A Young Widow and a Horse

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After I bought Gigi I boarded her a local facility outside of town. I was there almost every single day. It was the highlight of my days and it just didn’t feel complete until I at least checked on her. I was so grateful, and still amazed, that I finally owned a horse again after so many years.

Spending time with Gigi was like a form of meditation. No words were spoke and we were always in the present moment. No matter how much was happening or how I was feeling before I got to the barn, it would all fall away when I got to her. Even if I was having a tough emotional day, it was quickly overcome by the peace and focus that Gigi’s presence brought.

Eventually I would nickname her Super Gigi, not just because of barrel racing with her but because of the incredible impact she had on my life. She now even has her very own hashtag, #SuperGigi.

A lot of time together was spent riding, but the time spent together during her massages and PEMF blanket treatments was also a wonderful time of bonding and healing.

While I was moving forward with my life, I was still healing after the loss of my husband, Tyler. More than anything Gigi brought my focus to the present. She drowned out the pain in the past and worry of the future. She helped bring my focus to the blessings in the moment.

After being around horses for a while the magic can wear off and complacency can take it’s place. Some people don’t stop to think that this 1,000+ lb animal has the power to easily hurt you and that it is a pretty amazing thing that they allow us to do so much with them.

So many people have benefitted from the power of the acceptance and love felt by a horses willingness to trust and follow them. It is a powerful experience especially to people that have never interacted with horses.

Beyond those magical experiences, the energy of a horse is healing in itself. Just to sit quietly in their presence can drown out the world and break through even the most calloused of hearts.

It has now been over 2 years since I found Gigi and she has been a beautiful blessing to me. She continues to help me grow, to conquer fears, to take my own unique path and remind me to never give up. Every day I walk out to the barn and her whinny I am so grateful.

Horses are truly heart healers and Super Gigi has helped heal mine.

Never Give Up,

Chelsey

http://www.facebook.com/chelseystimson

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My Mission

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For those of you who are new to my FB page and blog, I want to tell you a little more about my mission here. I am a Navy Veteran and Gold Star Wife. I lost my husband, Tyler, in 2010. It has been a long journey to get to where I am today and I couldn’t have done it without the amazing support of my military family.

Currently, I am living out one of my dreams working with horses and competing in barrel racing. An endeavor that has also brought much healing. My heart is still very much with my military community and I want to do more with the amazing opportunity I have to pay it forward. There are so many great non-profits out there I don’t want to start another one. I decided instead to help those that already exist accomplish their mission.

I am striving to be an ambassador for our Veterans and Gold Star Wives in the rodeo and horse community. I travel to races and rodeos I want to share and support the great organizations and Patriots that support these special groups of Americans. I am adding patches of those organizations and memorials to my race shirts. I hope to expand that to stickers/banners on my trailer as well. My goal is to start a dialog and share the many ways to support our Veterans, Wounded Warriors, and Gold Star Families. Of course, honoring the memories of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice is extremely important to me as well.

My Blog and Facebook page is intended to serve as a place to share my journey as a Veteran, Gold Star Wife, and Barrel Racer. I hope that my story will inspire others facing life changing difficulties to #NeverGiveUp and follow their calling.

Please help me with my mission! Follow me here and SHAREthis page http://www.facebook.com/chelseystimson .

If you are an organization or business that supports our Veterans or Gold Star families that would like to work together please contact me on Facebook! http://www.facebook.com/chelseystimson

Many thanks and God Bless!

And #NeverGiveUp!

Chelsey

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The Healing Power of a Horse

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When I first moved to Nevada I was in a much better place than I had been the year before. I thought I was doing pretty well emotionally from where I had been and was moving forward in my life. I had managed to return to college, get good grades and graduate with my degree. I  had no idea what I where I would go from there but I was open to new experiences and change.

I had met my now fiance’ and he was living in Nevada. Upon graduation I was ready to try living somewhere else and seeing what new opportunities were out there. It was only supposed to be for a year. But it went so well, we extended and are still here almost 2 years later.

A big reason is because of my horse, Gigi (aka #SuperGigi).

Super Gigi and I

Super Gigi and I

Beyond the path that I am on now because of Gigi, competing in barrels and other horse events, I gained a part of myself back, part of who I was before my life in the military even. Part of me that was lost when my world fell apart.

Originally becoming a competitor in barrel racing was a far off fun idea. When I first went to see Gigi, it had been ten years since I had my own horse. I had rode a few times since then but I was out of practice with the general requirements of horse care and handling. I was excited, but also trying not to appear as a total greenhorn since it had been so long.

