Forever Watching

Forever Watching
Forever Watching!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Back in the saddle

For the 145th Anniversary of the battle of Gettysburg my good friend Ron Palese elevated me to his Chief of Staff. This meant that I could ride, So along with others I rented a horse for the 4 day event. My horse was named Star. Not a bad horse, but somewhat herd bound. Our wrangler, Julie, rode along with me during the event.
I was a bit apprehensive, not knowing the horse and having not ridden in years.
But I climbed up on Star and away we went. It all came back to me as Star was spooked by a mule drawn wagon and began dancing around....I remembered, turn her head, turn her I did and she calmed down.

When I returned home my wife asked how I had done. I proudly responded that not too bad for not having ridden in 20 years! She quickly reminded me that it was more like 30+. LOL

So for as many events as I could I rented horses and was lucky enough to have good friends in the Cavalry wing that looked out for me. Ken Jansen, Patrick Stultz, Steve Reincke to name a few.
They made sure that the horse was properly saddled and tacked and gave me pointers on riding.

This was great, but too far between chances to ride and never knowing what horse I would be riding when I did.

My wife Lynn began volunteering at Kent Animal Shelter and after awhile I joined her. It was great, but not what I really wanted to do. Plus I wanted to take some of these dogs home with me.
Lynn calls me St. Francis and Dr. Doolittle :)
If I could afford it I would have a menagerie for sure.

I started searching the web for horse rescues on Long Island and most just didn't feel right to me. Some were restrictive in the interaction with the horses and I was looking to be involved, not just on the fringes.

So around April or May of 2013 I reached out to the Volunteer Coordinator at North Shore Horse Rescue and Sanctuary. Beth immediately responded and advised me of the training schedule. But unfortunately every day that the training was held I had a conflict with either a Civil War event or a personal obligation. So I continued going to Kent and living life.

In November of 2013 tragedy struck as our only child Frank Jr. was taken from us. He had an asthma attack which closed his airway and resulted in cardiac arrest. Needless to say that this crushed my wife and I and many others. He left his fiancee and a 14 month old son, Jack.
Thank God for them, They eased the loss to some degree, along with others in our life.

After this it was hard for me to attend reenactments. My Son and I had done this together since he was 14. He passed over to the other side of life at the age of 31. You do the math :)

Throughout this time I kept in contact with Beth who was very supportive and even extended an open invitation for me to come out whenever I could.
So I put it out to the Universe, my desire to own and or be around horses. I knew that I couldn't afford the board for one so I figured if I volunteered I could be around them and learn, but more importantly do some good for them......little did I know that I would also be doing good for me......

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

In the beginning

Hi all

Let me begin by saying that I am in no way shape or form a writer/author. So there will be spelling, grammar, and all sorts of mistakes throughout my journal. :)

I would say that my love for horses began many years ago with my red rocking horse Joe Joe. I guess that I was around 5 years old. I would strap on my chaps and six shooters and of course my cowboy hat. (I will look for a pic of that and post it).
Then I would mount my trusty steed and ride off to capture the villains But of course that daydream only lasted a little while due to the fact that my sister Roseann was standing nearby begging for a ride. Oh well, so much for the life of a young Sheriff. 

When I was 9 years old, almost 10, my family and I moved up to Pine City NY. Near Elmira and Horseheads NY (Irony?)
There I learned to swim, raise rabbits, work on a farm picking strawberries and cucumbers, and work with cows.
I even learned how to hunt with my Uncle's step sons from Tennessee. But I didn't care for that.

But the greatest thing that I got to do was ride a horse...a real life horse!!! The father of a girl in my class raised and sold horses. She and I were head over heals for each other in Puppy Love. 
One day she told me to come to her house because she had a surprise for me. 
So again, I mounted my steed, a Black 26" English racer bike, and rode as fast as I could peddle. 

When I arrived she and her Dad took me to the fence that bordered this gigantic field that had so many horses in it.  Beth's Dad told me to pick two horses and that I could ride them whenever I wanted to. I had to groom them, water and feed them, and of course, muck their stalls when they were kept in the barn. 

I learned what I thought was so much about horses. I would realize how easy he was being on me once I started volunteering at the North Shore Horse Rescue and Sanctuary. (NSHRS), in Baiting Hollow, NY.

Over the next year I learned how to ride with a saddle and bare back. My Mom was so worried that I would fall or be thrown. My friends and I would go camping down by Seeley with our horses and our BB Guns and pretend that we were cowboys on the open range. It was awesome.
Eventually my Dad moved us back to Brooklyn due work and I left my horses behind. 

For years I dreamed of riding them. I could feel the oneness with them that I felt when I was physically riding them. And sure I had my stints of going to a dude ranch, and also riding herd bound rentals. But there was NOTHING that could compare to my two. 

Fast forward many years and I became a Civil War Reenactor. I was consistently around either Staff horses or Cavalry horses. Needless the to say that the spark to ride was rekindled.

As I moved up in rank I was at a point where it was historically correct to ride a horse.....more to come.