After some limited discussion about Aana, I made my way once again back to the house to rest. Although there had been that shift in my friends perception of the circumstances on my farm, I hadn't realize it or its significance and I doubt she saw it either.
Too sick to be doing more than trying to survive, I was only dealing with the face value of things. Looking for inconsistencies, unlikely shifts in perception, motivations, etc were beyond my capabilities. I wanted to sleep.......for about a month. As much as I was grateful for the help grooming horses on that day, what I wanted at this point was for everyone to be gone. I needed sleep as much as I needed to breathe.
I don't know how much time passed before they finished up at the barns. What I remember is talking with my friend with that woman beside her on my front porch. Her mother and husband left taking the car she had driven leaving her behind with the truck and horse trailer.
The woman asked me where was the best place for us to talk and my friend asked if she should go or stay. Still not fathoming what was coming, I could see no reason to have my friend leave.
In hindsight I wonder if things might have turned out differently had I made the opposite call. I did allow my friend's presence to influence me in what was to come not realizing her perception was now tainted by this master manipulator she thought was her friend.
I invited both women into my house. My living room is not very big and my furniture is not great so I positioned myself with the most comfortable pieces of furniture available for my guests. As I recall this woman choose a foot stool which I thought was an odd choice at the time. My friend sat in the chair nearest her.
Looking back I realize the ottoman was chosen to align her with my friend. It was the two of them opposite me. A small thing to notice unless you are trying to intimidate someone or present yourself in a position of authority or needing to send the impression of a united front. What I know about that choice is their position in the room is etched in my memory right along with her message that day.
When she began the conversation stating she was my friend and she only wanted what was best for me, maybe I should have realized I was about to be screwed but I didn't. The conversation that followed caught me totally off guard.
She went on to say she understood how important my horses were to me and how she knew I would never intentionally cause them any harm. Then she proceeded to the state of my health. From there it was all downhill.
She had painted herself as a kind, caring woman who only had my best interests at heart. Then she painted me as the woman who was too sick to know what was good for my family or my horses.
Dave and Lindsay could not be trusted because they are not horse people. They want to help but they just don't know what good horse care is.
This was all accomplished with a concerned voice and thoughtful demeanor. The times I speak she kept up her charade of friendliness working hard to convince me and assure my friend she only had my best interests at heart.
Can you guess where it went from there?
To be continued.....
Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Tuesday, June 18, 2013
I lumbered back to the house, exhausted beyond my limits and weighted down by the unknown. As much as I needed rest, I needed to be prepared more. My mind raced from the assumptions I had made.
They were after all only assumptions. I was giving this woman the benefit of the doubt based on my good friend's trust in her instead of listening to my own internal warnings. Then I deduced this partnership notion out of who knows where wanting this situation to be something reasonable instead of the nightmare it would become.
I don't know if my thought process was something explainable by my deteriorated physical and mental state or what, only that it was. My mind tricking me into thinking I was in control of a situation where clearly I was not.
I am not aware how long I rested when my sleep was broken by the voice of my friend. Her tone alarmed me to such an extent my eyes popped open searching her face for clues to the cause of the heightened concern emanating my direction.
I had not heard a normal tone or seen a relaxed expression on her face since I was first diagnosed. Her look since then fixed and reflecting back at me the worry I knew she didn't want me to see but too grave to be masked by such a caring person. Now as I struggled to consciousness, the lines were broader, the furrows deeper, transmitting something more than my health was amiss.
With the cobwebs thick, I barely heard the utterance, "Mare.....bad...." Once again forcing myself on feet that had long since lost their usefulness, I walked to the barn with my friend trying to grasp the reason for this abrupt change in my her demeanor. My mind raced trying to understand.
We got to Lilly's stall to find her wheezing. Twenty-five years ago had I discovered a horse breathing in this manner it would have overwhelmed me like the expression I now saw on my friend.
The woman's alarm didn't stop there. Next I was informed that Dare was lame. That was followed up by talk of poor hay and weight loss, particularly on Aana.
All of these things are situations that can and do happen in a herd the size of mine. Not to minimize any one of them but normally these things would just be something to deal with. Stuff happens, we fix it and move on. Of course my observation has the benefit of hindsight.
At the time it happened I did not see that in the course of a couple hours something had changed my friend's viewpoint. She was alarmed by things that would not normally faze her either since her experience is more extensive than mine. Suddenly she had lost faith in my ability to handle these situations or they appeared bigger than they really were. Whatever it was, the perception was skewed from the reality and the door was opened for the wolf to feed.
To be continued......
