Remember the veteran couple I talked to you about last blog Veteran meets Veteran? Well, you will not believe my news. It was mind boggling, and I have been exposed and involved in many miracles, this topped everything!
My female caretaker got me ready for what seemed to be a big deal for her. She was more tense than usual and ensured that everything was extra well done and ready to go. I had no idea what this was all about but fed of her excitement- I was ready for whatever job she had for me- being so well trained and exposed to so many human challenges, nothing would surprise me- oh, I was wrong…
I am a friend of guys, gentlemen preferably, but I certainly prefer a male rider to a female rider- no offense- males just connect in very unique ways. When my veteran walked up, I knew I was in for a very special job. He was quiet, restless, dark in a way, and I did not understand why. I did not know his story, but there was something about him that I realized would make for a very special connection and relationship.
His brush strokes were irregular, missing the peace I am used to. His moves were hectic- and no voice, he did not talk to me at all. He did not talk to my lady either- no communication between two humans- strange! I am never in a rush to figure people out, so I was just present, that seemed to be all he wanted from me at that point. He led me to the arena and started lunging. He used very very limited voice commands and even less praise. I worked hard for him, trying to figure this human out.
He placed a foot in the stir up and I could feel tension and deep pain. I did not understand what type of pain, but it was intense and I could feel it. I tried my hardest to support him. It wasn’t just physical pain, there was a deeper pain in his sole that could not be released by a soft gentle trot, but we connected, and he started to relax. I got it- he needed me to build a relationship with him. My lady explained that I liked guys better and that she could see us connecting. It was like a knot was untied- he started petting me and talking to me. He wanted to connect, and I needed to help him do it. I worked extra hard. He was not a strong rider, but thank goodness, I am an expert and know what to do.
The magic happened when we started jumping- well, he called it jumping. It was a small gymnasticizing cavaletti. I took him safely and balanced over. He just beamed with joy! He was so so proud and had worked so hard to get to the point where his seat was stable enough to go over a little jump like this. His face lit up with happiness; he actually smiled!
When we were riding to meet his wife and two small children, he mentioned how he hated man- made light and he appreciated the darkness, which my lady experienced when they went for a trail ride in the winter and he was triggered by the barn lights. Following the Horse Boy rule of “Follow the child” in this case the client, she rode with him in total darkness for hours to allow him the peace he needed.
He continued for the first time ever to open up after the jumping. He mentioned how he couldn’t get used to the “dressage hand” because it reminded him of a pistol hold. He could handle the “gangster style” and that was what he defaulted back to. He also talked about the heat being a reminder of Afghanistan and that he could simply not live without turning the air conditioner on when it got warmer because his brain would just take him to very dark places. His last comment was when we passed the goats. He talked about getting a therapy goat and when my lady asked why not a dog, he was very stern explaining that the nasty Afghans had booby trapped dogs and sent them towards American soldiers...He could never look at a dog the same way.
I could feel my lady’s sadness- and agreed, how could people have taken this from a human being- to never be able to look at a dog as a soul companion. These hard times take more than just a man’s soul- no explanation and justification for any of it. Our wounded warriors suffer so so much, and I am honored that I can take some of the pain and break some of the evil spells cast upon them.