Gigi wasn’t particularly interested when I opened her pen to put her halter on for the first time. I remember being a little disappointed that she was so regular looking (I hate admitting that now because I think she is the most gorgeous horse in the world. I think other people do too!). After getting her saddled and ready to go we rode around and even went around the barrel pattern. It all went great and I was sold, but still not sure if I should really buy a horse! I went and saw her a few more times and then bought her. And I am so glad I did.

Almost every single day I drove about 15 minutes to where I had Gigi boarded before we had our own place. I gained confidence and I gained a partner. I was settling in to who I was at the core. I was stripped down to the foundation of being when Tyler passed away and I had to find that again to rebuild. In addition to God and Love, Horses are one of the pillars of what makes me who I am. So it is no surprise now looking back that horses became a part of my daily life again, but also helped me rebuild myself and my life. Today it has taken me to a beautiful place that I am very grateful to be.

People have asked me, are the equine therapy programs really effective? What is so special about horses that they could have such a profound impact on someone’s life when they are struggling? For those of us that have been in love and awe of these animals all our life, it needs no explanation. It is a chemistry, a certain kind of magic that can happen between a horse and human. Perhaps because the communication between horses and humans are for the most part silent, it becomes an even more potent message. It is mostly body language, understanding and touch that can convey a message and that is a very special thing.

To those that have always been around horses, or never really thought much more of them than a necessity to work, I am sorry. There is something that is very special about approaching a horse for the first time, or after a long time of being unacquainted with horses that everyone should experience. We can become accustomed to their size and forget their power over time, but for someone who is new all of those impressive characteristics are both amazing and intimidating. The fact that they stand for us to pet them, and even more, to ride them allowing us to tell them where to go and what to do, well, it seems a very special privilege to be in the presence of such an animal. I’d have to agree that it is. Don’t you?

To then learn to communicate and work with such an animal that responds positively can create an intense bond and instill confidence in the most timid of persons. For those that have trouble fitting in or communicating well in the human world, the quiet, accepting nature of a horse can become a place of comfort and understanding. Those dealing with fear and trauma can also find common ground and a bond with horses understanding their flight nature and can grow along with the horse as they conquer fears together. The possibilities are endless.

What a special moment!

What a special moment!

You don’t have to ride to have this experience. It can just be working with a horse on the ground. If you take a look at equine therapy programs you can see that the interaction and experience varies. For those with physical challenges, riding may be the preferred modality, and in fact they have found that riding can help improve some physical motor skills and strength. Other times just being with a horse and walking him through a trail course can be the perfect experience for someone working to overcome mental or emotional challenges.

Though I have again grown accustomed to my big friends, I still hold much respect and gratefulness for them. I hope to never lose that awe or appreciation for their willingness to work with me, as I know they could easily choose not to. Their presence is a gift and I am grateful everyday to have them in my life. I hope to continue sharing them with you and I look forward to the next person that gets to meet my Super Gigi for the first time and remember that feeling of awe and excitement knowing the potential it holds.

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Until next time,

Never Give Up!

Chelsey

Visit http://www.facebook.com/chelseystimson to visit me and Super Gigi!

Putting the Trailer Before the Horse

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In June 2012 I moved to Nevada from Virginia. I was only supposed to be here one year. I had joked about getting a horse when I moved but in no way thought that would ever happen.

It is funny how you see how you are being nudged and guided as you look back. I had met a friend in Virginia Beach who would ride every now and then at a local boarding/pony club facility. She invited me to go with her after Tyler passed away in 2010. It was great to be around horses again and of course, the healing powers of horses are incredible. It had been quite a while since I left my horses in Montana for the Navy and it was perfect to getting back into the horse world a little.

In 2011, I was lucky enough to attend the U.S. Navy SEAL Danny Dietz Memorial Team Roping and  bought my first pair of cowboy boots since high school that weren’t just for wearing with dresses. For some reason I knew I wanted actually riding boots, though I was not riding often at all at the time. I also got to take a little ride around while we were at the roping. We (Widows) were given some awesome goodies from Cavenders. One was a NFR 2009 Gear bag and a big Cruel Girl bag that held all the goodies. I had no idea what I would do with that bag and almost didn’t keep it when I moved to Nevada.

Once I got to Nevada, I started looking up horse events and barrel racing……not sure what I was thinking but seeing that there were quite a few barrel races going on around the area my mind started working. Then I went to the Reno Rodeo. I watched the barrel racers. I didn’t imagine I could ever be at the level but maybe I could at least go to the small local clubs. My ambitions were just to ride again and just be able to participate in a race. We did not live in a house where a horse could be kept so I started looking at boarding facilities in the area and started researching horse care. It had been a while.