Monday, June 17, 2013
Looking back I imagine this woman couldn't get me out of the barns fast enough. What she needed was me gone so she could work on my friend to manipulate her perception of the situation to suit her needs.
My friend with her good heart was ripe to be easily swayed by the argument this woman's motivations were totally about helping me. Trusting this woman as much as she trusts me, she wanted to believe her motives were pure. My friend's desire to help me in these difficult times and the overwhelming extent of the situation here made her an easy target.
That groundwork must have been well laid by the time the truck and trailer pulled up. My friend never would have allowed any kind of advances that might put me at risk.
While I had not recognized the truck and trailer pulling into my yard, I had seen one of its occupants well enough to realize I knew her. She was the mother of this woman who was now out at my barns grooming horses. I figured the other one was probably her husband since I knew all three lived together.
Knowing the rig was associated with this woman gave me pause. That paperwork from AHA listing all my horses still nagged at me. Now having a truck and trailer show up without an invitation my uneasiness grew.
To tired to think, I still could not rest. I tried to imagine why this woman would think it was ok to summon a horse trailer to my farm. Not having the benefit of the hindsight I now have, struggled for some kind of readin. Obviously she must be thinking she was taking horses home but what was she thinking?
My friend had told me that in the past this woman had taken young, unstarted horses for others. As I remember there was some kind of partnership. The woman did the training until the horses were sold. My friend had even suggested, in the past before Richard and Angie, that this might be an option for me.
Now I wondered if this could be the explanation for this rig showing up at my farm. If it was, it was still presumptuous for her to take such liberty without talking to me first but presumptuous behavior was not surprising from this woman. To sick to think clearly, I could come up with no other reason so I tried to rest telling myself I would know soon enough what was going on.
The uneasiness I felt would not let go. I tried to convince myself waiting for a brief respite would not change anything but I just could not shake this feeling something was amiss. As exhausted as I was I pushed myself back out to the barn for some kind of explanation.
I found the woman in the outside stalls of the hay barn. She was inside the third stall from the end while my friend was in the stall next to her. Both were working on detangling the manes of the mares there.
I looked at my friend for some sign of discomfort. There was none there, no sign of any alarm that a horse trailer had arrived on my farm without invitation. I didn't know what else to do so I just came out and asked, "What's the deal? Are you planning on taking horses home?"
Without hesitation she responded. "Well, that depends. We are a partnership so I have to talk to my family. We all share in the work so we all must share in the decision. I will let you know when we decide something."
That was it. She broke off the conversation like everything necessary was said.
Shortly after her mother came walking around the corner to find me sitting on a railroad tie totally exhausted. Her look was grave. I assumed her expression was about me. I certainly felt that bad. Then she said something about it being overwhelming and I nodded in agreement. Being this sick and responsible for thirty horses was overwhelming.
Not seeing any sign of alarm from my friend, I pushed myself back onto my feet making my way back to the house to rest. Whatever was going on I would need a clear head when the woman came to talk.
To be continued.....
A Turning Point.............
Sunday, June 16, 2013
The tour through the barns seemed normal enough. I introduced each horse giving the usual spiel I would give to prospective buyers, bloodlines, talents, level of training and personality traits. With the younger horses, I included what I expected for growth and behaviors that indicated what discipline each might do some day.
As we made our way through I noticed the deterioration that is inevitable when someone is not staying on top of things. Also noted was my usually hard keepers were showing some signs of weight loss. I made mental notes on all of these things so the necessary corrections could be made. I was more alarmed by the state of my barn than by the health of my horses.
The woman asked questions as we stopped at each stall. With her list of my horses out she was trying to match the individual in front of her with the corresponding listing there. The questions she asked were to clarify what I was telling her about each horse.
There was no hint her notations might be anything more than notes on my conversation. There was also nothing to indicate any kind of negative judgment about the condition of the barns, the horses or how they were being cared for. We seemed to linger at the hay barn stalls a bit longer than others but it appeared she was still figuring her way around that exhaustive list of paperwork that is the printout of my horses owned information from AHA.
Dave's unemployment had run out late that spring. Over the three years we had made many cutbacks but nothing concerning the horses' care had been sacrificed. With shavings now running around $500 for a small load, we had to make the decision to forego bedding.
We were already experiencing problems getting shavings on a regular basis. With so many lumber mills shutting down all over the country, our biggest supplier was now sending everything to the race tracks in southern California. That has left us at the mercy of one struggling small mill that only had shavings when it had orders for lumber.
