Sunday, August 30, 2015


I sat at my cluttered desk, a sharp spike of fear knifing through me as I realized the choice between paying rent and feeding horses was again a no brainer. I was going to feed the horses.

I had too many. Of that, there was no doubt. I could tell myself a lot of things about the quality of the ponies I was raising, the uniqueness of the several that had gone from “for sale” to “mine.” Those things were all true. The $700 a month hay bill was true too. That was a hard nut to crack for two self employed people not to mention keeping the lights on and a roof overhead.

That was most of the five years my husband and I lived in Sioux City, IA. We robbed Peter to pay Paul and eventually Peter had enough. I am a very talented juggler. I once had a college advisor call me the cat in the hat. It’s only lately I am realizing that is not so much a compliment.

Looking back it would be easy to judge my decisions and the further back you get the easier the judgment comes.

What is more important than getting into a jam is getting out of one in a dignified graceful way. IRRRRK (that’s screeching tires) hold the phone folks. If getting out graceful is what matters, I failed miserably at that part, too.

We pulled the plug on the place in Sioux City only when the black mold came through the walls from the basement all the way up into the living room in a thick poisonous cloud. The Powers that guide my life were trying to tell me I was in over my head and it wasn’t until it happened in a literal fashion I released my claw hold on my dream.

We drove away from our place in a blizzard. It seems fitting.

That was 2009. The blizzard continued until early 2010 when I woke up one day and knew I wasn’t going to be in business anymore. It happened just like that.

I ran Good Hands Horse  Training and Sales since it’s inception in 1993. A birth that happened more between my ears than any actual place. I had a partnership with a fellow who has turned out to be a wonderful and true friend over the years.  We had our little business in spots all over Omaha. I rode and trained with what little knowledge I had at the time. Ignorance was blissful.

Walt and I traveled down many a Nebraska, Iowa back road following Omaha World Herald ads. We’d look over the prospect and if I thought I wouldn’t die, I’d ride it and likely we’d bring it home. He invested the money, I the time to ride it and see what we had, make it as right as I could and away Pegasus goes to his new home. We didn’t do too bad, we rarely bought something we couldn’t live with and if we did, that’s what sales were for.

Those were the years I was raising the kids by myself, going to school, and juggling like a mad hatter for all I was worth. That shoestring evolved into my new husband and I traveling out of Omaha searching for a place I could hang a shingle and be in business for real. We tried hard in Sioux City and pretty much all of the people I sold horses to talk to me so some good changes made there at any rate.

Coming back to Omaha nothing quite worked out as we had planned. The weather stayed ugly even though the seasons changed around us as they do. I cried. A lot. Made sacrifices, mistakes, couldn’t seem to find the path to peaceful thinking and right living.

Shutting down the siren song of being Good Hands was only the beginning. I don’t regret following my dreams all those years. I do wish I’d had some better internal tools to build them into reality.

Today, I sit here at my desk in a house again awash in boxes. We are moving out of the home we saved ourselves in. We are still renters and the guy that owns this place likes us enough that when we spoke of moving, he gave us another of his properties, bigger, better, prettier and there’s discussion of an eventual option to buy.

I maybe have one too many ponies but I don’t have to choose whether to feed them or pay the rent. I can do both these days. Keeping the job I’ve had for a little over three years, a personal record for this gypsy girl has required more tears and sacrifices. I’ve used many of the things Peter Campbell taught me in clinics to find corporate success, a thing I couldn’t allow myself to think I wanted.

My husband and I have a couple paid off vehicles in the back. We haven’t had to worry about any getting hungry and wandering off on the end of a tow truck in quite some time. I am thinking of trading my beloved F150 for a bigger badder version.

I am finding success in building my vitamin sales part time business to the extent that company is kicking a car payment at me as I long as I keep doing what I’ve been.  There’s a trailer with a weekender package in my fairly recent horizon.

Royal and Huckleberry are at a barn that isn’t just a boarding facility to me. I love Greg and Sally, who own the place and my fellow boarders have become a brand new set of dear old friends. From keeping the world at arm’s length while I whirled, spun, hid and juggled to try to keep things afloat, it’s quite the change to where I sit today.

Good thing I gave up waiting for my fairy godmother, she’s always been one to want me to hitch my own wagon anyway. I started taking chances on believing in other people besides myself. No man is an island but a woman can be, carried me for a lot of years. I’ve taken risks following the advice of others more successful at the things I want to do than I am. Turns out you don’t have to reinvent the wheel at every little turn, the round one works pretty good.

If you are reading this right now in the middle of your own personal jam, your own fear and despair rising up in your throat about to choke the life out of you just know at least one other person has been there. There’s no wall so high you can’t find a way over, around, or build a door, open it up and walk through that bitch. I speak from the deepest of experience.

End of September I ride with Peter in Lincoln at the Lancaster Event Center. I’m bringing friends and meeting my clinic family. Can’t wait to see Peter and Trina. Can’t wait to watch Huckleberry blossom as Peter helps me help him to be the horse he wants to be. Beloved Royal gets to work cows. I am pretty sure he will suit up and rise to the occasion like the great partner and best friend that he is. We’ve come a LONG way.

Turning dreams into plans hasn’t stopped one little bit, just had a facelift.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your story (and stories) - your words matter.

Good Hands said...

Thank you Kate! I'm so glad you continued with your blog too! I stop over from time to time! I know you have enabled comments again and I was going to post that on yours :-) The stories do matter :-) We are not alone, no matter.

bgood said...

I've always admired honesty more than anything in a person. Maybe that's why I love reading your posts Terri - straight from the gut. And as a single mom for many years with no support of any kind, I relate to so much of what you talk about in this piece. Definitely not alone, but it sure felt that way at the time - we are so busy being strong and tough. And though I hate cliches, it is really true that what doesn't kill us makes us stronger. Thanks for baring and sharing :)

Good Hands said...

Again, thank you so much for taking the time to comment! From the gut is the only way writing feels right. That is the entire point of the blog, me writing my stories as I see them, no whitewash, no lip gloss :-)