treasure if it wasn’t for a reason. I am enjoying having some company in this small, quiet house.

So, on this point alone, it already makes this season a lot different!

Around the farm…

Things around the farm are going pretty smoothly, we have now started getting ready for the season…sitting up, bringing the first group of mares in, opening them – which was my idea – foaling boxes and stables being prepared. It almost doesn’t feel real, I can’t believe another season is about to start. While we wait for the babies of course, we have been going about our stud jobs. My sick weanlings are doing so much better, I have gotten a lot of practice with all sorts of treatments so far…and not even for major things. I thank God for blessing me with this opportunity because I think I am going to get my confidence back this season! The biggest bonus of it all is that I am working under the coolest lady I think I have ever met on a stud farm. It is already fun going into work but she just makes it a blast!

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Well, that is all for now. Please go and like my NEW facebook page as well, where you can also be updated with much more on my daily adventures! www.facebook.com/FourBoots

My mission in life is not merely to survive; but to thrive. and to do so with some PASSION, some COMPASSION, some HUMOR, and some STYLE.

– maya angelou –

25 Days In.

Hello Again.

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!

Did I mention, I AM SO EXCITED!

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A New Adventure

Hello again, it’s that time again, time for another adventure.

My career has led me to a farm just outside of Cape Town, in a relatively small town called Robertson.  Robertson is known as the wine country…there are literally vineyards and cellars everywhere, and I am definitely not complaining! Nestled in the middle lies a beautiful stud called Highlands Farm, and this is where my new journey starts, my fourth stud season.

Today would be my fourteenth day here, but I technically started work twelve days ago. So, let’s see, in twelve days I have had to learn how everything runs here, and in between I have had my first weekend on, ALL BY MYSELF…I have had to learn names (a lot people and horses), I learned vaccinating, I have learned a quick confidence that I never knew I had and feel that it’s going to grow a lot more.

To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I was ready for this season, I had lost so much confidence in myself and I was not sure if I was ready. Until I got here, and I met the managers and I have  never felt more welcome in my life. Of course, I respect authority and the managers that have been here longer than I have and I cant wait to learn all that I can from them. They treat me as an equal, they treat me as one of them. I have worked so hard to be here right now, I started at the bottom and I am climbing the ladder of success.

The lesson that I learned is that God knows what He is doing, the time you spend climbing that ladder will be the most important time of your life. Dont get me wrong, I am not saying it’s going to be smooth sailing from now. The wind blows the hardest at the top of the mountain but the view is much clearer the higher you get.

I AM SO HAPPY RIGHT NOW! I have a beautiful house, a company car, a horse that I can ride, i am five minutes from town (which has everything), I have wi-fi, cable,  an awesome job with awesome people…I can’t complain.  Every day I wake up with a new energy, and live a life people can only imagine in the most beautiful place my eyes have ever seen.

Only by God’s grace.

I will now end with this verse.

“But whatever I am now, it is all because God poured out his special favor on me – and not without results. For I have worked harder than any other apostles; yet it was not I but God who was working through me by his grace.” 1 Corinthians 15:10

That is all for now…short and sweet.

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