The transition from occasional loads to none was not a big one for the horses. Their stalls were cleaned and the mats swept daily. Other than now something new to figure out how to play with, they seemed unaffected but just the thought of no bedding drove me crazy despite the fact some stall mat manufacturers advertise quoted from actual farm owners choosing to eliminate bedding because they use stall mats. For me this was something I was not doing for my horses and it eats at me......making it yet another vulnerability.
Now as we toured each barn the only concern from either woman seemed to be about my well being as I struggled with exhaustion and pain. There was nothing to indicate this woman was anything but genuine as she encouraged me to leave them and go into the house to rest.
I pushed myself beyond my limits wanting to show this woman each horse but by the time we reached the far barn I could go no farther. Most of the horses in that barn are my breeding stock so when this woman encouraged me again to leave, I acquiesced knowing the horses left to be seen were not horses I intended to part with anyway.
As I headed back to the house I still had no idea I was in any jeopardy other than from my health. My body trembled from exhaustion as I made my way by myself. Both women stayed at the barns so they could go through and groom all of the horses. I rested thinking my horses were in safe hands.
I must have fallen asleep almost immediately when I hit the couch that was my resting place in the living room. The fatigue of the barn tour was the most exhausting activity since my illness. It even trumped my walk to that shower in the hospital. My body screamed at me for the torture I had subjected it to but my psyche refused to accept the reality of my physical state, shut in.....
The frailty of my body smacked me in the face heightened by the enormity of the responsibility of thirty horses but my will could not keep me conscious. The sleep was fitful as my mind struggled to bring order to my opposing veiws. The state of my body versuses the state of my mind which still clung to the belief I had the strength to survive anything and colon cancer was nothing more than a small set back.....how could that sleep be restful? I had the weight of my world on my shoulders.
I did not sleep long when I was startled awake by the sound of a truck in my driveway. Not expecting more visitors, I forced myself to my feet to peer out the front door. Imagine my surprise to see a strange truck and horse trailer driving into my yard. My stomach rolled, my heart sank but my brain told me my friend would not allow any harm to come my way.
To be continued........
Posted by Rising Rainbow at 5:15 PM
Saturday, June 15, 2013
Before I proceed I think there are some things it is important to say. I am not using my friend's name because she is blameless. As this story unfolded plenty of people tried to tell me she was in on this scam but I never had, nor will I ever develop, any doubt. My friend was as much a victim as I was. She has just paid a different type of price.
While I didn't see this woman as a friend, it never occurred to me she would exploit me right under my friend's nose, let alone exploit their friendship to get to me. Their friendship was on a "most trusted" status so in granting her permission to come here that was the only thing I considered.
To be candid, I wasn't even thinking in terms of my vulnerabilities or that I might need protection at all. I was thinking about what I thought my horses needed. Both the fact I was not thinking about needing protection, and that I was thinking only in terms of my distorted perception of my horses needs, added to my vulnerabilities.
One of the things I have learned as I have tried to understand how I get myself into exploitative situations is that such people have a knack at identifying the vulnerabilities of others. They know how to expose them and use them to their advantage and they are arrogant in their methodology.
Thinking she could use her friendship to exploit me without consequences to her long time relationship or, for that matter, legal jeopardy is afterall arrogance. People who exploit others are so arrogant they will pull all kinds of stunts most of us would never even consider.
What that means in terms of how to see such things coming is that thinking someone would never be so arrogant or "stupid" is in itself a weakness. It is in fact something these people count on. They want us to see things their way and when we rule out an explanation because we think no one would be so bold or obvious we play right into their hands.
Another characteristic of those who exploit others is they are masters of manipulation. The reality is you must see manipulation to have any chance of being protected from it. Unfortunately my friend does not have that skill set and she can be loyal to a fault. Those aspects of her behavior made her as vulnerable in this situation as I was. I doubt my friend even understands the depth of the betrayal to this day.
As the happenings of that day unfolded, I was relying on the judgment of my friend but she was blinded by her inability to recognize the way she was being played. Her friend knew how to make this work for her and she did just that. We were both like lambs trusting the wolf to help.
Looking back I can see the woman also used her friendship to learn my vulnerabilities. By the time she arrived here, she was well armed to carry out her plan. She knew all about my health, my concerns, my fears and my horses. All she needed was to figure out exactly what she wanted from me.
Keeping these things in mind as the story unfolds, you will probably see there really was a well laid out plan, actually it was more like a trap. My friend and I both walked right into it.
Even in the writing I am understanding more of the pieces but as it went down I was oblivious and confused. Confusion is another one of those things I have learned to be a tactic employed by those who exploit the vulnerable.
How I wish I had the clarity of all of this hindsight at the time. As it is what I have is this story to be told and now that I have added these important details I will get back to it.
To be continued.....
What Is This?