What is BEST for Cato? It takes a village….

What do you do when one of the horses you want to ride lives 2 hours north of you? Ponder Ponder Ponder, Hem Haw Hem Haw, Plan plan plan plan; many conversations with his owner births a partnership that seems as golden as the buckskin coat of Cato.

I have committed to conditioning Cato at least once per week this season and we have a plan that extends, if you can believe it, into September. Kinda cracks me up…. and makes me teary eyed at the same time….Amanda, his mom, and I are planning great things for the continuation of Cato’s 2013 Season. It is a bit like the ladies of yesteryear, I suppose, planning the High Season for their teenagers, yes? Yes….. LOTS of planning, lots of critical eyes on Cato, lots more planning, lots more conversations about *what is best for Cato and what is next steps are*.

One of the best things about this “Cato Season Planning” is that Amanda is wanting to attend the event(s) with Cato and I; it is much like a mother and an auntie’s relationship; with one having more say over what we do next and one making suggestions and providing the exercise needed to get Cato to his *coming out* party(ies)(which, actually, was at Klickitat 2013). The three of us travel as a family, which is so COOL! Right? Camping with your family? VERY cool!

In addition? Everyone in Cato’s world is completely involved as well; You know, it really does take a village to raise and compete a horse, yes? Much like the child-rearing business. See if the cast of characters matches the iconic child-rearing that happens in completely functional extended families. Do you recognize these characters? I betcha do!

There is a Cato Fan Club who *oohs and ahs* over him when he arrives at his season events; filling his mom’s ears with those much needed and appreciated comments that make a mom’s heart GLOW with happiness.

There are the close friends of the mom who *know* Cato and his mom Amanda; dare I say Auntie Linnea and Auntie Connie and Auntie Beth……( horsewomen all), who are as much interested in Cato doing well as they are interested in knowing Cato’s mom is doing well through the process of Cato’s Coming Back OUT season.

Then there are Auntie Eileen’s friends and trainers and family who are as much interested in Auntie Eileen’s welfare as they are of Cato’s season. The closest of these are Anne-Marie, Peter, Sue, Celena, Lynn, and Lisa

Then, there are the peripheral friends and extended horsey family who have very definite opinions about *what is best for Cato, Eileen and Amanda and what they should do next* as well as when that should happen and how. Many happy conversations abound in campers, around ride camps, on the phone, on Facebook, etc. about *what is best for Cato*, amongst all of these people.

I amd quite delighted by the sphere of the relationships formed, and forming, around Amanda, myself and Cato as we progress cautiously forward with his 2013 season. Because, I am very sure about one thing, and that is that LOVE permeates the whole atmosphere surrounding this horse and his people. I am enjoying becoming a part of *what is next for Cato* because…. well, I never thought I would have the privilege of riding such a spectacular animal. I am finding myself a part of *what is best and next for Cato* ——who woulda thunk THAT would happen? had you asked me last year, same time? There is no way I would have predicted this envelope of Cato-ville, Cato-dom.

And, folks? Do NOT misunderstand me; Cato is magnificent in many many ways but he still NEEDS this level of care and love and understanding and planning and conversation.

Here is a small part of the relationship and bonding that is happening that I am celebrating: Amanda, Cato’s mom is SO determined that Cato have his season and his *next steps* be full, satisfying, happy-making and wonderful that she has taken in an almost complete stranger, allowed me into her life, welcomed me into her home, allowed me to ride, and ENJOY, this wonderful horse; let me drive her rig with her horse IN IT and without her accompanying us to ride him in the wilds of Washington state and then come with us TO the events as


Wow, all I can say is WOW! I am flabbergasted…. and stunned most of them time when I slow down enough to regard that which is happening. I am humbled by that which is forming around Cato and me and Amanda.

Cato and I had a wonderful adventure yesterday, made possible by that relational system described above. Here is the link to that adventure

Pictures are below.

We pretty much rock and rolled through the Redmond Watershed….. ROCKED it! and Cato? looked like he could easily do another 20 miles after a bit of a rest and some grass and water (think vet check). He is having SUCH a good season! But, I could NOT have done that without Connie and Linnea; without them I would have been lost at full speed and likely STILL be out there. Linnea planned a wonderful ride and Connie, Linnea, and I rode like banshees by houses, by backyards, by ponds, and hikers, and dogs- barking and not, and gravel pits, and park benches, and bollards, and running chainsaws, garbage cans, and birds, and street signs,and paved roads, with painted crosswalks, and TRAFFIC and driveways, and lawns, and streetlights, and the most gorgeous trails ever created in an urban setting. The best comment was Linnea saying * I like hearing you giggle back there*. Cato and I had a BLAST n a HALF. He was Relaxed and HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY, which made me happy.

I must share that riding an anglo-arabian of Cato’s caliber up in Redmond reminded me of Phyllis Ryan’s comment when she met Bella; she said * you like sports cars, you ride a ferrari, right?* LOL. *yeah, Phyllis, I do like a hot horse*. I was on every inch the sports car up on Cato, watching the sports cars of Redmond Washington’s denizens drive by. Made me GRIN REAL BIG!!!!!!

The other comment I want to remember was what one hiker guy said as we passed by…. as Linnea on Sophie passed by he said * what a pretty horse* and then? here comes Connie on Chocolate golden-eyed Farah and he gasps and says *lookit THAT one* and then third comes 16h3, Buckskin Cato— he says LOOK AT ALL THE DIFFERENT COLORS THEY ARE SO BEAUTIFUL!!!!!! 🙂 I am still smiling at his enjoyment of our three distinctively colored horses. Yeah, they are really the best ambassadors for the horse world, yes?

Because I want it to continue….. I gave Cato Potato a lovely massage this morning; we did leg and back stretches– the sun came out and warmed him and I up; he started yawning, and licking, and just generally relaxing. I could NOT have done that if his mom did not allow me to go play with him as I see fit.

It takes a village to campaign an endurance/dressage horse ( I have mentioned before that Cato REALLY seems tO enjoy doing his dressage moves out on the trails). As Celena said * if you don’t have laterals out onthe trail, you got NOTHIN*. So, we practice side pass and laterals and shoulder in and out on the trails. Cato’s village is populated with good good people; whose voices ring in my head while I am riding the big guy.

Thank you everyone for allowing this to happen; for your time, your energy and your caring. The positive energy is catching and I am experiencing it a bit like compound interest; a little put in results in a LOT coming back out. We are doing this and we should acknowledge that which we do — Let the magic continue. It is good for *what’s next for Cato*








2 responses to “What is BEST for Cato? It takes a village….”

  1. hhmstead says :

    Was a really fun ride! So nice to see Cato doing so well on the trails!

    • tchrlady says :

      Thanks Connie, love ridin’ with you and Linnea! 🙂 Cato is doing so great…. I want to make sure he continues to do great! yanno?

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