Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Kicking Into Real

What authenticates you? 

At PETE&C DEN PRECon 2010, Hershey, PA

Years ago, for me it was fast Italian cars (speeding tickets), horses, degrees, diamonds, languages, students. The usual stuff.

What makes you an authentic llama owner? How do you know you are finally there? real? What tells your inner self you have arrived. Something that goes beyond the care and love we give and share. Daily.

Something else kicks in, and you know you're there, a real owner at last.

SP, with Maria in the background.
The aha moment arrived this afternoon and it felt great. Euphoric. I was on the back end of a down-and-back three-hour trip to the valley. I knew the girls should be hosed, so I connected my new 10 footer, bled the hot water, and talked SP into being first. For some reason, my yearlings mind the heat most, so I started with them. SP comes when called--really--so out of the stall she came. Hoping to get her to the litter box the girls use for sun bathing, I asked her to join me there. She did. I hosed her and she loved it. No halter, no lead rope.

Tess, followed by Maria.
Around the ten-minute mark, Tess came over. She's one lady that can't stand being upstaged. Frankly, I thought she would have moseyed over much sooner. Hosed her. Wonder of wonders, pregnant hormonal and sometimes (lately) difficult but lovable Rev meandered over. Hosed her. She is a talker, so we conversed. She told me the cria's coming soon. Good news indeed. Fingers crossed.

Then Maria came when called, and we repeated the process. But something Teri Conroy told me would happen did. They jostled for position; 1 hose and 4 llamas. But (here's the big aha moment), Miss Cierra joined the group, cautiously, and I hosed her. Cautiously. You cannot appreciate this scenario unless you understand that Miss Cierra was not a Carol Reigh llama breeding/raising but rather an outside llama she acquired for her bloodline. She's been hard to gain trust because she was not as socialized as Carol's other llamas, but I've been working on that all summer. Nights. Sitting with her in the stall when the others went out to pasture. Conversations with her. Letting me stroke her coat, still kushed down. A gimungous accomplishment.

Etcetera in the mini-pasture.
Last but not least, Etcetera wandered down from grazing in the mini-woods. She did them all one better, and I must say I should have seen it coming. After watching, please tell me if you think my dark Hershey chocolate brown llama, Rev, is pregnant. Or not. I'm a first-time mother all around, so a real beginner. Already have the cria's name picked, regardless of gender. (Hope that's not bad luck). Here's the video.

Kicking Into Real from RJ Stangherlin on Vimeo.

Eventually I rode Bridge on Fire to some nice BIS.
For those of you who might wonder why becoming authentic is so important, a large part of my horse life in a show barn had my animals on a total care package. I was handed my horse, rode, and handed it back. Total care. When my husband died (number 2), I eventually became a real owner, and I knew the moment when. I have always taken care of my llamas, but today I landed. We were finally a unit, working like a team of 6-in-one. If you've ever ridden a horse over fences, you know what I mean. It's that split second of oneness when you meet, take, and land a huge oxer perfectly, or jump an outside course in-and-out with perfection. That feeling. Today I had it with 6 and 3/4 llamas.

Total trust. Total bonding. Kicking into real at last.
PS: For those of you who do not know, last summer I was seriously ill. Someone cared for my llamas as I watched them from my sun room windows that look out to the barn. Otherwise, this bonding would have likely happened much sooner.
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  1. Gosh, already were authentic. I know the exact feelings you've written about. I'd describe it more as 'coming home' like - from a vacation. Dump the beach sand out of your shoes and put them back on more comfortable than ever...easing back into the rhythm of home - easing into the comfortableness of your llamas. Sometimes it seems like a long time, and then you realize its all just as it was supposed to be. Hope I'm making sense.

  2. You always make sense, Teri. And you always add such a wonderful dimension to a discussion. I'm waiting for your book. You must write a longer work.