Updated: Feb 24
FINALLY! SOME FOCUS! I know ... I've been a little here and there. Some things, just had to play themselves out ... Waking up post cancer, was weird. I have a recurring vision seared into my brain that defines the era that followed - a near drowning victim, emerging from the water, all bulging eyes and gasping breath.
On my fiftieth birthday, I woke up in my parents’ house in a bed that was once my brother’s, and then my firstborn son’s. I was homeless, bankrupt, separated from my husband and children, jobless, car-less, and very, very sick.
I was just nearing the end of an aggressive four-month chemo regime (I refuse to call it ‘therapy’) and about to embark on an out-of-town, six-week radiation rampage (again, I call bullshit on the ‘therapy’ descriptor).
It was just two weeks into the beginning of the worldwide covid 19 lockdown, and I really couldn’t have been more immunocompromised if I had tried. AND, I lived with octogenarians!
That meant we didn’t see the outside world, for many, many months. It meant spending my birthday, Easter, Mother’s Day … without seeing my kids. It meant they were afraid of coming within 6 feet of me, or being indoors with me, for over a year, for fear of being the one that brought the germ that killed me.
It was hell. A drawn-out shitstorm of hippopotamic proportions. This, is called endurance.
Yes, it was hell … AND, I am here to tell you it was a pretty wild ride … BUT, I am out the other side! And you know what THAT means – it means that YOU can imagine getting out the other side of YOUR debacles, too!
I like to share the things that got me through, and pass forward tools that helped me find joy in MY shitstorms, so YOU can, in YOURS!
One morning, out the other side of the period I like to think of as ‘The Great Trainwreck’ (it seemed to go on for miles) I woke up gasping and heading in all directions. It was one week to the day, after my last radiation treatment. I had had a full week of rest, not asking anything of myself, and then I woke up expecting it was time to figure out what was next.
It was, after all, the question on everyone’s lips.
This moment of awakening led to an era defined by that aforementioned image - the moment a near- drowning victim breaks the surface of the water, and eyes bulging wide as they gasp and gulp for air. That’s how life FELT.
I kept waking up expecting to know the answers; and when, at the end of the day I seemed no closer, I stopped sleeping. There were SO MANY THINGS I wanted to do! I wrote my friend and mentor, Carmen, a 12-page letter about all the things I wanted to do, and I went off like a shot!
Well … like a shot with a gammy leg, a bad back, and a body still soaked in poisons. More like madly off in all directions, than a shot, I suppose …
What I hadn’t accounted for, beyond the anxiety, was the brain fog. I am not sure anyone does justice to what it is like, to be expected to think and remember things … and be incapable of doing things you once could. Blog posts took daaaaays! Decisions were impossible. And being patient wasn’t an option – I needed a miracle! Or so I thought.
I thought I couldn’t go on living on ODSP; our meagre provincial disability support. I couldn’t go on, living somewhere my children didn’t want to be, dependent on the good nature of my parents.
‘No!’ I thought! ‘This can’t go on! It has to end, NOW!’
Well, I am here to say it didn’t end ‘NOW’.
I woke up from the aftermath of cancer in July of 2020, and thought I should be basically, fully functional. Now, as we approach 2023, I am finally a) accepting a whooooooole bunch of things I cannot do … and b) I have prioritized what is left, and figured out what is at the root of what is important to me.
I need to build time into my life to write. It seems to be a part of my DNA, my purpose, and the reason I am still alive today. And … if I am going to write, I have to give up many of the ways I wanted to help the various audiences I wanted to help, in the ways that I thought I would help them. Having recognized my limitations and let go of ideas of being the owner-operator of a therapeutic farm … I am able to embrace creating other things and take the time to produce them.
In the end, I have boiled it down to this;
I want to sit at the intersection of Resilience and Horsecraft and talk about what helps humans and horses find a harmonious language – the ‘magic’ we are all looking for with horses - and what we need to find joy in our shitstorms.
My focus now: rebranding away from ‘A Leg Up’ (there were others) and ‘Take the Lead’ (as I shelve the idea of farm-based life skills sessions) and focus on ONE THING – writing, blogging, podcasting and online education for adult amateur horse lovers.
