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I’m wearing an event monitor for the next 30 days. I had forgotten about my heart issues when it reminded me by going off while I worked in the round pen with Hoartie. It even displays the EKG reading, each spike and dip, my highs, lows and everything in between. Here and there it beeps, letting me know it’s recording some abnormality, reminding me that I’m not exactly out of the woods just yet. Illness can be stubborn like that; not eager to relinquish its hold on us.

Hoartie stopped in her tracks the other day, putting both front legs out in front, making it impossible for me to move her forward. When I tried turning her, she crossed her back leg over her other back leg, rendering herself immovable. And so I stood with no way to get help, pushing and pulling, flustered. It was similar to the six months I spent battling both cancer and treatments until that day, a day like today, when I realized there just comes a time when you must learn to move forward, even with a one-ton horse attached to your lead rope.

And so today, when I watched her put both legs forward, I looked her in the face and said, “Oh, no you don’t.” I made gentle pulling motions with her halter until they became annoying. Each time, she reluctantly pawed at the ground and then set her foot forward a few feet, leaving her weight on her back legs. I kept the pressure on until she gave into it and moved another step. It took several minutes, but together, we made it safely to the paddock.

It was hard work to keep her moving, but move she did. And it was hard work beating cancer, surviving chemo and radiation, but survive I did.

I saw the similarities in how I responded to her initially: weak, confused, uncertain and how I feel today: head-strong, willful, and determined to reach my destination. In the end, Hoartie seemed appreciative. I know I was.

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