One thing lead to another and I started looking for a horse. July 5, 2012 I bought a Trails West two horse slant trailer. I did not have a horse. I was putting the trailer before the horse you could say. I talked to some friends who had lived in the area a while and they just happened to know a very good barrel racer who usually had a horse or two for sale. I ended up meeting her and indeed, she had two for sale. That is how I found Gigi and a mentor.

The rest is history you could say but really there was still a long ways to go for me. That could have been incredibly overwhelming and kept me from even taking the first step. So many people asked me why in the heck I bought a horse trailer without a horse. Well, I knew I was going to have one and if I wanted to get to barrel races I needed something to transport my future horse. I didn’t realize how powerful this way of thinking would be.

It can be incredibly scary, but a tiny step is still a step in the direction of your goal. You just have to do it. How will it all come together? Well, that depends on you, time and God. Don’t let fear be the driving force in your life! Envision what you want and keep it in mind. Make sure you share your dream/goal with others. They will help you and introduce you to other people who you need to know. AND you should be looking for opportunities to help others reach their dreams and goals at all times as well. You get what you give!!I

So if there is something you are being called to and you don’t know where to start. Just start. Put that trailer before the horse and make it happen.

#NeverGiveUp

Chelsey

My Trailer

My Trailer

At the U.S. Navy SEAL Danny Dietz Team Roping 2011

At the U.S. Navy SEAL Danny Dietz Team Roping 2011

I ended up using my NFR gear bag a LOT! That Cruel Bag? PERFECT for storing my hay and not making a huge mess in trailer.

I ended up using my NFR gear bag a LOT! That Cruel Bag? PERFECT for storing my hay and not making a huge mess in trailer.

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Reno Rodeo June 17, 2012

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My boots bought in 2011 in Texas at the U.S. Navy SEAL Danny Dietz Memorial Team Roping. Still wearing them today!

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Meeting Gigi 2012

2013 Winning Our First Buckle

2013 Winning Our First Buckle

Take Pride In How Far You Have Come And Have Faith In How Far You Will Go…Blog Entry From June 1, 2011

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“Things turn out best for people who make the best out of the way things turn out”
John Wooden

My blog/journal Entry from June 1, 2011

So I have been absent from the online world for a couple weeks. It was kind of nice to rest my eyes a bit. For the first time I can say I was so busy that I really didn’t have much time to obsessively be on the computer.

It has been a roller coaster (as per usual I guess) the last month. I am still in that outgoing tide motion I guess. I am feeling okay and optimistic, then find myself stalling and being slowly pulled back out to feeling overwhelmed and helpless. There are new challenges as time goes on. It has almost been a year and life seems to be waiting on the other side, which I know many have discovered that on day 366 there is no miracle recovery….but I also feel that after 12 months of being in limbo and feeling that I have a good excuse for not having my life together, will run out. This is mostly a self-imposed feeling of course, but really I wonder….

What I am going to do with the rest of my life?

There it is.

Waiting.

I imagine it like a cat in the dark waiting to pounce, and all I can see are it’s expecting eyes as I am forced towards it by time. I know it is inevitable and that I am crashing head-long into it, sometimes with fervor and sometimes being drug behind Father Time on a black horse. I wish I could say I am 100% in at this point, but a lot of the time I am half-hearted about it. My motivation has not fully returned.

I try to focus on the potential life that I would like to have if I still have to be here, but sometimes it just seems impossible to attain and then I hit a wall of sadness and helplessness. My motivation comes from hope for the future, and it is hard to maintain that hope. I am constantly battling the winds of doubt, fear and the past from snuffing out my flame of optimism.

I am also laughing, joking, accomplishing small goals, taking risks, and feeling a bit of my old self from years ago that has a bit of mischief and adventure in her eyes….thinking of possibilities, dreaming, and taking steps towards making some of them happen.

I want to make something out of this life I have left. I don’t want to go on unsatisfied, disillusioned and settle for less than what I started out for years ago. I don’t want to hear that it may never happen, that this is the way things are now, that life is unfair, or that wanting or doing any of these things is wrong or unrealistic. I want to try, I am going to take risks, I am going to take life by the scruff and have it follow me instead of being mauled and defeated.

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Isn’t amazing to look back to when we couldn’t even imagine where we are today? I know the day I wrote this I couldn’t have imagined my life as it is today! Horses, love, confidence, and an opportunity to help and encourage others. Yes, there has still been challenges, loss, and tears since then, but I have come far from the darkness of the early days.
Journaling is such a great tool to help us express ourselves and heal in the moment, but also to encourage and heal us in the future when we look back and see how far we’ve come. Widowhood can bring a particularly vague vision of the future. Hang in there and believe that great things are just around the corner and God has amazing plans for you. Take action, be open to opportunities, take risks and have faith in God. Great things are coming your way. Never give up. *Chelsey