There will be a pause in output, as I shift to a new platform and build a website under my new banner ‘The Magic of Horsecraft’. The course my Dad and I have been building all along, will be called; FROM MUGGLE TO MAGICIAN; MAKING MAGIC WITH HORSES, and is being uploaded one video at a time from my little cabin in Northern Ontario.
Our mission? To help YOU move from Muggle to Magician in the art of Horsecraft ... AND life!
How do I know what it takes?
I know, because I was once worked magic in the world of international Horsecraft … and then I went from Magician to Muggle and back again, in an epic journey that has seen me move from a Rockstar of the horse world – lose my magical ability to connect with them – and get it back.
I was once a veritable Magician known for my ability to calm nervous horses, learned from shadowing my dad, an equine veterinarian, since my toddlerhood. There was no question about it. I had the ‘gift’. I had the touch. I had ‘feel’.
I was a ‘natural’!
I was a prodigy on a pony ,winning in the Open divisions against adults since I was nine years old.
To pay for my career in international Eventing, I rehabilitated confirmed bolters and rearers - horses that no one else would get on. If it was talented but dangerous, there were people who would say;
“Send it to that tall Canadian girl. SHE’LL ride it. Shell ride ANYTHING!”
And I usually would. They went for me. And I didn't know why. It was something I couldn't teach, and I talked to my Dad about it all the time.
“Some things you just can't teach some people, Paige.” he would often say, ruefully; usually just after I'd come through the door frustrated from yet another fruitless, ‘feel-less’, frustrating lesson with an adult amateur horse-lover pouring everything they've got into this horse thing... and it ain't what they dreamed it would be!
I could get on their horses and show them how but there was some Magic I had, that I just couldn't transmit.
And then, I lost the Magic! I was robbed of the thing that my whole identity was wrapped up in, when my nervous system - ravaged by the effects of abuse, bankruptcy, separation, and a double mastectomy – and then my body, physically pummeled by chemotherapy and radiation – both let me down. I found myself a Muggle, on the outside of the world of Horsecraft, looking in.
In losing and subsequently regaining what I lost, I've been able to pinpoint the essentials required to improve timing, feel, confidence, understanding, and create a magical connection between humans and horses.
My father and I together, are uniquely positioned to help Adult Amateur Horse-Lovers sift through the mountain of conflicting information in the horse world and become the confident equine steward their horse needs them to be.
Together, we can help you understand how your horse thinks and reacts the way it does, to develop the mutually beneficial relationship of your dreams, and access the Magic that has been missing between you so far.
My Dad and I have come up with a series of courses aimed at helping you - the average horse-loving human, who wasn't born into a ‘horsey’ family - discern between disparate methods, be able to cross train your horses with various mentors and make a recipe for Magic all your own that has you sleeping soundly, and your horse running up to greet you upon arrival. You will know how to make your horse happy and are guaranteed to be able to customize your learning with personalized feedback in live Q&A sessions.
FROM MUGGLE TO MAGICIAN, MAKING MAGIC WITH HORSES, is the first in a series of 3 courses; the foundation of what EVERY horse steward should know to make informed decisions about training methods, stabling, and general care.
In a confusing world, with endless ways to interact with horses, we will give you what you need to choose a pro and a place for you and your horse, that align with your values and honour your horse’s intrinsic needs.
STAY TUNED, to get my new FREEBIE – a video excerpt from our NEW COURSE, that gives you THE ONE THING I think is most overlooked when training horses!
Learn one of the most important things that led to my unlikely success on a little crossbred Irish Draft, in the Olympic sport of Three-Day Eventing, AND how to apply it to:
Calm your nervous horse
Avoid explosive bevhaviours like rearing and bolting
Settle your horse into new places and situations
Increase your confidence
Avoid refusals and chip-ins
Be the leader your horse NEEDS you to be
Get out of ALL KINDS of tight spots
Email me at; firstname.lastname@example.org to get YOUR free video and PDF, while I work out the kinks of website creation … and become one of our founding members with special priviledges and pricing as this all rolls out!
Future blogs will go out on Substack at: https://themagicofhorsecraft.substack.com/
Until then, as always …
Take a chance!
*** ANYTHING is possible! ***